Yesterday I went to Craven Farm to take some practice photos for Cee’s new challenge that’s all about composition. In this first week of Cee’s Compose Yourself Challenge, she asks us to take photos in our comfort zone of focal length. Do we like to zoom in and get close to our subject? Or, do we like to use a wide angle to include the setting around our subject?
At first, I thought my comfort level was probably getting in really close. With flowers, squirrels and birds, I like to zoom in really close to fill the frame. But after snapping a few photos at Craven Farm, I realized that when I’m out away from home, I still have the tendency to try to get all of my subject within the frame and I often try to include the landscape in the photo. And this, unfortunately, can lead to very boring photos unless the landscape around the subject happens to be dramatic, beautiful, or at least interesting. The photo above is a good example of that. The pumpkin people and strange beast of burden were interesting to see but didn’t make for an interesting photo.
Same with this family of turkeys.
The turkeys were fun to watch (I didn’t know they made such soft, sweet little chortling sounds) but they made for kind of boring photo subjects. Nobody is going to look at a photo like this and say, “Wow!”
So, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to get a little closer than I normally would and went against the instinct to include all the of the subject within the frame.
Much better, although we lose the context of the pumpkin-head boy and it turns out that turkeys are kind of hideous close-up.
For the bonus assignment of this challenge, we were supposed to practice taking photos of the same subject using different focal lengths. I did it wrong and used my feet instead of my lens to get closer to my subject. 😦 But it was still a good learning experience. 🙂
In the first one, I stood back and got all of Old Pumpkin Granny in the frame. She’s kind of cute but nothing in this photo really pops.
Then I got a little closer. I like the composition better but it’s still kind of a bland photo. Different lighting might have made a difference though. I got out to the farm too late for good light.
Then I got really close, just getting Old Pumpkin Granny’s head, hat and one shoulder in the photo. I also got off to the side a little bit and it helped the colors not get so washed out by the sunlight. I definitely like this shot the best. This shot shows her hunched shoulders and makes her look more like the old woman that she is supposed to be.
Although I didn’t get the farm and landscape photos that I hoped for and I did part of the assignment wrong, this was a good learning experience. Next time I go out for a photo walk somewhere, I think I will see different photo opportunities than I did before. Thank you, Cee, for sharing your knowledge with us and for challenging us to get out of our comfort zones!