Friday, September 04, 2009

Know when to ditch "Plan A"

Misty dawn 2

I usually head into a photo session with a preconceived notion of what it is I want to capture. Nothing wrong with that. It's actually helpful as a starting point. The trick is to recognize when that plan is just no longer working for you, and as much as you are emotionally attached to that plan, to dump it in the rubbish bin. Otherwise Plan A becomes a dead weight around your neck, creatively speaking.

I stopped by the Bode Forest Preserve in Streamwood, Illinois this morning. Layers of fog lay draped over the trees and I wanted to capture bursts of sunlight streaming from between the branches. It looked oh, so pretty in my mind's eye. Reality, however, was not nearly so cooperative. It just wasn't happening the way I envisioned it.

So did I ditch Plan A to explore the other visual opportunities that lay before me? Of course not. I stubbornly tried to make the landscape bend to my will, wasting a lot of time and memory card space in the process.

I gave up and headed back to my car, passing a clearing that opened to Bode Lake. I stopped for a second, looked at the mist on the water and thought, It probably won't do any good, but I may as well look as long as I'm here. Not much of a Plan B, but there it was. I walked through the clearing.

Can't say the view was particularly spectacular, but I took a few shots using a fallen tree branch as the foreground interest, then decided to go for some "worm's eye" shots holding the camera an inch or so off the ground, pointing it in the general direction of the branch and seeing what would happen. What happened were some very simple abstract images that appealed to my Asian sensibilities. I varied the focal length between shots, and voila!

Misty dawn 1

I meant to do that, yup. Yessir, that's the ticket.

(Side note: I was in Quebec a few years ago, and at my first meal in a restaurant there, the server brought my food and said, "Voila!" It made me laugh because it sounded corny. Then I realized those folks meant it up there.)

Photographs © 2009 James Jordan.

1 comment:

Wanda said...

Oh James.... you and your camera have become ONE!! What you see is what you get... Congrats on the magazines...

This is such a "mood" image. Love it.