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Deep Thinking about Photography

Today I was thinking about what it is about Photography that makes me get out for a shoot.  I often describe photography as “An art capable of eliciting powerful emotions, capturing a moment to eternity, providing insight into life’s reflections”.  It seems so appropriate for me for the wildlife and nature photography that I do.  However, you can apply the same statement for wedding, maternity, portraiture, and many other forms of photography.

So some of the thoughts I had were this:

  • What makes me stop at one location for a photo vs. another?
  • I don’t know why but something calls out to me to take a picture.  Sometimes I’ve walked a mile and a half and had nothing that made me want to shoot yet other times I can find several things to shoot or one thing to shoot from various angles.
  • I work very hard to take pictures but vast majority are never any good.  Why is that?  The reality many pro photographers will use less than 1% of their photos for fine art photography.
  • You shouldn’t have to work so hard to make a picture.
  • It truly doesn’t matter what you have for gear but rather the vision one has.  This is demonstrated by our photo contest earlier this year that was won by a fellow shooting with an iPhone.

But after much reflection it really it came down to this:

  • You don’t take pictures, but rather are taken by pictures.
  • There are photos that I have that have this one common theme and that is this.  I was anxious and had fear and panic that something would screw up the image before I was able to capture the image.  Sometimes these images don’t have to be about the specific narrative event but rather about the light itself.  Remember, photography is all about capturing the light.  Sometimes it’s about the specific event at hand and I don’t want it to disappear before capturing it.
  • If you have an agenda it can do nothing but get in the way.  Go out and shoot and just be ready for what you don’t expect.
  • “Art is not what you see, but rather what you make others see”.  – Edgar Degas.
  • “If you are out there shooting, things will happen for you.  If you are not out there you will only hear about it!” – Jay Maisel.
  • “There are always two people in every picture, the photographer and the viewer” – Ansel Adams.
  • “The most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it” – Ansel Adams.
  • Cameras don’t take pictures, people do!

There are many things that draw us out to grab our cameras and go for a shoot.  Sometimes it’s as simple as capturing a family event, other times we do it for a specific client.  But what really gets me out is the peace and solitude it provides me and the challenge to push myself creatively to capture something that not only inspires me but also others are drawn into.

~The RoTP Team

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