No matter where we are in our creative journey, there is always room for growth. Lately, I've been mulling over how one grows as a photographer—both in terms of my own path and the ways in which I can help students along theirs.
How do I know whether I've "found my groove" or have become complacent? How can I push beyond my comfort zone to explore new territory, both technically and creatively? How do I know if it’s time to take my work in a bold new direction? I have far more questions about this subject than I do answers, but I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve been doing lately to explore those questions.
JOURNALING. A journal is a wonderful place to acknowledge the questions and explore thoughts around them without censure or judgement. I can also write down the random ideas that come to me in the process, hoping that somewhere among them is a nugget of an idea worth exploring further.
READING.I’m reading about the creative process, alternative photographic processes, artists' lives, nature and landscape. I’m reading artist statements, interviews and introductions to photo books, trying to glean insight into the creative process and inspirations of others.
WATCHING.I’ve stumbled across so many wonderful video interviews with photographers and other artists lately. Each one has something unique and insightful to share, which gives me food for thought and journaling. Or sometimes I see a technique I want to try. (This week, for instance, I learned about free lensing. It’s where you remove your lens from your camera and hold it by hand when shooting. Who knew?)
LEARNING. I love taking workshops as much as I do teaching them. Right now I’m taking an online course that pushes me to think in new ways. I watch something on Creative Live, Lynda.com or LensWork a couple of times of week; the topics vary widely. I’m also watching JulieAnne Kost’s videos on advanced Photoshop techniques, trying to push through a few new barriers.
PRINTING.By printing my images, I can see them more clearly and experience them in a different way. In particular, I love laying out the prints on a table and rearranging them, finding new relationships between them. As a result, I’m playing around with diptychs, triptychs and visual short stories.
SHOOTING.I am trying to photograph something new each week. A new subject, approach, something. Most of it is rough; after all, new techniques take practice. But some of it is intriguing or shows promise and I even managed to get a few shots (like the one above) that I like along the way.
And finally, I think about photography whenever I can, which is most of the time (and which is maybe too much, but it's just how I am) and try to look at things with fresh eyes. At some point, I will take a break from this intense focus and settle back into my work. Hopefully, when I do, I will bring new ideas and energy to my process.
How do you grow as a photographer (or in other creative fields)? How do you know when it’s time to stretch and grow again? In what ways do you most need to grow right now?
No matter where we are in our creative journey, there is always room for growth. Lately, I've been mulling over how one grows as a photographer—both in terms of my own path and the ways in which I can help students along theirs.
One of the key concepts in creativity is that of combining seemingly unrelated ideas to come up with new ideas or looking to other fields for strategies that might work in our own.
In photography, this can be as simple as approaching one field of photography like you might another. For instance, a landscape photographer can benefit from thinking like a portrait photographer. After all, every place, whether a bustling city or a remote patch of desert, has its own personality and unique characteristics. This can inform the elements and composition, the angle of view and the kind of light in which we photograph the landscape.
When I photograph plants, I often bring them into the studio and set them up much as one might for a portrait session. I spend time studying each plant carefully, looking for unique characteristics or gestures that give it personality. And that’s what I emphasize through lighting, composition and depth of field.
I was reminded of this while listening to an interview by Chris Orwig with noted photographer Keith Carter. Carter has spent much of his life photographing the people and places of East Texas and approaches all of his subjects as portraits. It doesn’t matter whether they are people, dogs, houses, landscapes or objects. His work is insightful, engaging and often mysterious. It is filled with soul and magic, and he says that's because he gives his subject intense attention and respect. If you want a good example of portraiture concepts applied in non-traditional ways, spend some enjoyable time with his work.
What happens when you begin to think of the photographs you take as portraits? How does it change your way of seeing and relating to your subject?
Sometimes the hardest part of working on a new project or in a new space is just getting started. Knowing this, I assigned myself a warm-up exercise for my first day in the studio during my artist residency at the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation: Find multiples of some natural object and arrange it different ways.
Rocks made an easy choice; they were everywhere (including the windowsills in the studio and dresser in my bedroom). The rocks I loved most were found on a special beach on the backshore, which was covered in granite cobbles worn smooth by the ocean waves. Most were pink granite, but there were also all shades of gray, black and brown.
