“I hope I am never too old to learn…”

“I hope I am never too old to learn…” – words spoken by an elder broker in the real estate business, at a workshop presented by Bill Broadbent, noted exchangor and educator. Seems like that was from another era, another life.

Today, as I exchange e-mails with workshop participants, they provide me with inspiration and tips on good sources for new material. I say new, but actually newness is in the eyes of the beholder.

This interesting tip came from Susan “B” Lawrence, Lens Lugger since the beginning.

She writes…

“Going in a slightly different direction….just a thought….What I personally find most helpful is analysis of my work or others’ work to understand why a photo works, why it arouses my emotions, why it is pleasing to my eye.  Why does one photo of a trillium make me oooh and aaah and another shot of the exact same trillium is a throw-away.  I’m always trying to figure out the difference between an okay photo and an exceptional one.  You’ve given us a lot of info along the way—an elk with one leg up in motion is more exciting than a standing elk; an isolated flower with background fog is more dramatic, backlit flowers or filtered light flowers make better images than flowers in full sun, etc. There’s artistic principles, a  “why” behind each of your hints .  So, my thought is:  A combination of “how I did it” and “why it works” (vs. why I picked a particular scene or subject).  Or maybe “how I did it” and  and “why I like it”. 
It occurs to me as I am writing this that what I am describing is a critique format that I am familiar with from traditional art classes—and from a photography book a friend gave me: Masterclass in Photography by Michael & Julien Busselle—a husband-wife pair of world-class photographers who critique a couple hundred photos based on composition, lighting, color and design, placement within the frame, choice of format, perspective, shapes/lines/texture, etc.  All the artistic stuff with no info on f stops or camera brands or lens.”
So, I thank Susan for her nice remarks; but, also for her tip on the Masterclass in Photography book. My copy has just arrived from Amazon, not only a $$ bargain but, so far worth much, much more – the two authors playing off each other – a grand approach with lively ideas. Recommended for your personal library.
And one part of the first few pages caused me to re think a situation I recently had while on a shoot with others. We were hunting for Buffalo, a herd formed here in the mountain of Western North Carolina. No Buffalo but, we did bump into a neat display of wildflowers along the roads edge. Yes, I am an advocate of grabbing shots of what catches the eye, then looking for other approaches to show them at their best. One particular group of Fire Pink seemed to shout – “Here I am, Take me Take Me!!!” Obliged, I pursued them.
And while I concentrated on paring the red with the green foliage, I recalled a discussion we had about personality in our work – communicating with light, I worked even more diliginty. One in particular kept catching my eye. At the time I am not sure if I realized it, but I took a closer look back at the studio.
Fire Pink amongst the buds
Fire Pink amongst the buds
   I liked this fire pink and was pleased with the composition and being able to somewhat isolate
   the flower from the mess of underbrush. Then I spied the image that must have
   grabbed my attention … Look below.
“Take me! Here I am…”
“Take me! Here I am…”
  He looks like he could dance out of the frame.
  To me, this guy oozes with personality. Maybe the composition isn’t as clean, but you decide.
  Which one speaks to you?

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