This week in Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge, the assignment was to show a few examples of photos that have a strong, easily identifiable photo subject. I have plenty of photos that would technically fit this theme, like the pumpkin above and the photo of Smarty below, but I wanted to take new photos for practice.
I decided to try Martha Lake Park in Lynnwood. I told myself I would open to taking photos of people. But, as usual, that didn’t happen. Not only am I not comfortable taking photos of people, I don’t want to see strangers when I look through my photos! I’m just not a people person. Animals, trees, flowers and leaves are what I love. This has certain advantages but also some disadvantages. Animals and nature can be more photogenic than people (sagging jowls on dogs are cute!) but they also can be a lot less convenient and cooperative.
Take trees, for example. No matter how nicely you ask them, they can’t move to a better spot. I saw a least ten beautifully shaped trees that would look gorgeous in a photo if alone but wouldn’t stand out while surrounded by other trees the way they were. Finally, I happened up on one that stood out just because it wasn’t the same color as the ones surrounding it.
But imagine how beautiful it would be standing alone against the sky….
Then, there are the birds, which I swear like to taunt photographers (or at least me), by posing somewhere pretty and then flying away the second the camera is ready. The crows had a fun time playing this game with me. They would pose among the red leaves, then fly away as soon as I found them in my lens. Finally, one stayed put long enough…against an ugly background, of course.
This happens so often that it can’t be coincidence!
After giving up on the crows, I spotted one of my holy grail photo subjects – a Northern Flicker. It played a similar game with me, first posing against ugly backgrounds.
Finally, it landed on the side of a tree. I chased it round and round the tree until it stopped…in front of a very distracting picnic table. Luckily, I was able to crop out most of the picnic table. Sorry, Northern Flicker! I win this time. 🙂
Back at home, Scooby posed in front of the yellow birch leaves on the lawn…
…but would not open his eyes.
Once I stood up and there was something in the background to look ugly and distracting, he opened them to half mast, which is his way.
I’m not sure which are more frustrating as photo subjects, cats or birds!
As you can see, I took the easy path on this assignment. I got close enough to my subjects to blur the background, or the background was more or less a uniform color. When there’s a lot going on in the background and it will be in focus, I’m usually at a loss. I just haven’t learned enough about composition yet. That’s why I’m so excited about Cee’s new challenge. She’s providing such a great opportunity to learn and to practice. Thank you, Cee!