Less is More

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One of the biggest changes I’m trying to make with my photography is adjusting my expectation of success. With the essentially unlimited storage of digital cameras I’ve always taken lots of photos. That isn’t going to change, but the number of those photos that I use is decreasing. If I can get 2-4 solid images out of a trip I’m going to be very happy, and I’m trying to look at even 1 as a success.

So if I’m only going to use a handful of images, why take so many photos? Two words… practice and experimentation. Expert photographers can perhaps visualize a shot and know what will work and why. I can’t, at least not yet. I need to try different angles, different heights. The more photos I take the more I learn. What I won’t be doing is wasting time trying to rescue the unsuccessful ones.

Which is what happened to me this morning.

I went out to try and get some photos of Christmas lights. The best time is not when it’s completely dark (as people assume) but the blue hour right before sunrise or right after sunset. At that time not only do you get awesome colors, but there’s some interest in the sky to go with the lights.

My problem in this case was location. I just couldn’t find the angles to make a composition work. Too many extraneous elements. Power lines where I didn’t want them; stop lights sneaking into frame; roads that stopped me positioning myself where I needed to be. The image in this blog is the only one that really spoke to me (and even it is not great).

One of the mistakes I made, and which I will rectify next time I go out shooting Christmas lights is that I only took my wide angle lens, not my telephoto lens. If I’d been able to go in much closer and focus on single elements rather than trying to grab the whole scene then I think I would have come away with stronger images.

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