The Story in a single image…

Greece tour guide
Greece tour guide

If there is one thing I try to capture in an image today, it’s the Story. Most everything I do technically has to do with capturing that single moment that requires no caption to express the feeling or what the subject was expressing – essentially the Story.

In this image, I was being a bad boy. Our tour group in Santorini was to meet the bus at a certain time, which I had lost track of. Out tour guide came looking for me and this was her expression.

Camera already in hand, I brought it up to my eye and simply released the shutter. Being able to react to the moment was something I learned when first beginning my photography career, in nature. Light changes quickly, animals appear then disappear quickly. I learned to set my camera on Aperture Priority and open the lens all the way. This way if I like the images, what I see is exactly what the camera will take. It’s quick, easy, and today you’ll find many pros using the same technique. But anyone can use this technique.

Practiced Intuition

Although, back then, I had a good SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera and good lens. Today, I shoot Digital and most recently have switched from Nikon to Sony mirrorless. My preference is the Sony a600. It’s DX format, and while many are chasing the latest & greatest, including full frame, I choose to stay with the smaller system which is more ideal for travel. It’s faster, more intuitive and is less obtrusive. But all along the way I practice, as each system is slightly different. Using our equipment regularly results in intuitive composing and a hand/eye/heart link. It’s often referred to as “Practiced Intuition.” That’s where we need to be.

Learning the camera…

One instructor, early on, said that unless we were in the field, out shooting 2-3 times a week, we had to do other things to get to know the camera. He suggested having the camera in our lap while watching TV, shooting things around the room. I still do that with new equipment. Old procedures still work.

Yes, there are times when making many images of a subject, changing angles and lens selection are often required, especially during the practice time. However, I’ve never considered what I do as practice. I call it exercising my camera; but, the practice was gets done at the same time. I was always on the hunt for the right light. One can’t do that sitting at home. And I learned my camera that way.

Equipment changes with needs

Even in photographing nature, strive to include elements that cause the image to “speak.”

Columbine and bee, Bob Grytten Image
Columbine and bee, Bob Grytten Image

This bumble bee just happened to be playing, in my opinion, using this Columbine as a swing. Who would think? One needs no caption. it was photographed with a Nikon and long lens with an extension tube.

Photo Essays…

I sent it off to an editor and he wanted more like this. “We have plenty of pretty flowers,” he said. “Send more with insects and involvement.” I did and included suggestions on equipment used. It resulted in a two page spread and a nice fee.

If you’re a writer you know the phrase, “Show, don’t tell.” What better place than in an image. Thinking Who, What, When, Where and Why tells more of the story. Sometimes a few in a grouping can make a Photo Essay.

Sailing Ship Panorama, Group aboard
Sailing Ship Panorama, Group aboard

No need for an explanation here…

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