Just Shoot It!
How do you visualize and compose that great shot? I have to admit this is an area in which I am constantly struggling. I have had numerous shoots where I have spent a good 10-15 minutes trying to compose that perfect shot. I go through my rules of composition and frame the image and role off several exposures refining the composition as I go along. Even after this carefully thought out process, I often find nothing special once I review the shots from the day.
Recently, I found myself reflecting on the progression of my work over the past year or so and was looking at some of my favorite images and had an epiphany of sorts. I was looking at this shot of Jenny Lake at the base of the Grand Teton mountains. My fellow Shutterhog, Neal and I had been out shooting since sunrise and were headed in for the day as the midday sun approached. We had spent so much time at our morning locations shooting, we were concerned we had missed a classic shot of the Tetons being reflected in Jenny Lake with the calm still water and golden tones of the sunrise.
We pulled into the location just to see what kind of light was still available and if there was anything worthy of shooting. I got out of the car, no tripod, no thoughts about composition, no super special location with a perfect view of the mountains. I literally walked up to the edge of where we parked, held the camera up and snapped a single exposure. That’s right one shot! I chimped it in the viewfinder, thought the light was still good and motioned to Neal that we were good to shoot. We proceeded to hike down a bit to a nice spot where we had a great view of the mountains and a nice full reflection of them in the water. We had a quick discussion about how to compose the perfect shot and continued to shoot for about a half hour. When I finally got a chance to review the hundred or so exposures I made, I came across that original, single shot I took and could not take my eyes off of it. I loved the color, the framing, and the unusual view point for the shot.
The lesson I learned here is to not over think the shot. I am finding that there is almost a Zen quality at times if you just let the energy flow on its own. Don’t be afraid to just hold the camera up and start shooting. Let the creative mojo flow and just see what happens. This is a bit of a new philosophy for me, but I am intrigued by the compelling images it has produced.