I photographed arranged rocks against black, then also photographed them against other backgrounds and in boxes, crates and tins of all sizes. Although I brought a very small bag of very small rocks home with me, I returned the remaining rocks and cobbles to the sea and windowsills. Perhaps they will inspire the next visiting artist, as well.
This simple exercise can be done anytime to kick start your creative juices. Just grab a handful of coins, a box of match sticks or a bag of marbles and spend 10 minutes arranging them in different ways. You could also work with random items on your desk, dresser or kitchen counter. Just move them around until the arrangement is pleasing, then do it again.
Digging up the backyard (amateur archaeologist at work) or bringing things home from the pond and woods ranked among my favorite childhood activities. While digging, I found a cow’s tooth, Civil War bullet and fragment of Indian pottery. All went into a special box. I collected beetles, bugs and butterflies, and rescued chipmunks, baby rabbits, garter snakes and birds (from what, I’m not quite sure). I even had a pet chicken that fell off the poultry truck, which I fed cornmeal purchased with my allowance.
They say we go full circle, returning to the things we love most throughout our lifetimes. So I suspect it is natural that I also collect natural objects on my walks and travels as an adult (though no more snakes these days). I gather seedpods and dried leaves from the garden; seek out lichen and wildflowers in the woods; and pick up shells and rocks on the beach. And then I bring them into the studio to display and photograph. Nature collections and cabinets of curiosities hold just as much fascination for me now as they did in my early years.
During my trip to Maine, I gathered urchin, mussel, clam and waved whelk shells along the shore. As I wandered through the woods, I found mosses, mushrooms, shelf lichen, spruce cones and curls of birch bark. On the backshore, I pondered which of the smooth granite cobbles I might be able to lug back on my bicycle and strapped seaweed to the handlebars. I stopped along the way to pick apples, blackberries, blueberries and rosehips (though I ate the berries as fast as I picked them).
Since I opted not to take photo backdrops to my artist residency on Great Cranberry Island, I rummaged through the studios and barn to see what I could find. There was paint on just about every surface (floors, tables, chairs, cardboard, palettes), along with some wonderful bowls in a former pottery studio and weathered crates in the barn. I put them all to good use for a series I’m calling The Naturalist’s Studio: Natural Objects as Works of Art. I found that having to find backdrops on site was a fun creative challenge. Limitations are good for stretching the imagination.
You can see a broader selection from the series in my photo gallery. It is an ongoing project that I'm continuing in my studio back home. Would love your feedback—both on the series and on the ways you impose limitations in your own creative work.
This summer, I unplugged for two months while I traveled, taught and attended an artist residency. I have not looked at facebook since mid-June, and haven’t missed it. I posted to instagram only sporadically until I headed home and even took a hiatus from writing this newsletter. For the most part, my access to both cell service and the internet was extremely limited and wasn’t available at all in my studio.
Without the ability to check email or make a post, I simply worked. Without the constant interruption, I could think more deeply about my work and push through barriers when I might normally be tempted to take a break and check email. When I did take a break, it was to take a nap (there was a bed in each studio) or wander along the shore to see what the retreating tide left behind—perhaps an urchin or waved whelk, almost always a bit of sea glass. These were much more productive breaks that allowed for creative incubation and left me feeling refreshed, and it made me realize how much I miss that in my daily life.
I’m back home and reconnected again, but trying to find ways to break this habit of always checking my phone. I’ve left it in the car when I might normally take it with me. I’m turning off alerts. And I’m seeking ways to put my creative work first when I get to the studio—waiting until late in the day to tend to business, correspondence and social media. I’d love to hear about ways you unplug or manage distractions like social media, emails and calls, and how it has made you more creative, productive or attentive.
What better way to spend a week in summer than exploring the Maine Coast, photographing water? We had a group that did just that in July. In addition to photographing the ocean, rivers and water gardens, they got their feet wet photographing fog and rain as well! Still water, moving water, reflections and recreational activities were all part of this class. Here are a few of the watery images captured by students:
Credit: Students of Photographing Water, a week-long workshop offered by Maine Media Workshops and taught by Lee Anne White, July 2018.
I like fog. I like fog a lot. It may even be my favorite weather for photography. There was a lot of fog on Great Cranberry Island, so I was a pretty happy camper. I was there for two weeks before I ever saw the view of Mount Desert Island and Cadillac Mountain. Mostly I had views of, well, fog. Sometimes, even when you love the weather, it's nice to have a change in conditions.
