Learn how easy it is to apply Lightroom’s selective adjustments including color temperature, exposure, sharpening, noise reduction and more using the new Radial Filter tool.

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Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

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Antarctica III, The Southern Ocean, Antarctica, 2005 

I’d been scanning the iceberg struck horizon for hours when suddenly the clouds grew thin enough to let the sun through for a brief moment. The sun and the light it cast on the surface of the water completed the picture. It was there only for a moment. And then it was gone.

There are so many moments like this in life. In these times, there’s a narrow window of opportunity and only those who stay alert recognize them and are able to take full advantage of them. Of course it helps to have the right tools for the job and solid training, good instincts, and fast reflexes. But none of these will do you any good if you aren’t aware enough to recognize the many opportunities before you.

Photography (and its extension in motion pictures), relies on the power of the moment more than any other medium. Sure music, dance, and theater also require precise timing, but the moments they present can be created and recreated. You can practice until you get the moment right. But with the historical photographic moment, you get one chance and then it’s gone.

To be sure, not all moments are equally fleeting. Some moments last longer than others. And certain events do reoccur more than once and even recur repeatedly. Sometimes you do get more than one chance. Sometimes you don’t. It helps to know how long a window of opportunity you have and if you’ll get another chance. When you do have more than one chance, depending on how much time you have between each recurring event, you may find it time well spent to observe carefully on your first opportunity before acting on your next opportunity. This is perhaps the best preparation of all. When you won’t have another opportunity, you need to think fast and when you don’t have time for that you need to trust your instincts. No matter how many opportunities you have, to succeed you need to stay alert.

Maintenance is key. It’s harder to stay alert if you don’t take care of yourself. Sleep, diet, and exercise all contribute to your being. (And never underestimate the power of motivation.) Start with the basics, but don’t stop there.

Just as you can practice to hone your reflexes, there are things you can do to develop your awareness, such as studies and meditations – and there are many ways to do both (too many to mention here). You can learn to bring yourself into heightened states awareness more consistently, quickly and intensely. This too requires practice. It’s time well spent. Like anything, the more you do it, the better you get at it – especially if you stay alert while you do it.

Questions

What can you do to increase your sensitivity?

What can you do to increase your understanding?

What can you do to increase your emotional responses?

What can you do to increase your ability to sustain your awareness for longer periods of time?

Find out more about this image here. 

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Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.

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Here’s a selection of quotes by phot0grapher William Eggleston.

“I am at war with the obvious.” – William Eggelston

“You can take a good picture of anything. A bad one, too.” – William Eggelston

“I had this notion of what I called a democratic way of looking around, that nothing was more or less important.” – William Eggelston

“It quickly came to be that I grew interested in photographing whatever was there wherever I happened to be. For any reason.” – William Eggelston

” Whatever it is about pictures, photographs, it’s just about impossible to follow up with words. They don’t have anything to do with each other.” – William Eggelston

“I want to make a picture that could stand on its own, regardless of what it was a picture of. I’ve never been a bit interested in the fact that this was a picture of a blues musician or a street corner or something. ” – William Eggelston

“I only ever take one picture of one thing. Literally. Never two. So then that picture is taken and then the next one is waiting somewhere else.” – William Eggelston

“I don’t have a burning desire to go out and document anything. It just happens when it happens. It’s not a conscious effort, nor is it a struggle. Wouldn’t do it if it was. The idea of the suffering artist has never appealed to me. Being here is suffering enough.” – William Eggelston

“There is no particular reason to search for meaning.” – William Eggelston

“A picture is what it is and I’ve never noticed that it helps to talk about them, or answer specific questions about them, much less volunteer information in words. It wouldn’t make any sense to explain them. Kind of diminishes them. People always want to know when something was taken, where it was taken, and, God knows, why it was taken. It gets really ridiculous. I mean, they’re right there, whatever they are.” – William Eggelston

“I never know beforehand. Until I see it. It just happens all at once. I take a picture very quickly and instantly forget about it.” – William Eggelston

