Why and How: Understanding a Photo in Two Steps - Part 3
This photograph of a young ibex can be read by different ways.
Case Study: Understanding a Figurative Photo
To illustrate the first example, I chose a photograph taken during the deer slamming in France during one morning.
I knew that the deer use this flow under a cherry tree to go from one foreground to another meadow on the other side of the cherry tree (this is the tree on the right of the picture).
It is a good place to make a blind because the sun comes from the right. This allows me to photograph with the sun at 90 degrees. It is ideal for me to have beautiful models.
That morning, the fog had its appearance. The sun was totally obscured.
I waited patiently in the shelter of my hiding place in a bramble on the edge of a meadow. A gentle slope goes up towards the tree. It is not apparent because I placed myself high up on the other side of the meadow.
The deer came out of an antler on my left. I took a few pictures, but they are of no interest. The deer is in the meadow, but the back is very dark.
Luck was with me. He decided to take the path to the left of the cherry tree. This is what I had been waiting for days.
Here is the description of the picture. I am going to apply my method to make people understand this photo which is so important to me.
The first step is semiological analysis. This involves analyzing the visual elements of the photograph.
The shooting angle and the point of view. As I already told you, I am slightly high. I am located at about 150 meters from the deer. As is often the case with deer, I like photos at eye level. I am its equal.
The framing. I chose a horizontal framing to accentuate the calm and tranquility of the photo. This very morning, no bird was singing. The silence was total. My camera is hidden in a noise-cancelling muffle to attenuate all the clicks. I chose to integrate a tree to show the safe side and give a scale of value. By placing it on the right so as to stick it against the edge of the picture, I force the viewer to go towards the deer. The foreground is present without taking too much space. The viewer can easily enter the photo.
The composition. The photographic elements are the tree for the reasons mentioned in the previous paragraph. The herbs in silhouette show that nature is intact. I am in a wild region.
The scale of the plans. I have chosen an overall plan. This is the technique I use most often in my animal photos. I want to show wild animals in their natural environment. Often the scenery is very present in my photos. The animal is small.
Depth. I chose to integrate a foreground to bring the gaze towards the animal. The background is masked by fog.
The off screen. Once again, I used the off screen. The animal is looking ahead. We do not know where he is going and what he is looking at.
The light. It is soft. It accentuates the dreamlike and ethereal aspect of the scene. I developed the photo in high key.
Black and white. I chose black and white. This creative technique allows me to focus the attention on the deer. It is perfectly adapted to the high key.
The tone. My photo has a clear tone. It is perfectly adapted to the softness, the quietness, and the dreaminess of the photo. I give a beautiful part to the space.
The second step to understanding this picture of a deer taken in the fog and during the deer's bellow, is the semiological understanding. This is the meaning of the photo.
This photo evokes freedom, the paths I take in my travels or in my life. I do not always know where I am going. I often make mistakes. I take reference marks (here materialized by a tree which is of good size). But I often make mistakes.
Freedom of movement is essential for me. I do not like being locked up. I like to go where I go. The high key allows me to accentuate this feeling of evanescence. I like to dream about beautiful projects, beautiful encounters. By closing the photo on the right and a little on the left, I want to show that I am not upside down. I like to let myself go during my travels, but I always know what I want.
Photographing the deer from behind allows me to accentuate this feeling of freedom that I wanted to express. I took another picture of the deer looking to the side. It is also beautiful, but it evokes more the side of looking back on the past. It does not quite fit me. I like to look to the future and wait for new adventures.
This photo expresses my optimism and my joy of life to go towards the unknown.
For this second photo, I chose an abstract photo. I made it in the United States on a fossilized tree trunk several million years old. This photo is part of the art photo collection entitled: the energy of time. I applied a personal recipe of filters to accentuate the colors and give light and evanescent effects.
Let us go to the first step of my method: semiological analysis.
The shooting angle and the point of view. The fossilized tree is placed on the ground. I am lying down to have the trunk facing my face.
The framing. I chose a horizontal framing to show the strength of the photo. I wanted to show stability and confidence.
The composition. I chose the trunk of the tree. The wall is perfectly straight.
The scale of the plans. I chose a close-up for details.
Depth. The photo is flat because I wanted to evoke an explosion with a lot of energy.
The light. It is strong in the center. It becomes black on the sides. This vignetting makes it easier to read.
The color. I chose the color and cold tones. It is paradoxical enough to evoke energy, but I wanted to go against time.
The tone. My photo has a clear tone.
Let us now move on to semantic analysis: this is the second step of my method to understand pictures.
Even if the tree is fossilized, the rings are clearly visible. These are the concentric circles that start in the center. This radial effect evokes energy. The streaks show that there can be side effects in the emission of energy.
I chose cold and bright tones to make the viewer wonder. The photo, even if it is bright and stable, is not easy to read and understand. This is the principle of abstraction. Everyone can see what they want. The shape of the trunk and the rings are easily identifiable and readable, but what is beyond? That is the whole question.
Why and How: Understanding a Photo in Two Steps - Part 2
This photograph in black and white of Antelop Canyon could be interpreted in different ways.
Step 1: Visual Comprehension
The visual understanding of a photo is called image semiology.
It is organized around 9 very precise criteria.
The shooting angle and the point of view. For me this is the most difficult point with framing. It is the position of the camera in relation to the main photographic element (also called the subject). If you photograph at the level of the subject, you will create a feeling of objectivity because just as you look at the hours will be at the same level as the subject. If you photograph in low angle, the subject will be more important. If you photograph in high angle, that is to say with your camera placed above the subject, you will crush it. Its importance will decrease because you give the impression of dominating it.
The framing. It defines all the photographic elements that you are going to integrate in your photograph. You offer your audience or the viewer a window on the scene you want to photograph. The framing can be rectangular or square. It all depends on the type of photos you present. If you choose rectangular framing, it can be: - Horizontal. In this case the scene evokes calm, tranquility, distance from the main photographic element.
- Vertical. In this case you show a close scene. It is a framing that also favors the action.
The composition. I remind you that composition is the way to organize the photographic elements in a harmonious way in the chosen framing.
The scale of the plans. It is purely descriptive. It allows to give the viewer a common referent for a photo. It is established by taking the human scale as a reference. - General plan: landscape.
- Overall plan: a subject in its environment. - Medium shot: one subject in full view.
- Close-up shot: a live subject cut between the waist and the chest. - Close-up: face. - Very close-up: details of a face or a face.
