Opportunity in “Meh”: Change Your Eye-Set
It wasn’t an incredible day at the beach, photography-wise. No epic skies prepping for an eye-popping sunset, no late-day golden filtered light turning everything in sight to spun gold. No, it was just a nice fresh day at the beach. And I was in the mood to photograph.
So I had to change my eye-set. Like a mindset shift for my eyeballs. I started thinking depth of field, movement, cool rocks, green seaweedy/algae stuff growing on said cool rocks… and the locals. I always call the sea gulls and whatever critters live, work and play in an area “the locals”.
A Little Lens Chat
So I pulled out my trusty 70-300 f/4-5.6 lens. I switched to it awhile back, from my 70-200 IS f/2.8 II.
BLASHPEMY!! I hear you cry. Not so! OK, truthfully, I did cheat a little… since I gave/lent the 70-200 f2.8 to my husband after I made him sell his 70-200 f/4. Now “The Beast” (as I fondly call it) is in good hands – and I can grab it anytime I need to. But truthfully… I haven’t really needed to. The 70-300 does just fine for most everything I want – and I love the reach! It’s lighter – no more tendonitis in my elbow – and marvelously more compact for travel.
In fact, this day on the beach a surfer espied my handy “lesser” lens and came over to check it out. He ooo’d and aaahhh’d over it as a FAB lens for travel surfing. I heartily agreed! Even though I’ve never gone travel surfing before and have to plans to in the future. Heh.
Vision & Settings
But back to this photo.
I saw the locals sunbathing on the rocks with all that greens algae/seaweed stuff and those little reflecting pools and thought… There it is! If that’s the only image I manage to walk away with today, I am complete! I loved the composition, the colors, textures and movement. I stood for a moment, letting it all soak in.
I also knew that when I got closer, they’d fly. So I got ready… f/5.6, ISO 800, took a couple of test shots from a little ways back to make sure those settings would do the job I had in mind… then moved in for the BOO!
OK, I didn’t really go “Boo!”… but once my space sufficiently pressed on their space… away they flew! I was ready – and snip-snap, captured the moment.
It all happened exactly as I’d hoped… there was the birds’ movement set against that of the water’s. Some sharply in focus, some blurred, again conveying movement. The rocks stayed still (always a good thing in California), little pools of water stood by, pooling. Background went somewhat blurred with the shallow depth of field… with only parts of the image in complete focus. I just loved the moment. It was so “the moment”, so unrepeatable, so dynamic and vibrant. So unlike the kinds of big, heroic landscapes I so often photograph.
I found it refreshing… enjoyed “seeing” it ahead of time, then quickly choosing settings that allowed me to interpret the scene the way I imagined it.
My advice? Vision first, settings second. What’s the story – what do you want to convey? What will absolutely convey YOUR point of view and experience of this moment in a truly unique way?
Only once you know that should you approach settings, composition, lens and so that they support the original, timeless, intensely personal story that only you can tell.