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Camera House : Better Pictures 14
30 Profile Ben macrae Shutterbug how do you approach a shoot? I really don’t know. I think you have to understand what is before you and do your homework on it regardless of what it is. I usually return to locations or tribes many times before I’m happy with anything I capture. My Himba tribal shots have taken me five years to compile. I still feel that I need to return, and with each return visit I spot something different and try to portray it with whatever light or lenses I have available. If I’m totally honest, if I’m not feeling it on the day, I walk away and have a few beers and leave it for another day, rather than force an image. Sometimes I think I’ve wasted more opportunities than I’ve capitalised on. Could we get the back-story on your winning image of Mr Ali? This image was shot in Jordan, deep inside a wadi off Wadi Rum. We (my partner Holly and I) had spent the week exploring these wadis, trying to meet some Bedouins. It was a lot harder than we thought. Most Bedouins were out for the day or not so keen to meet tourists. Then we came across a tent in the middle of nowhere. This gentleman (Mohammed) was waving us in towards his tent. He was excited, as his camel had just given birth and he wanted to share his good fortune. We were invited into his tent where we sat for hours, at his invitation, for countless cups of sweet tea. We had a watermelon in the 4x4 that we shared over tea and it seemed we had both found a new best friend. We learned all about his life and the hardships he faced. His wife was ill in hospital and his children were pursuing new lives in Amman, so he was left all alone to look after all of his family possessions. Mohammed lay back as our guide translated our conversation to and fro. He rolled cigarette after cigarette, occasionally stopping to tune his radio, all the while giving us his full attention. I had recently been introducing flash into my work and felt that with the light in his tent I would have a great shot. Our guide translated my desire to take Mohammed’s picture, which he agreed to, but upon hearing my request, he shot up straight and tall, and the scene [I wanted to photograph] was gone. Holly held the softbox and once Mohammed had relaxed again, I asked if he could ben MACrAe is the winner of Capture Magazine’s Emerging Photographer of the Year. Ben MacRae’s fascination with photography has seen him traverse the world in search of perfect portraits. His latest series of images, captured in Jordan, have earned him the title of Capture Magazine’s Emerging Photographer of the Year. just sit the way he was. I shot a few frames before being treated to more tea. We spent the remainder of the afternoon happily sitting in the shade of the tent. how did you achieve your winning shot? The only difference between this shot and one somebody else may have taken was the introduction of the Speedlite and softbox (I use a Canon 580exii Speedlite shot in a Bruce Dorn Select Westcott soft box, triggered by impact transmitters and receivers). My partner Holly held the box just above her head with the box on its side. She was standing near the natural light of the door at about 45 degrees from where I was sitting. I could have used the natural light but I did not want to push my ISO. Plus, from my experience using this box, I knew I would get a nice amount of light fall-off while keeping as much detail in the image as possible. The fact we had built a bond over so many cups of tea meant there was no issue when I introduced the softbox to the set up, which enabled me to make this portrait pop. See more at benmacraephotography.com ■ 030_Bpics14_Shutterbug_v2.indd 30 27/08/13 10:13 AM
Better Pictures 13