” I don’t really look at other people’s photographs at all. It takes enough time to look at my own.” – William Eggelston

” I don’t have favorites. I look at pictures democratically. To me they are all equal. ” – William Eggelston

” I just wait until [my subject] appears, which is often where I happen to be. Might be something right across the street. Might be something on down the road. And I’m usually very pleased when I get the image back. It’s usually exactly what I saw. I don’t have any favorites. Every picture is equal but different.” – William Eggelston

“I am afraid that there are more people than I can imagine who can go no further than appreciating a picture that is a rectangle with an object in the middle of it, which they can identify. ” – William Eggelston

“I’ve always assumed that the abstract qualities of [my] photographs are obvious. For instance, I can turn them upside down and they’re still interesting to me as pictures. If you turn a picture that’s not well organized upside down, it won’t work.” – William Eggelston

“Whether a photo or music, or a drawing or anything else I might do—it’s ultimately all an abstraction of my peculiar experience.” – William Eggelston

“You become technically proficient whether you want to or not, the more you take pictures.” – William Eggelston

“Photography just gets us out of the house.” – William Eggelston

Read more Photographer’s Quotes here.

This video offers many insights into and from one of the most influential color photographers of our times.

View more Videos On Photographers here.

Read conversations with photographers here.

Discover how to automatically fix common problems such as tilted horizons as well as converging verticals in buildings using Lightroom’s Upright controls for perspective correction.

View more Lightroom Videos here.

WhyMakePrints

Suffusion XV, Skogafoss, Iceland, 2012

To find what I was looking for, it took three visits to this waterfall.

On the first visit, I made conventional postcards surveying the site with a curious eye; cliffs, grass, moss, waterfall, pool, river, rock, vapor, rainbow, sun, clouds, rain, tourists, horses. The images I made were competent – and nothing more.

On the second visit, I identified my primary focus – the fast-moving complex patterns the water made as it fell in waves through the air. Images that isolated these patterns contained a number of qualities that I was excited about, both something related to what I had been developing in other images and something new. I had found what I was looking for. But, when I evaluated the images I made and developed the material further (enhancing the patterns by combining them and adding new elements) it became clear that I needed more material to make a complete statement. During development, I made notes and sketches to chart my progress and refine my ideas.

On the third visit, I walked up to the waterfall and stood in front of it silently watching for new patterns and making exposures for the better part of an hour. I was thrilled to be immersed in a magical moment, completely focused, and undisturbed. At the end of this session my good friend and colleague Arthur Meyerson asked, “Did you get anything?” “Yes,” I responded, “I got a body of work.”

With so many wonderful possibilities out there, why would you return to the same well more than once? Let me count the reasons.

1       You’ll get to spend more time with your favorite people, places or things.

Passion energizes.

2       You’ll have an opportunity to make the images that almost worked or that you missed.

Make a list to learn from your mistakes and create a working plan.

3       You’ll have an opportunity to improve your images.

Practice makes perfect.

4       You’ll learn more about a place.

By increasing your understanding of the places you photograph your photographs will become more interesting.

5       You’ll see changes in the place.

Time reveals new things, changing subjects and changing us.

6       You’ll see new things.

Having first found the images that come to you naturally, you’ll later find yourself challenged to look for other kinds of images, which will stimulate your creativity and increase your visual versatility.

7       You’ll learn more about yourself.

You’ll be called to identify your habits, changes, strengths and weaknesses, hopes and purpose.

Just because we see new things doesn’t mean we will see in new ways. In fact, it’s often during times when we are engaged by a great deal of new information that we fall back on our habits. When we see the same things again we are challenged to see in new ways and/or deepen the ways we see them.

Questions 

What things would be most valuable for you to revisit?

How many new ways can you imagine approaching a subject?

What do you hope to accomplish when you revisit them?

What can you learn about yourself when you return – preferences, tendencies, habits, core strengths, areas for improvement, etc?

Find out more about this image here.

View more related images here.

Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.


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