On a beautiful spring morning, I chose to take a picture of the flawless, perfect blue sky overhead to use in my blog. There was not a single wisp of cloud, not the hint of a contrail, not even a bird to spoil the perfect blueness. So I pointed the camera straight up and took a picture of infinity.
The resulting photograph raised some questions about the pursuit of perfection. There was a technical issue, as the automatic focus of the camera had nothing to work on, and so the camera didn’t want to shoot. I was in a hurry, so I took the easy way out and included a piece of roof in the picture, which I later cropped out, otherwise I would have needed to resort to full manual mode.
There were even bigger aesthetic issues with the picture.
The perfect blueness was almost unrecognizable as sky, and so the photograph was less impressive as a whole than it would have been with a flaw to act as a feature: a single bird or a picturesque cloud would have provided focus (both for the camera, and for the eye).
Without a scaleable feature, the photograph failed to capture the impression of a huge blue expanse. In the same way that, when viewing a photograph of an exotic fish in an underwater setting, you have no idea of its size without having something to compare it with (such as a diver’s hand), the sky in itself could just be a rectangle of photo-edited blue.
Now, my photograph served its purpose well enough, as it was the illustration for a blog rather than needing any deeper artistic quality. However, it reminded me of points that all those beginning serious photography need to remember.
Of course, you take each photograph with the intention of creating as good a photograph as you can, adjusting the settings on the camera appropriately for the subject, composing the picture to capture the details or atmosphere that you are aiming for. However, it is essential to photograph the same subject from different viewpoints, with different settings, to give yourself a range of images to work with. It is only when you view the images that you can identify the ones that work best. They will probably need minor editing, such as cropping or increased saturation to achieve a result that you are happy with, but remember that your work as a photographer only begins with planning the shot.
Don’t immediately dismiss those images that seem flawed. They are worth looking at more closely, as there is often a worthwhile image waiting to be discovered within.
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