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Monday, August 27, 2012

Patience - a Photographer’s Special tool


Many times we see wonderful scenes and landscapes right in front of us.  Our emotions are stirring especially since for the last few moments our vision and senses are taking it all in. Therefore, it must make a wonderful photograph.

We take the photograph and move on knowing that we have a great shot because that's how we perceive our visual and sensory experience for this site.

But when we get home it seems to lack that something special we experienced back at our location.

Others who see the image may say it's nice but in reality it's just another tourist type shot. The experience we had is missing.

The key ingredient missing is patience, or just plain waiting for the scene to evolve in either light-shaping or the actors in the scene. These actors can be real people or elements in the changing  landscape.

Light, it's strength or absence, is the key to all photographs. After this, it's the context of element within the science that further define the photographic experience.

As an example, the photographs of a set of wonderfully painted stairs help to demonstrate the importance of patience to wait out a scene until the elements define it in a new perspective.



There is a set of beautifully paints stairs just across the street from the Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottawa.

But to photograph them is to only copy someone else's work. This is fine if all you want is to show others the beauty of these stairs.

But there could be more if you only wait for people in this particular case to add the extra element to make this your own original photograph.

I knew people walking up and down the stairs would add interest to the image but without staffed actors I could only wait for what?

A few minutes later a solitary well dressed soldier from a ceremony on Parliament Hill was approaching the steps to walk down. Luckily there was no one else nearby to also transcend these steps.

I waited until his eyes were near the wolf's eyes and took 3 rapid shots. It's hard to get the arms and legs just right so with 3, one should work well.

It wasn't a busy place as these steps are slightly hidden. I felt good with the shot and started to walk on but a short distance later I felt there could be more if I just waited longer, so back I went.

After about 15 minutes of waiting a bunch of young children and their parents started to head up. The little girl was leading the pack and it looked like she would head right for the wolf's ear.





There were many others on the steps but I knew I could immediately afterwards take a photo of just the stairs and then edit everyone out.

The photograph now looks like the child went up the steps to whippers into the wolf's ear.

In many locations, taking the time to wait for something to change within the scene will make it a better photograph. The shadows created by the sun as it sculpts the landscape or intermittent clouds that create highlights within the scene. It could even be the addition of people, or removal of too many or  the right combination of their colourful clothing that augments the photograph. Either way, occasionally take the time to explore the environment in front of or behind you and sit and wait for that extra photographic element.

Niels Henriksen




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