How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams

Started Mar 13, 2013 | Discussions thread
vander Senior Member • Posts: 2,513
Re: How to Pre-Visualize like Ansel Adams

I agree with most of what you stated, except the "chimping" part. To me, if you are at the chimping stage, you are already past the "pre-visualization" part.

As a landscape photographer, I rarely just walk around aimlessly with a camera in hand and forcing a shot, they never work out. I will however take it with me in the car if I'm driving around and likely never consider even pulling it out unless I have light that would warrant so. I don't ever force a photo, sorry, yes I do, I make tons of mistakes so I shouldn't say that, and by that I mean unless something has caught me eye, then I don't even think about the camera. Only after I read the scene, which can be done quite quickly, will I start the process of creating a print.

For me, the first checklist in my head goes like this.

1. Immediately, why did I stop what I was doing and why did I even think take a photo of this. Something caught my eye, was it light, was it shape, was it a specific element?

2. Now is the time to pre-plan. Great, so you want to pull the camera out. We've found what it was that caught my attention. The shadows and how they fall against those mountains. Wonderful. Now, let's decide how to best shoot this.

a) What foreground elements can I bring in to make the viewer feel apart of this?

b) How can I compose this photo so I get the best possible angle

c) What settings on the camera should I use in order to best capture this. Different settings will allow me different moods. More dark, more light?

3. This is where I think about the final print. Through the camera I'll spend some time looking through the viewfinder and thinking about the crop.

4. Then shoot. I then "chimp" to look at the histogram, the composition and decide if I need to alter anything.

Aside from practice and scouring other peoples work, the best advice I could give is to understand and ensure you learn and understand the "Elements of Design".

I am a trained Graphic Designer from college and when you understand these elements, you can really spot them in the real world. Whether it is the repetition of steps, the large amounts of birch trees all looking the same, the balance or lack of balance in a frame. All of these are super, super important.

If you don't have one of these, then you are shooting snapshots, IMO.

Look at minimalism photography. This is huge. When you can start ripping away elements in a photo and use only the elements of design to portray a feeling or emotion with as little clutter as possible, then you will have award winning photos.

Find 10 award winning photos and pull up the Elements of Design list and read them off and located them in a photo.

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