The biggest message I could convey to any photographer, burgeoning or veteran, is to “make pictures”. I know that seems overly simplistic but it was, the message I wanted to convey the most, but had the most difficulty expressing to students or to friends. The more images you create, the better you get.
It is impossible to force personal vision on someone else. The best we can do is, slowly allow others, through making images and gaining experience, to begin “seeing” the value in photographic subjects that they now might miss all together.
I am not suggesting that everyone does not have the right to pick and enjoy the subjects they choose to photograph. Only that when their vision and ability to see, (those words again) begins to open up, they will have a better time both while in the field, and after they get home.
For many years there was an acquaintance/photographer I would periodically run into while in the field. It could be anywhere within a hundred miles of home. He was a nature only photographer and fancied himself as an environmentalist. According to him back then, by now in 2020, all of nature would cease to exist, but that’s another story.
He was a nature photographer, as long as the subject had fur or feathers. Again, his right, but I could not help but notice how often he was disappointed in not finding any subjects. I have never had a day when I could not find something to photograph, even when I limited my photography to only nature.
He would drive right past me as I knelt before a turtle and made pictures. He would completely ignore a rare and beautiful flower which rested at his feet. He was always up and out early, but I doubt he ever photographed a sunrise.
His life as a photographer, was fulfilling maybe one in five times out. Mine was not only fulfilling just about every time I decided to make pictures, but it was downright fun.
Yours can be too.
This first picture of some sort of wild growing fruit, was made years ago with film. My account of making the image is sketchy, but I think it is correct. I was out riding one of my horses, which one I forget, on a late fall day. I noticed some berries covered in frost and snow. I decided that the next morning, I would drive my car (maybe a city block from the berries) to the location with film, camera and tripod in hand, and make pictures.
Why bother for some wild fruit when I did not even know what it was? Because the visual of the miniature scene, kept dancing in my head. All night.
Those pictures certainly never profited me in any way, either financially or with notoriety, but they satisfied the urge to see how they looked on film, and if I could in fact make a decent photo of the subject.
That was enough.
Ever have a day when you wanted to create images but there wasn’t any cool subjects around, and it was a dreary rainy day as well? I always loved days like that. They were not all fruitful (no pun intended), but I always found something to satisfy my creative and curious urges.
These are some roadside grasses next to a public hiking path.
If my memory serves me (as I just found this image in RAW form), I made this picture when I was out with a friend photographing a mixture of formal gardens and macros. One would think that the way I talk (or write), that should be plenty for me. Then I saw this ‘informal” bunch of flowers beneath a tree off the beaten path. If this little area was all I could photograph that day (it was not), I would have been satisfied.
There are images here, there, and everywhere.
I have made a lot of sunrise/sunset images in the my life. While I have known many photographers who wouldn’t give a plug nickel to do so, many photographers do enjoy that endeavor. At least as long as there is a powerful scene to be found.
To me, the art of the silhouette is a separate art form in and of itself. These trees may have been dying, but they were pure beauty to me.
Everyplace is beautiful at the right moment. As photographers, we just need to be willing, and keep our eyes and minds open.
What’s the next step after a pure silhouette? A winter scene made up of light and shadows. That’s really all we need.
There’s a picture everywhere.
I was on the shores of Lake Michigan, and was likely photographing birds when this little sailboat came into view. I found it sort of boring until I went the silhouette route again. This time in broad daylight. I purposefully metered from the brightest area of those dancing waters in order to underexpose and keep the scene in silhouette form.
There is always another picture to be made.
One of several subjects beyond nature I enjoy, is historic architecture. These unplanted (escaped) flowers were found to be growing on the lawn of an historic old building, so I made use of it. For a reason which I cannot place in words, I actually liked the old wrought iron fence as well. It says that either this is a prison with flowers, or I am on the inside of such looking out.
Okay I admit that I have a thing for bridges. The auburn leafless trees and their reflections first caught my eye, but the old rusted auto bridge capped the scene.
I had photographed sunrise along this river I do believe, but was disappointed that there were no waterfowl present to keep the photographer in me going, and then I saw this.
Keeping our eyes, minds and hearts open and ready, is the best and most profitable (artistically profitable but sometimes economically) thing any photographer can do. It multiplies. In other words, the number of images you see will multiply and reproduce more and more.
Keep “seeing” what others miss.
Tomorrow is the day we set aside to honor and memorialize those who gave “the last true measure of their devotion” to this nation. Obviously, since I am writing this and you are reading it, none of us knows what it is like to sacrifice the rest of our mortal lives for our country. Many or most of our war dead were young when they died. The majority had many years of mortal existence left on this earth when those years ended, often very suddenly.
Join me keeping them in our prayers.
I want to take this opportunity to thank God, for a brave Navy security officer, who saved the lives of countless other sailors this past week in Texas. Thankfully, while she was injured, she won’t be included with those whom we memorialize for her death.
At 6:15 am on Thursday, a gunman (a terrorist) drove to an entrance gate which was guarded by the aforementioned security officer. As he began opening fire on her she quickly hit the switch that closed the gate. She was hit by his gunfire square in the chest, hence forth her injuries. Her bullet proof vest saved her life but the gunman was still intent on killing her. Instead, he was killed by security forces.
Sometimes, the good guys (and gals) win.
Have a great day and God Bless,