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Author Topic: What's the idea?  (Read 8630 times)
dalethorn
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« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2009, 07:27:54 AM »
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Quote from: byork
.....one caveat that Alain Briot reminded us of in another thread recently;
"In Fine Art Landscape Photography we photograph the light first and the subject second.
If you only photograph the subject you will forever be disappointed in your images.
Your first thought when looking at a scene must be about light". Alain Briot

A very important comment. Obviously we can go back and snap the photo again and again many times under differing light, but like the folks who tried to duplicate A.Adams' photos, it has limited success, or none at all.

But that assumes you want a particular look, moreso than a particular content. If I were shooting fashion, I might go that way. For architecture, my audience may prefer an emphasis on content, with a few get-the-light fluff pieces thrown in for effect.

If you can successfully change your mode of thinking permanently to first photograph the light, you will become a different person (or different photographer). Whether that's better or not may not be the final word, depending on who has control of the personality after that point - the sentient person, or the photographer's new engrams.
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2009, 08:34:55 AM »
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Quote from: dalethorn
But that assumes you want a particular look, moreso than a particular content.

'A snapshot is popularly defined as a photograph that is "shot" spontaneously and quickly, most often without artistic or journalistic intent. Snapshots are commonly considered to be technically "imperfect" or amateurish--out of focus or poorly framed or composed. The term derives from the snap shot of hunting. Common snapshot subjects include the events of everyday life, such as birthday parties and other celebrations; sunsets; children playing; group photos; pets; and the like.

The snapshot concept was introduced to the public on a large scale by Eastman Kodak, which produced the Brownie box camera around 1900. Kodak encouraged families to use the Brownie to capture moments in time and to shoot photos without being concerned with producing perfect images. Kodak advertising urged consumers to "celebrate the moments of your life" and find a "Kodak moment."

The "snapshot camera" tradition continues with inexpensive point-and-shoot digital cameras that fully automate flash, ISO, focus, shutter speed, and other functions, making the shooting of a good-quality image simple. Such cameras are typically programed to achieve a deep depth of field and high shutter speed so that as much of the image is in focus as possible. For expert photographers, who are better able to control the focus point, the use of shallow depth of field often achieves more pleasing images by blurring the background and making the subject stand out.'


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snapshot_(photography)
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dalethorn
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« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2009, 09:20:10 AM »
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Whether you go to a scene with a small camera or heavy equipment is an indication of your level of commitment to *that particular session*, not a level of commitment to photography in general, or even to photographing that particular day.  How much equipment you take, and how much "care" you take with each photograph is a compromise between quantity and quality.  Is quality over quantity an absolute?

Anyone who says there are absolutes here is just jerking you around.

If participating in this forum changes you in some way, then all you have to do is get up in the morning and say "yeah, I like the new me", or "ohmygod I've become one of them."

I don't intend to become one of them, just something better.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2009, 09:55:36 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
'A snapshot is popularly defined as a photograph that is "shot" spontaneously and quickly, most often without artistic or journalistic intent. Snapshots are commonly considered to be technically "imperfect" or amateurish--out of focus or poorly framed or composed. The term derives from the snap shot of hunting. Common snapshot subjects include the events of everyday life, such as birthday parties and other celebrations; sunsets; children playing; group photos; pets; and the like.
The snapshot concept was introduced to the public on a large scale by Eastman Kodak, which produced the Brownie box camera around 1900. Kodak encouraged families to use the Brownie to capture moments in time and to shoot photos without being concerned with producing perfect images. Kodak advertising urged consumers to "celebrate the moments of your life" and find a "Kodak moment."
The "snapshot camera" tradition continues with inexpensive point-and-shoot digital cameras that fully automate flash, ISO, focus, shutter speed, and other functions, making the shooting of a good-quality image simple. Such cameras are typically programed to achieve a deep depth of field and high shutter speed so that as much of the image is in focus as possible. For expert photographers, who are better able to control the focus point, the use of shallow depth of field often achieves more pleasing images by blurring the background and making the subject stand out.'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snapshot_(photography)