Depth. This is a technique that I use a lot in environmental wildlife and landscape photography. It is about the existence of several planes in a photograph: foreground, background, background.
The off screen. Off screen is a creative technique that you can use with living beings. The subject is looking in a given direction other than towards you. But what he is looking at is not in the scene the field is defined by the whole scene you have chosen to frame.
The off field evokes questioning, suggestion. It also inspires introspection. As for the field, it allows you to fix the look of hours in the space you have chosen. The field allows you to orientate the gaze of hours by imposing visual limits on it.
The off screen allows you to create the dream. You give the viewer the opportunity to ask questions. Moreover, it can escape from the scene and thus from the photo. Visually, these are two very important elements.
The light. For me, the light is after the decor the most important element in the construction of an animal scene, a landscape or underwater. I evoke these three photographic themes because they are the ones I practice. If you are reading this article but you evolve in other themes, you may have your own priorities. In this paragraph, I evoke natural light as well as artificial light. I use both sources in underwater photography as well as in wildlife photography, especially for passerines. The light allows to show details, textures. But in my opinion, it should be used mainly to create modeling. The light creates shadows that create the modeling that creates the relief and thus the 3 dimensions. Never forget that we always try, you and I, as photographers, to show the beautiful, to share our states of mind by freezing a 3-dimensional space on a 2-dimensional support.
Colors and black and white. Colors are used to represent reality. They allow you to show scenes as faithfully as possible. If you use colors, you try to be as objective as possible to the framing and composition. Black and white is an artistic technique because you interpret the scene you see. You show gradations of gray. Black and white is a creative technique. It allows you to go straight to the point, to be directive.
The tone. The general tonality of a photo is its visual aspect in terms of the distribution of tones and gradation levels between them. There are three main types of tonality: - The dark tone. In this case the photo is rather dark with low lights or dark colors.
- The clear tone. The photo is rather built with highlights or bright colors. - The neutral tone. The photo is neither dark nor light. It is also called balanced tone.
The visual understanding of the tonality allows you to better understand the atmosphere created by a photo. Tonality is one of the elements of the photographic language to express yourself.
To summarize this step #1 dedicated to the visual understanding of a photo, I advise you to learn by heart these different criteria.
So, when you are faced with a picture by another photographer and you are inspired, you will understand why.
If you need to analyze one of your photos, you will also be able to better understand and refine your photographic approach.
Once this first step is over, you just have to move on to the second step: the ones I call semantics.
Step 2: Semantic Understanding
By definition, semantics is the study of the meaning of linguistic units and their combination.
If I apply this definition to photography, photographic semantics is the study of photographic meaning and language.
I explained in a previous article that photography has its own language and codes. They allow you to convey your messages, your emotions.
If you really want to understand a photograph you must absolutely master the photographic language.
This particular language will allow you to build your photos in a more consistent way. They will be interesting because you will be able to give them meaning. You will also be able to read the photos of the photographers who inspire you.
To understand the semantics of a photograph is to understand the meaning of its content. It is to understand why the photographer has chosen to assemble the photographic elements in a certain way.
Understanding the semantics of a photograph allows you to better build your own images. When you frame, compose, choose a point of view, you will arrange the photographic elements of your scene to express yourself.
I think that now you begin to perceive the importance of photographic semantics to understand the photos you have in front of you.
Semantic understanding is just as important as semiological (visual) understanding. If I had to simplify my point, I would say that semantic understanding and the container and semantic understanding and the content a picture.
I recognize that I am not able to establish a link or dialectical relationship between the two elements of analysis. I do not know if this link really exists. In the absence of being able to bring tangible elements to establish a relationship between the two, I will simply propose the two steps separately.
In order to understand a photograph semantically, you need to call upon your life experiences, your emotions and especially your photographic culture.
It is thanks to this arsenal of knowledge and tools that you will be able to decipher the meaning of photos.
I am certain and I have already noticed that a simply emotional or aesthetic reading of an image can lead to an interesting decoding for a photo. The problem I have found with this method is that it is an empirical analysis. Over time, people who analyze only in this way find themselves confronted with a lack of ideas. Analyses always become identical and redundant.
A broad general photographic culture allows to refine the semantic understanding but specially to establish the creative processes that will result to realize your future images.
To conclude this paragraph concerning the semantic understanding of a photo I advise you to try to be as systematic as possible and to appeal to your photographic consciousness. But above all think about using your photographic culture.
I have always been passionate about the work of other photographers. I bought books. I consulted magazines. I went to see dozens of exhibitions.
Today, I continue. I also use the Internet and social networks to look for inspiration.
This photographic and artistic research also allows me to avoid reproducing what has already been done. I try to preserve my photographic identity. I claim to be unique and that is why I create photos that look like me. Photographs often reflect my moods, my states of mind, the emotions I feel and want to translate.
When I chose a career as a photographic artist, I watched and analyzed dozens of photos every day to define my photographic and artistic approach. I spent hours thinking, thinking, questioning myself. I lost a lot of time and energy. I realized this after months of intense and hard work. Indeed, I did not have a work methodology.
I was taking notes and analyzing without a clear guideline.
I admit to having lost a lot of time. But as always, I always learn more from my failures than from my successes. I have learned to concentrate and become very analytical.
To understand other photographers' photos, I developed a two-step method.
The most interesting thing is that I use this method to understand my own photos. When I move on to the development phase, I apply this principle to make sure that my photos will be understandable to other people.
This is what I will explain in the rest of the article.
Definition of The Word Understand
The transitive verb “to understand” has several definitions. I have chosen two of them which seem to me adapted to the photographic art.
Definition #1: to understand is to apprehend from the outset and through sensitivity the deep nature of someone, of an art, to keep close to it, to have an intuitive knowledge of it.
Definition #2: to understand is to picture someone, something in a certain way, to get a certain idea of it.
Application to Photography
If I apply this definition to photography, you realize that understanding a photograph is to understand the sensitivity of the photographer, his deep nature.
It also means representing the photographer by trying to understand his photos.
To understand the photographs taken by a person is to give oneself a representation of who they are.
Do Not Confuse Understanding and Judging
In the article devoted to the topic how to judge a photo, I gave you the definition of the word judge applied to photography: "Judging a photo is giving your opinion". You are going to make a value judgment.
The understanding of a photo is to apprehend the sensitivity of a photographer, his deep nature.
You are in a more subjective register even though I had mentioned the fact that a photo can be judged subjectively. But generally speaking, a judgment is rather objective. It is made on the basis of a grid of well-defined criteria.
