Shoot Everything Around You!

Just a quick tip for a sleepy Monday morning.

In the world of digital photography, film is essentially free. So shoot everything around you. You never know how a shot will turn out unless you actually take it and no one will ever see your rejects!

I shot this image a few weeks ago at McKinney Falls on a cold, damp and dreary afternoon. Given the weather, I was surprised to see so many folks visiting the falls and couldn’t get a clear shot at the part of the falls that most interested me. Rather than become frustrated I began looking around at the water, the cypress trees and the unusual rock formations all around me. I could see all sorts of potential shots, most quite different from the typical waterfall shots I’d planned. I honestly didn’t know if any of these would turn out, but taking them kept me creatively “limber” while I waited for the tourists to wander off.

I notice this a lot at my workshops. Most folks will concentrate so hard on the subject at hand that they forget to look around for other potential subjects. With digital, film is essentially free so I encourage folks to shoot everything around them, looking for different foreground subjects and different angles. If you don’t think this works, take a look at Thomas Hawk’s incredibly popular Flickr stream. Talk about a prolific shooter!

In Motion – (Onion Creek) Austin, Texas
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on manual (M) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 47mm, f/16 for 4 seconds at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo neutral density and warming polarizer filter. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

4 thoughts on “Shoot Everything Around You!

  1. I was thinking the exact same thing yesterday. Thanks for the reinforcement! I just bought a new digital camera and have decided to carry it with me everywhere I go. 🙂 You never know what you’ll end up shooting!

  2. Great advice, Jeff. The “shotgun effect” of shooting anything of interest has its advantages but is also time consuming when it comes time to the process of selection and editing. I am working on refining this technique by habitually scanning my surroundings before I set up for the intended shot of whatever subject has initially drawn my interest. I’ll look in all directions, including straight up and straight down and from different perspectives.

    This takes a certain amount of patience and discipline and asking the questions- If I made an image of that subject, how would I frame it? How would I compose it? What’s the center of interest going to be? How is light affecting the scene. etc…? Many times, this allows me to shoot more than one interesting subject at the some locale, yet in a more discriminating way that saves post processing time later.

    This is still a work in progress for me, and probably always will be. I still catch myself rushing into a shot and then moving on. There’s no telling how many great images were around me for the taking that I simply didn’t see, because I didn’t take the time to look and visualize.

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