» Photograph it all, enjoy it all, learn from it all

Working A Scene, Step by visual step.

Let’s go through the thought process of working a scene. Here is the scene setter. The line of the parking lot, the dramatic light from breaking storm, and the strong tree initially grabbed my eye. So I underexposed to create some drama.

But maybe that tree by itself would have more impact since I was shooting in infrared b&w and it creates nice ethereal effects with foliage by turning them white…

Maybe two is better? Place the first tree to the left.

But the clouds are really to the left and hey that tree frames the scene nice…

And if it framed the clouds on the left maybe going right would do it. And horizontal fits there but…

… that right view has some nice lines with the field edge and the image can be simplified again to create a whole new image.

In less then a minute or two you can produce several compositions at almost any scene. Just move, think, and experiment. Doing so will help you to see and create stronger images.

Anita BowerJune 5, 2013 - 6:01 pm

YOU can create several excellent compositions of any scene in a few minutes, but some of us are hard pressed to create one!

martyJune 3, 2013 - 1:14 pm

God Dan, I take a week off & you flood your site with new stuff. (I should take more time off since it benefits both myself & the world at large.) Excellent examples.

Just a minor twist to your advice (move, think, experiment)… Sometimes just scan all around/above/below from where you’re standing & simply SEE what you see even if it’s not what you first saw. Never think that you’ve seen it all, but on a practical level, at some point one hits the point of diminishing returns; then move & repeat.

Mindful seeing leads to unexpected realizations & experiments. As you illustrate, the line from A to B to C is rarely straight.

veroniqueJune 3, 2013 - 10:49 am

Thanks for this !

A Winter Flash Back

A look back at images from a brief March snow storm. This post illustrates an answer I gave after recently judging a contest in regards to working a scene. The same scene photographed from different angles, using different post processing techniques, and in different weather or light conditions can dramatically improve or change an image and how an image appeals to others viewing it. Doesn’t the bottom image photographed in the same storm of the same trees feel and say something totally different then the two top images? For those camera club people out there think about how you work a scene, view a scene, capture the scene, and present the scene via exposure, technique, and post processing. It will make a difference in how you do in competition. As a further example think about how the top image would look and feel cropped from the right to make the image square… I think it would be better yet. Little changes, big differences.

TonyMay 31, 2013 - 10:00 am

Lovely images, especially the top one. What I like is the contrast between the trees and branches and the light background as well as th erepeating patterns drawing the eye in. I actually prefer it rectangle becauae I wouldn’t want to lose the branches from the righthand most tree that stretches across the frame and exits the image. I think this helps balance the image. Anyway, great images!

veroniqueMay 31, 2013 - 8:20 am

I love the first one, esp. the road.

Phragmites and Trees In Snow Storm

Night snow scene. Tree and phragmites. Photo by Dan Creighton

I knew I wouldn’t have the time to photograph the latest snow storm in a good location before the sun was high in the sky and/or when the wind knocked the snow off the tree branches the next morning so I chose to drive around area parking lots looking for subjects lit up by their artificial light. This is what I found. Using artificial light sources, stationary or the ones you bring with you, can provide good images. And chances are you will have the location to yourself as you photograph at night. I didn’t even need to leave my truck to take this picture! :^)

Daniel P. CreightonMarch 7, 2013 - 7:28 pm

Thanks Jim. Love the Fuji!

JamesMarch 7, 2013 - 9:11 am

Dan, a very nice series of images . The post processing does add to the visual impact for several of the images. Our winter,other wise known as the brown period, requires a bit of artistic creativity.

How do you line the XE-1???


Foggy Trees, Viewpoint Changes Message

Choose your viewpoint, images of trees


Just as color and tone can impart mood so can your choice of view point, lens selection, exposure, and other photographic choices. In this case photographing the same tree from a different perspective changes the feeling of how foggy the morning the was. The second image I chose to get closer, change my angle, and also photograph through the steamed up car window to shoot through creating a feeling of foreground fog. It’s always wise to think about what you want to say when you are composing your images and then use the tools at your disposal, in camera or with post processing, to best say it.

Fuji XE1, 18-55

veroniqueFebruary 14, 2013 - 4:42 am

Thanks for the window idea !

Foggy Morning, Toning for Mood

Cemetary Photo Mood Choices


Color and tone in an image can greatly effect the emotional response of viewers to your images. When processing be conscious of that and choose the tones and colors that impart the mood you want to convey. Here I show how a blue tone can give a somber feeling to this cemetary image. The exact same file processed with warm tones gives a different message and a more positive feel. Do you feel the sadness of the blue and the positive and perhaps more religious feeling of the warmer image? Does the blue tone impart more of a foggy morning feel to you?

Fuji XE1, 18-55