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.

The Pilot

The Pilot
The Pilot

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Solving Visual Problems - Don't be Afraid to Let Go...

I learned some years ago, that one of the most important concepts about what makes a great a photograph is applying the idea of simplicity to your compositions.  Simplicity simply means that all the structural elements in the photograph are there for a reason, and there is nothing there that distracts from your story.  It does not necessarily mean that the image lacks for complex details...it just means that when someone looks at the image, they know exactly what the photographer was trying to do.

One of the hardest things a photographer has to learn when refining their craft is to not be afraid to let go. What I mean by this is that often we find ourselves so captivated by the whole of a particular scene or object, that we fail to recognize its most important elements.  When that happens, we also can fail to capture the essence of the moment.  Letting go means to look at your composition with a critical eye and to visually render the scene down to its most important elements...then concentrate on those.

Letting go in photography sometimes means we must toss aside preconceived notions, and look at the problem from a fresh perspective...after all...that is what we as photographers do...we solve visual problems.  This applies to every kind of photography whether it be nature and landscape, to architecture and portrait photography.  The problem we face is how do we capture what is really important.  Solving that problem often becomes a challenge because we tend to handicap ourselves by wanting to hold on to the parts of the moment that really don't add anything to the effectiveness of the photograph.

If we begin to look at the problem creatively, we will begin to recognize that something entirely different is what caught our attention...focusing on those defining elements is what helps us solve the problem of capturing the moments identity.

So don't be afraid to let go of part of the visual elements in your photographic attempts...most of the time those simplified compositions are the most effective and eye catching.

Keith


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