Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cherry Blossom Impressions

One problem most new photographers have is that they try to do too much in an image. They try to cram the entire world into the small viewfinder. And in the process of trying to do everything, the viewer ends up noticing nothing. What am I supposed to be looking at?

Over time, photographers learn to crop, use longer lenses, and creative composition to give their images a center of interest and their art a message.

Sometimes, even those techniques are not enough.

Walking through the Seattle Arboretum, I was struck by the different colors of the cherry blossoms. Some were white, some pink, some almost red. I found a place where I could see several different colors at once, and set up my tripod in a spot where the strong trunk lines added to the design.

But the sharp exposures were dull. I found my eye being pulled through the blossoms, looking at what was behind. Then there was the neatly manicured lawn and beauty bark. The detail was a distraction.

So, I tried an impressionistic approach. I took my camera off the tripod, set a long exposure time, and moved the camera during the exposure. The distracting details were blurred away, leaving only the colors and trunks that attracted my eye.

There's less detail, but more to see.

This technique isn't appropriate for every scene, but no one technique is. What's important is to think about what interests you about a subject before you press the shutter. Use whatever technique is appropriate to emphasize that.

(Check out the Seasons gallery at for more springtime images.)

No comments: