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The Mystery Lies Beneath The Surface

24 05 2012

Sometimes as I’m driving, something catches my eye. I stop and take a few snaps but it just isn’t what I thought it would be. One of the things I’ve learned through trial and error is that everything doesn’t naturally make a good picture. I’ve found out though, the worse that first picture is, the more I want to capture something closer to my vision.

Today I used something I haven’t used much since I started shootabout, my 17-35 lens. For those of you less in tune with how lenses are rated, this is basically a really wide lens. Wider lenses give a lot more distortion than a 50mm, one of my primary lenses for this blog. The reason for that is long and complicated but it basically deals with the perceived distance from the lens to the subject. If you’re using a wide angle lens, you’ll get much closer, as you get closer, the relative distance from you to the front of your subject vs the relative distance from you to the back of your subject is much larger than if you use a medium zoom lens. That’s why good portraits are shot with longer lenses. If the relative distance from you to the tip of your subjects nose is drastically closer than the relative distance from you to your subjects cheek, you can get a Pinocchio effect. If however you’re taking pictures of a building for instance, you can use this creatively.

That first shot didn’t turn out to be everything I hoped so I decided to try one from a bit closer focusing on one wall of the building. One of the most important things in photography, possibly the most important aside from light, is your perspective. Perspective is what makes you a photographer. Anyone can take a picture of anything. It’s how you take the picture that defines you. You won’t get it right the first time, don’t get discouraged, learn to move around and try a new angle to get what you want. Well, this still wasn’t quite doing it for me but I noticed something, there was a little gap between the wood door and the wall.

Turns out this old abandoned building has a torn up roof and a little forest growing inside. This I like. It’s a peek into a window to an entirely different side of this building. The building by itself is great but when you mix it with some mystery, then the picture starts communicating emotion. You see the door and the wall but you see something more lies within, something strange and unusual. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the door is stuck. I couldn’t see any more of what was inside this building. It’s a mystery. A world I may never get to explore, except with my imagination.

I hope you’re as curious as I am. Now that I have a taste of the mystery I may show back up with a ladder and try to get a few shots from above looking down. I suppose I should figure out who the building belongs to first though!

Stay tuned for more pictures tomorrow (hopefully.) I promise I’ll get a few more of those tutorials you keep asking about put together soon. Like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter if you want to keep up with what’s going on. Please comment, it’s the highlight of my day to read and respond to your feedback. If you think your followers would enjoy this or any other post on shootabout feel free to reblog me. Thanks for visiting and God Bless! -Arley

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39 responses

24 05 2012
kocart

Ancient buildings are my favorites. Especially with a bit of raggedy or absent roof. I found an old white-washed auto repair shop with no roof, but strangely, intact windows, in Idaho–the light effect was stunning. Nice work.

24 05 2012
96arley

Sounds like a really great find, maybe I’ll be able to talk this owner into letting me in for some more candid shots one day

24 05 2012
modernzenphotos

Thanks for sharing this info. I just started playing around more with my 17-40mm ultra-wide and this gives me a better understanding of how wide angle lens work. And welcome back, glad you started blogging again.

24 05 2012
96arley

Thanks, I can’t figure out why I didn’t bounce back into it sooner. Talking to all of you has been absolutely wonderful. I appreciate all the feedback!

24 05 2012
michellesmutterings

I agree the last one is my favorite too! Old buildings are so interesting.

24 05 2012
96arley

Thanks, couldn’t agree more!

24 05 2012
8teen39

One of the first articles I ever read concerning creative photography said you should never be satisfied with your first shot. Explore angles, the environment, etc. Yet I still seem to take the same old shots. Your “tutorial” and photos have, hopefully, made me see the light-so to speak. Thank you.

24 05 2012
96arley

I’m glad you got something out of it! That’s great advice, even I you’re happy with shot 1 working a scene or a subject a little longer can really stretch yourself and your style. Thanks for visiting!

25 05 2012
Emilio

Just be careful of old buildings – things tend to be rotten and you don’t want to fall thru the roof – but i understand the attraction – every photographers dream – watch the rusty nails. Ok, mom arley will go away now.lol

25 05 2012
96arley

This roof was definitely rotting through, if I ever got up there I’d stay on my ladder!

25 05 2012
Stephen G. Hipperson

For me the most difficult step in the approach of – “something catches my eye. I stop and take a few snaps” – is the JFDI part. I’m sure you understand what I mean – Shall I? Shall I not? – I’m usually going somewhere to do something. But I know if I don’t stop, I’ll probably not come back, although that’s what I might promise myself- But on the other side of the coin, I don’t want to feel rushed!

