• Old Tree, Vanderwater Conservation Area, January 8 2016, Canon 6D, 24-105mm, 1/6sec, F8.0 ISO 800

Your photographic eye – seeing the image: Gilles Bisson

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Your photographic eye – seeing the image: Gilles Bisson

Canon 6D – 105mm – F8.0 – ISO 800

This image was taken “created” while out hiking in the Vanderwater Conservation area trails just north of Belleville.

It was January, it was cold and the trees were all bare. I had been walking this featureless trail for a kilometre or so looking for something of interest to shoot (with my camera) when this particular tree caught my attention…Mother nature just seemed to be staring at me with bulging eyes. Hopefully my final rendition of the image was successful and you are able to see what I imagined I saw.

I took a variety of shots from different angles and with various settings, trying to capture what had caught my eye. I knew from experience that the texture of that rough bark and some of the pronounced features of the tree would stand out well with a little help from post-processing…it also looked like a potentially good monochrome image.

When you convert an image to black and white you shift the focus from seeing the blah colours of a bare tree, to seeing different aspects…texture..lines…shapes…etc…it also gives you the artistic liberty to emphasize certain features….permission to get a little creative.

We all tend to see things in a slightly different way and, because of our diversity in perspective each of us has a slightly different take on the  images that appeal to us. This influences the way we look and see the world around us. What’s interesting to me may be of no interest to someone else and vice versa.

In order to expand your ability to see you have to look with intent…slow down, take in the scene, look around and be aware of your surroundings. You need to open your mind to the potential of what you are presented with. You can be lucky and stumble upon something worthy of your attention, but usually you need to work at seeing a great photographic opportunity. Focus your attention on the details…move and change your perspective… Look through your viewfinder and change your position.. focus on different areas, move up, move down….take a side look..etc… Always imagine your intended final image.

Seeing is more like developing an idea of what you can do with something you see. That purely imaginary idea of what your final image could look like is the result of your accumulated experience/knowledge of photography and post-processing.

It’s important to note that the image you envision is not likely to be the same image that your camera can capture on “automatic” mode. Your camera is not that smart…yet. Understanding what your camera can do and applying that knowledge will give you a much better chance of getting it right. The more you learn about your camera, composition, post-processing, etc….the more likely the final image will match your vision.

Your photographic eye is a trained eye that reflects years of experiences and personal interests. The art of seeing is something you develop over time….the best way to improve your ability to see is to go out and  practice.

You can’t see if you don’t look.

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