To improve my photography, I am trying to be more contentious about how I want the photos to look before I start snapping the shots. I am thinking of this as moving away from being reactive to being proactive. Thinking more like an artist than a photojournalist. I do realize that those two approaches are not mutually exclusive but thinking about this way has helped me be more intentional. I am also trying to be more patient as I take the photos - taking more time with framing before pushing the button, taking several even dozens of photos of the same subject with slight differences in angle, framing, focus, and exposure.
(1) The red leaf. I was taking pictures of my friend Nancee and her family putting up their Halloween decorations. On the Bradford Pear tree in her front yard was a red leaf that was perfectly catching the light so that it seemed to glow from within. I ended up taking about 2 dozens photos of this one single leaf. In some of them, the focus is off. In others, the background leafs are more prominent. This one is my favorite. I love the dark abstract looking background with the flashes of blue sky and yellow leaves mixed in with the darker green foliage. I love that the leaf isn't perfect - that someone has been chomping on the upper right edge. I am very happy with the positioning of the leaf in the frame. All of this frames what I was intending to capture - the glowing red color and the pattern of the veins.
All in all - this photo just makes me happy every time I look at it.
A few days later, I went walking in the park with my friend Erin. I took my camera because I wanted to take photos. I resisted the urge to start snapping photos until we had walked a couple of times around the path circling the park. Instead, on the first two circuits, I thought about what I wanted to shoot and what my goals with shooting were. Two aspects of the afternoon I wanted to capture was the great autumn afternoon sunlight and the wind.
(2) Capturing sun and shadow - and creating a magical looking woods. This part had great big old oak trees. The Department of Conservation has been clearing the underbrush out in, what I assume, is an attempt to create a woodland savanna habitat. In this photos I wanted to capture the long shadows created by the trees, as well as the beautiful light. This photos has been photo-edited to reduce the blue in the shadows and to increase the golden tone of the photo.
(3) Capturing the wind - The fountain. I was able to catch the spray of the fountain blowing in the wind.
(4) Capturing the wind -The shore line.
In this photo I was really was trying to capture the flowers on the shore blowing in the wind as well as the water lapping up on the shore.
Here is the original photo, unedited. It is ok, but it didn't really capture the motion I had hoped it would.
I thought perhaps cropping out some of the extra shoreline and water that were not exhibiting the motions would help (as well as editing the colors), but I still wasn't happy with the results. I just wasn't getting the sense of motion I was hoping for in the overall photo. This puzzled me, as both the vegetation and water show motion on their own.
It wasn't until I cropped the photo a different way that I realized the issue. The water is being pushed up against the shore at a different angle than the vegetation is blowing. The two motions are actually opposing each other, resulting in a rather overall static feel, as opposed to the motion and flow I was trying to capture. This really became apparent when I pushed the color saturation towards the extreme. I love how this image ended up, it just didn't express the idea I had in my mind.