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous sent me a link to this post.  I think this person would be happier on a camera forum, not a photography forum.  I don't think LLVJ has ever promoted Kodak/Brownie/Snapshot photography, but I can see that this person might be confused about that.
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Rob C
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« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2009, 10:54:24 AM »
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Well, today started out normally, but by mid-day I knew it was going to be a bummer: I had decided not to go out for lunch. Obviously a huge temptation and opportunity for Dame Fate (a cousin to Fortune), this led to too much postprandial time to kill and I ended up a ladder with a bucket of soapy water and a brush, cleaning wooden shutters which I had neglected during the previous year.

Which means that tomorrow, unless Im lucky and it rains, Ill have to start varnishing. There are many shutters; they seem to grow in number and in size as the unavoidable time approaches. Jeez, won't you miss me whilst I'm gone!

;-)

Rob C
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« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2009, 11:11:23 AM »
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Quote from: jasonrandolph
And sometimes "silence" is the best critique of all, dreaded though it is.

The worst publicity is no publicity.
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RSL
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« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2009, 11:43:25 AM »
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Quote from: Christian Miersch
If I would enforce critique on someone who clearly doesn't want to hear me, I'd be arrogant, or forcing, or the like. Some time ago I have thought, isn't it odd, that I do so less with my own images, but critique so much the images of others? One reason more to stay shut for me, concentrate more on the own work.

And that someone doesn't want to hear me can have several reasons. Either he just cant take critique (very seldom here but common elsewhere), then I stop commenting on their images. Who am I, to impose me on them?

However there where other cases where I seemingly pissed people off with my attitude without realizing it, and my points get therefore dismissed. So I am the cause of the bad reaction, so it was my problem. When Im in good mood, people react mostly nicely.

Christian,

Thanks for the thoughts, but when someone posts a picture on a forum called "User Critiques," the critiques he receives hardly can be considered "forced" on him or "imposed" on him. I agree it's unfortunate when someone becomes upset about a criticism, but the solution for someone like that is simple: stop posting pictures. If you have the cojones to post a picture you'd better have the cojones either to accept or to ignore the criticisms you get. On the other side of the coin, if someone's adverse reaction to your criticism upsets you, the solution is to avoid offering criticisms.

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dalethorn
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« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2009, 12:54:37 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
Christian,
Thanks for the thoughts, but when someone posts a picture on a forum called "User Critiques," the critiques he receives hardly can be considered "forced" on him or "imposed" on him. I agree it's unfortunate when someone becomes upset about a criticism, but the solution for someone like that is simple: stop posting pictures. If you have the cojones to post a picture you'd better have the cojones either to accept or to ignore the criticisms you get. On the other side of the coin, if someone's adverse reaction to your criticism upsets you, the solution is to avoid offering criticisms.

I'm not sure how to categorize this - something similar to a straw man argument?

One who posts abusive critiques like "doesn't have the mental equipment to......" and so on, then posts a would-be disclaimer like this, should be pointed out for what he or she does.

Like I said before, don't take the bait.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2009, 12:56:38 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Well, today started out normally, but by mid-day I knew it was going to be a bummer: I had decided not to go out for lunch. Obviously a huge temptation and opportunity for Dame Fate (a cousin to Fortune), this led to too much postprandial time to kill and I ended up a ladder with a bucket of soapy water and a brush, cleaning wooden shutters which I had neglected during the previous year.
Which means that tomorrow, unless Im lucky and it rains, Ill have to start varnishing. There are many shutters; they seem to grow in number and in size as the unavoidable time approaches. Jeez, won't you miss me whilst I'm gone!
;-)
Rob C

I hope you wouldn't mind putting up a few snaps of what you're into. The way things are going, it could be the uplifting event of the week.
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RSL
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« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2009, 01:28:59 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
I don't think a photo has to make a statement or have some deep meaning to be art. To me that approach can get you into the realm of hoity-toity art; taking a picture of a trash heap and declaring it a commentary on modern society's mass consumerism might score points with the NYC art critics, but to me it's just pretentious BS. I don't see a problem with photographing beauty for beauty's sake, or capturing a fleeting moment of nice light, etc.

Russ mentions the difference between a fine art photograph of "trees and rocks" by Ansel versus a "trees and rock" photo by the average photographer; but I think the real difference there is largely one of skill, craft, and artistic vision rather than any differences in meaning. From what I've read, I don't get the impression that Ansel ascribed any deep meanings to his images beyond an appreciation for (and desire to preserve) the beauty of the natural world. I do tend to think that a good photograph will at least have a subject, but that's not necessarily the same thing as meaning.

As far as participation in the user critiques forum, I think the quality of comments here is better than any other forum I know of. People tend to be polite, but it's not all just "nice shot" comments; there are a lot of insights shared by various posters that I find valuable and interesting.

My approach to commenting is that I"ll tend to comment on the images I like, but more than just saying "nice" shot I try to describe why I like it. I will also offer criticism if there is something that I think could have improved the image, either technically or aesthetically. But there are some subjects that just don't interest me, and I don't think posting a comment to say that I find the image boring or pointless is very useful when it may be a perfectly fine photograph that appeals to people who _do_ find the subject interesting. So in those cases I'm likely to just say nothing.

Jeff, I suspect I should have quoted more of Brooks Jensen's article, but I was hoping people would read the whole thing. It's available on the web, but at the moment I haven't time to go looking for it. The book, itself, is home and I'm in my office. The burden of Brooks's argument about Ansel was that most people shoot to make a record of what they see. Ansel shot to express an idea but not necessarily a "deep meaning." He went on to suggest opening a photography book by one of the masters and looking at the pictures. His point was that with each picture you'd be able to recognize an idea.

I think Brooks is right, but... I have trouble with the word "idea" in that context. Let's put the idea thing a different way. Instead of asking for the "idea" behind a shot let's simply ask someone who posted a picture for criticism why he shot the picture -- if the reason isn't immediately obvious. As both you and Jeremy (kikashi) pointed out, "I felt it was beautiful" is reason enough. In street photography the reason's often going to be a revealing interchange between people. In abstraction an interesting line would be a valid reason.

I agree that it would be insulting to call a picture boring or pointless, even, or perhaps especially, if the picture is boring or pointless. But people don't go around shooting pictures because they thought what they were shooting was boring or pointless. There's always an idea there, somewhere. It's reasonable to ask "why?".

I also agree with your assessment of User Critiques. There are few, if any other fora where you actually can discuss photographs as opposed to photographic equipment. This is the best by far.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2009, 01:46:52 PM by RSL » Logged

kikashi
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« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2009, 04:56:29 PM »
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Quote from: byork
I thought exactly the same way Jeremy except for one caveat that Alain Briot reminded us of in another thread recently;

"In Fine Art Landscape Photography we photograph the light first and the subject second.

If you only photograph the subject you will forever be disappointed in your images.

Your first thought when looking at a scene must be about light". Alain Briot
 
And I promise I wont be so damn trigger happy in future.
Alain is obviously right, but I don't think there's anything there that contradicts me. A scene isn't - can't be - beautiful unless it's beautifully lit.

Jeremy
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byork
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« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2009, 07:16:00 PM »
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Quote from: kikashi
A scene isn't - can't be - beautiful unless it's beautifully lit.

Jeremy

Jeremy,

My comment was in no way meant to contradict you....and I'm sorry if you feel it was. It was merely an acknowledgment that we thought alike, but Alain's comment really struck a cord with me. However, I can't agree with the above quote. I believe it is possible to be confronted by a scene in what could be described from a photographic point of view as bad light, but would still inspire a feeling of awe in it's beauty. Nevertheless, a photo in said bad light would not have the same effect.

Regards
Brian
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RSL
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« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2009, 08:53:58 PM »
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Quote from: byork
Jeremy,

My comment was in no way meant to contradict you....and I'm sorry if you feel it was. It was merely an acknowledgment that we thought alike, but Alain's comment really struck a cord with me. However, I can't agree with the above quote. I believe it is possible to be confronted by a scene in what could be described from a photographic point of view as bad light, but would still inspire a feeling of awe in it's beauty. Nevertheless, a photo in said bad light would not have the same effect.

Regards
Brian

Brian,

I think Alain's right with respect to the kind of photography he does, but, as you've implied, the obvious question is: what, exactly is "good light" and, by implication, what is "Bad light?" For instance, good light for a landscape photographer is often "bad light" for a street photographer. Ansel, and I think, Alain usually would prefer dawn light or evening light -- direct sun, low, either as sidelight or quartering backlight. But that kind of light can produce a dynamic range that makes street photography almost impossible -- which is why HCB preferred overcast days. There are a lot of exceptions to this idea. Fog usually is good for landscape and for street and for certain kinds of architectural shots, and there are cases where a street shot in low backlight can be stunning. Seems to me what's "good light" or "bad light" depends almost entirely on the situation.
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John R
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« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2009, 08:55:51 PM »
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I still think there is a lot of bad blood on this forum. My observation is the critique forum consists of the same people and so you get the same kinds of critiques and commentary- likes and dislikes- and photos. It can't be otherwise with so few people. Frankly, I believe most people post images on this and other forums just to have their images looked at and for some feedback, not necessarily 'critiques'. Most of us know good photos from medicore and bad. Occasionally some are great. I freely admit to posting just for some feedback and not much more. I have a lot of experience with Photo Clubs and critiques, where even the judges, some pros, recognized the best photos were not much different than their own. We have to acccept the bad and medicore along with the good and great images, if this forum is going to last. I suggest a limit of posts (images) if people feel there are too many from any one person in a given period. So, if and when things get ugly around here, I have to say good-bye.

JMR
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dalethorn
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« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2009, 09:00:44 PM »
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Quote from: John R
I still think there is a lot of bad blood on this forum. My observation is the critique forum consists of the same people and so you get the same kinds of critiques and commentary- likes and dislikes- and photos. It can't be otherwise with so few people. Frankly, I believe most people post images on this and other forums just to have their images looked at and for some feedback, not necessarily 'critiques'. Most of us know good photos from medicore and bad. Occasionally some are great. I freely admit to posting just for some feedback and not much more. I have a lot of experience with Photo Clubs and critiques, where even the judges, some pros, recognized the best photos were not much different than their own. We have to acccept the bad and medicore along with the good and great images, if this forum is going to last. I suggest a limit of posts (images) if people feel there are too many from any one person in a given period. So, if and when things get ugly around here, I have to say good-bye.
JMR

The problem is not that "things get ugly", it's that some people feel superior to others, and start threads like this to intimidate others who aren't as experienced as them. Then those same people claim that they administer "tough critique" to some people, when in reality they use terms like "posterior orifice of the month" to describe people they don't like.

It's intimidation, bullying, you get the picture.
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alainbriot
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« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2009, 09:04:30 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
Brian,

I think Alain's right with respect to the kind of photography he does, but, as you've implied, the obvious question is: what, exactly is "good light" and, by implication, what is "Bad light?" For instance, good light for a landscape photographer is often "bad light" for a street photographer. Ansel, and I think, Alain usually would prefer dawn light or evening light -- direct sun, low, either as sidelight or quartering backlight. But that kind of light can produce a dynamic range that makes street photography almost impossible -- which is why HCB preferred overcast days. There are a lot of exceptions to this idea. Fog usually is good for landscape and for street and for certain kinds of architectural shots, and there are cases where a street shot in low backlight can be stunning. Seems to me what's "good light" or "bad light" depends almost entirely on the situation.


I am pleased that my comments on light are helpful in the context of this discussion.

