On The Fence

On The Fence

f/8, 1/800, ISO-100, 50mm

I don’t remember if I’ve posted this before, but if not, I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret of mine.

I detest the oft-quoted Ansel Adams statement about making photographs, not taking them. I mean it really makes my blood boil to hear that. It goes against almost everything I believe as a photographer.

As a photographer, I have a goal to record a moment, an image, a feeling or emotion. If I wanted to make that stuff, I would learn how to do lots of special effects in Photoshop and become a graphic designer. But my goal is not to make it, my goal is to find it in the real world, and capture it in an image. I want to take that image, not make it.

End of rant. Above is a photograph I’ve made, more than taken. It’s nothing but the fence along my yard. It’s not an especially good photograph. Nothing creative about it and it doesn’t have a statement to make. As originally shot it’s a tad over exposed and there’s a sameness of color that waters the whole thing down.

But you know what, it’s been over two weeks since I’ve taken a picture. I’m desperate. Between two jobs, church functions, and just getting my wife out of the hospital (she’s fine), I knew I would have exactly two hours of daylight this weekend where I would be free to take pictures, and I wasn’t going to be able to go beyond my back yard.

So I went out and made something happen. Just a study in lines, really, and as I said really kind of uninteresting on its own. But I stripped the color, enhanced the contrasts to bring out texture, added a smidge of vignette and sepia, and I have…well, it’s certainly not an award-winner, but it’s more interesting than it started out.

So I’m on the fence about this whole Ansel Adams quote. In general, I prefer to take photographs. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and when necessary I’m not above making them either. But I do tend to regard it as a last resort. Perhaps one of the reasons I have so much difficulty seeing the attraction of HDR photography.

This entry was posted in Natural Lighting, Photography, Winter and tagged , , , , , .


  1. Meanderer January 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    I generally do what feels right for me regarding images. I do try to avoid books by experts as the creative process is such an individual thing. That’s what makes it creative rather than regimented and proscriptive which then destroys one’s individual creativity. Carry on doing what feels right for you I think …….

    • AJBopp January 29, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

      And that is why you are a much better (and likely much happier) photographer than me! 🙂 I like the to read books on technical aspects of photography such as exposure techniques, but ones where they try to teach you how to be an artist are rubbish.

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