Tuesday, May 27, 2014

5 Lessons From A Photograph

California Summer Feeling - Stallion Springs, California
I believe that there is a lesson with each image that's captured. The more you photograph the more you learn. That is why Henri Cartier-Bresson said, "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst."

Some photographs provide us with many lessons. There is more than meets the eye and plenty to glean from it. California Summer Feeling above is one such photograph.

Lesson #1 - You Don't Have To Go Far To Find Photographic Inspiration

I captured California Summer Feeling in my own yard yesterday. I talked about finding inspiration in your own yard in a post last week. Well, I took my own advice.

When you look at photography magazines and websites, sometimes it seems like the only things worthy of photographic attention are in far off locations. But the truth is that there's plenty to capture right around you, where ever it is that you are.

Lesson #2 - Inspiration Can Hit You When You Are Not Expecting It

I was mowing the lawn and doing yard work when the inspiration came to create California Summer Feeling. I had no intentions of photographing anything. But every time I came up the yard with the lawn mower, I kept seeing in my mind the image above.

Inspiration can hit you anytime, and not just when you are out on a photo outing. Be open to that inspiration, even if it hits at an inopportune moment.

Lesson #3 - Act When You Are Inspired

I stopped what I was doing and grabbed my Samsung NX200 camera. It only took a few moments. I paused mowing the lawn and spent a couple minutes creating art. I did not hesitate. I did not tell myself that I'd capture it some other time. I got a camera and exposed an image.

Then I continued mowing. Which leads us to the next lesson...

Lesson #4 - Moments Are Fleeting And Things Change Quickly

Soon the scene you see in California Summer Feeling was gone. Right now it doesn't exist like it does in the photograph. A little yard work will do that.

If you want to capture something, don't wait. If you procrastinate it may not be there when you are ready. Change won't wait for you.

Lesson #5 - Create Something Different

California Summer Feeling is a photograph of poppy flowers in the countryside. There were a million photographs of this same subject captured just during this spring. So I made my version a little different.

First, I composed the photograph in such a way that it isn't exactly the same as all the other similar images. Notice that I included the wood fence and two tree trunks in the background. Second, I gave the photograph a vintage look in post-processing. Third, I shaped the photograph square. That's not completely uncommon, but it is much less common than the typical shapes of photographs.

The point is, if your photographs are the same as millions of others, nobody will ever pay attention to them. It is when your photographs are different than the norm that people take notice.

Part 2

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