Archive for August, 2012

Keeping it Simple

Lone Pine Tree Calanques Cassis Provence France

Lone pine tree growing out of solid rock in the Calanques near Cassis, Provence France























One very effective way to make your photographs bolder and stronger is to Keep It Simple.  We’ve all heard this advice from all sorts of sources relating to all sorts of life’s situations.  But it often applies – and particularly when it comes to photography.

One of my favorite photos from a recent visit to the coastal areas of Provence France is this one.  It’s just a simple pine tree.  There are very few elements to this photo and because of that it has strength and appeal – at least to me.

This is an area in the Bouches-du-Rhone near Cassis.  The rocky wall formations and watery inlets are called the Calanques.  It’s a very impressive area.  I’ve seen and made hundreds of photos here – most of them fairly dramatic.  It’s not hard to capture dramatic photos in this environment.  But it was the very un-dramatic shot here that stood out for me.

Why?  Because of it’s simplicity we get a chance to see the calm beauty of the area, the determination of this little tree growing out of solid rock, the amazing colors of the Mediterranean – all of this without the distractions of too many objects in the image.

Never leave anything in the frame that doesn’t deserve to be there.  If there’s a distracting object, try to move and adjust your composition so it can be left out.  Your images will be stronger and bolder because of it.




When Plans Go Wrong

Wrought Iron Cross Les Baux Provence France Saint Vincent Church

Wrought Iron cross at Place de Saint Vincent, Les Baux de-Provence, France
























Canon 5d MkII EF 17-40 at 22mm f16 ISO 100 25 sec.

Just when you think you have it all figured out…  Sometimes it just goes wrong.

I was planning a twilight shoot across the valley from this wonderful medieval town – Les Baux de-Provence.  I had mapped it, studied the angles and new the exact moment of sunset and twilight.  I arrived at the trail head with plenty of time to make the 1 1/2 mile hike to my chosen spot.  Everything seemed perfect.

Oops – it turns out that the trail I was hiking on wasn’t the one I was supposed to be hiking on.  After wandering around for about 45 minutes I decided I needed to make something out of the evening so I gave up on the hike and headed directly into town.

I walked past the touristy restaurants near the entrance and headed toward the end of town.  With no one around – except for a stray dog that took a liking to me, I rounded this corner and saw the shot.

In about 30 minutes I had made a number of images from this little corner of town – some very interesting ones, but this one is my current favorite.

Sometimes you have to give up on the immediate plan in order to find something that may in fact turn out to be better than you would have imagined.

Now where’s that trail I need to be on?

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