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Finding the Picture with Brooks Jensen

Finding the Essential

You've probably only heard about millions times that the first task in composition is to eliminate distractions. I suppose that is good advice, but rather than concentrate on what to eliminate, I find it more useful to think about what is essential. A primitive – but useful – tool is to simply say (outloud) to myself what the picture is about. In this case, "A tumbleweed is caught in a barbed wire fence." Of course I could have described this scene an any number of other descriptions, but these words verbally express what I was seeing in my "art mind." And in doing so, I've identified the essential.

Narrowing what can be seen in the photograph to the essential, I ended up with this – tumbleweed, barbed wire fence, and a totally blurred background. Is this a great photograph? Who knows? Eye of the beholder and all that stuff. But, at least it is what I wanted it to be. And perhaps most importantly, you know what I wanted it to be. If all I presented was the above, there might be some doubt.

Tech data:

Panasonic G9 using a Panasonic Leica 50-200mm f/2.8-4 lens at 156mm. ISO 1250. f/3.9 at 1/2000th sec.