I returned to Myakka State Park last week for another attempt at photographing the flora recovery in an area of the park that burned last winter. I’m happy to report that I was not harassed by poisonous snakes or packs of wild hogs this time, but neither was I very satisfied with my images, so I’ll probably make a third trip at the end of the week.
What originally drew me to the area was the contrast and texture. As you’d expect after a forest fire (this one was probably planned), the ground and the trunks of trees were black with ash, but the new plant growth was a bright yellow-green. There was also great texture in the burnt trunks of the palmettos; they reminded me of basking alligators.
Unfortunately, it was still very difficult for me to find a clean composition. There were so many burnt branches and leaves crossing in front of my subjects, it was like always having power lines running through my pictures. I tried to simplify, focusing in on smaller details rather than the larger patterns that I was seeing, and although I had a little success, I was left with the feeling that I was missing out on the larger landscape that I had come for.
Despite the fact that I haven’t been particularly happy with my photos, the shoots have been very valuable. They’ve been a great reminder of the fact that good photos are not taken, they are made. If photography were nothing more than going to a beautiful place and pressing the shutter button, then we’d all be great photographers. Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that: we need to find a subject, find graphical elements that enhance it, simplify (remove elements that detract), compose, recompose, correct exposure, and keep working the subject until we get what we’re after.
I can’t remember the number of times that I’ve been in a beautiful location with beautiful lighting, and struggled to find a good composition, and said to myself in frustration, “Look at this place, this is incredible… if you were really a good photographer, you WOULD be able to make something out of this!” If you find yourself in that situation, then let me offer this advice: First, stop it. Don’t focus on yourself; re-focus your attention on what’s in front of you, and remember the basic elements of composition that you’ve learned. Second, no matter how good a photographer is, nobody sees the perfect photo instantly… at least, not all the time. Finding an interesting, non-cliche image requires working a location for different angles and maybe different ideas. Also remember that if you weren’t a good photographer, you’d probably already have been satisfied with a mediocre picture. So, keep taking pictures! It will only make you a better photographer.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.