Points of View

I was at the state fair twice last week, photographing the hot air balloons and rides. It was a great time. I like visiting places I’ve been to and photographed in the past. Not the places I go to all the time, but things just like the state fair, where quite a bit of time passes between visits. They serve as wonderful spotlights for my progress; the few inspiring overlooks on a long wooded hike. You make progress but it’s hard to see until you step out and get a look at how far you’ve come.

One of the things that struck me while there last week was how different my thinking is regarding found photography. I used to always be looking for “the shot”. “Where is the photograph here?” These days I really just try to relax and enjoy myself.

I find if I soak in my surroundings the interesting things there really start to jump out. There are two benefits to this. The first is that I enjoy myself far more. I’m no longer there on a mission; I’m there to experience and enjoy the interesting places in which I find myself.

The second is that I make much more interesting photos. (At least to my mind. :) I’m no longer looking for shots that fit the ideas I have for what good shots are. Although I do often have ideas for photographs, like next time I go to the zoo I’d like to try this… What I’m speaking about here is fitting our surroundings into the ideas we have for what we think will make good shots. As you can imagine, this is pretty limiting, and we all wind up with archetype photographs.

I don’t mean to imply here that sunsets should be avoided (obviously, looking at these fair photos), just that if we go looking for sunsets that’s all we’ll ever see.