I just wanted to share with you two fine images today, by two equally fine photographers. There are days when the magic of nature, and the seduction of fine imagery, still overcomes me.
As beautiful as the Grand Canyon is, sometimes it almost becomes tiresome to view images from that location. Most pictures I see are great but they are taken from the same three spots, usually in very similar light. Adam A. created this gorgeous shot. There may be some graduated filters put to use here, or some form of HDR. to keep the back-light from those beautiful clouds, in balance with the foreground, but is so it is seamless.
Often when I retrieve photos from Flickr, I have some information available from whatever data is showing on their page. In this case we have a Canon EOS 5D Mark lll, with a 16-35mm lens set at f16, while using ISO 100.
I equally love this image of two finches in what appears to be a territorial struggle. Mark Freeth created the image using a Panasonic DMC FZ 100 with the lens set at 146mm at 320 ISO. The lens setting indicates that he was close to his subjects, which would in turn suggest he was working from a photo blind (or a house). I am guessing that the location was selected well in advance, and there may have been some cleanup work done on the background. Great image no matter how you look at it.
I know I often seem like a contrary sort of person. It seems like that to me at times too. Even with the subject of photography. Since the age of digital capture, and the internet, it “seems’ to me, that photographers would rather emulate than create. When I visit the many internet locations that feature photography, I see a lot of exceptional photographers who would rather follow than lead. Whatever is in vogue today, that’s what the majority do.
When more photographers began to take on the expense of large lenses, everything was about wildlife photography. The birding groups I would use to let me know where the great birds were, became flooded with new photographers doing the same. Places like Yellowstone became waiting lines of cars there to make the shot of a lifetime, that had been done many times before. Landscape photographers were dwindling in numbers.
Then came the craze back to the land (and HDR), and then for some, on to macros, or on to buildings, or on to skies. The point is, that one subject or another dominates for extended periods of time. Unless your goal in life is to be a specialist (sounds boring to me), why wouldn’t anybody want to keep their eyes, heart, and mind open to a wide variety of subjects?
One observation I made, was that as more and more people began serious photography, they bought the equipment, and learned superficially how to use it, and then just clicked, clicked and clicked. No premeditation. No desire to understand either the subject, or why your camera does what it does. The majority, I only said the majority, of great images are made with extreme forethought and quite a bit of knowledge about the subject at hand, and the technology of photography.
The latest trend is to study about the subjects and photography, extensively. To spend hours, days or weeks in mental preparation for an image. Now I am not at all against that, but come on, there also needs to be a time to free yourself up for those serendipitous moments when the come a calling. Spontaneity has a place in your bag just as careful study and thought do.
There will always be fewer leaders than there are followers. Learn from others, and then think for yourself. For most human beings, regardless the subject, variety is the spice of life.
For many years, in the pre-digital age, I would pour over magazines, calendars and books, looking for ideas. Those were educational times, but my very best times from behind the camera, when I refused to follow the crowd and mixed my subjects and style, and blended study and forethought, with the artistic freedom to just go out and shoot.
I criticize the photographic community, because I love it, and I have done may of the things I write about.
Keep it simple, Wayne