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“The best way out is always through.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Don't Get Hung Up On One Shot

I've talked about this before but one of the things that I'm most guilty of when I'm out shooting is getting hung up on shooting a subject from just one angle or using one design choice. Instead of exploring and experimenting, I tend to get focused on getting the shot just right and I obsess over things like focus, depth of field, lens choice, etc. These are good things to obsess over, of course, but you also need to know when to walk away from a particular shot or composition and see what else is going on around you.

In yesterday's posting I showed you the lion's-head doorknocker that I found on the front door of the local historical society museum. I did scout around for 1o minutes or so before I decided that the knocker was going to be the shot and I had some alternative shots in mind. But the lion's face is what I wanted and so I devoted about a half hour to getting exactly the shot I saw in my mind's eye (the black face surrounded by that very bold blue, with some hint of the windows above in the frame).

Knowing that I have a tendency to spend too much time on one shot though, at a certain point I just plucked the tripod off the front step (I was standing on the lower of the two steps when I shot yesterday's picture) and went looking for another shot. As I backed up down the front sidewalk, I noticed that I could probably frame the doorway with the overhanging branch and so I set up the tripod again and shot that. I also shot the door from the left and from the right and got down low on the lawn and shot up at the door from a more extreme angle.

I like the shot here, it's OK (I don't like the fact that the window frame on the lower left is leaning in too much and I would have needed a perspective-control lens to fix that--a lens that I don't own), but I much prefer the close-up of the lion's head. Still, by taking the time to really "work" a subject from many angles, you get the chance to test your conviction to what you think is the best shot. I'm satisfied that the doorknocker is the best shot, but I'm glad I took the time to prove it to myself.

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