As you can see, the two actions are totally different.
You are probably going to wonder what the right attitude is. You are perfectly right to ask yourself this legitimate question. But the answer is beyond the scope of this article. I propose to address this subject in a future blog post.
If you want to create interesting pictures that make sense and will appeal to an audience, you need to know how to understand a picture or a series of pictures.
The more you develop this faculty of understanding, the more empathetic you will be to your audience.
Understanding a photo will allow you to better choose your points of view, frame well, compose better to make and create photos that look like you.
You will be able to easily convey your moods and emotions by constructively assembling the photographic elements so that your audience will get a representation of who you are and who you really are. Isn't this what you are looking for when showing your photos?
Learning to understand photos, whether they are made by others or by yourself, will allow you to identify mechanisms and ways to translate what you want to show to the rest of the world.
After reading this article, I advise you to apply my method to develop your own.
You will find that understanding photos is above all a way to help you build your own.
How to Understand a Photo
If you follow my blog dedicated to the photographic approach on a regular basis, you have certainly noticed that I am passionate about photographic judgment, photographic analysis, photographic semiology, or photographic language.
In various articles, I have discussed methods for judging, analyzing, reading photography.
How to understand a photo is the logical continuation of all these articles.
Of course, you can apply the different methods. They will only help you in understanding the pictures. But in this article, I want to explain an empirical method based on two axes. It is a personal method. It allows me to go extremely fast in reading a photo and not to waste time in useless considerations.
Incandescence is the state of a body heated to a high temperature that emits light.
In these art photographs, it is always about energy like the collection "The Energy of Time". They were taken in a desert in Arizona. I found these mineral formations extraordinary. They seemed to gush forth streams of light. That is how the idea of the collection came to me.
All I had to do was apply a few filters of my own creation to bring out the golden yellows, the radiant blues, and reds.
All these art photographs could also evoke the landscapes of a distant planet where life could not develop because of the heat that would be released. However, all these scenes were photographed in natural environments on earth. It is the power of the symbolism of abstract photos to suggest unreal worlds so close to us.
These abstract art photographs are perfect for modern interior design. They are very energizing. As always, I wanted to create timeless, suggestive photos that allow you to let your imagination wander.
If you look at the definition of the word energy in Wikipedia, you will read that energy is a concept related to action, strength, and duration. The implementation of an action requires maintaining a certain force for a sufficient length of time to overcome inertia and resistance to change.
If you are now looking for a definition of time, you will find one that says that time is a concept that accounts for change in the world.
This collection of abstract art photographs, the energy of time, is an artistic interpretation of these two terms that I have associated.
In our materialistic world, time is a given that we cannot weigh. We can only evaluate it with a starting point and an end point. It does not generate energy in the literal sense of the word.
Yet, symbolically, time is a source of energy for me. The more I move forward in my life, the more energy I find to realize my projects, to fulfill my childhood dreams. Time gives me energy. Every morning, when I wake up, I have a thousand ideas in my head. I am bubbling. I am already thinking about all the actions I will accomplish during the day. It already seems too short for everything I have decided to accomplish. It is the same when I decide to carry out a new project. With each passing day, I have more and more creative energy as the project progresses.
For a long time, I have been looking for a way to materialize this energy that I have in me and I try to channel it in the best way possible when I create art photographs or when I try to transmit my knowledge and skills.
Finally, by the greatest of chances, I found that petrified trees, more than 200 million years old, would be a perfect medium for my collection. This idea came to me naturally during a trip to Petrified Forest in the state of Arizona in the United States. I photographed the rings of different trees. I applied a few filters of my own creation.
This collection of abstract art photographs is a symbolic interpretation of the energy of time passing.
It is ideal for your living space whether at home or at the office. It is timeless. It allows you to let your imagination wander.
These art photos will not leave you indifferent. Shapes, colors, lines, curves will seduce you. You will be able to interpret them as you wish. You will be able to let your spirit wander in personal universes. It is the opportunity to find yourself with yourself.
Magma is a natural material made of liquid and crystals in variable proportions that forms in the heart of the planet, near the core. When it cools, it forms unique rock shapes and patterns.
During a trip to the Petrified Forest in the state of Arizona in the United States, I was inspired by the mineral formations that seemed to be gradually flowing down the sides of a mountain.
Immediately, the vision of magma erupting out of a volcano arose in my mind. The idea behind these photographs was to evoke the smooth shapes of the beautiful and yet dangerous flow of magma streams. However, these structures appear as if the magma were frozen in time.
These colorful atmospheres are perfect to hang in your living room. They evoke movement. They are abstract works. Although I had personally created these images to capture the magma’s movement, you can interpret them however you wish. These abstract images perfectly illuminate the beauty of abstract art: even if it was created through the photographers’ perspective, it can be interpreted according to the viewer’s imagination.
You may have never heard of the Black Canyon in the Gunnison National Park, located in Colorado within the United States.
Although it is less famous than the Grand Canyon of Arizona, it is nevertheless grandiose with its formations dating back to the Precambrian era (1.7 billion years ago). You read that right: 1.7 billion years old. My emotions were overwhelming when I first gazed upon these ancient mineral formations.
This national park is one of the most beautiful I have ever photographed. Carved through the heart of the park is a unique one-way road that ends in a dead end. At each bend, the spectacle of huge cliffs plunging towards the Gunnison River is impressive to say the least. Traversing across this magnificent sight are white mineral veins running through the rocks.
Interestingly, what gave the Black Canyon its name is not the color of the canyon itself, for it is not made of black rock. However, certain areas of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunshine per day, do the narrow steepness of the cliffs. I must admit that the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is not easy to photograph.
When I walked along the heights of the canyon, I always find it exceedingly difficult to select the scenes to be photographed because each spot is breathtaking. Even if the road that meanders through the national park is only 12 miles long (19 kilometers), it takes me about 5 days to immerse myself in the magical atmosphere of the Black Canyon.
All photos are presented in black and white because this photographic style is ideal for highlighting textures and details of the mineral formations. The grandeur and beauty of the black and white landscapes are accentuated by the cloudy skies.
In this collection of black and white landscape art photographs, I must also include images of the trees, which are extraordinary. I had the chance to photograph the most beautiful juniper tree I have evern seen in the southwestern United States. It bears the nickname "Everyone’s Favorite Tree". Its shape and its perfect state of conservation make it a true photographic model. It rises proudly above the canyon. Time does not seem to have a hold on it.
