Alley Smoker

I’ve been mostly concentrating on architecture lately but this one appeared when I least expected it. I stopped at the entrance to an ally and was in the process of framing a shot when this man asked me “What do you see?” He added that he’s out there everyday and someone always stops to take a photo. He had always wondered what the allure of the alley was.

I explained to him about the quality of light in ally. The alley is enclosed on three sides by some very tall buildings. The light from the sky is framed by the buildings and creates a gigantic soft-box. The light fades beautifully as it descends the height of the alley. At the far end of the alley there were some windows with interior lights glowing in the darkness not getting any light from above. I started to explain to him about how the perspective lines lead the viewers eye into the composition and that’s where I lost him.

Just before he went back to his cigarette, I captured this photo. It’s slightly soft probably because he was moving but I still really like this moment. He wasn’t expecting me to take his picture so his gesture is honest and not at all posed. I wished him a nice day and headed back to the office.

SONY, ILCE-7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA
1/60, f/6.3, ISO 1600

About the author

Terry Schmidbauer: