My photo
... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Checker Players




I had intended to write this back in May but we had tornados, graduations and other stuff to come along. A friend of mine, Greg Whitaker, told me about this gruop of guys who play checkers every week at a Fort Valley barbershop. About twenty guys gather on Wednesday afternoons, sit with homemade checker boards across their knees and have at it. This ain't your childhood checkers. These guys are awesome.

I love shooting stuff like this. You are always going to meet some really neat people, and this is a fading slice of Americana. Think these guys great grandkids will be meeting one day playing video games in a neighborhood barbershop?
I doubt it.





I moved to the back of the shop as soon as I got there. I wanted some photos that showed the players but also gave some of the environment. I wanted to see barbershop. That had to be from the back of the shop. After I got back there, I knew my main focus had to be these two players, Leo Green and Duhart Roberson




The whole front wall of the barbershop is glass. Huge windows. Lots of backlight.
The backlight made for nice images but tricky exposures. The easy way would have been to use fill flash, either direct flash or bounce it from the ceiling. Bounce would have looked more natural. I preferred to shoot available light. Without using a flash, I would be a lot less obtrusive.





The backlight wasn't too bad behind Leo, but really was a problem behind his partner. When shooting backlight you really have to pay attention to how the light effects your subject. There were some places where the glare killed all the detail in his face. You can see this through the viewfinder.

Working with backlight is a very necessary skill. Practice figuring your exposure, because most of the time you will be shooting manually. You will usually have to open up a stop from what your meter tells you. Give it a try.

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