The ‘Eyes’ have it.

As with many workshops at novice and even more advanced level, the topic of equipment, that perennial dual between Canon and Nikon with new interloper Sony nipping at the heals, always comes to light between the guests. I always try to instill the fact that the camera is only the tool we use to capture the scene that is front of our eyes. You can have the best camera in the world but if you are unable to compose a shot well, you will not get a good shot no matter how good the camera. Understandably therefore, a lot of time is spent on this primary fundamental aspect of photography. Earlier in the month I took a very competent photographer out on a One to One. Her aim for the day was to slow down and work on composition. This starts with assessing the scene, knowing what image you want to end up with and then working hard to ‘dial out’ (my terminology) the things you don’t want in the image - less is more generally. By spending time in the preparation, a better result usually materializes: Perfect Preparation Prevents Poor Performance - everyone knows that!
Assessing the scene can start at any time whether you have a camera with you or not, in fact sometimes its better to do this without a camera. That way you, with your eyes will start to ‘see’ the picture. A lot of people struggle with this discipline to start with, but by doing so, most then find it easier to compose the image in the camera. Using your hands to frame the shot can help and once you’ve found the composition consider where the light is coming from, now, in the morning, at dusk and at different times of the year as the sun moves around. When you find an interesting composition, you may find that it may work best at dawn in March for instance as opposed to sunset in June. You may be lucky enough that you find a composition that works with many sun angles, if so make the most of it. Don’t forget that the landscape changes throughout the seasons - it’s no good trying to capture dawn November light striking the glorious purple heather for example- think about it!

Ansel Adams assessed the scene, worked out how he wanted the finished print, then took the shot to capture the tones required enable him to produce the print. It’s no different now.

Use your eyes and then the camera.

Keep practicing - I am