Working a Scene
Working a scene is an important skill that all photographers need to learn how to do. When I get to an area that I want to photograph, I don't simply walk up, start taking pictures and after several exposures, leave. I look around for a few minutes and change my vantage point, jump up on rocks, squat down low to the ground. I take notice of what the clouds are doing and how much the wind is blowing. Then I start to photograph.
I start in one spot, then I move around to another, and then another. Sometimes the way I initially see a scene ends up being my preference. But often I like the photos I took after working the scene for a while. Below are some images of Bear Wallow Falls at Gorges State Park. I started wider, including all of the waterfall and some rocks and foliage around it. I eventually ended up directly in front of the waterfall taking pictures that were tighter, more focused and overall better. I've included the progression below so you can see how I started and how I ended, after moving around and working the scene. I think the final image is by far the best. It has a clearer subject, is more balanced and thus creates a much more mysterious mood and stronger image than the other images.
Moral of the story: always work the scene by moving around and shooting. You never know what great shots you'll get if you don't!
Bear Wallow Falls, Gorges State Park, NC
Canon 5DII, EF 24-105mm f4L at 67mm
2 sec at f18, ISO 100
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