An old photographer said "Painters have such an easy time, they can create a composition any way they desire. Photographers have to work with what's already there."
As a painter, I enjoyed the blank slate freedom that painting affords.
However, I revel in the challenge of "working with what's already there."
The biggest challenge of the Nature and Landscape photographer is showing the beauty and serenity within the visual chaos of the natural world. The bejeweled spider web after a heavy dew, the startling halo of thorns surrounding a cactus in early morning light.
When I see a potential subject or scene, the first question I ask myself is "What am I taking a picture of?"
Light? Color? Texture? Line? Contrast? Shape? A mood? A story or concept? Something else?
The answer(s) to this question suggest what techniques to use to strengthen the vision I have for that particular subject.
Expose for the highlights? Get low to obtain a contrasting background? Circle the subject to align the cracks in the ground to capture the viewers eye rather than have them drift out of the composition? Is there a pattern within a pattern? What emotions are evoked by the colors in the scene? What happens to the relationship of the foreground and background by moving the camera up/down, in/out, left/right? How may I enhance the impression of a 3rd dimension within a 2 dimensional medium? Do I want to create visual tension or serenity through my composition decisions?
This is where the Art of Landscape Photography lives for me. My job as a Photographer/Artist is to share my pre-visualized art effectively, beautifully and seamlessly.
I don't take pictures for biology textbooks or wildflower field ID books. My focus is the artistic and compositional attributes of the landscape before me. Don't get me wrong, biology texts and field ID books are important, just not my cup of tea.
One viewer said "After looking at your work, I have begun to see in a different way." That is the greatest compliment I could ever receive.
My hope is that you are surprised, delighted and inspired by the deep beauty within the natural world. May my work add a small measure to your understanding of our place in this space we call earth.
Paul J. Morehead