Shot of the Week 2019/01 – Mithras and the Girl

Posted on 6th January 2019 by Admin under Comment, Photograph, Shot of the Week


A few years ago, I did a Photo 365 when I took photographs every day and published the best one. While it was fun and I learnt a lot, time and opportunity were limiting factors. That was the cause of some frustration as I did not always feel that some of the results were those which I wished to show to others.  On the other hand, I did get a lot of pleasing shots which would not have happened without the incentive to go out looking for pictures.

I have recently joined a new camera club which regularly runs annual challenges for daily, weekly and monthly photos. Members can join whichever they choose, with weekly being the most popular. At the time of writing, 31 people have signed up. Give or take, that is around half the club which has elected to participate and I am am amongst that number. It has given me the incentive for 2019 to recreate the motivation of a daily project to take pictures without the need necessarily to produce something every day. The week starts at 00:00 on Monday and finishes at 23:59 the following Sunday.  During that period, or shortly after, I will publish my selection.

52 masterpieces, then? Sadly, quite probably not. The anticipation of having several potential winners from which to choose is unlikely to survive the cold experience of reality. Like many others, my photography is observational in nature and, other than camera settings, usually very little is under my direct control. There is an adage that to obtain an interesting image, it is necessary to stand in front of something interesting. I cannot disagree and it can happen in the most unlikely of places. Just as locations which should be photogenic sometimes do not turn out that way. It can also be difficult to find inspiration, especially when the light is not co-operating. Then there are the inevitable missed opportunities or camera fumbles which spoil an otherwise worthwhile grab shot. It happens to everyone, whatever their reputation.

The compensation is the serendipity when everything comes together, the satisfaction of which cannot be understated. That was a lesson which I learnt during my 365 project. If I go out with a camera, more often than not I will return with a few decent images. Consequently, I look upon photography as an adventure, the enjoyment derived from not knowing what I will find. What I hope for is a series of shots which have some form of interest. Hopefully there will also be a few which transcend to the higher realms.

I intend to publish weekly photographs on this blog, a further benefit as my posts have not been that frequent of late. Where appropriate, I will include details of how I got the shot. Optionally I will also include other images which I considered when making my choice.

The quest, not to mention the fun, begins.

The First Image – Mithras and the Girl

Mithras and the Girl
Mithras and the Girl

For the past month or so, courtesy of a stonking Black Friday deal, I have had a new camera. Maybe I will write more about that on another occasion.  So far, I have not always given the camera an easy ride during my initial tryouts. On many of the occasions when I have it, there has been little light. Which is exactly what happened with my first “Shot of the Week”.  It was taken at the London Mithraeum, the ruins of an ancient Roman temple dedicated to the worship of the god Mithras. Exposure was 1/40 @ f/2, ISO 3200.

Discovered in 1954, the temple has been reconstructed in its original location as it was originally found. The site is under the new Bloomberg European headquarters building in the City of London., with Bloomberg going to some trouble and expense to make visits an immersive experience. The head which you see on the left is a replica of a sculpture depicting Mithras found during the archaeological excavations.  It is illuminated internally, which caused some problems with the exposure due to the contrast with the less well lit areas.  To give an idea of the problems, I have included the image as shot.  Lightroom has recovered an amazing amount of detail from the sculpture which appears to have blown highlights.

Mithras and the girl, before post capture processing
Mithras and the Girl – original capture

At the start of this post, I was talking about discovery and the unexpected in my photography.  When I set out from home, I had no idea that I would return with an image which might turn out to be one of my shots of the year.

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