Finding Good Subjects
Left Image: 35mm SLR,
Tokina 80-200mm f-2.8 ATX lens, Fuji Velvia 50, Bogen tripod and ball head.
Spot meter, f-5.6, 1/250 sec, on aperture priority and autofocus.
You don't have to travel the world to find
good subjects. You can find good subjects any where if you spend the time looking for
them. Time is the key in taking good photographs. When we go out to take pictures, we
expect to see a grand landscape or a beautiful sunset waiting and posing for us, and we
want to photograph it quickly so we can move on to another scene. You know that it doesn't
work that way. If it did everybody owning a camera would be doing it, and photography
wouldn't be considered an art. You simply should not expect to take out your camera and
take great photographs of a subject just because it happens to be nice such as a waterfall
or a sunset. That is called snap shots, not photography.
When you are out with your camera, you have
to slow down and look more closely at everything around you. Take your time. As you walk
you will see so many interesting subjects that you can spend a life time in just one spot
and not be able to photograph them all. Don't look at a scene and shoot. Look a bit closer
at details within a scene and you will discover something even more interesting. Recently
I was out photographing a landscape. I started by taking a few shots using my 24mm wide
angle to include the mountains in the background and the colorful flowers in the
foreground. By looking a little closer and switching to my 80-200mm lens, I took several
shots of just the flowers. I moved in closer and focused on a single flower and took some
close-ups using my 100mm macro lens. Then I noticed dozens of insects on the flowers, so I
attached an extension tube to my lens and moved in even closer. After taking several shots
of the insects, I removed the extension tube and attached a 2X teleconverter to my macro
lens and truly entered the world of insects. At this high magnification, I could see every
detail on my tiny subjects. Colorful lines and dots invisible to the naked eye. I spent
about five hours in that one spot and photographed a wide variety of subjects just by
slowing down and looking a little closer.
Right Image: Digital SLR, Tamron 70-210mm f-2.8, Kenko extension
tubes, 1/8 sec at f-8
By slowing down and looking around you will
develop an eye for photography. Your own unique vision that will separate you from snap
shooters. Once you have picked a spot and found a good subject, look through the
viewfinder without attaching your camera to your tripod. Once you find a good composition,
set up your camera on your tripod and take the shot. Switch to a different lens and move
around and look for a different view.
It is not what you photograph, but how you
photograph it that makes a difference. By paying attention to the changing light, having
patience, an eye for detail, and a little luck, you can produce great images. Go somewhere
close to home where you know the area. I have my favorite spots close to where I live and
have taken thousands of photographs in the same area and still look forward to going back
Photography And The Art Of
Seeing: A Visual Perception Workshop For Film And Digital Photography
A practical and inspiring guide.
This Third Edition familiarizes readers with the
traditional principles of composition and visual design. The
jargon-free text provides practical techniques and
innovative exercises for breaking with traditional concepts
of design to enable the photographer to develop a keen
awareness of subject matter and a personal direction.
Topics include: - Barriers to seeing - Learning to
observe: rethinking the familiar - Learning to imagine:
abstracting and selecting - Learning to express: Subject
matter and the photographer - Elements and principles of
visual design and more.
This edition of Photography and the Art of Seeing is
updated to include technical guidelines adapted for both
digital and film photographers and includes photographs from
Freeman Patterson's personal collection. Extended captions
include valuable technical information and personal
commentary reflective of the superb craftsmanship and
stunning photography from one of the most highly acclaimed
and celebrated photographers worldwide.