It might look like a film set straight out of a Hollywood backlot, but this is a real scene – and the people in it are not playing roles.
This is the main street of Dawson City, in the Yukon – and I like this shot not just because it shows you the wonderful colours of the Gold Rush-era shopfronts, but because there is actual movement across the frame.
I had just shot three frames with a Pentax K200D using a 70-300mm lens when I decided I wanted to dial back the focal length to capture the overall colour and ambience of the scene, so I swapped to my Pentax K100D and my standard 18-125mm lens.
Instead of dominating the scene as they did in the tight frames, the two men outside the ice cream parlour now became merely a human adjunct to the colourful facades. But as I was about to hit the trigger, I noticed a cyclist approaching from way down the street, so I simply waited until she entered the frame at a point where she was a perfect foil for the seated duo.
When I uploaded this image, I had to scratch my head, because I did not remember a tripod in front of the man in the red shirt. So I went back to my original close-up frames with the longer of the two lenses – and had a chuckle when I realised it was not a tripod but an old-style sandwich board, advertising the store’s wares.
I do not crop, enhance or post-edit my images in any way. Shot with a Pentax K100D, using a Sigma 18-125mm lens. F8, 1/250 sec, ISO 200, focal length 125mm.
Featured by my co-host in PASSIONATE ABOUT VINTAGE, November 2009.