Resilience
/forum/topic/1178818/1

1      
2
       end

gdanmitchell
Registered: Jun 28, 2009
Total Posts: 9812
Country: United States

Ben Horne wrote:
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.




I couldn't have said that better, Ben. The "puzzle pieces" analogy is a great way to think about it.

Dan



treebeard
Registered: Sep 21, 2006
Total Posts: 7850
Country: United States

So simple but yet so powerful. Nicely done.



johnnygator
Registered: Feb 09, 2011
Total Posts: 115
Country: United States

This is a beautiful photograph Ben. I really can't say anything that hasn't already been said. Print this one BIG, it's made for a gallery.

I've had a photograph floating around in my head for the last few years and no matter how much I hike through Florida, I've yet to find it. Hopefully, I stumble on mine just like you've done here.

On a side note though, this photograph is somewhat a trick on the senses. Viewing the Virgin River in that glow, makes it seem so inviting. Yet, as I've found out in the past, that water is absolutely freezing.



Matt Tilghman
Registered: Dec 02, 2006
Total Posts: 2583
Country: United States

Just plain awesome!



angel manguel
Registered: Feb 09, 2009
Total Posts: 1329
Country: Canada

Exquisite image in its simplicity Ben. Colour, subject, exposure, composition are all outstanding.

Alan



jleom
Registered: Mar 18, 2004
Total Posts: 912
Country: United States

Great vision and well executed Ben. It is a lovely photograph.

Leo



jsuro
Registered: Jun 09, 2005
Total Posts: 7373
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.


Beautiful Velvia tones and texture in this. It will look great in a large print.

As for the "seeing the image" thing, although it happens from time to time I rarely use the first method anymore. Most of the images I make these days are planned well in advance, sometimes months. When planning a shoot in a place I haven't been before I will spend hours on Google Earth. I will pick all the promising locations and send the GPS data to my SUV. Once there, I can skip the miles and miles of looking around and go to the four or five places I've already picked. I can refine the image there but it has been visualized beforehand. I now also use cloud model data from the Canadian Weather Office - very accurate! I had used this model for years in my astrophotography but now I also use it to make sure I have the best conditions for a shoot. Matter of fact, I was supposed to be on the road to a location today and canceled because of the cloud model. It is that accurate. That model is here with animations:
http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/astro/clds_vis_e.html

This method has worked very well for me in the last couple of years.



1      
2
       end