I happened across this arresting picture while browsing Flickr for pictures taken with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm ƒ/1.4. It looks a bit better there. I like the painterly color palette, which looks almost too perfect not to have been built up gradually and carefully, as in a painting.
The umbrella reminded me a bit of Gordon Lewis's "Precipitation"—and then I noticed the picture's small mystery—where's the precipitation? She must be using her umbrella as a parasol.
It turns out that David Hufford, the photographer, is a TOP reader, so I asked him for permission to show you, and here you are. Thanks to David.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Yoram N.: "It seems David has a 'thing' for umbrellas. Streaming along his Flickr stream you can find many beautiful umbrella photos."
Steve Pritchard: "Many moons ago, on a trip to Thailand I noticed at the end of the working day that young men riding small motorcycles would collect their girlfriends or wives from their offices to take them home. The women would sit side-saddle and balance precariously on the pillion while holding up their handbag or briefcase in both hands as a shield against the sun's rays, while their partners wove dangerously through seven lanes of traffic in the Bangkok rush hour. It was explained to me later that a pale complexion was a prized status symbol, denoting someone with a good office job who did not have to toil in the fields or do manual labour. I don't know if the same may be true in Tokyo, but it might serve to explain the small mystery in David's serene photograph."
David Miller: "Sometimes it seems that there are too many photographs in the world…but not enough by David Hufford. Thanks for the link Mike—what a treasure! Thanks for the photographs, David—what a treasure chest!"
Darrell Marquette: "If you live in Phoenix, you will frequently see people using umbrellas on bright sunny days."
Ben Rosengart: "I use that lens almost to the exclusion of all others."
Mike replies: Nice stuff! And a portrait of Voja too!
D. Hufford: [the featured photographer]: "Thanks, Mike. Yes, she is using that as a parasol. It's very common in Japan during the summer. In fact, some men have taken to using them too. I do have a thing for umbrellas. I often have to force myself to refrain from taking photos of them.
"Thanks for the kind comments, everyone."
Mike replies: What? Rule numero uno...never refrain from taking pictures of what you want to take pictures of. Embrace your peculiarities, don't resist them. That's how we find our way as photographers.
Gordon Lewis: "Apparently the woman I photographed gets around. She's been sighted in Donenchofu, Japan. I guess the weather is better there."