Developing Your Ability to ‘See’
Nature preserves are great places to explore and photograph. The variety of subjects to be discovered can provide tons of photographic opportunities, all one needs to do is slow down and ‘see’ what surrounds you.
I say ‘see’ because it is one thing to just walk around and scanning your environment, but it is another to actually take the environment in visually, examining different angles. Becoming in tune with your visual senses allows you to find details that remain hidden if you were to just glance around.
The single most effective way to develop your seeing ability is to simply slow down and take your time. Whether you’re in the middle of a bustling city, or taking an afternoon stroll through a nature preserve, let your eyes and your mind take in the details. Take notice of textures, shadows, and reflections. When something really grabs your attention, explore it further from different angles and perspectives.
When you’re ready to compose your shot in the view finder, pre-visualize how you want your final image to look like, make the necessary adjustments to your camera, and fire away.
The image featured below was a result of using the above exercise. The barren trees seemed too busy when looking at them straight on, however, looking down at the creek presented some possibilities. I found the angle I wanted only after fumbling around trying to balance myself on the slick rocks along the shore. Only after I was confident everything was just right, I deliberately pressed the shutter button.
If you find yourself unable to slow down, the second most important thing that will help you is bring (and use) a tripod. The act of setting up the tripod for a shot inherently forces you to slow down your shooting process; hopefully enough to allow your brain to fully engage in composing your images.
I hope this little tip helps you with your own photographic adventures. What techniques do you employ while in the act of creating your own works of art? Sound off and leave a comment or two.