Saturday, June 7, 2008

On using the corner of your eye

People sometimes ask me how I find the images I make. What works for me is staying constantly on the lookout for things or places I'd like to photograph.

I tell them to keep their eyes open. That's what I do, even while I'm photographing something. I'll usually see something I want to make an image of every time I look.

Sometimes, I just catch them out of the corner of my eye. This was one such occasion.

I was driving to work, early the other day. As I've also said before, I like taking alternate routes through the country sometimes, rather than sticking to the same paved roads everybody drives.

For one thing, there's less traffic. For another, images such as this one are sometimes the result.

As I said, I was headed to work, scanning the horizon for a broader aspect that I might be able to capture. I almost missed this scene. It was a ways off the road, probably 50 or so feet away, as I drove past.

But, somehow, it registered in the corner of my eye and started swimming stream toward my badly decaffeinated brain (I said it was early), I made it probably 100 feet down the road before the few remaining, creative cells I hope are still alive somewhere in my brain screamed for me to stop and go back.

"Back there, dummy!" they cried. "Coolness."

So, throwing the truck in reverse, I backed up until I found this. Actually, what registered in my brain was a slightly different scene of a single log, almost totally sunk in the water closer to the side of the road.

I made a few images of the initial log, then started moving slowly forward, watching as the trees thinned, then opened out to reveal this scene. I made a few images, loving the morning light and the reflection in the absolutely still water, and headed back out on my way to work.

As I said above, people will sometimes ask me how and where I find the images I capture. For me, it takes training my eye to register, often in the tiniest fraction of a second, when something might make a pleasing photograph. Then it's just a matter of working the scene until I get what I was after.

Here, for example, I stayed in the truck and moved backwards and forwards slightly until I had just the framing I was looking for. Slight modifications to the exposure and a little bit of work on the computer and here's the final image.

Thanks for looking at my blog. If you're enjoying my photography and my musings, tell a friend or two. And please tell me. Leave me comments and let me know what you like — or don't like, I don't mind — about the words and images I'm sharing.

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