Continuing with attempts to not shoot the same compositions we frequently see, I have been focusing on smaller vignettes, particularly the details of structures or where are areas of light and shadows.
You may think I am against shooting the iconic shots. I am not. But there are mainly 3 non-mutually exclusive reasons to shoot “the shot” at a well-known locations. 1) It’s your first time there and how you shoot “the shot” helps you gauge your work against the photogs before you. 2) You sell your photographs as a stream of income. If you have “the shot” in your portfolio, there is a chance someone will buy it. This also applies to photogs that have been to a spot tens or even hundreds of times to hopefully capture those one or two rare moments. 3) Hmm, I’m sure I had a third reason that escapes me right now.
Yet, it is exercises like the image above that make you a better photographer. The ability to see beyond the obvious. The ability to search for compositions. While the beginning photographer or even a casual tourist/visitor snaps photographs in a documentary-style catalog of images, the more seasoned photog should have a different mindset.
The seasoned photog needs to evoke emotion, feelings, or thought from their images. That may mean taking a relatively bland midday scene, but seeing enough in the structure, light, and shadows to see a possible B&W/monochrome photograph in their head.
So when I visit the next iconic location, I will take “the shot”, but I will also try to remember to search for the smaller vignettes fewer photogs look for.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO 250, 55mm, f/5.6, 20 sec
Sausalito (CA), Bridge, Bay, Shadow, Bay with Shadow, Monochrome, Long Exposure. Marin Headlands, CA. February 17, 2014. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.