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Thursday, October 21, 2010

We Need Help -- Now!

A sign can be a valuable prop when it conveys a humorous meaning to the activity in your photo.

These two shovelers weren’t the only ones who needed help when winter’s first storm dumped six inches of snow on the ground. Barry Meuse, left, and Rich Silk do their best to clear the driveway of the gas station where they work on Rte. 38 in Lowell, Ma. (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).

The Photo:
A good photographer always keeps his or her eyes open for humor, and one approach is using signs that convey a funny meaning to what’s going on. This photo jumped out at me as I drove along on a very snowy evening, and I spied two gas station workers shoveling the entrance to their station next to a “We Need Help” sign designed to attract new employees. These two shovelers definitely needed help that night, and when I saw this shot, the only way I could photograph it was with a flash, for it was too dark to shoot otherwise. The heavy snow also meant the light from my flash wouldn’t travel as far, so I had to shoot from closer up. The sign made the picture far more interesting than it would have been with just two people shoveling snow.

3 Tips:
1) Inclement weather photos are almost always newsworthy.
2) Use signs to make your photo stronger by conveying an alternative meaning to the activity in the picture.
3) If you need a flash to take a bad weather photo, position yourself close to the subject because the light from the flash won’t travel as far as usual.

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