Learning to See

Secret Canyon 071016h copy

Learning to See.
When I am out photographing or for that matter teaching, I study the elements in front of me. I talk to my students and try and get them to identify a subject and other elements within an area. I emphasize the idea of studying the relationship of the elements and how they compliment or contrast the subject. In short, I teach them to “See” a scene. Tunnel vision is something that can block a composition quickly, so I like to start wide and work down or start tight and work out. In doing so, you see lines and shapes that form patterns to help complete your vision. That is another reason I love photographing in the slot canyons, you learn to see and how things can flow to or away from your subject.
Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD lens on a Canon 5Diii, Manual Exposure Mode, f16, 2 second shutter speed, ISO 100, Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead, Lowepro photo backpack, processed in Lightroom CC. #WithMyTamron

3 Responses to “Learning to See”

  1. Good point about the elements of relationship.

  2. Reblogged this on Travel, Photograph, Experience and commented:
    This thing Bear hits on about “elements” is excellent. Seeing the main visual elements of your shot location.

    The scene you’re looking at when you’re out there is just a blank canvas until you see it in terms of elements in a composition. Because until you can see a visual dynamic between the design pieces, you can’t frame it. You can’t put stuff together into a composition.

    And that’s what you’re doing out there, shooting on a Sunday afternoon, breaking a landscape spot you’re in the midst of into it’s visual components. And then seeing them whole through your viewfinder. Just looking for a foreground element is saying to your creative mind, “If I can include this foreground piece of the puzzle, the visual journey will have a good starting point.”

    That’s an element. A waterfall in the distance. That’s another element to pull into the final composition.

    So once I see the scene as elements, I can adjust my framing to pull those elements into a dynamic arrangement, a little visual engine that’s called a photo.

    I look around, wonder if the composition would be better 7 or 8 feet over to the side. Working the scene, walking.

    I can’t control everything at a shoot location. But I can’t control anything if I haven’t started seeing the elements. And as I engage with the location, framing, moving here or there in order to fine tune the visual elements, I discover more about how all the pieces fit together. Now we’re in the zone.

    And maybe I can’t make the composition work. Maybe I can get it to sing. If nothing else, I’ve provided myself with an enjoyable afternoon.

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