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The Purpose

Snow, ice, frosty mornings, a licking of mist, winter is upon us well and truly. It inspires us photographically. So, dashing out early morning – well not that early with sunrise around 8:00am – the camera bag is all checked and ready to roll. The thermals are on and a flask of hot coffee is clutched at the ready. The car is all frosted up. Is there enough time to defrost it properly and get to the location in time? Well there’s got to be time for that. Sat in the car, waiting for the ice to dissipate, anxiety builds, wondering if there will be mist or fog. What image will be captured? What is the purpose of this early morning foray? What is trying to be achieved? I find it helps to have a picture in my mind of the finished image, or images. Reading Ansel Adams book, ‘The Negative’ many years ago convinced me of this. Those who have attended my workshops will have heard my mantra on the subject. Know what you want to end up with, then you will know how to take the shot. I had a couple of commercial shoots to do the other day, both for the same client but both totally different. Their requirements were tight on one and loose on the other. So for the first shoot I knew what they wanted, what it was for and all I had to do was execute it with my own interpretation, but I knew what image I wanted to end up with. On the second shoot, I was given more of a free rein, but I wanted to put my own stamp on the picture and not produce a cliché of a picture. For this, I thought of what I wanted to produce well in advance; what elements I could use; what angles of view to show; what height I would take it from; how much depth of field to include; and finally whether to produce it in monochrome or colour? (This last point was down to the client, but I knew that I wanted to give them a mono picture as well.) All these considerations helped me capture the images so that I didn’t end up aimlessly shooting and hoping. Having a clear objective of that finished picture helps you achieve it and that’s the point really isn’t it?