Our Travel-themed photo contest in September was a popular one, with many great entries. There was only one photograph, however, that all three judges agreed on for the winner: Paloma Ayala’s wonderful shot of a busy Istanbul intersection. There is so much going on in this picture that it is almost impossible to look away. While many “busy” photographs are often distracting, failing to find a focus, this one is simply mesmerizing. So read on about how this photo was made, then let your eyes explore the image itself. What can you find?

Please tell us a little about yourself. What kind of photographer are you?

I am a graphic designer as a profession. I do photography and consider myself an enthusiast becoming a pro. I love the kind of photography where the human element is always present. For me, that gives  context and perspective. Humans always tell a story. While my job is mainly graphic design, I also contribute with photography to different magazines.

Tell us about your technique and how you made this photo.

This picture in particular was taken at 6:17 P.M., right in front of the Galata Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey. I went to the Galata Bridge to see the sunset. I took wonderful pictures of the sun setting behind a mosque but it was not until I was crossing the street when I saw this busy scenario. Mosques, tram, people doing different things, everyone was on a mission. For me, this crowded scene was an instant beauty of different levels of context: the old (mosques), the new (the tram, the ads), and the cosmopolitan atmosphere (people from all kinds of backgrounds.) I grabbed my camera while almost crossing the street. I found an exposure setting to capture the low amount of light that still produced a sharp image without a tripod. This was shot on a Canon 60D and 70-200mm lens @130mm, f/2.8, 1/400s, and ISO 500.

Tell us about the post-production process for this image. What software did you use, what adjustments did you make (if any)?

I did very minimal light/contrast adjustments in Photoshop.

Where can people go to see more of your work?

Feel free to visit my website. I do lots of triathlon photography.

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