The most powerful photo I have ever taken

By PF Staff in Favorite Photos on Dec 24, 2012

Hello!  I am a 17 year old photographer, well on my way to improving my work in  the field and studio, and hopefully one day a professional. I have taken close to 70,000 photos since October 5th, 2011 (the day I bought my K-5) and this next photo is by far my most powerful. The reason why I chose this photograph is because I have actually come in contact with him and I am bringing him to my High School as a motivational speaker. I also believe that this photograph (these photographs) is just overflowing with emotion.

Click image for a larger version

How I Found This Subject

I was walking around New York city with my parents, the first day I have ever been in my life. We went through what seemed like hours of waiting, stairs, elevators, and security and we finally reached the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. I was walking around outside, primarily interested in the landscapes and potential cityscape photographs I could take. I then noticed a younger woman with the same setup as me! A Pentax K-5 and an M series 50mm f/1.7. (at the time, my Tamron 28-75 was equipped). I swiftly went up to her as I was excited to see another proud K-5 owner, but to my dismay, she did not speak one word of English. It was then that I looked out the window and saw Patrick Ivison and his service dog, and so began my interest in candid street photography. 


Hardware: is definitely important when taking a photograph, and as I was primarily interested in architectural photographs at the time, I had my Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 mounted on my beautiful Pentax K-5.

Software: At first I had a hard time choosing between the photos I took, but then I had decided that these two told a story when shown together, so I made a new document in Adobe Photoshop CS5 and worked my magic. I cropped them down a bit and then made minor adjustments to the contrast in both photos using Nik Color Efex Pro 3's "Pro Contrast" filter and then added a dark vignette around the edges at a low opacity. Afterwards I decided to experiment with Black and White, so I immediately opened Nik software's Silver Efex Pro 2 and processed it through their amazing Black and White options and this was my favorite. I sharpened the photo slightly in the same program as well. 

File Info

Both Photos:

  • Shutter speed: 1/1000
  • Aperture: F/3.5
  • ISO 200
  • Focal length: 63mm
  • White balance: Auto

Here are both photos without Post-Processing (click images for a larger version):

This emotional photograph has completely changed the way I view my art and I am very glad that I was here on that day at that specific moment. I enjoyed editing this and I will enjoy putting it on canvas for Patrick when he speaks at my school.

- nick52

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