Yesterday it rained in the morning and the sky wasn’t very colorful. In fact it was pretty much dull, flat gray, but I made a picture anyway, just to see what I could create. The above is what I was able to create by pushing the black and white sliders in LR4 and upping the contrast. I’m often surprised by the amount of detail that exists. For me it’s just another way of making something out of almost nothing.
The more I work with pictures like the above, the better I get at visualizing the possibilities before I take the picture. There is an interesting video by Ansel Adams on the subject of visualization. You can see it by clicking here.
I use to find it difficult to visualize a picture before I made it. I would go out for a walk and not really see anything worth taking a picture of; but later I started picking an area and just taking pictures regardless of what it was. I would then get them up on my computer and work on the compositions by cropping. I would try cropping various sections of a picture and in different aspect ratios. Later I started learning what I could do to enhance the primary visual elements of the scene with LR. The more I did this, the better I got at recognizing the possibilities before actually taking the picture.
The primary driver for me pursuing visualization, different photographic styles, etc. was to help me continue to create different pictures from the same areas around my home. It is a real challenge to walk the same paths day after day. I think the first hint I got to try looking at details and showing them differently came from a photographer whose name I forget. I came across a reference that said she had some nice pictures on her blog that she had taken in Hawaii. I noticed that she had been to the same island and areas that I had visited in the past so I was anxious to see how the island had changed. When I looked at her pictures I was surprised. She had taken pictures in the same areas that I had taken pictures yet I didn’t recognize a single thing. It was then that I realized that I had photographed all the standard large landscape views and she hadn’t. She had photographed the small details. I was amazed to see that two people could go to the same area and see totally different things. That realization started me on the way to photographing details whether close by or far away.