Whether it's nature or the man-made world, I'm responding to details of texture, color, shape, or line. It's not enough for me to make an image of a pretty flower. Such images quickly become redundant and boring. It's really only when I carefully examine the flower and think specifically about what I'm responding to that I begin to discover a way to create a photograph that expresses my personal experience of that flower at that particular moment.
With the image of this flower, I was responding to the repeating pattern that rose from its heart and flared out like some beautiful starburst. By using a 60mm macro lens, I was able to get in tight enough to fill the frame with the elongated petals. The diffused light was a result of an overcast day providing me a soft source of illumination. However, it still offered me the presence of shadows, which helped define the petals and create a level of contrast that helps draw the viewer to the center of the frame.
This image for me is more than just another picture of a pretty flower—it's an exploration of color, shape, and pattern. Knowing what I was exploring at the moment of exposure helped me to make a composition that emphasized that and allowed me to eliminate any distracting elements that would've taken away from that message.
It's still an image of a flower, but my understanding of what I was responding to helped me to use the light, the camera, and the lens to convey that experience with a single image, which is what I'm always trying to achieve.
A macro lens, beautiful light, and an understanding of what I was responding to helped me to make an effective image of this flower.
I might normally not think of tires as being an interesting subject for a photograph, but when I saw this stack of tires while walking in the Bronx, I knew that I had the potential for an interesting photograph. I didn't just see a stack of tires—I saw how the morning sun revealed the pattern of the tread. It was the light as well as the resulting shadows that revealed the tires as something more than a stack of rubber.
Because I knew I was being lured into the scene by the light and the details of the tire, I knew that I wanted to create a composition that included a lot of the shadows. I could've made the shot of the tread itself, which might've made for an interesting shot, but I was most interested in the presence of the shadow and the deep negative space that the shadow created. (Negative space is the space that exists around your subject that provides the context for the overall composition.)
The image is very minimal, with little color other than the varying gradation of black and gray and the patterns, but the light and the shadow make this a successful photograph for me.
When I leave my home for the day, camera in hand, I'm often led by the light to discover these scenes. In the past, when I wasn't aware of the light, I would otherwise not find these things interesting enough to photograph, or if I did photograph them, they would result in lackluster or bland images. Through my own awareness and use of the light, these things not only are revealed to me, but also become memorable photographs.
The directional quality of light and my awareness of the presence of shadow provided me the ability to create an image that emphasizes the shape and pattern of the subject.
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