Expose Yourself in Your Images

No, I am not suggesting any self nudity in your photography. Hardly!! What I am suggesting is, whenever possible, make the images you want to make. Those that tell us who you are. Now if you are making images for sale, to some degree, I said to some degree, you need to create photos that others want to buy. Just the same, you will make better images, which sometimes become more salable images, by letting your personal imagination and point of view, show through in those photos.

The image below is breathtaking and it belongs to Ellen Anon.

Most of you have seen a similar style in some of my flower images. Ellen’s photo was captured with a black cloth behind this arrangement.  Perfect in its technical work, and artistic to a fault.

Similar (I am sure not as good) photos from me were all made in the wild with a bit of shade in back of the flowers or insect.  Admittedly, at times I would bump up the contrast in order to make that dark background darker.

At a time and place far, far in the past, I used to create studio images out of my own imagination. Doing so is not only fun and brings to your files some great pix, but it teaches you how to see when you are in the field. It allows you to start with whatever objects you can find, and light the scene by using your own personal imagination. I found, that helped me to identify great scenes and light conditions as they were presented to me quite naturally in nature.

Wherever you begin with your photography, it will aid you to be a better photographer in the next genre you approach. All knowledge and most forms of practice will serve to make you better at what you do.

The image below is of Bleeding Heart. It is mine and was captured in the wild. Notice that if you look at the background carefully, you will see that it is green not black. You will also see some very, very subtle changes in light. I did, bump up the contrast a little which made the dark areas darker, and the light areas lighter. With all that said, to me, the best part of this image is the direction from which the light is coming.  That too, could have been practiced in a studio to increase acuteness of contrasts and how they might be used in the wild.

This next image, also captured in the wild, has much in common with my previous photo but take note of the out of focus washes of color in the background. I think that is the best part of the image. It required not only taking care with my exposure, but carefully making sure that my depth of field was adequate enough to perceive the other blossom, but shallow enough to render it as a soft wash of color.

Those of you who know me, and/or have been here before, know that I love vivid colors, moody, almost erotic light, and I often make somewhat unusual compositions.  All of that exists below.

I made many standard compositions that day in Monument Valley. I enjoyed all of them. Still, the very edge of light began seducing me the moment it appeared. Then I thought, could I make an intimate composition of that beautiful sandstone rock,  and keep it in the context of the “grand” feeling of the big valley?

I don’t know if I succeeded, but I know that I let a bit of who I am show in the photo.

Expose yourself.

We often don’t have a lot of choices to make when we photograph wildlife. I captured this photo of a Short-eared Owl many years ago, as it rested in a Wisconsin prairie. When I first stopped my car, I was enthralled with the subject, but not happy with the lighting. I took a chance that my subject would not fly, and moved my car until its right eye was well-lit and covered with highlight, while the rest of the bird remained in (light not deep) shadow.  I was fortunate that the shadowed side of my friend was lit from prairies grasses (out of the picture frame), which added enough light as to not make the scene too contrasty. All I needed, was for the bird to look me in the eye. I could not have asked for more.

As was normal for me, I gave thanks and moved on.

Little critters are fun to photograph, but you never know how cooperative they will be. This one was cooperative.

With camera and 300mm macro lens firmly mounted on a tripod, I ever so slowly moved towards the subject. For those of you who have done this sort of photography yourself, you know how fickle a dragonfly can be. Remember, they have a “face full of eyes”. God’s way to give them a chance. This one allowed me the opportunity to move around it, in order to have the cleanest background in my photo.  An aperture of f/13, was perfect. That still gave me a shutter speed of 1/125th sec to arrest wind movement. I wanted the left side of its face, its body up and down, and as much as possible, the perch it rested on, to all be tack sharp. If course, I also wanted to background to blend together in a soft, unobtrusive backdrop to the photo.

It is a photo of a dragonfly, but I am in the photo as much as it is.  There are many ways to expose yourself in your images.

Sometimes your subject does it all.

These Great-horned Owl babies were looking at mom who was perched in a near-by tree. The light is courtesy of God and His sunrise.

So what did I do except get the camera setting right and make the photo? I was, as was normal for me, there before sunrise.  I was there alone as far as humans were concerned. I spent many a sunrise at this location over three years.  I was always the only human present at this hour.

So the photo exposes who I am. I get up early. The fact that what you see below is the one and only photo like it (all three babies, moody light, all of them looking in the same direction) I ever made, makes a signature photo as far as I am concerned.

Each of, you I have no doubt, have photo files that expose who you are, and what you are about. The secret is to make it a passion to share your point of view via your photos. Let us know you what you see, and why we see you in your photos.

Gently expose yourself every time you click the shutter, You (and we) will be all the richer for it.

God Bless,
Wayne

If you find some visual differences in my posts starting today, possibly some that seem to not make sense, it is because there have been some changes made to how we build our blogs here at WordPress. I am still learning the new system.

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