One of the great joys of our photography partnership is I get to see Mary’s beautiful photos. I still find it incredible that we will be in the same place, often times, standing right next to each other tripod-to-tripod, and we end up with completely different photographs. Here are some good examples.
There are so many decisions to make in the field when creating a photo. Some of these are even made beforehand in visualizing what you will do. Someone might even say that pre-visualizing is constraining. I almost always come back with what I expect. This is both a testament to my preparation, but also shows my lack of flexibility in the moment.
On the other hand, I am always surprised and amazed by what Mary brings back. She tries more interesting things in the field than I do and she also will try many different processing options on the computer when we return. I believe I make more good photos than she does, but she makes many more great photos than I do because she takes risks and is more creative.
In the field, there is really only one irrevocable decision – composition. This is the most important decision and is hard to change. Yes, you can always crop “in,” but you can never crop “out.” You also have to decide on aperture and exposure. This can always be reviewed and changed in the field quickly. You might also want to “pre-decide” on processing choices you will make later – like converting to black and white or making a panoramic.
Finally, you might want to decide who you are and what you stand for as a photographer. I am a traditionalist and love big landscapes and classic compositions. I am trying to find the one best photo from a scene and will happily leave with “the shot.” Mary is much more creative and is always trying to find the “natural abstract.” She will get the “scene,” but will also dissect it piece by piece to uncover something else. We always joke that I “see” or have a point of view that is through a wide angle 24 mm lens and she sees the world through a 70-200 mm telephoto lens. These are “choices” in a sense, but also just who we are in our sensibilities, likes, and preferences.
So, I try not to make value judgments about our photos being “right or wrong.” I do believe that some photos are better than others and some photos are just terrible. I also believe that very few photos are great, but when they are great, many people will agree. Mary and I made about 2,000 images in the field on our ten day trip through Colorado and Southern Utah. Each of us processed about 100 photos each and last night we finally picked our best – it came to 72. We probably could have gone a bit higher or lower, but this seems about right. Our experience has been that our very best is under 5% of what we drag out of the field. So, what do YOU think?
To see more of our different photo sensibilities, please go to www.pamphotography.com.