SzilagyiPP
SzilagyiPP

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2 Comments | Report
JDLifeshots
 
JDLifeshots March 07, 2015
Great shot! Congrats.
SzilagyiPP
SzilagyiPP March 07, 2015
Thanks!
Alberto_Suarez
 
Alberto_Suarez October 05, 2017
Super shot !

Behind The Lens

Location
The photo was taken in an isolated small village in the mountains, called Bratca, in Transylvania (Romania). The settlement contains only a dozen houses, several hundred meters from one another, inhabited mostly by old widows.
Time
In a late afternoon I was visiting our neighbor, Nanny Florica, when I caught this scene in her backyard.
Lighting
There were no special lighting conditions, on the contrary, the sky was white and unspectacular, in contrast with what I saw this local woman doing.
Equipment
The camera I used to take this photo was a Nikon D70 with a Nikkor 18-70 mm (3.5-4.5) lens, without tripod or flash. I had almost no space left on my memory card (the picture was taken in 2005, when my memory card was a little bit smaller than today's standards :) ) so I had to shoot it at medium resolution. The settings (due to bad lighting conditions, and for evidencing the subject) were: focal length 16 mm, f 3.5, exposure 1/30.
Inspiration
Seeing this old woman fighting with the cow, having no idea why, was the trigger that made me grab my camera and start shooting. It seems I witnessed a little local witchcraft in action. After she finished the process, I asked her what had she done. She told me that the cow had just given birth to a calf and, with the help of a neighbor, she tied it to a tree, took a long iron nail, made a hole with it through the cow's neck skin, and then inserted a local medicinal herb through that hole. The plant is used as a natural antibiotic by the locals who still know the old alternative medicine procedures. This practice avoids any possible infections the mother cow might otherwise get after giving birth.
Editing
As post processing I made small corrections of contrast and I converted the image to B&W. In the original picture, the old lady wears a very pink dress :)
In my camera bag
Besides a beer every now and then, I usually have Nikon D90 with the kit lens (18-105), and sometimes a 70-300 mm zoom.
Feedback
The most important advice I would give someone would be to try to get close to your subjects, communicate with them, until they open up so that you can capture them being themselves, without trying to "look good" for pictures. It is also important to understand and blend in in the local atmosphere. Once you get accepted by a community or a family, it is a lot easier to capture real moments from their lives. As a side note, this image was published in a photo magazine, and I took the publication to her and showed her the article. She was very happy and felt very proud for appearing in a printed work, and since then, the magazine is framed and hung on her wall.

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