Sunday, January 8, 2012

Expanding Your Vision (a photography lesson)

So, one of my resolutions (or goals/to-do items/whatever you wanna call it) was to finally read & finish Bryan Peterson's book, "Learning to See Creatively". It was recommended to me by my friend, Laura, & I bought it way back then. Only... like so many other books of mine that aren't fiction... I never got around to reading it. I decided 2012 will be the year i read it - along with several other books I haven't gotten around to reading yet. :)
I got a Canon Rebel a year ago & have just started learning to shoot in Manual instead of Auto. (I know. Took me long enough.) I love it. But you have to keep on practicing to get better. I have no dreams of being some famous photographer, but I really want to be able to take great pictures. That's all. And I'm not there yet.

Yesterday I read the intro & the first part of Chapter 1. I wanted to share the first exercise with you. Now,  you may just scroll down & see nothing but a bunch of trees. And that's okay. But isn't it a fabulous tree?! I could totally climb up there & read a book. :) 

The first chapter of the book is called "Expanding Your Vision". Peterson talks about how, as a photographer, you can get so much more than just pictures of what you, as a human with a certain view, can see. You can get on your knees, you can get on your belly. You can climb a tree or a tall building. You can get just about anywhere to get a picture from the view of the bird or squirrel. Or from a small child.His goal is for you to see all the different views you can get just by getting closer & closer to your subject, and cutting out all the surrounding "stuff".
First, you are supposed to go to the local park or your backyard & choose a subject. It can be a tree, a swing, your husband, or a friend - whatever. I went to City Park at LSU. I was planning to go to the LSU lakes but wasn't sure what i'd find that wouldn't require me to walk in the water (you'll understand when you read the exercise!). As it happens, I had to pee really bad (tmi), so i went to use the restrooms at LSU's City Park, just down the road from the lakes. And then I saw the tree, an amazing one we had taken some pictures by for our first year anniversary pics. Plus, though the playground & dogpark were FULL of people (& dogs - haha), for the most part, there was nobody around this tree. 

For this exercise, Peterson wants you to expand your vision. He says to set your focal length to 35mm & make it a point NOT to change this during the entire exercise. From whatever distance necessary to do so, make sure your subject falls in the middle of the frame, allowing for a lot of "empty space" above, below & to both sides. Take a picture then walk forward five steps & take another one. All the way until you are right up next to your subject. You are supposed to do it again on your knees & again on your belly. 

Keep in mind that my first pic I am at the top of a hill. I know it doesn't look like it, but each step I take is going downhill, not straight towards the tree. I didn't change my settings hardly at all, but the lighting changes a lot. I'm guessing because the sun was shining brightly & in some spots there were branches overhead & in others there weren't any. Also, all of these shots are SOOC (straight out of camera - not edited).
So here I am far away from that gorgeous oak tree. As you can see, it's surrounded by other tree branches, a road, the hill I'm standing on, etc.

5 steps closer...

Another 5 steps...

 Another 5...

5 more... (you're getting the picture, right?!)

I really like this one. I guess because I'm finally getting just the oak.

Here's where the shadows start getting all crazy. Haha.

 As I said, you were supposed to do it again on your knees & on your belly. I kinda cheated on this one b/c for one, it was really dirty!! And for two, people were watching! (I know. Bad reason!)
So i went about halfway back & sat on my bottom...

Went forward about 10 paces...

At the end, I was to go for it again on my belly. It was REALLY dirty, y'all. So i did it just right there really quick! I know. I suck at this! HAHA. (I think i was getting the point, though.)

Then, flip over & take a shot at the sky! 
Ahhhh. :) 

So it was fun! And this may be just the most boring post ever for y'all & that's okay. Just wanted to document it!

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