Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Comfort Zone

We all have that comfort zone that we live in 95% of the time. We are happy there and some people have even told me that it's "OK cause everyone there knows them". We all know change can be hard and in fact human nature is to resist change. That holds true in most everything we do including our photography.

If you like to take landscape photos you might not want to do portraits or still life. Maybe you like to take pictures of family and friends but would never do any urban street photography. Whatever your niche, when given the chance, that is what you most likely will find yourself doing.

I, of course, am the same way. There are certain subjects that I just don't photograph. This year I decided that I would make an effort to try to expand my photography, if just for a fleeting moment. It just so happens that one of the forums I am on has a monthly challenge. No prizes, just bragging rights for the month. So far this year they have been looking for subjects that I just don't or haven't done. I have attempted every one of them so far and am happy to say that I was among the chosen on the last one.

The challenge was food, something I have not tried since High School and the use of film. Needless to say that most of what I had learned back then was filed where my mind could not seem to retrieve it. After playing around with different things this is what I came up with.

It may not be the greatest shot and I do not think that it will end up on the pages of any cookbook, but I likes what I was able to produce and so did some other folks.

The moral of this one is simple. Make a promise to yourself to challenge your photographic "Comfort Zone" this year. Whatever it is I promise that you will be glad you did.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I was reminded today by a friend that our photographs can, and do, evoke emotions in our viewers. Her comments struck a chord with me and brought me back to a blog post I read recently. The blog discussed the fact that we, as photographers, are often too concerned about having our work accepted by other photographers. We are all looking for the critique from our peers and for the win in the local photo club contest that validates what we are doing. We follow all the rules of composition we have learned and concern ourselves with the perfect exposure and proper depth of field. But when we take that picture do we really think about the effect it will have on all the viewers we are really trying to reach?

Now that I posed the question I guess that the readers of this are looking for me to provide the answer. If it were only that easy. You see, if I took the picture than it must have been an emotion within me that caused that to happen. Did it make me feel sad, happy, joyful, angry? And is it something that my viewer would also see? Or was it  gee, my photography friends should like this one. And if I don’t feel that instant emotion should I even bother taking the shot? Maybe I don’t feel great about it until I get home and see the picture on the computer screen. Then I hear that little inner voice say WOW, that’s a good one. That makes me feel something. So what does all this really mean?

Let’s go back to my original statement. From time to time I send out pictures to different friends just wishing them a good day. That is what I did this morning with this picture. I might even get back the old “nice picture” comment or even “I wish I could do that”.

Today one of those responses was a little different “… you should know that at this very moment, for no apparent reason I needed a gift. I am pretty sure it’s my thyroid not functioning properly. Most times it really does do what it needs to..but every now and again, I get sad. Picture that… me? Sad?.. and yet, it’s true. So I say a prayer to God to send me a sign, to move forward. When I opened my eyes,..your email was there… Angels. The people God places in our lives at times when we need them the most. Thank you for being my angel today.....

Was that a response I was looking for or even had thought about? I think not. But it was a reminder that a photograph can indeed garner an emotional response from the viewer. Not always because it is technically correct but because it was the right picture for the right person at the right time.