Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #220 – One Subject Three Ways

Dignity – a Tribute to Native American Women.

Lens-Artist Patti discusses a technique called working the shot in her challenge post. She writes, “For this week’s challenge, we’re exploring what professional photographers call ‘working a shot.’ What does that mean? Photographers pick a subject (a place, an object, a person, for instance) and take a variety of photos–by zooming in on the details or stepping back for a wider view. They also vary the angle of the shot–looking up or down or even sideways. They might walk around the subject to get a unique view.” You can read her entire challenge post here.

For my response, I’ve picked three of my favorite subjects that regular readers might recognize as having seen before. What I haven’t shown together, in most cases, are the several versions of the subject as I worked the shot. I start with my favorite take on the Dignity statue at Chamberlain, South Dakota. The opening photo posed against the sky adds drama and a sense of the magnitude of the stainless steel work of art.

Dignity front view.

This view provides context and the people in the image give the viewer a reference to the size of the statue. Dignity’s moccasins appear to be almost as tall as a person.

Dignity Statue
Dignity’s quilt.

From the back, a much better detail of the pattern of her quilt is visible. What I can’t show without a video is how those blue diamonds are semi-detached from the quilt. In a breeze, they move with the wind.

Murshid Sam’s Dargah.

It’s a long story as to how I was to learn about Murshid Sam, a saint in the Sufi religion. His final resting place is under a beautifully designed structure known as a Dargah (shrine). High on a mountain near Taos, New Mexico, faithful followers come to visit and pray in the shade of the shrine. The design is symmetrical so that the views around the structure look very similar, with only the background changing. To work this shot, I took an overall image of the shrine and then several closeups of architectural details in the construction. I feature two of those detailed images here.

Ceiling design.

Inside the shrine, the ceiling is composed of multiple geometric shapes and in the center, an octagonal window acts as a skylight to brighten the interior.

Inscriptions at the base of the ceiling.

Following the octagonal shape of the skylight, the roof supports are also octagonal, each exterior surface featuring an inspirational phrase.

Outer Banks Sunrise

The beach near Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina is a great place to photograph the sunrise. It is a typical eastern coast beach in many ways with sand fences to help control erosion and native grasses that add interest to a photo.

Outer Banks sand fences-1
Sand fences on the beach.

The morning layer of thin clouds filtered the sunrise and gave these two images a pastel sky. The first of this pair is my personal favorite because of the detail in the tall grasses.

The Fisherman
Fishing from the Beach.

You can blame Lens-Artist Tina for my adding this image. In her response to the challenge, she used Nik’s Silver Efex to feature a black-and-white version of one of her choices. Prior to the first glimpse of the sun, I captured a lone fisherman at work. I decided that another way to work this beach image would be in high-key black and white using Silver Efex. Masking and raising the exposure in the sky left a leading line along the shore that lead directly to the fisherman.

I always enjoy reading your comments and try to respond to each one. As it happens, when this post is published, Lynn and I will be on our way to spend a few days cruising. I don’t know how well the Internet connections on the ship will be. I’ve seen lots of complaints since the restart of cruising from others on their cruises. If I don’t respond right away, I will respond when I get good Internet access again.

Thanks again to Patti for a great challenge this week. Next week it’s Ann-Christine’s turn. If you’d like to join in responding to the challenges, you can find the details here.

John Steiner


  1. Terrific subjects for the challenge John. i remember your previous image of the opening statue which I love. I especially liked that you included the back view and talked about the moving elements – sounds spectacular! Also loved your beach scenes (thanks for the mention!) and although I did really like your EFEX version, my favorite of those was one with the fences. Loved the ceiling feature in your center group. Hope the cruise is going well!

    • Thanks, Tina! We got to London by air at 7 AM London time, but our six hour time difference is now ramping up the jet lag. One more day of sightseeing in London and then we start the cruise on Saturday.

  2. You have 100% nailed this challenge John! All your sets of images show exactly how taking a different approach to each shot can convey different impressions of your subject. I could pick favourites (the first one of Dignity, the second one of the Dargah and same of the sunrise) but that’s a bit unfair on the other shots!

    I hope your cruise is great. I see from your comment to Tina that you’re passing through London – a shame you’re not likely to be hanging around long enough to say hi!

  3. Hope you are enjoying your cruise. Great takes on the challenge. Honestly I like the edit of your last photo. It looks eerie and yet curious. I loved the Dignity statue and how you brought us closer. So impressive to know the blue diamonds move with the wind. I imagine the sun helps it shimmer at the right angles too. The Kill Devil Hills sunrise captured such tranquility. I loved that photo.

  4. Dignity is quite something, itsn’t it/she? We saw it on our last trip to Wyoming from Illinois. I like that last shot a lot as it gives just the sort of feeling I enjoy having on the beach (or elsewhere): quiet, peaceful, not other people. 🙂

  5. Hi, John. I hope you’re enjoying your long-awaited cruise as you read this! 😀. Have a wonderful time. Before you left, you created this great post which illustrates the benefits of “working the shot.” I had never seen Dignity before. She’s stunning. I love that the panels move. And your beach scenes…so tranquil and beautiful. I like the Silver FX version of the beach. It really draws your eye into the scene. Have a great time!

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