I’m sure you’re familiar with various composition “rules” in photography, like the “rule of thirds” or “keep the horizon level”. And knowing and applying simple rules like these will certainly set your pictures apart from the average snapshots!
But it’s important to keep in mind that they act more like “tools”. Not every picture has to apply the rule of thirds or have a level horizon to be a good picture. Sometimes I’ll intentionally not apply these “rules” depending on the effect I’m going for.
However, there is one principle in photography that I learned last week that I have decided not to break anymore. Here’s why….
Behind the Scenes Insights
- I feel bad that I didn’t introduce Zyrek at the beginning of the video! Zyrek and I go way back! He’s big into graphic design and was the one who invited me to co-teach the Desktop Publishing class at Verity Institute a few years back. He regularly helps me with the ACTION Photography Teams these days and that’s why we were on the West Coast together. Before the Christian Heritage Conference started, we thought we’d take advantage of the opportunity and spent a few days camping and shooting in Olympic National Park.
- Primitive camping on-sight sure is convenient for landscape photography, but I’ve gotta say, it isn’t convenient in any other respect! There’s a lot of time and work that goes into finding a permissible location, gathering all the necessary stuff for comfort and survival at that location, and then packing it all out and setting it all up when I actually get there! It’s a rare experience, even for me.
- When taking pictures at the beach, I’m usually in bare feet and shorts, allowing me to not worry about the serf at all. I’m ok with getting a little wet from the knees down. But photography equipment has zero tolerance for saltwater and sand, so I am very stickler about keeping everything else dry, all the time.
- Being in shoes that morning, I found myself in an atypical position. I was setting up my pictures in the same way, but I was suddenly now having to deal with waves. At first, of course, I just didn’t go as far out. But as we moved along the beach and I began to get more comfortable with the risk, I would just set up a composition a little further out, shoot it, and then grab tripod and camera to move out when a bigger wave came. What happens then if a little wave comes when I’m not finished composing and shooting a frame? It’s just natural to step back a few feet (still within jump-n-grab distance), let the little wave do its thing, and come back and finish taking my shot. No big deal, right? Well, this was unknowingly eroding away at my “always stick with my tripod” policy. And in retrospect, this “policy” or “photography principle” is not necessarily a conscious decision I had made earlier. It’s more like a photographer’s survival instinct. It’s just common sense. Well, it’s an official principle to me now!
- You can buy expensive tripod foot pads to keep the tripod from sinking into wet sand, but I have never thought it necessary.
- Needless to say, I wasn’t focused on taking any more pictures after Zyrek’s camera fell in. We washed it off in fresh water as best we could and then headed back up the trail to the car so could get things dried out.
Stick with your camera, even if it means getting your feet wet. I think this could apply to many different life situations. Stick with a project to completion even if it’s harder than expected. Stick with a relationship, even if it means facing personal inconvenience on unexpected difficulties.
What life lessons would you pull from this experience?