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When do you press the shutter button?

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I have been thinking about making images a lot lately and was trying to determine how I come up with images that I like. For me, I sometimes get a vision in my head when I see something and then I have to wait until the right time to make that image happen. For example, one day I was driving past a pond that I have driven by hundreds of times. It was dead calm and I noticed the reflection in the water of the trees and the skies. I got a vision in my head of a similar image with a menacing sky reflected in the water. Now I have to wait until there are menacing skies in that direction and have perfectly calm winds and hopefully I'll remmeber to go and get the shot.

Other times, like when I'm looking over an old truck, I look through the viewfinder until an image appears that I like, then I click the shutter. Or when shooting a flower, I'll move around it until an image appears, then click.

How do you make your images? In your head or in your eye, or both?

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Mike, I do it the same ways you do. Pretty much exactly the same ways. As to what makes an "image" in my head, that's sometimes reasoned but with my best images is almost always instinctive, and it's very difficult to provide detail and illumination about instinctual things.

I've been getting inquiries about traveling to offer photo slideshow lectures/discussions for groups, and these are things we talk about a lot anyway when I have other photographers out in the field, so I've been giving this topic some focused thought lately. In those settings it's not enough to merely do. One also has to teach or inspire, and that's tough when one uses intuition and serendipity to capture art.

For me, while I can envision an image in my mind's eye of a scene that has not quite presented itself but is likely to develop (say a sunset scene in which I have to wait for the light to get right), that's about as far as I take the reasoned part of it. Working out plans of action when it comes to stitching overlapping images together also falls into that category, as does developing a checklist of posed work a specific wedding couple wants.

How I want to present a flower via macro, which pose I think a wedding couple feels best in, or which particular composition seems just right to me. . . for me those depend almost completely on the flow of the moment, how the moods are changing and the play of light over the scene. These are instinctual. The more I think about instinctual things, the tighter I try to snare them with reason, the farther away I push them, so I try hard not to overthink that end of photography.

For other photographers, no doubt things are different, since artists are as much different as they are alike.

I'm not sure if that makes sense to you or not.

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I guess it's kinda like when people say....He's got an "eye" for it(photography that is)....I really believe it is somewhat "instinctual"(sometimes just blind luck)... also one has to have an idea(if that's the correct word) ahead of time (to apoint) of what one wants for the outcome of the photograph to be....puting the whole image together "before" one snaps the shutter...checking out the background in back of the subject....grass or leaves in the way....light is or isn't hitting the subject correctly(if there is a correctly)...."I'd like to incorporate that branch or leaf along with the subject to make it more interesting"....a ray of light hitting the flower or subject versus no light(which is more interesting,the subject or the light hitting the subject)..making the photo more intersting...of course one does all this in 5 seconds right grin...just rambling thoughts could go on and on....

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I guess personally I have been trying to shoot in the best light first off. I have deceided that bad lighting sucks. Now that we all know that 50% of the time it is dark, that throws that out the window. I pretty much will be just haning out and all of sudden it will hit me that that would make a really good picture. Most of my pictures are spur of the moment. Now for example I was out at wheat harvest over the weekend and was hoping for a nice shot of a compine silouett in the sunset but since I was to impainent I didn't wait for the sunset but waited untll the best moment to get a shot of the combine in action with a back ground of field, and equipment. I think they turned out well. I will post them later on. It all just comes down to what strikes me at the time. I need to slow down a little and watch for dumb things like twigs in the way, something in the backgroud, bad shadows etc.

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