The Art of Photography

Back when I was 10 years old or so (never mind just what year that was), I found an instamatic camera in the glove compartment of the car during a trip to visit some family friends. It had no film, but as I watched the beautiful, forested landscape go by, I could imagine capturing all that on film and being able to relive it at any time just by opening an album. My father paid for the first 110 film cartridge and development, and I set out to do what I had imagined. With the roll exposed and sent by mail for developing, I asked my mother every day if the postman had brought them back. When they finally arrived, I eagerly tore in to the envelope… and was crestfallen.

Table for Two With a View Of the batch, there wasn’t one that seemed good. Putting a frame around it had ruined each and every scene. I learned then that no landscape photo will ever catch the true feeling of actually being at the location. I quickly gave up my dreams of photography and reverted to taking snapshots of things that seemed memorable at the time. I have piles of silly pictures of family opening Christmas presents or splashing in the lake. They make me smile, but they’re certainly not great photographs.

Almost thirty years later, thanks to the immense amount of material on the Internet, I began to learn that I was both right and wrong. Yes, you lose something when you put a frame around a landscape, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done well. Instead of capturing the whole scene, you want to capture some important part of it. That way it doesn’t matter so much that there are edges. Great color, intricate shapes, unusual subjects; these are all things that draw the viewer in to the picture instead of them trying to see what’s around it.

Paros SunsetThere are some things you can capture with a camera that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Very short exposures can capture every drop in a spray of water while long exposures blend it together for a dream-like image. In the latter case, this is especially true if there is an animal or such that remains perfectly still during the exposure for a contrasting sharp subject. Some of my favorite examples of this are by Patrick Di Fruscia. Don’t forget to photograph at night, too. There’s just as much color at night as during the day, but our eyes are not sensitive to color in dim light. Film and digital sensors are!

If you want to experience more, I suggest Photo.Net and Ken Rockwell, especially his essay on why your camera doesn’t matter. As for myself, I’m just an amateur aspiring to the kind of work these guys do. Kind of makes me want to quit my day job.

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4 comments to The Art of Photography

  • I love your site!!! thanks so much for visiting my humble blogsite. I hope its okay that I’ll put you as one of my link. And yes you are right about what your article.Thanks for the reference.

  • […] « The Art of Photography Gimp vs Photoshop […]

  • […] I be any different. I took pictures on film for about 20 years before I had my first taste of the art of photography. I shot on film with a Nikon F90X and two lenses: a 24-120 and a 70-300. This past October, I […]

  • I love your thinking about having a good eye. I love photography and when it comes down to raw verses jpeg. I’ll take JPEG With my eye and ambition for the best content and the sales I get from it. I will choose taking photos any day of the week. I am American living in North Wales, United Kingdom. If you don’t take pictures when the sun comes out here rather than sit in front of the computer tweaking your work, you will lose a lot. I really appreciate your comments that you made about eye and content. I hope to talk to you soon.


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