In landscape photography, we can’t control the weather or change the lighting conditions. We can research typical weather conditions for a place before we travel, but even weather forecasters struggle to predict what’s really going to happen. So we go prepared and work with what we have. We get up early for morning light, even if it turns out to be overcast. We head out to photograph at sunset, even if it turns to rain. After all, we never really know what we’re going to have until we get there. And in many places (such as the coast of Maine, I have discovered), the weather conditions can turn on a dime. Just when we least expect it, the clouds break and there is a rainbow. Or we have been shooting all day in bright sunshine and, yes, that wonderful fog begins to roll in.
In the end, we photograph the landscape under the conditions we are given. We work to master each type of light, learn to capture rain and fog in unique ways, and find other subjects to photograph when conditions are especially difficult. And if we keep going out—whether to the same places or new places—we do, eventually, get the light we are looking for. And when we do, it makes up for all those times we were out practicing and patiently waiting for a break in the weather.
We had a talented, enthusiastic and supportive group that gathered in Maine during July to explore botanical and garden photography. This was mostly a field workshop, with lots of time spent in lots of gardens--both public and private. Here are a few images highlighting the work of each student. Enjoy!
Spending quiet time in a secluded house by the sea has long been a dream of mine—a dream, no doubt, inspired by the writings of May Sarton, Rachel Carson, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Henry Beston and Joan Anderson. While it wasn’t a house and wasn’t entirely secluded, I have had the opportunity to work in a studio surrounded by tidal waters in recent weeks. And yes, it was pretty magical.
I begin the long trek home this morning. Between teaching at The Maine Media Workshops and doing an artist residency at The Heliker-LaHotan Foundation, I’ve spent much of the summer working outdoors in Maine. In particular, I have spent nearly four weeks exploring Great Cranberry Island, which is a ferry ride from Mount Desert Island and has great views of Cadillac Mountain and Acadia National Park when it’s not shrouded in fog. Special thanks to the Foundation for this unique and inspiring opportunity.
I worked in three different studios during my residency: a printmaker’s studio near the main house, a former pottery studio in a barn up the road in the woods, and the LaHotan painting studio on the water. I did not make any prints, pots or paintings, but I did learn a lot about natural light and studio design, and discovered the magic of skylights. And though I carried a small bag of studio lights along, I never had any reason to use them. The natural light was beautiful in these spaces.
In addition to studio work, I explored the island by bicycle each day—strapping my tripod to the rear bike carrier, stuffing bug spray and beach finds in the handlebar bag, and carrying my camera and lenses on my back. The island isn’t large, but offers surprising diversity in terms of shoreline, forest and bogs. I could not cover it all. I did photograph a beautiful private garden and a boatyard, but never quite got around to photographing much of the architecture, interiors or people who live on the island. The residents were kind and generous, allowing me access to their properties, and I so appreciated their coming to my artist talk and open studio events.
I’ll share more from this experience in the coming weeks and months as I return to my regular writing schedule. Thanks for your patience while I unplugged. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful summer.
As my time at the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation on Great Cranberry Island, Maine, comes to a close, I will be holding an Open Studio in the LaHotan Studio along the shore where I have been working. The event will be held this Thursday at 4:30pm. Drop by for a glass of wine and to see images of the island. In addition to landscapes, I will be debuting a new still-life series called The Naturalist's Studio: Natural Objects as Works of Art.
I'm heading to the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation's Artist Residency Program on Great Cranberry Island, Maine, this week. I will stay at the residency for four weeks and my initial focus will be exploring the island, journaling and giving an artist talk for the community. If you happen to live or be traveling near GCI (just off the coast of Acadia National Park and accessible by ferry), please join me this coming Thursday at 4pm at the Cranberry House.
I will also be leading a 3-day landscape/seascape photography workshop on the island from August 9-11. It's not too late to register!
Whether photographing a garden, an island, a national park, or region of the country, I’m always looking for what gives that place a unique sense of place. How can I transport the viewer to that location and capture something beyond the basic views every tourist takes? How can I utilize elements of content, composition and light to convey mood, share something about the terrain or climate, or convey a bit of history or culture? I want my images to convey something more, something deeper.
Instead of heading straight for the flowers in a garden or the straightforward views of places I visit, I find it helps to take a more intentional and creative approach and to think in layers. I start by noticing my first impressions, then dig more deeply and follow my sense of curiosity around the bend, and finally, take a closer look at the details that make a place both whole and different from other places.
