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    • We are all photographers. Phones. Tablets. Cameras. Every one of us can at almost any given moment take a photo.  The question is how can you make your images different than anyone else’s?

      “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

      — Marcel Proust

      Here are five exercises you can do to help you to start being more aware of the world around you, to help you start seeing differently.  I teach this as a workshop and there is no editing allowed during these lessons, not even dust spot removal or straightening horizons.  Think about that and how it might impact your approach to each exercise.

    • Great article Lauri, I really need to work on slowing down. Working in downtown Atlanta I often take a photo walk during lunch or on the weekends exploring a small Georgia town I have never been to before. I find myself rushing from one spot to the next like a little kid afraid I am going to miss something. As a side note, I am very glad you don't see dead people.

    • Thanks Jon. We all tend to go through life a little rushed these days. It really pays to slow down not just in our photography but in life in general in my opinion.

    • Interesting post Lauri! I think a huge part of photography that isn't explicitly about spur-of-the-moment action could be boiled down into "slowing down." People forget that great composition doesn't just happen. As A. Adams loved to point out, the best images were composed in a mental image way before he clicked his shutter.

      My favorite way to practice this is to bring a sketchbook and a drawing tool with you when you take a photo walk. I force myself to take in a scene, sketch it roughly to identify strong lines, angles, and compositional elements that I want to "draw" attention to. It's an incredible tool for organizing the nebulous details of the complex world.

      Thanks again for sharing!

      P.S. I've attached a photo that came up entirely as a result of shot planning that I would never have gotten otherwise! Also touches on the perspective point of the article above.

    • Wow, that's a wonderful shot and one that you don't often see of Half Dome. I love that. It's hard work finding new ways to shoot such an iconic place. Well done!

      What an awesome idea to draw and take the sketch pad with you. I know many photographers who do that for set up shots, portraits and concept ideas but not sure any of them that I do know do that when shooting landscapes. Perfect way to force ourselves to slow down. I may have to try that myself!

      Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your photography as well.

    • I find myself holding up my hands to make that shot a portrait one to avoid the distracting blur in the right. To me finding those type of different view points is a lot of the fun.

    • That would be how you would shoot it. It all is individual taste and style and what the person who is shooting the image had in mind in the first place. Personally, I didn't even notice the blur on the right because the framing of the image took my eyes directly to Half Dome.

    • May I recommend glasses :-)An attempt at humor.

      It is not how I would shoot it, it was my opinion on the shot. If you never question you never grow. It was not meant as offense, more constructive critique. It is worth exactly what the person reading wants to make of it, if they wanted to blur then more power to them.

    • Great article, Lauri. I was talking to Robert Evans, the respected wedding photographer, about how he selects second shooters for weddings, and his response was: "I want to know what they see, because you shoot what you see."

      He went on to say that 80% of the photos are bought by the bride and mother of the groom, and what they care about are the emotional moments. The tears, the joy, the long embraces.

      I often think about that when I shoot landscapes. I don't really see flowers and meadows and peaceful streams. I see drama: cliffs, lightning, stormy skies, thundering waterfalls. I'm drawn to longer lenses that make the mountains look steeper and closer together. At SmugMug we had a Chinese customer, Leping Zha, who saw drama as I do with longer lenses, and I plastered his photos all over our walls.

      Here's his shot of Yosemite's tunnel view. He didn't show the whole view, but what he captured was dramatic.

    • Thanks so much Chris - sorry for the delay in my reply, new platform takes me awhile to remember to put it in my "check platforms" rotation. So many places, so little time.

      I appreciate your comments and insights. I love that you don't see the typical things when shooting. Thank you for sharing Leping Zha's work also, wow.

      There are always so many ways to shoot a scene, it's easy for many to get caught up in the 'norm' shots.