At the end of this collection of black and white photos of the Black Canyon in Gunnison National Park, I give you some pictures of the Gunnison River, which is what gave the canyon its name and shape. I had to pay tribute to it.
I created this collection of art photos to allow you to escape into the vastness of the landscapes of western Colorado. Some of the photos have a dramatic flair. They evoke the grandeur and power of the natural elements.
My wish for you is that you may one day also experience this precious site, which is certainly one of the most unique mineral landscapes in the world. Until you can embark on such a beautiful trip, you may at least take a short virtual journey to the Black Canyon by viewing my photographs.
Are you familiar with the Petrified Forest in the state of Arizona in the United States? It is a national park in the Southwest.
For me, it is fascinating for several reasons.
It is well renowned for its large collection of petrified tree trunks. They were growing in the area about 200 million years ago. At that time, these giant trees were growing on the banks of a river delta. When they died, they were buried under silica-rich sedimentary deposits. Over time, this silica fossilized the plant matter of the trees. These trees are fascinating because the trunks are perfectly preserved. Observing them is a strange journey through time. I always imagine dinosaurs running between the trees. Fossils of a theropod dinosaur have been found in this part of Petrified Forest.
The petrified trees are in the southern part of the park.
The second point of interest in the Petrified Forest National Park is in the northern area of the park. There you can find geological formations created about 250 million years ago. They are multicolored, many emanating a strong, bright orange color. It is for this reason that this geographical area is called Painted Desert. It is magnificent, especially at sunset. The bright colors seem to glow then. Words cannot describe the beauty and awe of such a place.
Petrified Forest is primarily an immense desert zone crossed by only one road running from the north to the south. The national park covers approximately 346 square miles (900 square kilometers).
To walk within Petrified Forest is like venturing backwards in time. Each time I visit this place to observe the petrified trees or Painted Desert, I measure how fast time passes and how young the human species is compared to all these geological formations. The first human beings arrived only 8000 years ago in this region. They grew corn. The last inhabitants left in the 14th century after a change in climate prevented them from effective cultivation of crops.
To me, Petrified Forest represents the passage of time. It is a place that reminds me that I must enjoy every moment that passes. It also reminds me that I must not procrastinate. When I walk among the petrified trees, I tell myself that the stress and worries I create for myself are useless. Time inevitably moves forward. Lost moments are never found again.
The Valley of Fire is a unique place which I visit every year to spend at least two days to recharge my mental and emotional batteries.
If you ever decide to visit Nevada and the city of Las Vegas, do not hesitate to immerse yourself in the Valley of Fire.
The first time you see the Valley of Fire from the small road that leads to this mineral paradise, you will understand why this name was given to it. Against the backdrop of a monochrome desert, suddenly this orange-colored landscape appears on the horizon. It is amazing to see. This is an experience you must witness on your next trip to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Valley of Fire is a state park located in the Mojave Desert. This means that it depends on the state of Nevada. It is not a national park like the Grand Canyon. At the entrance you will be asked to pay a fee. This is a relatively small amount of money intended for the maintenance of the park.
Once this fee is paid, you will travel for 6 miles (10 kilometers) on a long road that ends at a dead end. The valley covers almost 40,000 acres (185 square kilometers).
The most extraordinary aspect of this park is the flamboyant color of the sandstone mineral formations. They are each more incredible than the other. They were created more than 150 million years ago during the Jurassic period.
Valley of Fire not only allows you to discover a uniquely beautiful landscape, but it also allows you to journey back in time. At this place, you can admire 225-million-year-old petrified trees and prehistoric petroglyphs.
When I walk around and observe Valley of Fire, I feel as if I am looking at the planet Mars. This feeling is mainly due to the red color which is omnipresent in the rock and dirt. During each trip, I travel miles just to listen to the silence. I always have the impression that I am not on earth. This is the only place in the world where I feel this supernatural sensation.
I hope that when you look at these black and white art photos of Valley of Fire, you will feel it too. Welcome to a one-of-a-kind breathtaking mineral world.
Every year, I return to France to photograph the red deer bellowing. I have a real passion for deer, especially red deer.
There are many other areas in the world where deer are bellowing during the autumn but the one in France has a special place in my heart.
On the one hand, in natural environments, deer are very wild because they are hunted. They have learned to be wary of human beings and especially hunters. Photographing them in their natural environment requires a perfect knowledge of the terrain and their habits. They do not let themselves be approached if they sense a predator nearby.
To photograph them, I use a fixed blind or a cloth photo blind, which is a piece of fabric that allows me to blend in with my environment.
The most interesting for me is to get to know the habits of the deer. I must find out which tracks they use to move around. I need to know where the oak, wild apple, and chestnut trees are, which is where the deer will come to feed.
The bellowing often begins in early fall. The deer emits loud cries or songs that are modulated according to different situations.
There are five kinds of bellows:
The “short and brief bellow” is used to signal its presence.
The “bellow of lament” is a melancholic cry that indicates that the deer has not found a female yet.
The “bellow of defiance” is a powerful cry that the deer utters when it wants to battle another deer.
The “bellow of pursuit” is a set of light cries that the deer emits when it chases a doe to mate.
The “bellow of triumph” is the cry given by the winner of a fight.
The season of the bellowing marks the mating season of the red deer.
The old males reconstitute herds of doe. Up to 30 females can be counted. The young stags try to build up a herd by challenging the old ones.
This is an opportunity to photograph terrible fights during which the deer can be impaled by the other’s antlers and die of exhaustion. The deer are so excited that they plough the meadows with their antlers.
The activity of the deer during the bellowing can be summed up in three words:
The deer are beginning to lose weight at this point in the year. They become weaker, which is an opportunity for young deer to conquer older deer.
In this collection, I have chosen to show deer individually. The herds are absent. This artistic choice is voluntary.
I wanted to illuminate the power, the elegance, and the virility of the red deer. Some photos also show the despair of the deer that failed in conquering a doe. This sometimes happens when the deer is too old and can no longer win a fight against the younger and more vigorous stags.
The attitudes of these wild animals reflect human life. The older we get, the more we are swept aside to sit on the social bench.
All the sceneries have been carefully chosen to highlight the attitudes and postures of the red deer stags. A beautiful decor is not always to be found. It takes patience and time. I have always had to scout the field to choose the best point of view to highlight the animals.
Luck is also part of the success of the photos. Sometimes it takes days before I manage to create a single photo. I have learned to be patient and persevering. These are two essential qualities of any animal photographer. Time and experience have taught me to bide my time.
I believe that you should always invest time into something great.
