Quiet life – Lunchtime in the City. Which do you prefer?

I was out with a friend in the City the other day, roaming around to see what interesting shots we could get, and I took these shots of a workman taking a quiet moment to have his lunch. Of course, as soon as he sat down, he was badgered by pigeons!

Of the shots I took, my friend and I disagree about which shot we prefer. She likes the shot above because it is a very wintry scene: you can see that there are very few leaves on the tree. She also likes that it is just him and the tree or him and the bicycle. I suppose it is a series of pairs: there are a pair of pigeons as well (not counting the one sitting on the bench). His sitting position mirrors the chairs above.

But I prefer the shot below because of the groups of three in it: the man, the tree and bike and the woman in the background on her phone. There are also three pigeons and there is something in each third of the frame. I also like the depth within the frame and the fact that you can see more of his face.

Does anyone else have an opinion? I would love to read them.

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14 thoughts on “Quiet life – Lunchtime in the City. Which do you prefer?

  1. Basically, it’s a difficult one: Ithink I prefer the shot that is just the man, pigeons and bicycle. Fewer objects so it is stronger. But I also like the other one because there’s man woman bicycle and three pigeons- interplay of threes, always compostionally good. And the man is clearly interacting with the pigeons. But I still think the first picture is stronger.

    1. I do think that usually simpler is better – the less you have cluttering up the frame the better unless you go for the opposite and have lots going on all over the frame. It then there’s the rule of thirds… As you say – difficult one

  2. The second shot does it for me. It has much more depth, possessing a front, middle and back, helped by the incline of the ground which draws my eye into the image.

    The first image looks a lot flatter, the vertical lines of the tree and building take my eye to the empty chair in the upstairs window. Which in itself creates an interesting contrast with the man sat outside but I think the second image is the stronger.

    1. I do think the line of the tree draws your eye to the empty chairs upstairs. That is z nice contrast. Without the empty chairs I think it would be less interesting.

  3. Personally I prefer the depth offered by the bottom one. It gives me a sense that the city is 3D, that there is something happening in the background.

        1. Not really, I’ve been having problems with my blog, had to enter something to see if it was behaving normally! Please delete the comment!

    1. Thanks. I hadn’t thought of it as a portrait. And it’s interesting that it could allow more interpretation by the viewer. I can sometimes try to pack too much into a shot so it’s good to stand back and not try to interpret.
      I think I was doing that here: I took this shot first. Then I saw the woman and thought about adding depth and a story.

  4. Tough call! I like the elements in the bottom shot but my eye keeps being drawn to the bicycle near the center of the frame.I also like how the vertical orientation in the first shot really emphasizes the scale of the man’s surroundings in an interesting way. So yeah, I vote for the first one.

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