Woman in a café, in Camborne, Cornwall; 9 Oct 2013.

My wife was in the shops, and I was doing what I like to do – wandering around with a camera and an open, receptive mind, looking at anything and everything.  I’d just taken the shot of the mannequin and was slowly meandering on up Camborne’s main street when I saw this woman in a café on the other side of the road, chatting with a friend.

It took several paces to register fully what I’d seen, and then I slowly turned and doubled back on my tracks, adjusting the camera as I went, and turned to photograph her – only to find her looking straight at me, probably wondering what this strange and rather bulky old man was doing, cutting back on himself. 

The autofocus locked on (boy, do I love autofocus!), two shots (and do I love automated wind-on too!), and I walked on, expecting every moment to feel the heavy hand of the Image Police on my shoulder – but that’s untrue of course, as in the UK, in a public place like Camborne’s main street, you can photograph as you please.

I’d thought about presenting this photo in vertical letterbox format, showing just the door, the woman and the OPEN sign.  But I’ve doubled the image’s width by including the net curtains and some other details, and I think this adds balance and context to the shot – but what do you think?

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s High Contrast Smooth preset.


  1. I agree with you, Adrian… I just love the autofocus too. 😉

    And to your question: the curtains and the other details are superb.

    She seems to look “inward”, if you know what I mean. I like her expression, and it feels like time seems to have stopped and the silence.


  2. That is a terrific shot, Adrian. People who hide behind dark glasses are always disconcerting: you never know exactly where they are looking. I think this composition works – the right half is important, it adds balance in a number of ways – especially tone and also the letters on the far right add a counterpoint to the ‘Open’ on the left.


    • Thanks, Andy, that’s very kind of you – you and Gemma are completely at one re the balance, and this is certainly instructive for me – useful info!

      And you’re right about dark glasses – creepy! I’ve only ever used them in Kenya, where driving long distances in equatorial light was like being repeatedly slugged in the eyes. Thanks again! Adrian


  3. I think leaving the extras gave it that extra something. I blocked out the curtain and like it better with. Balance. That’s what the lighter curtain does to the blackened background behind the woman. Now where are the police when you need them! 😉


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