For these photos of the bellowing of the red deer in France, I chose to use black and white. It is the best technique for highlighting the coats, the breaths, and the attitudes of the animals.
I hope that by looking at this collection of art photos devoted to deer braying, you can imagine the hoarse and guttural cries of the red deer stag. The sound of a deer’s cry echoing through a forest is an unforgettable experience for those who are lucky enough to encounter it.
I wish you a beautiful journey as you escape into the French prairies and woods.
October 2020. Wildlife Photography Project in Charente-Maritime, France, to Photograph the Bugle of the Red Deer
Photo in lowkey of a red deer stag bugling.
The 2020 season of the bugle of the red deer stag has been marked by a capricious and totally unexpected weather this year in Charente-Maritime in France. Unceasing rains and high temperatures did not prevent the deer from bugling, however, the conditions for taking pictures were difficult to work with.
Nevertheless, everything went well. The first deer started to bugle around September 25. The first herds began to build up. My first field observations in Haute-Saintonge showed several promising herds of a dominant deer and about ten hinds each.
At the end of September, the morning temperatures were between 12 and 17 degrees Celsius (53 to 62 Fahrenheit). I had placed a few blinds in some strategic places near some large hundred-year-old oaks and some beautiful chestnut trees.
The first sessions were successful with nice encounters and beautiful pictures of deer stag bugling. I still rely on my 500mm lens and the blind technique. Personally, I find it difficult to photograph deer walking with a long focal length of several kilograms. I always use a tripod and a gimbal head to facilitate the shooting.
My technique for using a blind is simple. The day before, I spot where the herds are. For that, I listen to the deer bugling. In general, a herd can travel several kilometers during the night in search of food, but deer and hinds are greedy. At this time of the year, acorns and chestnuts are the food of choice. To capture photos, you must stand near spots where acorns and chestnuts are prevalent, and then hide yourself while waiting for the animals to arrive.
I always sit in my blind when it is completely dark. I multiply the chances of not being spotted.
I usually say that the technique of the blind grants many awards. Even if I do not use the camera for several hours, there is always a deer that will come looking for food. Patience is my best ally.
Moreover, the blind is an interesting technique because at this time of the year, autumn is often very cool in the morning. Under my tent, I am well sheltered.
But this year, my tent not only protected me from the north wind that blew for more than 10 days at the beginning of October, and the rain also accompanied me for days and days. The shooting conditions were often difficult because the camera speeds were frequently incredibly low (around 1/60th of a second) despite the high sensitivities (more than 1000 ISO). This gloomy weather was unfavorable, but I persevered.
These peculiar conditions for the Charente-Maritime continued until October 31st, which marked the date of my last photo session.
However, I had some nice surprises, such as a few sunny mornings, as well as four excellent photo sessions in the fog. This is certainly what I prefer the most. The conditions to obtain dense fog are complex. Fortunately, the Haute-Saintonge is studded with numerous ponds that allow the humidity necessary for the fog to create itself after a sunny day and a cool night.
These early mornings bathed in a soft light allowed me to take some incredibly beautiful dreamlike and evanescent photos. The gallery that will follow the text will give you an idea of the atmosphere that cloaked Haute-Saintonge.
This year, I decided to spend more time in the undergrowth and forests. These are places I do not visit very often because the 500mm lens is not very suitable. I had the chance to do some interesting deer portraits, but the trees and the sometimes-dense vegetation create environments that are not very conducive to creating ethereal photos.
These photo sessions dedicated to the deer's bellow are part of my global project dedicated to deer. My goal was to create beautiful photos using high-key and low-key techniques.
As always, the goal of my photos was above all to symbolically transcribe the emotions I feel when I am on the field in the breathtaking wilderness, untouched by man.
Once again, I wanted to illuminate the grace, beauty, magnificence, and elegance of the king-like glory of the French forests. In my deer photos, I always prefer magnificent forms, which expertly capture an elegant attitude and symbol of power.
These few weeks of photography in a peaceful nature far from the hassles of the world and the hubbub of men encouraged me to return to my original sources of creativity. I highly encourage you to do the same, should you ever get the chance to rediscover inspiration through the unique experience of the bugle of stag.
When my passion for red deer and roe deer photography was born, I was crisscrossing the forests of La Coubre and Saint Genis de Saintonge in Charente-Maritime in France. I spent hours looking for traces of the animals to place my blinds. Then I waited hours, days to take the pictures that gave me adrenaline rush.
After several months of research and tracking, I had managed to make some interesting pictures. At that time, I had not yet made the leap to artistic photography. I was working in the field of illustrative photography for magazines or photo stocks.
Charente-Maritime in West of France is a flat geographical region. The territories are flat for miles around. All my photos had the same aspect: I was photographing deer at eye level.
By chance, not far from Clérac, in the south of Charente-Maritime, I was doing a walk with my camera when suddenly I saw a young deer walking on a hill during the sunset. I was flabbergasted. How beautiful it was. Its silhouette was cut out against a sky colored with warm tones as only the Charente-Maritime can offer. I had just enough time to take a few pictures before the deer moved to the other side. He had seen me.
This first experience of a silhouetted deer is engraved forever in my memory. Since then, I have always been looking for places down below to photograph deer in silhouette.
I admit that it is not easy. I often come back empty-handed.
But the fact remains that the silhouette technique is creative. It gives results that leave no one indifferent.
I will give you some tips to make your deer pictures.
The Origin of The Silhouette Technique
The technique of the silhouette as a creative artistic form was invented by Monsieur Silhouette, Minister of Finance of King Louis XV in France when he drew people in backlight to capture only the contours of their profile on the walls of his castle of Bry-Sur-Marne. This made it impossible to identify the people.
They were at the time naughty or amusing drawings so different from the representations of the time. I can only encourage you to do some research on the internet to find out what they were about.
Application to Photography
Silhouette or backlight photography consists of showing the shape of a subject or a strong photographic element.
The subject must be backlit. The light source must face you.
The red deer stag is a corpulent animal with a characteristic shape. If you photograph him in silhouette, his shape will be recognizable among a thousand. The viewer of your photo will not be able to make a mistake about the nature of the species. This is not the case with a bird photo.
Why Photographing Red Deer Stag in Silhouette
Several reasons can be given for answering this question.
First of all, red deer stag silhouette photography is a creative wildlife photography technique. You will be able to amaze the spectators of your photos. I guarantee that you will have many comments and likes when you show your deer pictures.
Indeed, silhouette photos are often dramatic, graphic, and very spectacular. They are very aesthetic. The eye is always attracted by the very graphic forms.
