The photo "window cleaners" was recently awarded as the Grand Jury Winner in the Men at Work Photo Contest. ViewBug community member zenit explains in detail the story behind this shot.

I'm an academically trained artist working in different fields of artistic expressions: painting, graphic design, video and photography. Photography is a hobby that has been more or less intensive since my school days. In the past few years it became a more serious passion. I shoot street and travel photography, but I do explore all fields of photography except studio photography (but who knows, maybe this will be my next challenge).

Window cleaners by zenit

What inspired you to take this photo?

It's just the kind of "at the right time at right place" photo. I've done several shots from different angels and distances. But when I composed this picture I knew that this is the one.

Where did you take this photo?

I took this photo in my hometown Ljubljana, Slovenia. It shows one of the highest buildings in downtown.

Anything worth sharing about lighting?

I used natural light, which was the only possible way, the street scene and the cleaners were far away  and high on the building. The clouds were just perfect, not only because they're shaped to draw attention to the cleaners, but also because the light in the middle of the day in late August was not so harsh as it could be.

What equipment did you use?

I used a Nikon D5100 camera and a Sigma 70- 300mm lens.

What time of day?

This photo was taken about four or five years ago. I was taking pictures of some art nouveau buildings in town, when I noticed the cleaners on this modernistic skyscraper on the other side of the street. It is not a very common situation in my hometown, so I turned my camera immediately. It was a nice summer day with lots of clouds in blue sky but with no harsh sunlight.

Did you do any post-processing?

The picture was taken as a raw file, I still have the color version but I think the B&W conversion suits it better. This photo is mostly about the graphic, the play between the lines,  and about the dark and bright parts within the composition. Colors are, despite the beautiful blue of the sky, irrelevant. I post-edited the contrast.

What equipment do you normally carry in your bag?

Things have changed since I took this picture. I've been into photography since I was a kid and was quite serious about photography when I attended the Art academy (during the days of analogue photography). But soon after, for two decades I shoot only with compact cameras. But about six years ago my old passion returned and I bought a Fuji HS10 camera, then I bought a Nikon D5100. This camera came with 18- 105mm lens and I also bought a Sigma 70-300mm lens. After two years of everyday training I "overgrew" and sold my Sigma lens and got new ones: a Nikon 35mm/1.8, a 50mm/1.8 lens and Tamron 90mm/2.8. For telephotos I use a 70-200mm/2.8 lens. For landscape photography I use a Sigma 10-20mm, for street photography a 35mm is my first choice, for portraits of people or animals I use the Tamron 90mm/2.8 and 70-200mm. If traveling where I know I'll shoot different stuff I use the Tamron 18-270mm.

Any advice for others trying to capture something similar?

No matter what you're photographing, composition is essential. You can repair exposure, but there is not much you can do about composition later (you can do some cropping, but you cannot change the whole idea of the capture). The idea of this photo was to show a dynamic composition out of mostly vertical and horizontal elements and also to exaggerate the contrast between the amorphic shapes of the clouds and the pure geometry of the building. The angle makes the composition dynamic. Practice your compositions and think about it before you press the shutter, learn about composition from photographers as well as from a long history of visual art.

View more exciting image, visit zenit's profile.