During our recent visit to the Estonian capital Tallinn we also passed across Freedom Square, which features the Cross of Liberty and the Monument to the War of Independence. The 23.5 meters tall pillar made of 143 glass plates commemorates all those who have for freedom in the Estonian war of independence. While nothing particularly spectacular, it was still worth a documentary shot to be part of my Tallinn travel photos. Let me show you the contact sheet with my shots of Freedom Square.
It was already late evening when we entered the square enroute to our dinner location. I already saw the monumental cross while passsing it looking out of a city train the day before, and thought it impressive enough to snap a more documentary shot of it (image 1). Quick and dirty, placed according to the rule of thirds, including two persons sitting at the footsteps to give a good impression of the scale. But it came out – well – documentary. I could also call it boring. Nothing you would include in a photo book of your visit.
While continuing to walk along Freedom Square, I was looking for other ways show of the monument. When I saw the skating boys I saw the opportunity for a street photograph combined with showing of the Cross of Liberty. I shortened the shutter speed to 1/640 of a sec in shutter priority mode to make sure to freeze the action. In a highly dynamic scenery like this one there is no guarantee to get the perfect shot. The movements and interaction of the boys are completely random. As I was walking together with The Significant Other, tired from a day of touring through Tallinn, there was also no chance to pause for a couple minutes to wait for everything to come perfectly together. So I just snapped a couple of pictures hoping one would be a decent shot, combining the playfulness of the skating boys with the historic significance of the static monument for a nice juxtaposition.
In the end it was the second image of the series where it all came together for me. While the action is frozen due to the fast shutter speed, the jumping boy doing a flip with his board shows the dynamics of the situation. While the cross is no more placed according the rule of thirds, the boys and the monument form a nice triangle. This makes the photograph also work compositionally, the small people in the background giving the image depth and show the size of the monument. I converted the photo in Lightroom Classic CC to monochrome, as the muted colors of the scene don’t add interest. The pure black and white lets the eye focus on what is happening in the frame.
I like to look at my “contact sheets” of all images I took from a certain scene, to revisit my (sometimes subconscious) thought process when shooting in the streets and learn from it. And I hope you find those insights in my thought process helpful for your own photographic ventures.
Wish you a great Wednesday!