6 Afternoon Stroll

If you are older and have difficulty walking then help is needed to cover even the shortest of distances.

m_6 Afternoon Stroll

This image evolved over time. Initially I had the idea of close ups of walking aids, such as walking sticks and a walking frame. I tried a couple of photos of these, trying to concentrate on the shape of the walking sticks. A couple of examples of these are shown below.


They were not quite what I wanted for this part of the series as they didn’t necessarily suggest walking difficulty. I then wondered about a montage of people using walking sticks, scooters, etc., in the street. I had decided earlier that I didn’t want to include people in this series as I wanted the attention to be on the aids and assistance rather than the people. I was also rather uncertain as to how to create a montage and thought that I would probably need a lot of practice first.

I then had the idea of photographing the mobility scooter. Initially I thought of someone riding on it with a slow shutter speed to give a blurred effect of movement. I wanted to use this technique for a later shot though and did not want to be repetitive.

I had seen on the DG28.com website a description of how a photograph was taken entitled ‘Afternoon Flash’. The photo and description can be seen at http://www.dg28.com/technique/afternoon_flash.htm

It is a photo taken late afternoon on a winter’s day. I was struck by how the flash had brought out the main subject from the background. I wanted to try to create a similar effect for the photo of the disability scooter. Once again my initial thought was for a portrait of someone on the scooter, rather as the DG28 photo was a portrait. But having decided that the series was about the aids and assistance and not the people I thought that I could make the scooter the subject of the photo.

I decided that photographing it with the car in the background would be good as it would provide a contrast between two means of transport – the car is fine for getting to the shops, but of no use within the shops themselves. I tried framing the photo in different ways, but the best option seemed to be with the scooter at the front and with the garage and car as the background.

It was late on a winter’s afternoon so I switched the lights on in the garage to illuminate the car and background. I brought the scooter out of the garage and placed it sideways on as this seemed to make it most recognisable. I took a meter reading of the light in the garage and set my flash up in front of the scooter and metered the light at different power settings. I was then able to set the flash power, aperture and shutter speed so that the scooter was a couple of stops lighter than the background.

My intention with this photo is to suggest:

  • Aids are needed to walk any sort distance,
  • Some people need a lot of assistance

Technical alternatives

The scooter is quite small relative to the car so I used my widest angle lens for this image. This meant that I could get close to the scooter to make it seem larger in the picture and keep it as the centre of attention.

It may also have been better to have diffused the light from the flashgun to reduce the level of reflections.

Technical information

Lens: VR 18-55 F/3.5-5.6G

Focal Length: 18mm

Aperture: F/16

Shutter Speed: 1/125s

Exposure Mode: Manual

Flashgun: Nikon SB700

The image has been cropped and the exposure value increased by 0.5 stop post capture.


How could this image be improved?

If this was a one off image then it would perhaps be better as a portrait with someone on the scooter. Given my decision that I did not want people in the photos at this stage of the series then I think the image could be improved by the inclusion of say a shopping bag or an item of clothing in a contrasting colour to the blue of the scooter.

What have I learned from taking this photograph?

I was pleased to have looked at a technique (in this case described on the DG28 website) and to have used it on my own photo. I did not try simply copy the image used in the description but instead tried to use the technique for my own purposes.

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