Lately, I’ve been watching Frans Lanting’s CreativeLive class The Art of Seeing: Macro Techniques for Flowers and Plants. Seeing him work is a helpful way to expand my perspectives and ability to see everyday life in different ways. Frans shares that photographing a subject can take different forms: Finding, Influencing, and Creating. This is my interpretation of his idea.
Finding a subjecting, isn’t just standing with your camera and photographing what what is in front of you; its creating the best conditions to capture the essence of the subject. It involves using the foundations of good photography technique: light, subject, background, and gesture/moment. In the image below, I captured this fireweed right before sunset when the background was colorful. I positioned myself low to help reduce the number of conflicting subjects in the background and to place the colorful parts of the flowers against the colorful sky. I increased my ISO to help combat my movement and the movement of the flowers in the wind.
And then my friend Mark showed me there was something more, something that didn’t just technically capture what I saw, but helped me create something more. And while I didn’t lay low like Mark did in the image below, I did sit in his spot (thank you Mark) and made an image of the flower curling up toward the sky. There was more manipulation in composing this image. Another way you can influence a subject is with a light modifier to shape or diffuse the light.
I interpret the creating phase to embody post-processing techniques to create something you would not see in the natural world. One of my favorite creative techniques is texturing. I don’t do it often, it takes a lot of trial and error to achieve the look you have in your mind. Sometimes I lose patience and get frustrated, but I do find it a good way to challenge myself, and get out of my rut.