How Do You See the World?

By Ron Rosenberg

In many ways, photography is a microcosm of life. Creating a memorable image requires awareness of your situation, proper planning, technical expertise, artistic license, and proper execution.

Two people can take the same picture from the same location and get vastly different results - and for a very wide variety of reasons.

Welcome to Greece!

Take the image above of the Mykonos waterfront in the Greek Islands.

This was shot with a wide-angle lens, on a tripod, with a 13-second exposure. The lens had what's called a neutral-density filter. This is essentially "sunglasses" for the camera. It allows you to take a picture with a long exposure that doesn't let in too much light and making the image so bright that you can't even see what's there.

For reference, pictures are usually taken with exposures of 1/60 of a second or faster so you don't get a blurry image. Thar means that this image is the equivalent of 780 "normal" pictures.

The main purpose of a long exposure is to smooth out the image. This allows the subtle changes that take place over time to coalesce into a compelling image. And it's essential to use a tripod to make sure the camera doesn't move while the image is being captured.

An Alternative View

So now, with a basic understanding of long-exposure photography, compare this image with the one below.

It was taken from roughly the same location but hand-held (not using a tripod), using a different lens, a closer view, and a shutter speed of 1/125 second.

This image is very sharp, and you can see all of the detail - people walking, water crashing into the shore, and even the contours of individual waves.

This is also a good image - it's just different. The equipment is different; the camera settings are different; and therefore the end result - the "feel" of the image is different.

How Do You See Things?

Similarly, the way in which you interpret a given situation depends on how you choose to see it.

Are you looking at it from a wide angle taking in the big picture, or more close up, focusing on each individual detail? Are you coming from a position of stability or are you on shaky ground that could cloud your judgment? Are you looking at how the situation affects you at this moment in time, or are you taking the long view, considering the impact your actions will have over time?

Your life is a collection of the images you create each and every day - make sure you're getting results you'll be proud of.


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