Saturday, February 15, 2014

How do you photograph?

Yesterday I was driving to work and I was looking around the Bad Axe river valley for something interesting to photograph.
I was looking to stop the Subaru and take a photo.

I wasn't looking for 'leading lines', selective focus, DOF, POV, long exposures, or anything special at all.

I was just looking to see what caught my eye.

That's what I do.

Since I was small, my dad would play games with me.  He'd have me use my hands to create a 'focus box' to frame a photo in.  He would let me look through his camera lens and pretend to take photos.

He never gave me rules.
He never told me I had to be balanced.
Or that I had to follow the rule of thirds.

He let me explore with a child's inquisitiveness.
I was curious.
He let me play.

He'd sometimes peer through my pretend lens and smile.

He never asked me to explain.
But as I grew older and I got my own cameras, I started to recall the times when he'd use a light meter, stare at the sky and the light...then fumble and talk out loud about his settings.
He talked a lot.  I listened a lot.  I think I must have studied composition through him.


Because today I rarely think about things like rules of thirds, composition, or other things.
The scene will strike me and I will take the shot.

How in the world does that happen?

Really?  How can I not think about taking a shot?  But bring it into focus and go from there.

NO, not every shot is a success.
And yes, I am studying methods to get much better.

But do some people just acquire a natural talent?

Not saying I am that talented person.

Maybe just lucky.

I took this shot last week on a whim.
The photo went positively viral on Flickr.
But it was an 'in the moment' shot.  No extra special thought went into it.

 Yesterday I pulled the car over to the side of the road to get this.

From what I am learning, there are a lot of technical 'good' things about this shot.

Leading lines.
Shadows, subject matter, ...taking the viewer's eye through the photo.

In my opnion.
It is just a shot.

Of the Bad Axe River Valley.
I wanted to have the trees lead the viewer to the bridge.
I thought the bridge was interesting in this rather sparse valley where cattle roam in the summer.

But, it is a bridge for snowmobiles in the winter and for stock in the summer.

Nothing special really.

And that is how I view photography.
It is just my way of seeing the world around me.

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