Talking Pictures: A Shopping Trip On An Overcast Day Yields An Eye-Catching Image


© Ann Elliott Cutting

The kinds of commercial images Ann Elliott Cutting is likely to be called on to create for her clients are interpretive, fanciful, or elaborate illustrations of ideas and concepts. Or, in some cases, they’re all of those adjectives combined into one image. In other words, “create” is exactly the right word for what she does.

And then there are the images that are a lot more on the spontaneous side, almost-but-not-quite-by-chance photographs like this one, taken on a shopping day at the Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine, California.

Working to overcome the restraints of the situation—the colorless sky of an overcast day and the fairly tight confines of a Ferris wheel encircled by stores—Cutting tried out several views until she found a composition in which the palm trees echoed the curve of the wheel and added some needed contrast to the bland, blank sky.

It certainly wasn’t a day that called for the pro gear she relies on for studio and location shoots, but it’s a rare day that you’ll find Cutting without at least a point-and-shoot at hand. “I always bring a camera,” she says, “especially when I’m going to new places.”

You can view examples of Ann Elliott Cutting’s commercial, lifestyle, and editorial photography at her website,

Tech Talk: The image was taken with a Nikon Coolpix P7800 with its 28-200mm zoom lens at 36mm; settings were 1/320 sec, f/7.1, ISO 80, aperture priority, and Matrix metering.

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