Photographs of silhouettes always have a strong visual impact.
On the other hand, the animal silhouettes and in particular those of deer are for me very symbolic forms. They can evoke departure, flight, freedom. They can suggest emotions, feelings. The only limits are the imagination of the viewer.
The eyes of animals are not visible in a silhouette photograph. This fact accentuates even more the mysterious side of the scene. The gaze is implied but not visible. Only the shape of the body is important. It becomes suggestive. Everything is carried by the movement and the animal attitude.
Finally, technically they are simple photos to make. They do not require a great technical knowledge as I will specify in the how paragraph.
You must know that silhouette photography is a unique way to transcend the animal world by showing suggestive shapes that no other technique can do.
First of all, you need to know the terrain on which you are going to play. The ideal is to find a place down below to take a photo in low angle. This method will allow you to show dominant deer.
If you want to take a picture of a silhouette with a deer at eye level, look for a place where the sky will form the background. This is not easy to find.
Indeed, to take a picture of the silhouette of an animal and a deer in particular, you must obtain a particularly important difference between the subject and the background. Ideally, the sun should be behind your deer. Your camera should not be able to properly expose both shots. You will have to choose on which one you will measure the light.
Ideally, sunset and sunrise are the best situations to take a deer silhouette photo. It is in these conditions that you will get the most dramatic photos. Your subject will be very dark or even black. The background will be illuminated.
I advise you to properly isolate the deer from its negative space. For example, leave some space under his chest otherwise you will have a black mass that will not be really aesthetic. Do not forget that the more visible and well defined the shape is, the more impact your photo will have.
I also recommend that you hide the sun behind your deer (the subject). Indeed, with rare exceptions, if you leave the sun visible in your photo, it is the sun that will attract the viewer's attention. Do not forget that it is a light source. It is always the one that attracts the eye.
Prefer an open space. I consider silhouette photography to be a minimalist technique. You are going to focus the viewer's attention on the deer.
Personally, I avoid including trees in my photographs of silhouettes. They often introduce an important mass imbalance in the photos because they are as dark as deer. Instead, choose pure scenes that will highlight the graphics related to the deer in the sky.
Another trick I often use is to turn the camera to get a horizon that is straight. I am not interested in skewed horizons. With a straight horizon, you get a nice balance of shapes and a harmonious composition.
Also, keep a close eye on the size of your foreground. It should not take up a lot of space in the picture. If it does, your photo will be difficult to read because the viewer will hit a wall while trying to read your photograph.
Once in the field, the blind can be a good solution to wait for the right time to photograph a deer. You have spotted an area of high passage; you know the time of sunset. All you have to do now is to sharpen the hide to wait for the right time.
Walking with your camera is also an excellent way to make animal photographs in silhouettes. If you are mobile, you can easily adapt to the terrain. You will be able to look for the best point of view to photograph deer.
You must take special care when measuring the light.
The ideal is to set your camera in spot mode. Measure the light in the sky.
The measurement will be made on an area of 3 to 5% in the center of the image. Once you have made this measurement, you just have to memorize it and then recompose your image so that your composition is as harmonious as possible.
As you photograph with the sun in front, make sure that the sensitivity of your camera is minimal. If you are shooting in auto ISO mode, make sure that you do not reach the lowest setting. If this is the case, you will not know if it is the right value for the sensitivity of the scene or if your camera cannot go below it.
You need to focus on the deer's silhouette. As the scene is very contrasted, you will see that the camera will focus perfectly.
I recommend that you first focus on your subject. Once the sharpness plane has been defined, you then perform the light measurement.
Finally, you recompose and trigger your camera.
The Development of Your Photos in Silhouettes
The best advice I can give you is to take great care in developing your photos of deer in silhouettes.
But first of all, as always, I recommend that you photograph in RAW rather than JPEG. You will have much more latitude to correct a possible exposure error in the shot.
On the one hand you will be able to go even deeper into your subject if it is not dark enough.
Then, you can crop if you have integrated a too important foreground.
Finally, you will be able to use gradient tools to darken your sky or add vignetting to focus the viewer's attention on your subject.
If your subject lacks sharpness even though the contrast was high at the time of shooting, you can improve it during this crucial stage. This is often the case with zoom lenses used at infinity (more than 100 meters or 300 feet).
As you have integrated a lot of sky in your photo, remember to remove any possible stains from your sensor.
If you want to create deer pictures that are different and interesting for your audience, do not hesitate for a second to put the silhouette technique into practice.
You are going to add a bit of mystery to photos that are already very evocative.
In my opinion, the most difficult point is not the technique from the moment you understand how to use the spot mode of your camera. The main difficulty will come from finding an area to photograph deer in silhouette.
For this reason, you will have to do some reconnaissance to get to know the terrain.
My passion for the photography of big mammals and in particular deer began in the forest of La Coubre in Charente-Maritime in France. It is a huge state-owned forest that extends over nearly 8000 hectares (nearly 20,000 acres) on the peninsula of Arvert.
It was in this forest where I experienced my first great emotions when I heard my first bugling of the deer and where I had the chance to photograph deer, does and wild boars.
As the forest is huge, I used to start my days by a blind under a clothe photo blind before walking in search of animals.
I will always remember this day in September. The morning was cold. I had parked my car along a country road. It was 6 o'clock in the morning. The night was very dark. In spite of the unfavorable conditions for walking, I decided to venture into the forest. For the first 500 meters (1640 feet), I had opted for a headlamp. I had decided to walk the last 200 meters (650 feet) in absolute darkness to avoid being spotted.
For several days, I had been waiting in a small clearing where I had spotted tracks and deer droppings. Not far from this clearing, I had photographed deer and wild boar. But the scenery and the plunging views did not allow me to create interesting pictures. The clearing was perfect but each time I came back with no photos. I hoped that luck would smile on me on this cold morning.
To wait under my clothe photo blind, I had chosen a huge fir tree to lean against, dressed in my clothe. The trunk allowed me to break my silhouette.
Once I arrived, I settled in quietly. I could see absolutely nothing. No noise disturbed the quietness of that magical morning.
Around 8 o'clock, the night began to disappear. The day rose timidly. My surprise was immense because the fog completely enveloped the clearing. I did not expect this at all.
Suddenly, without any warning signs, I heard a deer bugling on my right. The sound was impressive. The clearing was like a sound box. I could see nothing.
