Chasing the Light - How Do You Add Interest To A Plain Photo? Part One

July 04, 2017  •  1 Comment

03202017GlidingGreatBlueHeron166ATwp03202017GlidingGreatBlueHeron166ATwpGreat Blue Heron Gliding across Show Low Lake

July 04, 2017, Happy 4th of July! Have a great Holiday!

Chasing the Light - How Do You Add Interest To A Plain Photo? Part One

So, there you are out in the early morning air, a fresh new SD card, or maybe a 16GB (Gigabyte) Compact Flash memory card, clean, never been used. Needing to be baptized with exciting images. 

What to shoot? You’re looking for something to take back from this holiday, this week in a tent, or RV. Something to show the family or put on Facebook. And watch those ‘likes’, and comments reach high numbers. 

You’re at the end of the trail and you notice there’s water out there between the trees. A lake. You’ve come out of the woods right in front of Show Low Lake. Yes!  Now you’ve got this wide, wonderful expanse of blue calm water.

It’s early morning and there’s no one here! Luck is with you. No boats, no anglers on the shore, no tree huggers cluttering up the trail. Look at that lake. All blue, all calm and quiet. Now’s the time.

Get that shot. You quickly frame the water and take a few shots of the lake. There is a loose dock gently floating on the left, great. Click, click, one more, click. Got it.

03202017ShowLowLakeDriftingDock151ATwp03202017ShowLowLakeDriftingDock151ATwpShow Low Lake Drifting Dock

You look at the images you just shot and...are disappointed. It’s not interesting. It’s just some water and a dock that needs to be pulled to the shore and anchored. The dock is small, it looks tiny in this shot. Ah geez, that’s no shot. 

How can I fix this? Let’s see. This camera does have a built-in zoom right? Yes. On the other side of the lake is another dock that is also floating-free. Hmm...

Maybe if I zoom in on the floating dock and line them up so the floater is in front of and just under the other dock it might look like a double-deck dock. At the least, it will have more interest than just all this water and a dock floating free. 

Click. Well, that looks interesting. Even Billy might ask; “How’d ya do that?”

03202017DoubleDecked155ATwp03202017DoubleDecked155ATwpDouble Decked

How do you add interest to a plain photo? Three words. Foreground, middle ground, background. 

By placing something of interest in the foreground, the front part of the image, the eye is drawn into the image. In the middle ground is the object of interest, in this case, a floating dock. It does not need to be in the exact middle of the image. 

Background, the other dock, the road, and the camping area behind in the trees. The trees act as a wall stopping the eye from wandering around, bringing the mind back to the floating dock. Now you have an image with interest.

Why is that dock floating? A mystery. The dock behind it almost looks like it is balancing on top of the front dock. Cool.

A few RVs can be seen way in the back so we now know this is also a camping area. Wonderful. So much information in one simple image. 

Here are a few other examples:

1. A cormorant resting on a log.

03202017CormorantOnAStump134aATwp03202017CormorantOnAStump134aATwpCormorant resting on a log.

2. Two men in a boat just about to throw their lines in the water.

03202017AnglersAcumen141ATwp03202017AnglersAcumen141ATwpTwo anglers getting ready to fish.

3. A Great Blue Heron hiding in plain sight

03202017DriftwoodHeronWide156aATwp03202017DriftwoodHeronWide156aATwpGreat Blue heron hiding in plain sight.



In these four examples, the foreground is mostly out of focus, and the center image is in sharp focus. This pulls the eye into the image as the mind looks at the overall scene. 


By zooming in just a little on the Great Blue Heron it becomes the star of the image. There is more empty space on the left side of the image. Why? It gives the heron space to move. Putting the bird dead center does not allow for possible movement to the left.


Now, we know how to add interest to a plain photo. But wait, there’s more. How do we add special interest to a plain photo? Come back again, and find out next time.


If you have a question or a problem: Scroll to the very bottom of the page and click on SEND MESSAGE


I am grateful for your visit. Thank you.

03202017GreatBlueHeronInset161sATwp03202017GreatBlueHeronInset161sATwpGreat Blue Heron on the wing.


A H Wimmer
Nice job! Also has entertainment value. Thank you.
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