“Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
On Thursday morning, I will be driving to Cherokee, NC to attend a NANPA Spring Regional Event. The location is in the Great Smoky Mountains. From the advance material for the event, the photo tours will be in a variety of locations and elevations. A change of scenery will be good for both my spirit and my photography. The views will be spectacular whether I am at the higher elevations or in the lush valleys with beautiful flowing streams.
It would be easy to go into descriptions of those areas, but that’s what I hope to do with the photographs from the trip. My challenge is going to be to take the time to “see” what is around me and try to capture the beauty with the camera. Taking a lot of photos is a solid practice but being selective about what to shoot is key. Some basic guidelines I try to follow on every shoot include:
- Be aware of what is in the frame, many great shots can be ruined by an object that wasn’t noticed
- Look for interesting perspectives, don’t shoot everything from a standing position, don’t hesitate to sit on the ground or move about to find an interesting perspective
- Pay attention to the edges of the frame, sure you can crop later but try to avoid taking photos without regard for the edges because you can crop later, recompose the shot if possible
- Notice the separation of objects in the frame, sometimes a step to one side or another, or changing your angle can make all the difference in how the objects in the shot relate to each other
- Bracket each shot, what you see with your eye and what the camera records are often not the same
- Shoot a scene in a variety of aperture settings, variances in depth of field can be subtle but very important to nail the shot you want
- Remember you are painting with light, bright and dark areas can present some difficult exposure issues, be prepared to make adjustments if possible, in some cases you might need to note a location and shoot it at a different time of day
- Be considerate, if you are with a group, don’t hog a great spot or obscure the view of others around you, polite goes a long way
- Have fun, your feelings are transferred to your images, take time to find the “wow” and shoot that
Note to self: The above list is for you to remember, don’t get out there and just start snapping away.
The short list above is probably included in recommended practices in many photography articles and publications. Every now and then, I need to remind myself about the basics. Is the above list all encompassing? Of course not, I hit some high spots. Photography as an art involves paying attention to detail. It’s easy to become overwhelmed in a new location and forget the basics. It’s also easy to become so comfortable with a location and forget the basics.
In the shameless promotion section of this post, some of my work at Gerry Daniel Photography was fortunate enough to have a feature that was shown on “Wake Up Alabama” this morning. My sincere thanks to Rick Jackson for creating the feature, to the team at “Wake Up Alabama” for the air time, and to CBS 42, the local CBS affiliate in Birmingham, Alabama for allowing Rick to produce the segment. It was filmed at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, a land tract that is part of Alabama’s Forever Wild Program. There are a number of these beautiful natural areas that have been designated as “Forever Wild” and there is a list of others that are being considered. Alabama has an amazing variety of terrain, wildlife, plant life, and unique ecosystems. We have abundant waterways throughout Alabama. Keeping the waterways fresh and clean is an ongoing effort by a lot of dedicated people throughout Alabama. Other photographs from Turkey Creek can be seen in the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve gallery.
Let’s go with something that has a good rhythm. The song is “Tightrope” by Yeasayer from the album “Dark Was the Night” which was released in February 2009, features a variety of artists, and will benefit the Red Hot Organization – an international charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS.