Resilience
/forum/topic/1178818/0

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Ben Horne
Registered: Jan 10, 2002
Total Posts: 11709
Country: United States

I’ve learned that there are two primary methods of “seeing” as a landscape photographer. The first is to wander around — be inspired by what you see, then capture the beauty of nature as you see it. The second is to envision a shot in your mind that was inspired by nature — then intentionally seek that image. I find that many of my photos were created using the second method.

On day 3 of my Fall 2012 trip to Zion National Park, one of my envisioned shots came to fruition. For the entire story, please be sure to view my video journal from this day on my YouTube Channel.

Also, if you look close enough, you'll see a slightly dark band on the top and bottom of this image -- that's evidence of the film sleeve. I often scan my film in the sleeve to avoid damaging it. If I end up printing this image, it'll be sent out for a professional drum scan.

As always, I greatly appreciate your thoughts and critiques.

Fuji Velvia 50 8x10 | 1 second @ f/22 | Nikkor 300mm | Ebony RW810



Tom K.
Registered: Mar 21, 2005
Total Posts: 6752
Country: United States

Let me tell you something Ben. This photograph is absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful. Stunning.



Joshua Warrender
Registered: Feb 25, 2009
Total Posts: 79
Country: United States

Nice work, Ben! Like the placement of the rock in the frame, the shutter speed, and also the glow. Very true to your style. A simple, yet beautiful image.



Zeph
Registered: Jan 30, 2005
Total Posts: 4917
Country: United States

The golden warm tones seem to be absorbing the cool tones, like illuminate radiant heat...



Jeffrey
Registered: Nov 12, 2002
Total Posts: 9729
Country: United States

Now you got me envisioning what you might have been thinking before you happened upon this scene. I've done the same thing with some important images of mine, and it is a very exciting moment to suddenly see your mental visualization appear before you in real time. This image works for me because of the simple and few elements that make it up. I can see you there facing a glowing wall of sandstone. Beautiful work, Ben.



Ben Horne
Registered: Jan 10, 2002
Total Posts: 11709
Country: United States

Jeffrey wrote:
Now you got me envisioning what you might have been thinking before you happened upon this scene. I've done the same thing with some important images of mine, and it is a very exciting moment to suddenly see your mental visualization appear before you in real time. This image works for me because of the simple and few elements that make it up. I can see you there facing a glowing wall of sandstone. Beautiful work, Ben.


Ironically, I was the subject of many photos that afternoon. I wasn't far from the road along Big Bend, and 4 or 5 other photographers took photos of me while I was setting up my camera. I crossed the river to get this vantage point, and the other photographers were shooting from the opposite bank. They couldn't see the same glow I saw. If they knew what I saw from my angle, I'm sure they would have been willing to get their shoes wet.



JimFox
Registered: Jan 11, 2005
Total Posts: 37324
Country: United States

Hey Ben,

What a really cool shot. Nice work with this. I think as we grow as photographers, the #2 method of finding shots becomes more and more prevelant. But because we are by nature explorers of the land, I think #1 happens quite a bit as we are aware of our surroundings, and "see" as we travel. To only have #2 without #1, I think we would miss many great shots.

Great job here.

Jim



Ben Horne
Registered: Jan 10, 2002
Total Posts: 11709
Country: United States

JimFox wrote:
Hey Ben,

What a really cool shot. Nice work with this. I think as we grow as photographers, the #2 method of finding shots becomes more and more prevelant. But because we are by nature explorers of the land, I think #1 happens quite a bit as we are aware of our surroundings, and "see" as we travel. To only have #2 without #1, I think we would miss many great shots.

Great job here.

Jim


That's a very good point, and it's certainly best to have a very balanced approach to photography with both visualized and inspired shots. I think it's because I'm working within rather strong limitations that I gravitate toward visualized shots -- there are a lot of photos I simply can't shoot, so I gravitate toward those that I can "find". This has taught me to appreciate those moments that I'm not able to capture, and enjoy being a witness without taking a photo. Viewing these moments in return inspires me to capture other images that I visualize.



philtax
Registered: Dec 23, 2004
Total Posts: 3049
Country: United States

Amazing image, Ben. Thanks for sharing it and your process as well.

Phil



Fred Miranda
Registered: Dec 31, 2001
Total Posts: 17677
Country: United States

Because your heavy gear limits what you can shoot, visualization starts to take control. That shows in your unique compositions.
Nice work on this one Ben. Simple and effective.
Fred



JimFox
Registered: Jan 11, 2005
Total Posts: 37324
Country: United States

Ben Horne wrote:
JimFox wrote:
Hey Ben,

What a really cool shot. Nice work with this. I think as we grow as photographers, the #2 method of finding shots becomes more and more prevelant. But because we are by nature explorers of the land, I think #1 happens quite a bit as we are aware of our surroundings, and "see" as we travel. To only have #2 without #1, I think we would miss many great shots.

Great job here.

Jim


That's a very good point, and it's certainly best to have a very balanced approach to photography with both visualized and inspired shots. I think it's because I'm working within rather strong limitations that I gravitate toward visualized shots -- there are a lot of photos I simply can't shoot, so I gravitate toward those that I can "find". This has taught me to appreciate those moments that I'm not able to capture, and enjoy being a witness without taking a photo. Viewing these moments in return inspires me to capture other images that I visualize.



Hey Ben,

Good point, and Fred summed it up well. WIth your 45lb camera, you definitely do need to think and plan and prepare much more than the majority of us with our DSLR's, which if needed we can swing up, flip on the VR if needed and take a burst of shots... that for sure isn't happening with your camera.

Jim



ScaryFox
Registered: Dec 30, 2004
Total Posts: 25277
Country: United Kingdom

I adore this!
The tones are so superb, so rich and deep. I love the placement of the rock and the simplicity of this. A piece of art.
Ute



teked
Registered: Sep 06, 2006
Total Posts: 6654
Country: United States

Gorgeous, Ben. Amazingly rich colors, and textures.

Cheers,
Ed



kurt765
Registered: Jan 19, 2006
Total Posts: 621
Country: United States

Fantastic image, Ben. I think this would look magnificent printed. Too bad no more Velvia 8x10 will be produced. You know how to utilize this great film.



AMaji
Registered: Apr 19, 2012
Total Posts: 2143
Country: United States

Ben,
This is a great image. I tried to look for such a shot and got some, but they were not as classy as yours.

Thank you posting.



LizzieShepherd
Registered: Mar 24, 2007
Total Posts: 718
Country: United Kingdom

Superb, Ben! I saw the video through twitter the other day and I love the end result. Both methods of "seeing" are highly rewarding but perhaps the realisation of an image such as this tips the balance...
Lizzie



Justin Huffman
Registered: Aug 25, 2004
Total Posts: 5469
Country: United States

Ben great work, awesome photograph. 3 Years ago I was scheduled to visit DVNP for a 4th time. Before the trip I envisioned a specific image of the polygons, complete with crust height, standing water and mirror sunset reflection. I envisioned this shot for months... and got it. thanks again for sharing



David Patterson
Registered: Nov 11, 2003
Total Posts: 2774
Country: United States



Simple and superb!



gdanmitchell
Registered: Jun 28, 2009
Total Posts: 8983
Country: United States

Ben Horne wrote:
I’ve learned that there are two primary methods of “seeing” as a landscape photographer. The first is to wander around — be inspired by what you see, then capture the beauty of nature as you see it. The second is to envision a shot in your mind that was inspired by nature — then intentionally seek that image. I find that many of my photos were created using the second method.


I've talked with quite a few photographers about this whole pre-visualization notion and the extent to which it <i>really</i> does and does not come into play when we make photographs.

There are circumstances in which we can have a very clear idea of the potential image before we even go to the place, much less set up the camera, compose the image, and make the exposure. This "second method" turns out to actually be quite rare, at least in the literal sense, in my own experience and in the experience of many other photographers whose work many in this forum may know, respect, and even admire.

This leads to the role of the "first method," which generally seems to be the predominant approach in most landscape photography. The record is replete with stories of many great photographs that were produced this way. Once again, I'll point to Adams' "Moonrise" as an example, though there are plenty of others. I had a conversation with two or three such folks at the home of one of them on New Years Eve in the Sierra foothills, and one of them was quite vocal about how much landscape and nature photography (and, in my view, other sorts as well) is actually done primarily by responding quickly and often almost intuitively to opportunities that one did not literally pre-visualize nor have much control over. One of these folks became quite impassioned while talking about the myth of landscape photography always being a slow and contemplative process - quite often it is a matter of reacting very quickly to something that is ephemeral, dynamic, and gone almost before you see it.

There is a third way to think about this, and it lies between the two extremes and might even provide a link between them. I've often described to other photographers the sense that I carry a sort of mental library of bits and pieces of images that I'll know when I see them. While I don't necessarily see whole, complete photographs before I arrive on the scene (at least not most of the time, though it does happen) I do often recognize a quality of light, a juxtaposition of shapes, a type of atmosphere, textures, colors, and so forth in the scene... that I already knew of and "saw" in my mind ahead of time. To some extent, the act of making the photograph then becomes partially one of finding a way to make a photograph out of the discovered instance of that familiar thing.

There is much, much more that could be said about this, but I've written much, much too much already! ;-)

Lovely photograph, by the way, Ben.

Dan



Ben Horne
Registered: Jan 10, 2002
Total Posts: 11709
Country: United States

gdanmitchell wrote:
Ben Horne wrote:
I’ve learned that there are two primary methods of “seeing” as a landscape photographer. The first is to wander around — be inspired by what you see, then capture the beauty of nature as you see it. The second is to envision a shot in your mind that was inspired by nature — then intentionally seek that image. I find that many of my photos were created using the second method.


I've talked with quite a few photographers about this whole pre-visualization notion and the extent to which it <i>really</i> does and does not come into play when we make photographs.

There are circumstances in which we can have a very clear idea of the potential image before we even go to the place, much less set up the camera, compose the image, and make the exposure. This "second method" turns out to actually be quite rare, at least in the literal sense, in my own experience and in the experience of many other photographers whose work many in this forum may know, respect, and even admire.

This leads to the role of the "first method," which generally seems to be the predominant approach in most landscape photography. The record is replete with stories of many great photographs that were produced this way. Once again, I'll point to Adams' "Moonrise" as an example, though there are plenty of others. I had a conversation with two or three such folks at the home of one of them on New Years Eve in the Sierra foothills, and one of them was quite vocal about how much landscape and nature photography (and, in my view, other sorts as well) is actually done primarily by responding quickly and often almost intuitively to opportunities that one did not literally pre-visualize nor have much control over. One of these folks became quite impassioned while talking about the myth of landscape photography always being a slow and contemplative process - quite often it is a matter of reacting very quickly to something that is ephemeral, dynamic, and gone almost before you see it.

There is a third way to think about this, and it lies between the two extremes and might even provide a link between them. I've often described to other photographers the sense that I carry a sort of mental library of bits and pieces of images that I'll know when I see them. While I don't necessarily see whole, complete photographs before I arrive on the scene (at least not most of the time, though it does happen) I do often recognize a quality of light, a juxtaposition of shapes, a type of atmosphere, textures, colors, and so forth in the scene... that I already knew of and "saw" in my mind ahead of time. To some extent, the act of making the photograph then becomes partially one of finding a way to make a photograph out of the discovered instance of that familiar thing.

There is much, much more that could be said about this, but I've written much, much too much already! ;-)

Lovely photograph, by the way, Ben.

Dan


I knew you would chime in on this thread -- I always appreciate your thoughts, and the points that you raise with your eloquent writing. The third method mention makes a lot of sense, and it is something that I have utilized now that I think about it. It's a bit like puzzle pieces... you can see bits of each element, and it's just a matter of finding the composition or specific subject that threads them together.

In discussing my shooting trips with some non-photographer friends and family, they often ask why I choose to visit the same locations again and again. They will say that I should go somewhere new, and see something different. I then explain to them that I visit these same locations again and again for that very reason -- to see something new, and to see something different -- but within the same location itself. When I'm away from these places, I often think of shots I wish to capture based on my experiences in the past, and that fuels my desire to return.




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