In the Details

November 15, 2014  •  2 Comments

     Looking over the photos on this site, you may have caught on to the fact that landscapes, and sometimes simply wide shots in general, aren't my strong suite. For one thing, those kinds of shots require a large swath of photogenic mountains, ocean, prairie, fill in the blank; not something that's always accessible. A way to get around this problem is to back up from that wide view, focus a little closer, and see what small things there are all around you.

Pine Needles in Moss

     For this past Weekly Photo, that's exactly what I did. As it was getting to the end of the week and I still hadn't taken a photo (nor had any idea what to photograph), it became clear that a stroll through the woods around my house was in order. Now, going out on a specific assignment, whether one given to you by someone else or yourself, is a lot of fun. It helps you to mentally create the shots you want and go get 'em. There's a lot to be said for randomly wandering around with a camera, totally unsure about what you'll end up with as well, as was the case with this walk. As compared to being on assignment for one particular thing, you have no idea what you may come across, so everything gets looked at with equal attention. Weather, animals, wide shots, plants, abstract. There's no telling what may make the best shot. This method also makes you totally rely on your eye since there's no one subject you're after, and because of this, it's a very good way to train the eye to see potential shots everywhere, even in the small things.

     Due to the season and the accompanying bare trees, there weren't many wide shot options, so into macro mode I went. That's one of the beauties of tiny things: even when the entire area looks bland, just lay down on the ground and BOOM. You've entered the Macro Realm, full of shapes, patterns, monsters and surprises. But it's not always apparent. Sometimes you have to wait and let the denizens of this world show themselves to you. Walking along, I finally sat down at the base of a tree in a clear part of the forest floor covered in fallen leaves, and waited. But this isn't the waiting-in-the-grocery-store-check-out-line sort of waiting where you wait until something happens regardless of whether or not you do anything. This is proactive. An "active patience". Look closely, searching in one spot for a while, and find scenes that would normally be walked right over without a second thought, such as these two photos (neither of which are Weekly Photos) taken during the walk.

     Regardless of what you do, whether it be landscapes, macro, assignments, or a brief, wandering walk about the woods, there are things all around that are worth your time and attention. So slow down. Don't just look, but see.


Comments

SkySail Photography
Thanks! In a way, with this method, I think it matters just as much to learn to see what's around you as it is to get good shots.

Denizen (noun): An inhabitant; resident.
Carl(non-registered)
Great shots Ryan. Actually I think I enjoyed your writing about as much as your pics:) what are denizens? Now I need to try your method and see if it works for me.
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