Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thought Of The Day: Illusion of Location

In my very first blog post, I asked which is better, an ordinary photograph of an extraordinary location or an extraordinary photograph of an ordinary location? Which is better, a good image of the Grand Canyon or great image of a ditch?
Joshua Tree Leaves At Sunrise - Palmdale, California
Perhaps the best-case scenario is that you can create extraordinary photographs in extraordinary locations. Since most of us have day jobs and family and everyday life, getting to those "extraordinary" location can be difficult.

One thing that I have discovered is that you don't necessarily have to be in a great location for it to seem like a great location. When the viewer sees your image, they may think it was captured some place other than where it was actually captured. I call this the illusion of location.

The above photograph, Joshua Tree Leaves At Sunrise, was not captured in the middle of nowhere someplace in the Mojave Desert. It was actually captured in Palmdale, California, in an otherwise empty field. What you can't see are the telephone poles just off to the right, or the large building in the distance at the lower right, or the major road and train tracks in the dark at the bottom of the image, or the airport just behind that. It seems like the photograph was captured in the middle of nowhere, but it was actually captured in a city.
Two Saguaros - Goodyear, Arizona
The above photograph is another example of the illusion of location. This was photographed a short distance from my house in Arizona, not way out in the desert.

If you can photograph at an extraordinary location, by all means do so! But if life and circumstances prevent you from visiting these locations often or not at all, try to find the extraordinary where others have overlooked it. Find the extraordinary that is all around you.

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