The Big Picture, The Little Picture, No Picture
"The Big Picture"
Often times I take notice of other photographers while I’m in the field. I think most would likely classify themselves as tourists, or amateurs, or some maybe even very serious hobbyists. It never ceases to amaze me how little time these people stay in one spot. It seems they show up, break out the camera, then engage in the “rapid fire” technique of shooting, averaging something like 25 photos in half as many seconds. They then make a quick hop to the other side of the subject, same thing. Then they pack up and are gone almost as quick as the photos they took. The big picture will always be there, and it’s usually been shot over and over by countless photographers. Slowing down is a lesson that most people need to learn, and practice, especially when it comes to photography. It also lets you put your spin and style on what it is you’re shooting, and helps set you apart from the hundreds of others before you. Photographers that are engaged in burst speed photography also have no real chance of getting their images just right in the camera, or seeing the “little pictures” that always accompany the big picture. Go ahead and take the big picture, because we all do, but then stop and look around for a few minutes. You will be amazed at the things that you start to see. Slowing down in the field can sometimes save you lots of time in post, and is well worth the extra few seconds, or even minutes. Lighting sometimes looks entirely different in a matter of minutes. You have no chance of capturing it if you are continually on the move, and in rapid light changing situations, there are no second chances.
"The Little Picture"
It has been said, “There is enough subject matter within a 20 mile radius of where you live to provide you with a lifetime of photo opportunities, all you need to do is look for them.” Not all landscape photography is about the grand scene, or the big picture in front of you. There is so much to see at almost any place we shoot that we could literally spend hours there. Learning how to see is something that requires practice and patience, but anyone can do it. People are quite often surprised to learn that many of my shots that are not of the “big picture” itself are taken in the same location. “I didn’t even see that”, or, “I had no idea”, or even, “Wow, I never even noticed that” are the usual comments. I too love the grand scenes, but I also love getting the little things that help make the bigger picture. It’s a bit more intimate. They are there, you just have to train yourself to see them. Sometimes the little shots are as good as the big picture and that never ceases to amaze me.
There is also something to be said about actually standing and feeling, grabbing an emotion that is stirred up by some scenes, or locations. I know people who have shots from some very beautiful, breathtaking landscapes, scenes and locations, but aside from the photo they took, they couldn’t tell you the first thing about the place other than how to get there, or if it made them feel anything. I find this sad. It’s a beautiful world we live in. Seeing it with our eyes and heart and not just the camera also takes practice. I have seen sunrises and sunsets that have taken my breath away so much that I have forgotten to snap the pic. Sometimes we need to put the camera down, or step away from it, let ourselves feel what we are seeing and experiencing and get caught up in the moment. After all, that’s some of what life’s all about isn’t it?