One bad habit of mine that I’ve talked about in past posts is not exploring a location or subject to its full potential. There have been oftentimes, when viewing photos from a shoot, that, upon closer inspection, I think “aw, that would have been a nice detail to capture” or “why didn’t I try moving in/out/left/right?”. Because I usually like to work quick, I’ll find a scene that I like, I’ll shoot it and maybe try a few variations on composition but still sticking with basically the same scene. Sometimes when I am comfortable taking photos, generally in larger city areas where I can relax because people are used to photographers and don’t even notice me, I can take my time and really explore an area down to almost macro compositions. But most times I get excited when I find a good shot and just shoot it and leave, only to regret not spending more time at it. It’s not always feasible to spend a lot of time, like when I’m working and trying to get something at lunch time or after work when the lighting is getting too low. Or when it’s a moving or natural subject that is constantly changing.
So sometimes I have to accept what I got and be happy with it. But when It’s a stationary subject that I can revisit, I’ll go back and try a few more shots or get a particular shot that I already mapped out on my monitor from a previous photo. I did that in past 365 images like when I shot the oil tanks for 365-90 and later shot the oily glove that I saw below the tanks for 365-92. Also when I shot the urban sailboat for 365-239 and later shot the window I saw in the background for 365-240.
Just like those other times, and probably a few more that I can’t recall right now, I decided to revisit a place I was a few days ago. When I originally shot the photo “Inner Circle“ of the graffiti covered concrete overlook structure near Wheeling, I was thinking “wide-angle” and tried to capture the curves of the stairwell. I succeeded in capturing that image but after I viewed the photo onscreen I began to think I didn’t explore the scene enough. Since I was in the area again today I decided to try a few more abstract details of the stairwell. Instead of wide-angle, I took my telephoto to focus on smaller areas of the curved stairwell. The picture I really wanted to get, an overhead showing the curved edge a little more, I decided was too dangerous to try since I would have had to walk out on a 12″ wide wall with a tripod and a 10-15′ drop on either side. It was starting to rain again and I didn’t think it was wise to try. But, nonetheless, I am happy with the extra photos I took today. Even though the graffiti made me think “color” I ended up getting a few cool black and white abstracts, one of which became my 365 shot. I like the texture of the concrete and how the graffiti made for interesting contrasts. B&W conversion with Nik Silver Efex. All with Pentax K20D, DA 55-300.
Click on pics for larger view
So my lesson is to take your time and explore a subject or scene for all that it is worth. Go with your first instinct but try to go beyond that. Try shots you think won’t work or are too close and not showing what you think you should show. For example, when taking flower photos – shoot a field of flowers, plus a single flower, or maybe a group of three. Shoot just the petals or the stamen. Shoot as close as you can from various angles. Use a stopped down wide-angle lens up close to capture every detail or a telephoto at a wide aperture to isolate details. I mean, since you’re there.