Monday, June 11, 2012

Compositional Ruts

Sometimes I wonder if I'm just taking the same pictures over and over.  That is, if I'm shooting with the same composition and mindset but simply with different subject matter.  Then I wonder if that's what everybody's doing.  I suppose that knowing why you are composing a picture one way makes all the difference.  It's all too easy to go into "shoot first and ask questions later" mode.

I keep thinking that I need to make an Oblique Strategies with photography and composition in mind, though maybe the original works just as well.  I really should carry my set around, or at least leave them in my car or something.  It'd be nice to be able to randomly draw one up.  I should figure out a way to put conveniently put them on my rudimentary phone.  At the very least, it might help me to not go into autopilot.

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G at f/4.0 - 1/160s - ISO640

It's a picture of the inside of my car.  Why?  I was waiting for my cousin to arrive at his house and didn't want to wander around too far.  I've never taken a picture of the inside of my car.  There's no point to the picture.  I'm not trying to say anything or express anything.  

I was experimenting with different apertures but I found that having the front console and shifter a little more discernible worked better (having the top of the hand brake more in focus was also nice).  I put the hand brake in focus since it's in the foreground.  Then I put the shifter on the opposite side of the picture for balance.  The knobs and buttons of the console fill most of the space in-between.  Why did I do that?  I don't really have any good reason.  It seems to follow a few compositional "rules" is all.  (Not that knowing the rules is a bad thing.  I always feel like knowing the rules helps me know when I want to break them)

The reason I even bring the picture up is because I started to wonder: if the picture did mean something to me, would my thought process would have been any different?  Would I have just gone through the same routines in my head on how to frame the picture without giving thought to why I was framing it?  If I had a tripod and was not in a hurry, I might have taken the time to ask myself why, but I often am not in that frame of mind.  I still spend a lot of brain power making sure I have basic technical aspects right.  I'm sure part of it is getting experienced enough to relegate the technical aspects to autopilot so I can free up brainpower, but I'm also sure that some of must also be a conscious effort to continue asking why.

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