You may have noticed a little video clip in the last post.  Maybe it didn’t seem to make much sense there.  Maybe you viewed it…maybe you didn’t. Did it stop you or did you skip straight to the photos in the post?

Don’t panic, it wasn’t a test and you didn’t fail!

Jess took that video as she soared above me on the cliffs of Maui.  I could describe why I love Maui or what I love about the magic that happens when water meets land but that’s not the point of this post.  The video is for you but don’t think of it as a gift, instead, consider it an exercise.

In my Finding Focus workshops there are a lot of things which are unique.  I stress a different approach to thinking about your subject and to crafting compositions.  It starts with each individual and his/her preferences and ends with making photographs which are more rewarding.  One of the many things that guides our week is the idea of photographing Adjectives or Verbs instead of Nouns.  I wrote a blog post about it which can be found HERE.  I’d like you to consider it required reading. If you haven’t already, go read it now…go ahead, I’llwait.

So how does that relate to you and to the video?

In a sec, I’m going to ask you to watch the video again and I’ve included it below for easy reference.

Watch it first and don’t think about it much.  Then watch it again and start thinking about what you like about the scene and how you would try to describe it to a friend.

Think of specific descriptive words…think of “feeling” words but here’s the trick…don’t try to think of every single word that can be used to describe it.

Just think of the two or three qualities which directly relate to what you find most interesting about the subject or scene.  Where’s the magic for you? Okay, now describe it!

I could give you a list of examples but that’s not the point.  The point of this exercise is for you to get in touch with what is important to you, not what I may think is important.  Okay, give it a spin or two and then keep reading.



Alright, what did you see?  Great!  Now how do you record the scene to communicate those things?  What choices can you make to strengthen that idea in your photo?

How much of the scene do you need?  What’s extraneous and doesn’t belong?

What specific moment is important? How much white water do you include?  How much turquoise? How much rock?

What technical choices will best communicate your intent?  What shutter speed?  Should your exposure be dark or light?

I could go on but you get the picture. 🙂

This exercise is something you need to repeat every time you see a photographic subject.  It should happen before you raise your camera to your eye.  If you do it frequently enough, this exercise will become second nature and then it will no longer be an exercise but will become a gift.




Want more?  Check out THESE past Finding Focusposts.


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