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Finding the Picture with Brooks Jensen

Finding the Experiential

What a fascinating tree in this cemetery in Hawaii! However, the image below is pretty stale, unemotional, a mere factual description of an interesting place and tree. I make these kinds of failures a lot – usually as a first step in feeling my way in. With this type of "establishing shot" under my belt, I then start asking questions: What do I feel? Does this composition promote that feeling or bury it? What do I need to do to amplify the feeling I'm hoping to portray? In this case, my thoughts ran to, "What a great place to rest for eternity, under a sheltering tree like this." The photograph doesn't even approach this feeling because I was standing in the wrong place. In order for the photograph to promote the feeling of "resing for eternity under this tree," doesn't it seem obvious that I needed to stand under the tree to make the photograph? Forehead slapping moment.

So I simply walked under the tree and looked out. The composition was right there. True, the image below doesn't show the tree as well or in its entirety, but that wasn't the objective. By clarifying that I wanted a photograph about "spending eternity under the tree," I realized that I didn't need the whole tree, nor even the main trunck of the tree. I needed under the tree. A short focal length and a long, graceful limb did the trick.

Tech data:

Panasonic G6 using a Panasonic Leica 12-35mm f/2.8 lens at 12mm. ISO 800. f/7.1 at 1/100th sec.