Make it look a lot like Christmas (when it’s not snowing)

Margaret Lubwama

Global Oncology research fellow Dr. Margaret Lubwama in Seattle, Wash. on Dec. 21, 2015.

Later this week, we’re publishing a Christmas Eve story about the Fred Hutch Global Oncology research fellow Dr. Margaret Lubwama. Part of the story will be her reactions to Seattle and the holiday season. I thought about this visual challenge all weekend, and came to the conclusion that I’d like to use a cinemagraph for the story.

Anyone who has been in Seattle during the holidays knows that the merchants in the downtown core create elaborate Christmas window displays that often involve motion. So, that’s where we went during a Monday morning rainstorm. The soft, gray clouds provided optimal lighting conditions, but I needed to bring a small light to provide fill-light for Margaret’s face.

I’m solving most of the technical challenges I’ve run into with cinemagraphs, and that has delivered me to the most difficult part – overcoming the limits of my vision. I’ve learned that this kind of photography requires a lot of imagination and planning. You’re thinking about light, composition, repetitive motion and the constraints of frame count. On top of all that you have to keep the subject engaged and interested. You can’t let it devolve into a photo field-trip experiment. That’s a lot to keep track of.

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