Monday, October 28, 2013

Composing with My Feet

single stem of native wild grass
Curves Ahead
copyright 2013, Stephanie Maatta Smith
Another photography workshop completed and a resounding success from my point of view. The theme on Sunday was "Autumn Color and Light." We spent a full day walking the trails at Kensington Metropark learning macro techniques and working with color and light. My biggest take-away was learning to compose with my feet. Our instructor had me select subjects for my images and pulled me all the way around the subject -- through weeds and mud -- looking at the subjects from multiple angles and points of view. The idea was to get the best light, an uncluttered background, and to isolate my subject for a close-up view.
closed milkweed pod against water background
Misty Gray
copyright 2013, Stephanie Maatta Smith
After lunch we headed uptrail away from the water where we would see wildlife, especially song birds. Once again I found myself knee deep in leaves and brush, attempting to avoid "leaves of three, let it be" while composing with my feet. The chipmunks and chickadees were particularly interested in what we were doing, though I suspect they were really looking for handouts. Of course, we didn't come empty-handed.
Three Leaves Three
copyright 2013, Stephanie Maatta Smith
My favorites shots of the day were the antics of the song birds while they charmed us out of birdseed. As we photographed the birds, our accompanying naturalist showed us how to watch the birds' flight patterns so we could capture them in their natural settings, catching them on trees or in flight. She also had us focusing on their eyes as much as possible to get the point of light that gives the photograph life.
Tufted Titmouse on nature center guide sign
Nature Guide
copyright 2013, Stephanie Maatta Smith

pair of black-capped chickadees on nature center sign
Seed Seekers
copyright 2013, Stephanie Maatta Smith
While, of course, I want to acquire a "bigger, badder" lens for photographing wildlife, one thing I see is by increasing my shutter speed significantly I can capture wings in flight. Next stop, however, is Wild Birds Unlimited for a sack of birdseed, and then back to the park.

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