Have you ever known one of those photographers who seems to stumble into great photo opportunities at nearly every turn?
I have and they seriously irritate me! At least they did until I figured out their secret. They were not cheating they were just looking. That is all that was happening, they were looking and seeing. I was looking without understanding.
We all see the same things. However, some people can more easily see beyond the stale exterior to the potential beauty waiting to be expressed. Many of these people show artistic talent in other areas and simply transpose that ability to creating their photographs.
However, you do not have to be a born artist to see the potential of a scene. Anyone can learn this skill.
First, you must make an effort to observe your surroundings. See what is there and what is not there. For example, a casual passerby sees a single tree on a ridgeline and keeps on walking. A photographer, seeing the same scene, stops and looks at the light, the contrast between the tree and the vastness of the ridgeline and then takes a photo that pulls its viewers into the frame.
What is the difference? The casual observer sees the same scene as the photographer; he just fails to see the potential of the scene. To the casual observer, it is a flat backdrop of his life. To a photographer, it is a canvas waiting for an expression of life.
All it really takes is an acknowledgement and the application of effort and practice. In others words, you have to learn to see, not just look.
For the next several weeks, I will be working of seeing beyond the surface of a scene, to the story lurking behind the scene. Every scene has one, but not everyone can see it.
As I do every weekend, I walk around San Antonio looking for photo opportunities. This weekend, I am going to use the Via Metropolitan Bus system to help me find opportunities to improve my photography.
Saturday morning, I will board the bus by my house and ride until I see something interesting. When I do, I will hop off the bus and photograph it from as many angles as I can. Digging into why it is an interesting shot and what would make it a perfect shot.
I plan to spend all day, from dawn to dusk. I will set my phone timer to sound off every thirty minutes. I will then get off the bus and take photos until the next bus comes along. This will force me to look hard for each story.
I am sure I will find something interesting to shoot. Anyone want to join me?