I tend to think that there is no such thing as "bad light" or "good light".  There is just "light!"  

Now this doesn't mean that I like all light (sic.). I have my preferences, and as Russ says, morning and evening light, plus open shade, are among my favorites.

But, I own prints and I love images done in totally different types of lighting.  Used by someone else, types of light that would not work for me result in fantastic images.  It's all in how one uses the light.  

It's all in the inspiration and the talent, the vision, that someone has that leads them to use a type of light that others would dismiss in such a way that it results in incredible images.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2009, 09:05:13 PM by alainbriot » Logged

Alain Briot
Author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style., Marketing Fine Art Photography and How Photographs are Sold.
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
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« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2009, 09:05:32 PM »
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Quote from: John R
I still think there is a lot of bad blood on this forum. My observation is the critique forum consists of the same people and so you get the same kinds of critiques and commentary- likes and dislikes- and photos. It can't be otherwise with so few people. Frankly, I believe most people post images on this and other forums just to have their images looked at and for some feedback, not necessarily 'critiques'. Most of us know good photos from medicore and bad. Occasionally some are great. I freely admit to posting just for some feedback and not much more. I have a lot of experience with Photo Clubs and critiques, where even the judges, some pros, recognized the best photos were not much different than their own. We have to acccept the bad and medicore along with the good and great images, if this forum is going to last. I suggest a limit of posts (images) if people feel there are too many from any one person in a given period. So, if and when things get ugly around here, I have to say good-bye.

JMR

John, To take your argument to its logical conclusion, we need a new forum for you and others who don't want criticism called something like "User Displays." On that forum we'd only allow attaboy responses. A forum titled "User Critiques" makes clear exactly what it's for.

As far as "bad blood" is concerned, you may have noticed that there was no "bad blood" for a few weeks recently.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #37 on: August 20, 2009, 09:08:41 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
John, To take your argument to its logical conclusion, we need a new forum for you and others who don't want criticism called something like "User Displays." On that forum we'd only allow attaboy responses. A forum titled "User Critiques" makes clear exactly what it's for.
As far as "bad blood" is concerned, you may have noticed that there was no "bad blood" for a few weeks recently.

There was no bad blood because the person you hate, that you called a "posterior orifice" and whom you said was retarded was not posting then.
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tom b
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« Reply #38 on: August 20, 2009, 09:21:01 PM »
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Quote from: kikashi
A scene isn't - can't be - beautiful unless it's beautifully lit.

Jeremy

Recently I spent a week down the NSW South Coast. The best shots that I got were taken around midday on a rocky sea shelf. The lighting was stark and the shelf not particularly attractive. The resulting B&W images were the best shots for the week.

Sometimes you can have terrible lighting and get great images. Take Trent Parke he did a series of photographs where the lighting was extreme but the images were fascinating.

You can see an example here:

http://www.in-public.com/store/image/file/1506/10.jpg

It's how you use the lighting that is most important.

Cheers,
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shutterpup
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« Reply #39 on: August 20, 2009, 11:04:07 PM »
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I came to the realization recently that my photos are not of the quality that I would like them to be. Prior to that self-revelation, I did post some photos, some ok, most not. The negative comments I got were invaluable to me. I was someone who read about this or that technique, and then like a small child experimenting, tried what I thought was the idea and submitted it here.

I failed to understand the concept of light. I was told that over and over. And I think it is a general disregard for working with the light that makes a photo "just a record of a moment" instead of a good photograph. I think it can help to have a great subject to start with, but without the lighting being used to advantage, the resulting photo is nothing to write home about.

I think we all have our favorite times of day to shoot based on the light at those times. But poor composition coupled with poor light equals a poor photo. That's where I've found myself these days, and it's why I haven't posted a pic in a while. I just don't have anything I myself find worthy of sharing. I am no longer a small child running to family members with every little picture that I make, proudly asking them to take a look. I want taking a look to be worthwhile.
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