What Kind of Story?


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Back again from an another photography trip, this time to Lake Superior, Minnesota.  What a difference a couple of hundred miles make on the landscape.  I drove up from my home and had a 9 hour drive to get there and I new immediately when I entered Minnesota.  The beauty is in the trees all lush and green after emerging from winter into spring.  Instead of miles and miles of crop land dotted by the homes, Minnesota is miles and miles of trees dotted by the homes.

Mark Peterson the instructor for this workshop said something I will remember.  “What kind of story are you trying to tell with this shot.”  Hmm.  I have heard this said several times and mainly brushed it off, but this time it stuck.  Mark is an excellent photographer and knows how to tell a story with the camera.  Basically, as a professional, it is what he does for clients all over the world.  He tells their story for product or scene.   What is a story really but how we see things and how we communicate them.

I connect to the landscape on an emotional level.  Nature relaxes me and gives me a sense of peace whether by the water or up in the mountains.  I recognize that I feel outside the nature around me because I am not living in that world everyday.  When I go into nature I just want to capture the beauty of what I see and translate that into the photo.  Truly, the telling of a story from a place and time that will not be the same tomorrow.  I have taken many pictures around the world and I realize that none can be repeated.  One moment for one story in one location.

     “What kind of Story are you trying to tell?”

You might say, “Oh please, that is just words.”  Like I used to say.  But the next time you rush out to take a shot of something, I want you to stop.  Think!  What am I trying to say with this shot?  Whether you like it or not you are connected to that work.  When people look at your pictures they will see a piece of you and what you are trying to communicate.  If all you see is the beauty in the environment then take a picture that reflects what you see. They don’t want to see a blurry, badly exposed photo because you were in a hurry.  They want to see what made you stop and take the photo in the first place.

What do you see?  Every life has a story and our eyes look for things to show the story.  Train your eyes to see the little things, big things, sunset and sunrise.  The more you notice life in the world around you the more you will be able to see things that others miss.

What kind of story are you telling?  Does the story have drama, peace, motion and emotion.  Whatever it is that makes you carry the camera around with you that is the shot you should be taking.  Just be sure to enjoy what you are doing.

Then, take the shot. Don’t overthink it.


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