Canadian photographer R. John Knight shares the stories behind some of his nature and wildlife images

Monday, May 16, 2011

Growing Your Photography: A Creative, Impressionistic and Artistic Side of PD

At first glance, you might think that the image here is an interesting mistake.  Others might think that the image is the result of some photographic technique whether intended, or accidental.

Fall Leaves with PD Effect
Canon 5D with EF24-105mm f/4 L IS USM
Focal length 105mm; 1/20s at f/16; ISO 100
When you're photographing, it's easy to place your camera over the tripod holes of other photographers whether you are participating in a photo tour or workshop, or visiting locations where others have been.  The real challenge is being able to see what others miss, and to experiment with different compositions, perspectives, lighting, equipment and techniques.  During a course at SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) a few years ago, Bill Marsh stated that it was important to have images that were "first, best or different" in the business of photography.

There are many ways to do this:

     - Stand exactly in the same place from which others have photographed, and try to see
       what they saw differently 

     - Try using a different lens, depth of field, shutter speed, etc., or different photographic
       accessories (e.g., regular and special effect filters)

     - Try or invent different and unusual photographic techniques, e.g., see the book, 
       Photographic Impressionism and the Subjective Image, by Freeman Patterson and
       Andre Gallant

     - Go to a different location that provides a different view or perspective of what others
       have photographed, and be the first to create an image from there

     - Find an object, scene or situation that has not been previously photographed

     - Go on a photo outing, tour or workshop with others and compare your results

The last suggestion is a powerful way to learn from others.  A good example of this can be seen in the variety of excellent images from the participants of Darwin Wiggett's Fire and Ice Photo Tour, November 2011.  The images seem to fall into two broad groups, scenic and artistic-abstract.  For example, my images are more scenic and traditional.  While I was impressed by everyone's images, I was really humbled by the creative and artistic flare exhibited in the images by three of the participants (Alan, Marko and Igor), plus another (Sonia) who shared her images of flowers one evening.  Through the images of this latter group, I saw a growth opportunity for own photography that will require me to slowdown, throw away the rule book and really experiment with artistic creativity. 

The impressionistic image above is a step in that direction.  It is a hand-held shot taken when I didn't have my tripod, and my Parkinson medications had worn off sooner than expected.  On that occasion, I had two choices; either put the camera away and forget the shot, or experiment.  The image here was the result of the latter ... no fancy equipment or technique, just a camera in the hand of someone with PD with 'meds' off.  Don't you wish that you had this handy vibrating tool for creative photography in your camera bag?  I need to try mine more often in different situations.

Most of the time, I look for interesting and different compositions, perspectives and lighting to create good objective images of a something, a situation, or a scene, always hoping to be 'first, better or different'.  A key lesson that I've learned from the image here, and from photo tour described, is that I need to experiment with creating impressionistic and subjective from time to time to grow my photography in some new directions.

1 comment:

  1. Love your sense of humour and adventure! The Fire and Ice images are completely stunning.