straight down the line

This Button, Right?

Before reading anything about photography and ways to improve my own, I believe myself to be a mediocre photographer. I know how to hold a camera steady, and usually take three to four photos per shoot, in order to have a selection to pick “the best” from. I like to focus on one object or person, thinking this
should capture that image in as-close-to-perfect-as-possible positioning. My mindset is essentially, “Take a picture of that thing, just so you can look
back at it at a later time.” I focused on “that thing”, not the image as a whole. The background needs to be unobtrusive to my subject, which needs to be
in the center of the picture or neatly in a corner. I’m a quasi-perfectionist, so imperfection is just that–not perfect, and therefore, not very good.

I’ll use an example: I see a groundhog outside. I’ll whip out my phone and make some noise so he peeks at me, and take a few snapshots. Then, I’ll pick
whichever photo seems to have him looking at me most directly. If there is something happening in the background, distracting from the groundhog or
actually distracting the groundhog, I will immediately pass over it–that is no longer a picture of the groundhog, to me.

I guess I think pictures need only capture one thing at a time. It makes for easy organization: “Groundhog.jpeg” inside my “Animals” folder.

I think my focus should always be in the foreground, and the background can help a bit, but if the background distracts from the object of my attention, that’s what Zoom is for, right?

After reading about photography, I realize that there is far, far more to photography than I expected, but I’ll stop after two related points that I feel
will really have an impact on my future stills. I learned that the inconsistencies make a photo less likely to reproduce, and therefore far more
unique. Faces of anguish or joy immediately come to mind to the majority of people, but the moments just before and just after those same feelings can
evoke even more emotion, like the audience is somehow along for the ride. That smile on your face when you see someone you love can convey a hefty emotion, but what about that glint in your eye when you hear a loved one call out for you, when the corners of your eyes start to crinkle and lips start to thin-out?

Another important thing I learned was about changing the height from which pictures are taken. Everyone know’s that photographer squat, but I never
really thought it was practical in any way, I legitimately thought 1) photographers were tired of standing around–they’re always standing around to
take pictures, so maybe their knees need a break? 2) it was more of a “power stance” so photographers could claim a personal area, essentially, and be less
likely to be knocked over (ie blurry photos) 3) there wasn’t much space to work with if there are three photographers standing shoulder to shoulder, each
trying to point their cameras in the same direction. I didn’t really connect the idea of irreproducibility with changing height until I began this
paragraph, to be completely honest, but there’s definitely a relationship.

So, those are the two things I hope to focus on most this week!

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