A while ago I did an article on Pre-Shoot Workflow…well that’s all fine and dandy….Pretty straight forward.
But what do you do on scene? What do you do and what do you look for?
It’s one thing to research your trip from your nice chair in your office or wherever, but once you’re there maybe it doesn’t look quite like you thought it would.
Here’s what I do.
Usually the first wrench in the monkeyworks is weather…if it’s too bad but worth waiting, have a cup of coffee and hang out. Kind of like fishing…
If its just uncomfortable, well then, put on your best “uncomfortable weather clothes” and get out there!
I first think, ‘well if its gray and gloomy – black & white images might be the order of the day’
Storm clouds can add incredible drama to many images…Quite often you also have wind. So the consideration is shutter speed. Long slow speeds get those dreamy, ethereal images. (Man, I love my 10-stop ND) Otherwise super fast speeds will stop most any action such as trees or grasses, or waves or anything else blowing around. Just remember, the faster stuffs moving the faster your shutter speed needs to be. If 1/8000 sec doesn’t do it – go back and enjoy that coffee you were nursing…
Tip: if it’s really howling wind – maybe there’s something nearby that you can use as a shelter and can still get a nice composition from that place.
Is it just me or are there more tourists messing places up? (and I mean REALLY messing places up – no regard for the environment)
My friend Andy used to say “there’s too many people suckin’ up my air” – well said Andy (R.I.P.)
We’ve all been there, but what do you do? Well, you can ‘try’ and nicely ask them to step 3 feet to the left so they’re not in your shot. That don’t work…
Here’s my suggestion. I know we all have time issues as to when we can get away but I make sure I don’t go out until 2 weeks AFTER Labor Day and 1 Week BEFORE Memorial Day (USA) That way the crowds (most of ’em) have gone back to wherever they came from and there’s less pressure on the location.
Tip: Check with the local Rangers or coffee shop waitress and see when they say they can catch their breath – wait a couple of days and then go.
Okay here’s where I get a bit serious…
When you’re on site and looking for your composition here are some things to consider. Aside from what you have researched and why you’re there in the first place…
Look for shapes – not only shapes that might be interesting but how they jive with other shapes.
Look for patterns – check for repetitious patterns. Maybe you find a nice abstract image.
Look for textures – texture brings detail to your images – definitely use them
Look for tonalities – Look for lights and darks and how they relate, particularly to the fore mentioned.
TIP: I like to include a strong element in my foregrounds. I like to anchor my image and then have something else lead the eye to the main subject of the image.
When you’re scoping out the above don’t forget to get low, get high (you know what I mean – bring a ladder – seriously I have a step ladder in my truck) go left, go right, check your best aspect for your compostion.
And don’t forget to look back over your shoulder from whence you came – it’s amazing sometimes what compostions are laughing behind your back…
So you see? it’s not rocket science…but coming from an “Old Guy” whose made many mistakes, well, this is what I’ve learned…
Hope it helps.
Cheers and Happy Clicks!