Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to look at it more closely. Get out and take a hike, go fishing or canoeing, or simply stretch out on a blanket under a summer sky...and take your camera along. We'll talk about combining outdoor activities with photography. We'll look at everything from improving your understanding of the basics to more advanced techniques including things like how to see photographically and capturing the light. We'll explore the night sky, location shoots, using off camera speedlights along with nature and landscape. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.

Backroads

Backroads
Kentucky Backroads Wheat Stubble

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Isolate What is Important

Several years ago as my youngest son was playing little league baseball, I watched him struggle game after game to hit the ball.  I could take him to batting cages and he would knock the cover off the ball...but in a game, he'd strike out time after time or he would barely make contact with the ball and get thrown out at first.  I just couldn't quite figure out why he had the ability to hit in the batting cages...even when the balls were being thrown all over the strike zone...but he could not seem to do so in a game.  It wasn't until sometime later that I began to realize what he was doing.  When he was in the batting cage, he would focus in on what was important...the ball...but in a game, he had a tendency to focus in on the field and not the ball...and so he would never watch the ball into the bat and swing wildly hoping to make contact.

Oddly enough, I see beginning photographers do the same kind of thing...they tend to see the field, but fail to focus on what is truly important...consequently, way to often they strike out in their photographs.  Successful photography includes many aspects, finding what is important and concentrating on it is one of the most important.  I've said it, and heard it said by others many times...your job as a photographer is to find order in the midst of the chaos....in other words...isolate what is important and simplify your composition.

Occasionally I'll run across a photograph that really catches my attention.  What usually does the trick is how the photographer was able to do just that, focus in the most important part of the composition.  Often, I'll find myself looking at the wrong part of the scene and attempting to capture something that just isn't there...just isn't working for some reason.  When that happens, if I change my focus...look more tightly at my surroundings, I will just as often discover the elements that were catching my attention to begin with, and an entirely new composition materializes.

So don't be afraid to tighten your focus...narrow the field of view and see the individual elements that make up the composition...concentrate on those and you just might begin to see the world from entirely new perspective...and when that happens, your photography will grow another step in the right direction.

Keith

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