#02 – Post haste

French letter box [Alamy image ref: B8F069]

24-hours after this French letter (ha-ha!) box was erected in a local village outside their now-closed post office – and after the security tape and stickers had been taken away once the concreted base had set solid – I snapped the bright yellow receptacle in the bright sunlight. I was lucky as there was not a speck of dust, swirl of graffiti nor splatter of bird shit to spoil the pristine freshness of this straight-out-of-the-box post-box. I knew I’d stumbled across a rare opportunity to capture an image which would be more attractive to buyers than the usual weathered or repainted examples on many town’s street corners. I also had the advantage of a non-distracting background… OK, maybe a not-so-plain random stone wall, but equally, not a distracting view down a street with parked cars and people.

I sent three versions of this subject to Alamy… a full-length shot, this close-up, and a similar close-up from an oblique angle to show a three-dimensional view which also had the background masked-out in Photoshop. I thought the “cut-out” shot would have had more sales potential, but in the course of the first 12 months the image above sold five times (although on different occasions, presumably to the same publisher because the licensing terms were always for three years) for uses including travel guides, newspaper, magazine and educational school books.

I used my old manual 55mm macro Nikkor on a Nikon D200 set at 1/500th and f/8 (bright light for a February afternoon), and of the five shots taken three were selected for uploading to Alamy. I’d looked for a bit of “human interest” by wandering around for the postwoman to arrive and empty the box mid-afternoon… but after 20 minutes standing in the cold Spring air, and with the sun lowering in the sky, I noticed the emptying time was 12 ‘o-clock noon! I’d been looking at that information on the new box for a couple of minutes thinking it was a pity the label had been fixed incorrectly at an annoying but noticeable slight angle, and would it be possible or worth correcting in Photoshop? Duh!


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