The worst thing is even if I could have seen something, I would have been unable to take a picture because I had chosen a different angle that looked out over the track that led to the other side of the clearing. Impossible to move without making noise. I decided to stay and wait. Anyway, the fog was too thick.
The deer bugled for 30 minutes. At that time, my Nikon D200 could not record the sounds.
I fully enjoyed the auditory show. What else could I do! He must also have been pretty angry because I could smell him.
I was making a movie in my mind by imagining my deer emerging from the fog with its head held high and bugling. I had all the images in my head. Luck could not fail me, especially in such conditions.
When the fog cleared, the deer had disappeared. The clearing remained desperately empty all morning.
It was on this very day that I took to the fall conditions and a real passion for shooting in the fog. During the years that followed, I understood that I had been incredibly lucky and that it was not so easy to have fog but specially to photograph in fog.
It is from this moment on that I began to look for specific areas that correspond to my creative research.
In the rest of this article, I will explain what I have learned.
Before going any further in this article, it seems important to me to define the words fog and mist because very often people make mistake.
Mist and fog are the same phenomenon.
On land, we talk about fog when the visibility is between 1 and 5 kilometers (0.6 and 3.1 miles).
Still on land, we talk about fog when the visibility is less than 1 kilometer (0.6 mile).
I specified that it was on land because on the sea we talk about fog for visibilities of less than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles).
In this article, I will only use the word fog because in wildlife photography, we are on earth. It is above all this phenomenon that is visible and that concerns us as animal photographers.
The Fog Phenomenon
Fog is a meteorological phenomenon induced by the suspension of small water droplets in the air due to turbulent air movements.
In fact, fog is a cloud that touches the ground.
Several conditions must be met to have fog.
On the one hand, for fog to form, the humidity level in the air must be high enough. In addition, wind must be present. It must not be too strong, otherwise the fog will disperse. It must not be too weak, otherwise water droplets cannot form in suspension in the air. As you can see, the compromise is difficult to find. That is why fog is quite rare in areas where you can photograph deer.
In addition to a noticeably light wind, the air must have condensation or freezing nuclei. These are microparticles that will allow water droplets to settle and remain in suspension. In nature, without the phenomenon of pollution, these microparticles are transported by the wind (dust). They can also be induced by plants. The phenomena are quite complex and are beyond the scope of this article on wildlife photography. But just remember that without these microparticles, fog cannot be created. Again, this is a special condition that is not easy to create.
Finally, and this is the last condition, the air must be saturated with water. This is why fog is more likely to be present in humid areas or in areas with ponds. When the ground is humid and warmer than the ambient air, it only takes a drop in temperature during the night to create fog. This is called evaporation fog.
There are other types of fog such as radiative fog, advection fog or precipitation fog but what interests me most for this article is evaporation fog.
Finally, to have foggy conditions to photograph deer, you must look for a wet area, wait for one day to warm the ground, wait until the next night is cold, have enough microparticles in the wing and have one of wind. You understand that it is not so simple to gather. Not all regions are conducive to fog.
The Best Time of the Year to Photograph Deer in the Fog
The best time for fog is certainly autumn.
Showers generate moisture in the soil. Winds are frequent. Vegetation, even if it starts to die off, can generate microparticles that will fix the water droplets. Mornings can be cold. The atmosphere cools down. You can also have beautiful sunny days that will warm the soil. Evaporation mists may appear after very cool nights.
When the deer are bugling, you can easily orient yourself in their direction to take your pictures. Moreover, they are made of dry wood.
Winter is not really a good time because deer antlers fall in February. It is necessary to wait for the summer for them to be pushed back completely but the fogs do not appear.
Personally, I always wait until the middle of autumn to choose the places where I will go to photograph the deer.
Everyone has their reasons for photographing deer in the fog.
Personally, the fog allows me to create creative wildlife photography. For me, the deer's bugle is above all a question of atmosphere. In the collective imagination, the fog evokes autumn and the first frosts of the approaching winter. The atmospheres with the fog are always a guarantee to make interesting and evocative photos.
If you are like me and you like to create photos that symbolize quietness, dream, serenity, fog is your best ally.
Fog reduces vision and muffles sound. It is always difficult to orient oneself and move around in the fog. Fog symbolizes the confusion of the mind.
But the fog also makes it possible to conceal oneself and to escape from the gaze of others. It is somehow associated with protection.
Finally, the fog hides known places and reveals a new world.
For me, the fog is the symbolic way I found the idea of searching for new horizons where peace and tranquility reign. By sinking into the depths of the fog, I can venture into unknown lands in search of serenity. I do not know where I am going but I know what I am looking for. It will take me time to reach my goal, but my pugnacity will eventually pay off.
As for deer, they represent elegance, power, and virility for me. Photographing them in a foggy landscape allows me to highlight them in minimalist scenes.
It is up to you to find symbolic reasons to photograph deer in the fog.
How to Photograph Deer in the Fog
Photographing deer in the fog is not an easy thing. You already have to find areas where fog can create itself. The conditions I mentioned earlier must all be met.
Then you have to look for deer. The deer slab is an interesting time you can locate them more easily.
Finally, you still have to find the right stage to showcase the animal power and natural elegance of the deer.
Personally, I practice a lot of stakeout to photograph deer in the mist. I always evolve in regions that I know. I know where to place myself.
But I do not neglect the photography walk once the day is up. This technique is interesting because if you cannot see the deer, they cannot see you either. The photo walk will offer you many creative possibilities.
But knowledge of weather conditions and animals is not enough. Knowledge of your equipment is especially important. For example, you must be able to disengage your lens in manual focus. Often deer silhouettes are fleeting in the fog. Even with a central collimator, you will not be able to perform auto-focus. The lens will skate. Disengaging it in manual mode will be the only way to focus accurately. I recommend that you practice before your fall sessions.
Personally, I always use a long focal length to photograph deer in the mist. You will not have any chance to get very close to a deer with a short focal length.
In addition, I find it interesting to recreate the fall atmosphere. Your scenes should be airy and wide. The deer should be photographed from quite a distance.
In my opinion, the best framing for a scene with fog is definitely the horizontal format. You need to make your scene breathe and give it a lot of space always to evoke the atmosphere. 3 :2, 16:9 or 2:1 ratios are perfectly adapted.
Why and How: Photographing Valley of the Gods in Utah
If on your next trip, you have the opportunity to travel in the southwestern United States to photograph the wonderful landscapes of this region, I advise you to put your camera equipment in a very little known area: Valley of the Gods in the state of Utah.
You will discover incredible mineral landscapes located in a desert area.
