Friday, August 27, 2010

Photographic Technique: Iterative Composition

When I see an opportunity to capture a nice reflection I may capture a quick shot of the reflection to have one before the light or water surface changes, but then I spend time walking around looking to "upgrade" and add a more interesting foreground like this one, where the logs provide "leading lines" whch further draw your eyes to the subject. It'd still be nicer with some colorful sunset clouds of course, but less than optimal weatehr is all the more reason to ensure that your compositions are strong and make your images work as well as possible, whatever the weather.

It's certainly well worth the few extra moments of forethought and exploration while you're shooting. Your percentage of strong images will go way up when your shooting process is more thoughtful and deliberate than see, point, and shoot. It all starts with your mindset and intention; when an opportunity presents itself you deliberately set out to make the shot, and reshoot it after making it better, resisting the urge to simply take one.

Sure there are details along the way that can help, but it all starts with your intention and your shooting process.

I'm not presenting this as a perfect shot by any means, but it's better than the others I shot immediately prior, and it was about as well as I could have done without wading around in ice cold water and muck to fine tune the composition (subject placement, lines, angles, etc) even further. After exploring this shot to this extent I simply decided at the time that with three lakes within a couple of hundreds yards of me, searching out other locations, foregrounds and results would be a better use of my limited time as the sun continued to set.

For more technique tips search this blog for "technique" or "technique tips". To practice this, join me this October for one of our two field workshops in California's Eastern Sierra:
Mountain High Workshops: Fall Colors in California's Eastern Sierra

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