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Archive for August 3rd, 2008

After spending the morning stomping around in the brush, I thought I’d share a composition tip. Once you’ve taken the time to line up your shot, don’t be satisfied with it. When shooting animals, I find myself stop trying to improve the shot once I have the critter framed in my viewfinder. It’s a bad habit I constantly have to push myself to undo. It’s a rare photo that can’t be improved by a slight change of position. Take a look at my first frame of a great blue heron on the hunt:

Not bad, but I’m looking past the obvious fact that it’s exposed well and in focus. Look at the background. It has more than a few distracting sticks and highlights. To clean that up a bit, I could either try to throw it out of focus a little more with a wider aperture or change my camera position. In this instance, I moved two steps to the left and moved those sticks out of the frame. Here’s my second try:

As you can see, it’s quite a bit different and the background is much, much less distracting. So, next time you’re out with your camera and are ready to press your shutter, try this visual exercise:

  • Move two steps to the right (from your original position), take a photo.
  • Move two step to the left, take a photo.
  • Back up two steps, move forward two steps, bend your knees (taking a shot each time, of course).

Don’t be happy with your first frame. I hope you see that changing your camera position even slightly can improve your photos. 

Feel free to share your experiences doing my little exercise here…

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