Photo: Simple Images: Beauty in the Details

#PhotographyTips #PhotographyDiscussion #Spring 

Is it sometimes tough to find the "essence" of a scene you are photographing? I think we are often distracted by the big stuff. The bright stuff. The thing that everyone else is photographing. Do you think that's true?

There is nothing more appealing to me than an incredibly simple image. But making a photograph "simple" is actually more difficult than you think!

Take this shot of a tiny water droplet as an example. Picture the scene - bluebells blooming in profusion. The river flowing past over scattered stones. Trees just putting out their first leaves. Sunshine dancing through the branches as they shift in the breeze. There was so much going on out there. I took a few wide-angle shots to capture the whole scene, but that's not what I was after. I wanted to capture the feeling of Springtime, not the cluttered scene before me.

So, I replaced my wide-angle lens with a macro and looked for the details in the scene that defined it. This tiny droplet got my attention right away. So, I got in nice and close and took a shot. A narrow depth of field blurred out the background... but not enough for me. I could still see dirt and patches of light behind my little droplet. So I looked around - and sure enough, I found a nice green leaf lying on the ground. It wasn't very big - but it was enough for my needs. I placed it directly behind my tiny droplet, checked my focus and took another shot. Better. But a bright patch of light was hitting my background leaf and taking the attention away from the droplet. I shifted my body so that it blocked that shaft of light... and voila. I had what a I wanted.

And then I stood up and tried to work the kinks out of my legs. Ouch! ;)

Anyway - simplifying the image meant removing distracting details... simplifying the composition to include only what I wanted to show... adding a smooth background that would let the subject stand out without becoming a distraction itself... and handling the light to avoid bright patches or blown highlights. I used a tripod to keep everything nice and steady, and I used the live view function to get my focus just right... not an easy task considering the breezy weather and the low camera angle.

I have photos of those lovely bluebells too - but in the end, it wasn't the showy flowers that attracted me most. It was the feeling that Spring had arrived at last. This photo still says that to me. Spring is here!
Photo: Our trip report for day 3 of our Iceland trip just went live on our blog. :) You can check out the details here: http://www.photographybyvarina.com/blog

I spent a good hour getting this shot how I wanted it on location - fighting with high winds, rain, ocean spray, and a long exposure. I'm happy with the finished product though. What do you think?

(I guess this also happens to work for #MonochromeMonday and #MoodyMonday. Not on purpose though! I'm not even sure I know how that's supposed to work.)
Photo: Photographing France

Check out our FREE eBook here: http://www.photographybyvarina.com/photography/ebooks/ebook-photographing-france

Thanks so much for your comments and shares!

So, here's a shot I took in Jura, France in 2006. This is Grand Saut Falls. The region is incredibly beautiful - and I was lucky enough to be able to spend nearly three months wandering the countryside with my children. We hiked as many trails as we could find... visited castles... played in caves and rivers and lakes and waterfalls... picked dandelions... talked to wild swans...

I hiked this particular trail several times during our visit, since the area is packed with spectacular waterfalls. I wanted to shoot the falls with a layer of clouds in the sky to filter the light and avoid blown highlights in the water. (This image isn't about spectacular light or brilliant skies - but the light was carefully considered just the same.) So, we picked a slightly overcast day at the beginning of June - while the flowers were still in bloom, and before the summer crowds trampled the undergrowth.

I wanted to smooth the flowing surface of the water for a silky effect, so I chose a shutter speed of 0.4 seconds. Since the flow was pretty heavy, that would be enough to produce the effect I wanted. An aperture of f/11 was sufficient to capture the entire scene in sharp focus - provided that I chose the right point of focus.

I set up my tripod at the edge of the trail, and settled in to wait. Because of that long shutter speed, I'd have to get the shot at a moment when the breeze settled down. After a short wait, I got the lull I was hoping for. I fired off a few shots - checked each for good focus, and deleted those with any motion blur in the leaves.

It's a simple image - meant to convey the fresh beauty of the location with a simple color palette and a clean composition. I used the flowers in the foreground to provide a sense of the place. If I print this at large size, I want you to feel as though you could reach out and touch those flowers.

What do you think?

You can see more of my photos from France in my free eBook. Click on the link above to download the PDF.
Photo:
Photo: Detail of the inside of a Nautilus Shell.
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Varina
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Photographing France

Check out our FREE eBook here: http://www.photographybyvarina.com/photography/ebooks/ebook-photographing-france

Thanks so much for your comments and shares!

So, here's a shot I took in Jura, France in 2006. This is Grand Saut Falls. The region is incredibly beautiful - and I was lucky enough to be able to spend nearly three months wandering the countryside with my children. We hiked as many trails as we could find... visited castles... played in caves and rivers and lakes and waterfalls... picked dandelions... talked to wild swans...

I hiked this particular trail several times during our visit, since the area is packed with spectacular waterfalls. I wanted to shoot the falls with a layer of clouds in the sky to filter the light and avoid blown highlights in the water. (This image isn't about spectacular light or brilliant skies - but the light was carefully considered just the same.) So, we picked a slightly overcast day at the beginning of June - while the flowers were still in bloom, and before the summer crowds trampled the undergrowth.

I wanted to smooth the flowing surface of the water for a silky effect, so I chose a shutter speed of 0.4 seconds. Since the flow was pretty heavy, that would be enough to produce the effect I wanted. An aperture of f/11 was sufficient to capture the entire scene in sharp focus - provided that I chose the right point of focus.

I set up my tripod at the edge of the trail, and settled in to wait. Because of that long shutter speed, I'd have to get the shot at a moment when the breeze settled down. After a short wait, I got the lull I was hoping for. I fired off a few shots - checked each for good focus, and deleted those with any motion blur in the leaves.

It's a simple image - meant to convey the fresh beauty of the location with a simple color palette and a clean composition. I used the flowers in the foreground to provide a sense of the place. If I print this at large size, I want you to feel as though you could reach out and touch those flowers.

What do you think?

You can see more of my photos from France in my free eBook. Click on the link above to download the PDF.

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