What’s Your Subject?

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This week’s topic in Cee’s Compose Yourself challenge is strong subjects. All successful photos have something that draws the eye. And ideally the photo should tell a story or evoke emotion.

The assignment is to post a few examples of our work where we have a strong, easily identifiable subject.

For some subjects that’s an easy task, like flowers.

Woodland Park Rose Garden in Seattle - June 2015.

Woodland Park Rose Garden in Seattle – June 2015.

I don’t take a lot of photos of people (outside of family snapshots), but sometimes I see something irresistible, like this middle-aged woman throwing rocks on the beach like a little kid.

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Carkeek Park in Seattle – March 2015.

I like a lot of things about the photo, but unfortunately, there is too much shadow on the front of her jacket and the many rocks on the beach behind her add visual clutter, so I’d only consider this a partly successful photograph.

Where I really struggle is with scenery. I haven’t yet developed a reliable photographic eye.

Part of the problem is that the camera cannot capture the full experience. When I am out somewhere my brain naturally filters what I am seeing for me. A photographer has to force the camera to filter appropriately.

And when I am enjoying a view, my other senses play a large part of what is making the moment special. The scent of dry grasses or lush vegetation, the feel of sun on my skin, and the sound of leaves rustling in a breeze. A photo can’t convey any of that.

Here’s an example of what too many of my landscapes look like. The colors are nice, but it’s still a mostly blah photo. The clouds aren’t dramatic enough and there’s no identifiable subject.

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Near Ellensburg, Washington – September 2013.

This next one is slightly better. There’s still no strong subject, but the changing color of the trees at least gives you something to focus on.

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Lake Wenatchee State Park – October 2005.

Strong subjects in landscapes is a work in progress for me.

 

The bonus challenge this week is to post three photos that illustrate or invoke three emotions listed by Cee.

The first is “something that is beautiful or inspiring.” This is one of my favorite photos.

Late snow on a Seattle cherry tree - March 2007.

Late snow on a Seattle cherry tree – March 2007.

The second is “something that makes you laugh.” This duck was posing on a dock railing and giving me the eye.

Mallard at Log Boom Park - March 2015.

Mallard at Log Boom Park – March 2015.

The third is “sad or melancholy.” I like this last photo, but it does sort of feel lonely and subdued.

Lake of the Woods park near Hope, B.C. - July 2007.

Lake of the Woods park near Hope, B.C. – July 2007.

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4 thoughts on “What’s Your Subject?

  1. Your photos are absolutely superb this week. I really like what you said in this paragraph
    “Part of the problem is that the camera cannot capture the full experience. When I am out somewhere my brain naturally filters what I am seeing for me. A photographer has to force the camera to filter appropriately.”

    Composition is all about the photographer forcing the viewer to see the world through their eyes.

    Marvelous entry.

    Like

  2. Great job on this challenge! All the photos you chose are perfect for their themes. I have the same trouble with landscape photos. Part of me wonders if we just have a lack of strong focal points around here! Your snow on the branch photo filled me with a feeling of wonder and light. We’re so snow deprived here and to see snow in the sunshine is a very rare treat. I love the look that duck is giving you there!

    Like

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