Assignment #5 : Always Use A Tripod…

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Beyond the certainty to get a sharp and crisp image, using a tripod is an efficient creativity catalyst. I explain : When composing an image, you’ll have to isolate a part of the scenery and force it to inhabit your viewfinder. Remodeling the world is not an easy task ! I’m sure you have already experiment this exercise, and I’m ready to bet, as I do, you stop breathing for a while… time to find the right angle, the right height, the right diagonal and so on… When one of these elements fits right, then it’s another one which  goes wrong… Then you dump your lungs full of bad air and re-insufflate fresh one, lock your inspiration and deep again trying to adjust all the elements in the frame… The problem is, in between, you have moved, the position can be very uncomfortable, unsteady and toilsome… When you think you’ve got it, you press the shutter release in a hurry to be sure you captured the right precise composition… But have you read carefully your viewfinder with serenity ? Certainly not !!

Using a tripod reassure the whole process ! Make your composition, adjust each dimension precisely using the multi-axis handles you have on your tripod head. Evaluate each micro movement you apply. Breathe !… Take a step backward… Breathe again… Get immersed in your recomposed scene… Question yourself on what’s the matter, The reason why, the need for each and every element you’ve included in the composition… Make two, three four steps, leaving all the hardware in place… refresh your mind, shout away with loud music in your ears, let’s your emotion invade your head and your heart, forget everything else but the image you’re making… Be by yourself, ignore the others.. ( that’s why you should be alone when making photographs… ) feel free to chide loudly if you don’t find THE image you want, or to bellow with no restraint if you’ve got it.. That’s Photography inebriation !… That is our pleasure, the one we, and we only, the Photographers…  know…

Last but not least, using a tripod is a technical warranty ! Press the shutter release then check your image ! Sure, the camera monitor is not a faithful proof of what you’ve done.. it’s an interpreted jpeg amputated of a huge quantity of data.. but say, you’ve got an idea ! The key element is the histogram ! Is it OK ? did I clipped ? What about highlights ? Where are my shadows ? Is the range covered ? do I have to HDR ? Yes ? No problem ! My framing stays unchanged, let’s do it again !… And what if trying a long exposure for a blurring effect on waves ? Just adjust a neutral density on the lens and trigger it again ! Not long enough ? Ok try it with one more stop … As you see, using a tripod is a multi win practice… Think of it !

Tools and Techniques….

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Click on the image to enlarge it…

We have to recognize that, in any given situation, there can be many ways to see the Landscape, and while sifting this information through our minds, we must decide on a plan of action to best portray our impression, its effect on us, the prevalent mood we are experiencing. A single word can sometimes describe what we are seeing, though we may neglect to identify it. Soft, tenacious, isolated, nostalgic, expansive, peaceful, rhythmic, pristine, powerful, diminutive, minimalist, triumphant, joyous, delicate, oneiric and challenged are just a few. Our inner conversation ensues : I recognize these visual qualities, and sensing this theme, mood or impression, will select and emphasize it with my photographic choices in terms of technical process  Shutterspeed, Aperture, Deth of Field , ISO choice etc..

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Vision & Style…

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We all have a very personal way to perceive what surround us and, as Photographers, we all have a specific message to transmit using a very personal set of « words », a unique palette of terms that build our style. Photography is the way I have chosen to express my view. Amateur or professional, how do we « speak » in a way that is unique to us ? It’s a challenge to define what makes one Photographer’s work stand out from another’s. It’s quite difficult to describe what makes our images unique.. what it is that makes our photographs better than our earlier images keeping our values, our style, our unique DNA in our work ? As a Photographer, my goal is to continue to grow creatively and to express myself even better.

It’s the main issue : Does our Vision implies our Style, I mean, is our Style a simple expression of our Vision OR, does our Style, impact the way we perceive our surroundings : our Vision ? I think my Vision is what I show in my pictures. I admit I have to favor my perception via post-production but I always preview the image when releasing the shutter. I never work my images at random, the edit phase is always in conformity with a pre-thought design. I fight against these software packages for altering images through pre-defined recipes if they are used without a plan, without a Vision ! Creativity is not bundled in boxes you can buy in a store.

We have to be careful not to be prisoner of our own style. I think that striving for a particular style could limit creativity by inhibiting an open mind, by rejecting new approaches. Style is an outcome not a goal in itself.

Bords de Loire…

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I keep on thinking Photographers have to be technically proficient even if editing softwares can help in some ways  ! Now that most Photographers shoot in digital, it’s much easier to fake the technical side. But you either have the ability to compose great images or you don’t ! Editing Softwares can enhance a good image but it won’t create one. Once more, what makes the difference is the « guts » you have input in your capture, the message you have infused by way of your composition and, for sure, your ability to master the basic parameters : Aperture / Shutter Speed / DOF & ISO !

I’m very keen on saying being a Photographer is not just about taking the image correctly, technically speaking : You have to possess a vision, a strong sensibility and a disruptive manner to express it !

Make Truth Your Own Truth…


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Let’s be cautious ! Whilst the Camera cannot lie, « Tt  cannot help being selective ! »  No matter how objective the image appears to be we are always as selective with our interpretations of photographs as we are with the choice of view. When I made this image, I had in mind to convey this dreamy mood as a stylistic conceit. A photograph is – in the sense that « we believe in it« , that we « have faith in it » – little different from direct perception of reality through our own eyes. « 

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Workshop Special Landscape

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Developing your own Point Of View

Redefining what « Landscape Photography » stands for is a valuable exercice. Sometimes, it’s more than helpful, for photographers, to stop and think for two minutes what Photography is all about. It’s a good idea to rebuild what is supposed to be admit and shared by everybody as a definitive and immovable truth.

Pre-digested creative approaches are our worst ennemies. For sure, these preconceptions of the « Best Supposed Way to See This Type Of Landscape » are not there at random ! They certainly are the ones most appreciated by the vast majority of us… But does this means there is no other way to see what is in front of your lenses ? And… Are we supposed to serve this this « vast majority ? »…

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