Look. See. Imagine. Create. The Mission San Francisco Solano


Mary and I were in Sonoma with some friends to taste wine and we made some time to photograph the mission in Sonoma and some other fun stuff.  It was a terribly overcast and cold day.  These were not ideal shooting conditions, but we can’t chose the weather conditions.  We have to adjust to them.  Here is what I saw and did.

The Mission San Francisco Solano is located near the town square in downtown Sonoma.  After photographing the inside, Mary and I proceeded to the courtyard.  The courtyard was very plain; the light was flat and gray; and the sky dark and overcast.  We both knew that whatever we shot, we would convert to black and white.

As Mary shot some of the windows and doors, I looked up to see this.

I knew there was a good photograph somewhere in here.  But I did not just go for the obvious answer – I explored several options.  I had already heuristically come up with the answer, but I wanted to make sure I did not jump to conclusions and maintained the discipline to try more than one composition.  So here they are.

I tried portrait orientation and I liked the window, but the bottom and center were distracting
I moved the cross to the top right power spot, but the photo got worse
Now, we were making progress. However, the long line on the left and the blank sky, called for another composition.

LOOK – was standing in the middle of the courtyard and looking around in a 360 degree manner to find something to shoot.  SEE – was finding the cross and the interesting corner below it.  IMAGINE – was exploring all of the possibilities and imagining the scene in black and white.  CREATE – was taking all of the choices in the field and creating the final best print.

This composition put the cross in the best spot; used the roof line as a Z; and provided enough sky to bring in some texture.

To see more of our photos, please go to www.pamphotograhy.com.

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