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Chapter 2. Day in the Life > People at Play

2.6. People at Play

Play can mean many things to different people For some people, play means a game of chess or reading a book Some simply like to stroll Others are more active, and like to run, jump, splash—or play organized sports Acting is play, and travel can be also Depending on preferences and context, anything that is neither work nor sleep—in other words, leisure time—can be considered play.

Using the verb "to play" in a slightly different sense, playing is what kids do To play means to have fun, and if you encourage your portrait subjects to play, you are likely to get casual and interesting photos Photos of people at play can reveal a side of the person not normally seen.

I suggest that you keep an eye out for people playing Play usually represents a photographic opportunity Try to conceptualize your photo so that it shows what is special about the play For example, a slow shutter speed can exaggerate motion—and a fast shutter speed can stop motion crisply.

Furthermore, it's important to bring play into your photographic portraits even if it is not present organically After all, photography is supposed to be fun If your portrait subjects are encouraged to "mug it up" some of your shots may be over the top and unusable But once things settle down, you are likely to get more lively, interesting, and unusual portraits.

I asked this father and son to kiss the woman on the billboard. They had fun playing along with me, and I got an interesting portrait.

70mm, 1/100 of a second at f/5 and ISO 500, hand held

Kids everywhere love to play in water; these youths are cavorting in an irrigation channel in the Cuban countryside.

55mm, 1/60 of a second at f/4.8 and ISO 100

I asked my son Nicky to jump, and was ready to capture him in midair as he experienced the exhilarating effects of pretend flight.

12.7mm (about 40mm in 35mm terms), 1/160 of a second at f/8 and ISO 80, hand held (taken with a Canon Powershot G9)

Pages 88—89: Many people in Havana, Cuba live a great part of their life on the waterfront boulevard called the Malecón where the ocean breezes are much cooler than the humid streets of the barrio. Life along the Malecón is a never-ending promenade, with couples embracing, families quarrelling, and people walking back and forth.

I used a long exposure (1.6 seconds) to show this motion as blurs of color.

150mm, 1.6 seconds at f/22 and ISO 100, tripod mounted

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