25 05 2012
96arley

That really is the first challenge. This community has helped me make photography a priority again though. Sometimes I’ll put off lunch to get a picture, some days I make it my afternoon plan to drive around and find somewhere to shoot. It’s really worth it when you push yourself to do it.

25 05 2012
davidoakesimages

What is the saying…beauty is more than just skin deep! Nice series that illustrates the point well.

25 05 2012
96arley

Thanks, I agree with you on that. Sometimes the inside literally is more beautiful! 🙂

25 05 2012
Steve Vernon

Great shots and explanation 🙂

25 05 2012
96arley

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

25 05 2012
Stuart Hyde - shpics

Hi Man, good to have you back..
Interesting blog…I tend to think viewpoint is probably more important to me than light….I know thats a bit daft given that without light theres no photo at all…but I guess you know what I mean… Average light, with a really striking viewpoint, of something really striking, and you’ve got a good chance of getting a really striking shot…Even with fantastic light on something from a boring old tried and tested viewpoint the chances are you’ve got a dissapointment….
But when it all comes together?????
Magic.

25 05 2012
96arley

I tend to agree with you. My statement on light was more or less from the without light the camera is incapable of functioning viewpoint 🙂 But yes, when everything comes together just right, you really get something special

25 05 2012
Stuart Hyde - shpics

A toast…’To everything coming together’….
🙂

25 05 2012
Mary Lou Rutledge

I learn from these comments. It’s a good thing! Great shots, Arley.

25 05 2012
96arley

Thanks Mary Lou, I’m glad you enjoyed this one 🙂

25 05 2012
Dezra Despain

Just the other day I wandered through a great little town with big aspirations. I didn’t like any of my photos because I couldn’t capture the rows upon rows of business/apartments on a tiny street. Getting close would not have told the story but moving back diluted it because I couldn’t get back far enough. So frustrating! However, if I decide not to tell the story of a little town thinking it’s a giant among cities, I do have some nice close-up shots. So many things to think about! Thanks for the post. Makes me want to return to that little town. Must figure out how to capture it.

25 05 2012
96arley

It’s definitely frustrating when you know you’re in the right place but it just isn’t speaking to you the way it should, I hope you make a second trip and I hope it gives you what you want 🙂

25 05 2012
Saunved

Interesting way of showing pics the way you have…and how you explored each and every aspect of it, slowly moving closer, trying new things. Its all new to me, but I think I like it!

25 05 2012
96arley

Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

25 05 2012
John

I can’t change the lens on my Canon SX30 but I appreciate your sharing your expertise on this. I can still apply the knowledge. Thanks. 🙂

25 05 2012
96arley

For you much of the same is true though. When you zoom all the way out, you are effectively working with a wide angle lens depending on the range of zoom on your camera. 🙂

25 05 2012
sued51

Good post…I only have a point and shoot, but the point of keep trying to find an angle or a viewpoint that might capture what attracted you to the subject is important…And I also like that last shot…it does make you interested in seeing more…

25 05 2012
96arley

The camera you use isn’t that important from a creative standpoint. I heard a great photographer once said “The best camera for a serious photographer is the one in their hands.” Keep working with what you’ve got and thanks for the kind words!

25 05 2012
Andra Watkins

One of my friends is an artist, and he’s gone around lower South Carolina shooting old structures like these for years. He uses the photos as inspiration for paintings, so I know he would really like today’s entry. Here’s a link to some of his work. http://artwork.musc.edu/artists/pages/nicholson/01.html

25 05 2012
96arley

Wow, his style is really unique. I like the way he captures the essence of his subject and little more. The writing is very unique too!

25 05 2012
Jim Norwood

Good tips. jim

25 05 2012
96arley

Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed them!

25 05 2012
artsifrtsy

I like the exploration aspect of this – I like to explore my subjects too. Neat that you found the prize inside:)

25 05 2012
96arley

Thanks, it’s always nice to meet someone with a similar attitude or approach!

25 05 2012
The World Is My Cuttlefish

Useful information here. Thanks. I’m new to photography and want to learn what’s possible.

25 05 2012
96arley

So much is possible, it’s all about what you want to do!

26 05 2012
sohojay

Great pictures and background.

26 05 2012
The Wandering Youth

The picture with the little gap is exquisite! I really loved it!

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