Where meaning & editing meet…

Personally, I tend to think about the meeting point between meaning & editing or, in simpler terms, vision & refining quite a bit, or at least I should. Out of all the things that frustrate me and cause me to go nuts, it’s this thing that drives me nuts every time because I never quite now if I’m going to be able to put up or shut up. And, to be honest, I’d rather put up than shut up, especially when it comes to getting it right when I match my vision to my refining in photography. Most of the time I don’t even come close and that’s what really gets me frustrated…Much more than it should.

- Q E Snow -
– Q E Snow –
- Q E Pond -
– Q E Pond –

These photographs have been festering for some time in my photography library for this year; they’re from at least a month ago and I haven’t touched the first one up for at least three & a half weeks and the one with the frozen pond is a recent edit, and a quick one at that, but that doesn’t mean I did it half way…I just used what I saw in the other edits I did on the photographs from that place and translated it onto this one. Personally, I hate photographs that have a strong blueish tint to the white balance because when I do get that, it looks hazy & weak to me; this makes winter photography a bit trickier than it should for me. I’ll be the first to admit that there’s some restrictions I place on myself I should be smashing down because all they do is frustrate me, and my preference for white balance should be one of them I should at least calm down so that it comes more in line with what I see in a scene.

How do I do that? I’m lost at times about how to do just that, but I’ll keep working at it, trying to get my brain to cooperate with my vision and then, just maybe then, I won’t get so darn frustrated when things don’t turn out. Like I’ve probably said so many times before, it’s a work in progress and something I should keep working at every time. So until I get it right, which I doubt it will ever happen, I’ll keep searching for where vision & refining meet.

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On anger…

When it comes to making a mistake and then getting ticked at it, often times saying, “what the heck” or swearing, we sell ourselves short. Why? Because we immediately focus on how messed up the situation is instead of grunting & then learning from it again. When we think about it carefully, we’re not trying to go for the most times our speech has to be bleeped out per minute, but we’re trying to get something done right.

Picture it this way: you’re photographing a bunch of animals and you screw up a shot so badly you curse out loud a few times and there’s a family with young children nearby. Now, I may be a bit old-fashioned, but using that kind of language is just plain stupid because those children are going to go home and, being their naturally curious selves, are either going to ask what that word meant, or start using it a bunch of times without thinking too much of it. There’s nothing wrong with blowing off a little steam, just not when it gets to the point that it controls you and ruins the day, not just for you, but for others as well; the key is to figure out what is causing it and then learn from it…Something I readily admit that I really suck at. Blowing it off verbally is usually a sign that we’ve lost it; muttering under our breath too loudly is definitely a sure sign of this, and, if we’re out photographing wildlife, it often disturbs the animals around us and can wreck the scene in front of us.

I literally mean this: no matter how frustrated, pissed, or angry we get, we’re going to be affecting how we are in the scene around us. Why not make a positive effect instead of a negative one? This is a point I often lose out on, over and over and over, and sometimes I wonder if my brain ceases to remember it even after I constantly repeat it to myself. Why not just use anger to make you think better the next time? Slow down, take a breath, grunt, then try again…something I’ve done before and I’d have to say works. Then we just might get a shot that works and might just say something we want it to say…Or your subject looks at you funny, but then you still have a shot.

-Small Bird-
-Small Bird-

A chance…

Sometimes we miss the chance at a shot we try so hard to get and fall flat on our faces, wondering & asking why…Believe me, I’ve been there & done that. There’s always another chance at a shot that will be just as good if not better, and if not, then maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t meant to be; it’s something I’ve struggled with for what seems like ages. The thing is, I’ve learned, even though I still forget it quite a bit, that sometimes telling the mind to shut up & trudge along is the better thing to do, in photography…And sometimes in life itself.

Now on to a more cheerful mood…Remember the time you first got the shot that amazed you and made you want to continue photography no matter what? That was the perfect, meant-to-be shot that sometimes, even just recalling it, can bring a smile into even the lightless time. If you really think about it, it wasn’t just a chance, it was an opportunity handed to you/I and we took it, giving us that one shot of encouragement we needed. Most of the time, we end up too busy pushing ourselves to grab that perfect shot that we can just as easily miss the right shot; I know because I’ve been there way too many times to count.

UBC 2036 Main Mall

Taking the chance to get out there to find that shot is part of the fun because, like I’ve said before, it can open our eyes to different possibilities. From working at angles that we’re not used to working at to zooming in to a level of detail we’ve never had before, taking that chance is all about expanding horizons. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t; like on a recent trek out to the nearby university where I was working with a lens that I hadn’t used more than once before, trying to get a shot that I didn’t have a clue how to get. It took some trying, but some shots did turn out and, even with some chromatic aberration around some of the edges on one or two of them, the photographs turned out well. The above photograph was one of the vast majority that didn’t have chromatic aberration and it turned out good; the lines lead through the image while the bushes stop the viewer from following it too far and/or at a pace that would loose the viewer’s attention. So take that chance and you just might be surprised!

For the love of…

Frustration is probably the biggest obstacle to getting the shot you/I would want to get, but, taking a step back, it can also be the best thing in the end. It’s kind of like what Friedrich Nietzsche said: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Although Nietzsche (the precursor to the Nazis in some ways…in my opinion) was wrong about a great many things, including his adoption of nihilism among other things, sometimes you have to stop and think about something that doesn’t quite ‘kill’ the mood; it could be there to redirect the mood. The obstacle that is effectively ‘killing’ the shot can cause you/I to quickly rethink our approach to the shot.

Unpacking this idea further, think of it this way: a certain object/setting is causing the shot to turn out looking like crap, but changing the settings, or even just the stance and/or point of view can sometimes bring it into a whole new light. In a way, just having the obstacle in the first place makes you/I change the way we look at the shot and, in doing so, making us compose a potentially better shot than what would have happened in the first place. The problem with the obstacle is that it can also have the possibility of making us completely walk away from the shot to begin with; it’s like the so-called friend who says do this because he does it & it makes him better, so you’ll be better when in fact he, or she, is doing the exact opposite, making an obstacle for you that is taking you away from doing what you might have been meant to overcome. Forget the completely stupid obstacle in front of you and shoot right past/through it…Like in the photograph below.

Green Bird

Forget those that constantly talk behind your back and do nothing but knock you down; they just want to be celebrities with people flocking around them while they constantly put you down, placing obstacles in your path. Those obstacles, be them manmade or otherwise, are sometimes there to be overcome and it’s not like we can get over them on our own strength, but with help from others on the outside. Sorry for the rant, probably my most repeated one, but I had to let it out again.