In this article, I share with you some creative ideas to enhance these red sandstone buttes.
Landscape in black and white of Valley of the Gods in Utah.
It is by the greatest of chance that I came to know the Valley of the Gods.
On a trip to the Valley of Fire in Nevada, while I was sitting in my camping seat waiting for clouds to form over a scene, an American couple, Nancy, and Jack, came to meet me. They had seen me while hiking.
As is the tradition in these arid regions, they came to see if everything was all right for me . As is customary in the United States, they asked me how I was doing. I told them I was fine. I explained to them that I was just waiting for the clouds to form in the scene I had chosen and for the light to be better.
Naturally, the conversation began. We talked for over an hour about the landscapes they loved in the American Southwest. Nancy mentioned a place that particularly touched her. It was a valley in Utah. Its name was Valley of the Gods.
I had never heard of it before. I recorded all the information on my voice recorder. Back at my hotel in the evening, I consulted the internet to find out what this valley I had never heard of could look like.
The photos were eloquent. I found similarities with Monument Valley in the formations, but I had strange sensations and a feeling of great curiosity. I felt the calm, quietness, and solemnity of the place. The strangest thing was that none of my photographer friends had told me about it. Perhaps they were also unaware of this place?
I carefully recorded all the information I had gleaned in my travel journal.
It was only a year later, during a trip along the I-40 that crosses the United States from east to west that I finally went to photograph the Valley of the Gods.
I will never forget my first steps on the glowing and dusty paths of this mysterious and strange place. It is on these paths that I understood the meaning of the word silence.
A Few Words About Valley of the Gods
Before discussing how to photograph Valley of the Gods, it seems important to me to give you a few facts that will already make you want to go photograph these mineral landscapes.
Valley of the Gods is a nugget for landscape photographers. It is a very little-known place. Indeed, it is located an hour drive from Monument Valley which is a world-famous place. Valley of the Gods lives in the shadow of its prestigious neighbor that captures all tourists.
But in the end, it is a good thing because you will not meet any visitors and you will never be disturbed during your photo sessions.
The Valley of the Gods is far from everything. There is no souvenir store, no gas station, no store to buy food. There is absolutely nothing. It is best to bring water and a full tank of gas before visiting the valley.
Unlike Monument Valley, which is managed by the Navajo tribe, which imposes strict rules for visiting hours and entrance fees, the Valley of the Gods is completely free of access. No entrance fee is required to take pictures. It is total freedom in an enchanting landscape.
The Valley of the Gods is crossed by a track of red gravel and dust. You just have to take it with a four-wheel drive car and then stop whenever you want to take your pictures. The laces of the track take you for 17 miles (27 kilometers) through a desert landscape populated with mesas, buttes, and mushroom formations. The dominant color of the Valley of the Gods is red. However, the most striking thing is the silence that reigns all around you. No noise. No birds. The only noise you will hear is that of your camera.
If you ever take a walk in the Valley of the Gods, you will feel the wilderness away from the deafening hustle and bustle of the urban cities. You will truly experience a break in time.
Why Photographing the Valley of the Gods
In my opinion, the main reason to photograph Valley of the Gods is that you will be able to choose your scenes, your points of view as you want. You can go wherever you want as long as you respect nature and the environment.
Unlike its large neighbor, Monument Valley, you can explore the entire area without a special permit or use a guide who can take you to certain places.
This freedom will allow you to think and build the creation of your photographs. You will be able to add a juniper tree in the foreground if you wish. You will be able to walk to the foot of Seven Sailors or Rooster Butte or even Castle Butte without having to ask yourself if it is allowed or not.
You will be able to create different nature photos of the great American west because you will choose your scene with precision. This is a definite advantage to avoid taking pictures that have already been taken.
Another advantage is that you can take your photos at the time you want. There is no entrance fee. Access is free. You can even camp in the valley as long as you do not make a campfire.
This freedom of movement and action allows you to choose the best lights for your photos. As the Valley of Fire is rather flat, the low-angled lights, whether morning or twilight, are excellent.
To make color photos and highlight mineral formations, these are special moments.
To make black and white photos, it is better to wait for the clouds to appear. They will allow you to furnish your skies while highlighting the textures and structures of the sandstone formations.
Undoubtedly, the Valley of the Gods deserves to spend two or three full days to create unique landscape photos.
First of all, as I mentioned in a previous paragraph, the track that will take you on the laces that snake around the mesas and mounds is very dusty and very stony.
I recommend a four-wheel drive with a high clearance to avoid any mechanical incident.
As far as the photographic equipment is concerned, all lenses are possible: from 14 to 200mm.
With short focal lengths, you will be able to photograph the mesas and mounds from close up in order to account for their shape and size.
With medium focal lengths, you will be able to capture wider shots. You will be able to give an idea of the immensity of the scenery and landscapes.
I had the opportunity during some sessions when the weather was clear to see Monument Valley in the distance.
Personally, I am an avid user of the tripod and gradient filters. Indeed, using a tripod allows me to choose my point of view and make small changes without having to change places. As you will most likely be alone during your trip, you will not be bothered by any tourist who might bump into your tripod. Take advantage of it!
The best advice I can give you is to take your time in choosing your first plan. Just like in Monument Valley, many junipers grow in the valley. Highlight them in the foreground to highlight a mound or a mesa in the background. Do not hesitate to do a reconnaissance at least during one day and note the GPS coordinates of each scene you have selected for the next day.
Framing to Showcase the Valley of the Gods
Just as for the choice of photographic lenses, everything is possible to photograph well and highlight the landscapes of the Valley of the Gods.
The first frames that will come to mind are horizontal frames such as 3:1, 16:9 or 3:2.
But the Italian format (vertical) or square is quite possible for a detail or a close-up shot.
Take the time to think about your framing. Your imagination is in power. Try to surprise your audience with daring framing that is out of the ordinary. Remember that you have time.
The Symbolism and Interpretation of the Valley of the Gods
As always in these mineral regions of the American Southwest, the landscapes evoke for me the freedom to move, to take time.
The Valley of the Gods evokes silence, tranquility, the passing of time.
Symbolically, the scenes I photograph evoke the slowness of time, introspection, calm, quietness. It is in this state of mind that I approached the creation of my art photographs of the region.
Photographing the Valley of the Gods, as far as I am concerned ,is photographing two doors of time. The first is the one that closes a number of years that I have not seen pass. The second is the one that opens up all the wonderful years that are coming and during which I will continue to fulfill my dreams.
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