Beyond the standard

One of the things we all need to learn, if we really want to improve our photography, at least the variety of the images we collect, is to get beyond the standard. For those of us who consider ourselves nature photographers that often means spending a little more time on the scene we’re photographing before we actually take a picture.

When we’re with other photographers, such as fellow workshop participants, we may feel that it’s necessary to capture the “standard scene.” But, we might find something special if we walk away from the gaggle and pay attention to subjects that we didn’t even see at first. Taking time to “see” is the trick. During this workshop we spoke frequently about the importance of taking the time to recognize whatever it was that caught our attention in the first place. Then, work to construct a composition in which the only thing in the frame is the attention getting element(s).

Last weekend, during my Fall in the Adirondacks tour/workshop, everyone did just that, to a greater or lesser extent. Today I received some beautiful images from one of those participants, Darcy Wright. I’d received many beautiful images in the past week but what set these images apart was that they show Darcy had taken the time to see. She had the images that she had taken time to see.
Later tonight, I received another image, from yet another member of our weekend workshop group. Chuck Letterman, too, has learn the lesson about seeing your image before you click the shutter release. In his case, he has a natural bent toward photographing wildlife and our visit to the Adirondack Museum provided an unexpected opportunity as the owl here attests. Many would have photographed the handler who was using the owl to teach school children visiting the museum and many did. Indeed, Chuck and others snapped many images that included the whole scene, the birds of prey, the handlers, the students, their teacher and parents. Still, Chuck took the opportunity to capture a portrait.
Whether ferreting out the color in a fall Adirondack scene, or a lone leaf deep in the mountain woods or an unexpected owl at a prestigious museum, it all begins with seeing.