I look for things like color, texture, vegetation and terrain. I also look at architectural styles and local building materials, and the ways in which they have weathered over time. And I think of the intimate details such as sand or stone patterns, flora and fauna, and areas of light and shadow as the fingerprints of place. The ways in which people have adapted to the land or adapted the land for their own use also give us clues about sense of place. And shooting in different weather can both create drama and share something about the climate and conditions.
I hope you enjoy your summer travels and bring home lots of good memories and photographs that help convey a sense of place to share with others. I’m off on my own travels, and will have limited access to internet or time for writing over the next two months, so you may not hear much from me. I will try to post images to instagram (@leeannewhite) from time to time, so I hope you’ll follow along.
Itineraries, maps and teaching notes are scattered across my studio table at the moment. Piles of photo gear are stacked around the room, waiting to be sorted into what goes and what stays. Preparing for a seven-week, 2,600-mile road trip that includes four workshops and an artist residency has me thinking about the trip planning process.
When it comes to planning photographic excursions—whether to shoot on assignment, teach a workshop, work on a personal project or simply explore a new place—I have found there is a delicate balance between planning and being open to experience, a balancing act that can be easily thwarted by inadequate preparation or excessive expectations.
We research destinations so that we are prepared, don’t miss what’s most important, and can use our time efficiently. Knowing when the sun rises and sets and where the best views might be at those times of day is especially important to a landscape photographer. When shooting along the coast, knowing the tide schedule and whether locations are best photographed at high tide or low tide is critical. In national parks, historic sites and botanical gardens, we need to know opening and closing times, as well as the rules regarding photography. When photographing on private land (such as for gardens and architecture), we need permission and property releases.
It is a terrible feeling to arrive somewhere for a limited amount on time and to have no idea where to get started, no feel for direction, no place to stay, no sense for where the best shots might be waiting. It is frustrating to discover that the museum we wanted to tour requires advance reservations, that the lighthouse we wanted to photograph is closed for renovation, or that it is peak black fly season in the woods where we planned to camp.
However, it is also possible to go overboard with preparations—creating tight, overly aggressive schedules or developing expectations for what a place should look like (based on photographs we, no doubt, saw when making our plans). We fail to leave time to wander, relax, follow our sense of curiosity around the bend, and make discoveries of our own.
We must each find our own balance. When traveling on my own, I tend to keep plans fairly loose. I prefer road trips over air travel and believe getting there can be half the fun. When making plans for a group workshop, however, I nail down as many details as possible and have a working itinerary. Still, I leave plenty of flexibility in the schedule. This gets us off to a good start, but allows us to adapt to group interests and experience levels, as well as to changing weather or unexpected challenges. My goal is to be open to unexpected opportunities—knowing that adequate preparation helps make that possible, but having too many expectations is like wearing blinders.
I want to be like the woman in one of my recent workshops who declared, “I make U-turns.” If I’m traveling down a road something piques my interest, I want to be able to go back and check it out.
Although artists and writers need connections and benefit from collaboration in many ways, creating the work itself is generally a solitary act. And it requires shifting into a creative “zone” in which we are totally focused on our work, oblivious to our surroundings, schedules and other obligations. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done. Cell phones, the internet, appointments—they all get in the way.
Sometimes it is helpful to just get away from it all. To eliminate the distractions, reset, reflect and focus on the work. Artist residencies offer a way to do that, and it is one of the reasons they are so coveted. They offer a change of environment, a quiet place to work for an extended period, and various forms of support—usually housing and studio space, and occasionally other amenities such as meals, transportation or access to specialized equipment. Some offer a community of other artists with whom you can build relationships and share experiences with over meals; others are solo retreats. Most provide an opportunity at some point to share your work with their local community or offer greater visibility for your work in some way. But mostly, they offer a quiet place to work without interruptions.
I am doing my first artist residency this summer through the Heliker-LaHotan Foundationon Great Cranberry Island, Maine. Located just off the coast of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park, it is the largest of five islands in the Cranberry Isles, measuring roughly two miles long by one mile wide. It is accessible only by boat, and beyond a general store, café, library and local history museum, there are few amenities on the island. I do not expect to have cell phone service. Internet is likely only available at the library (though the island is in the process of adding a broadband system). But that's okay. There are rocky shorelines; a large, protected tidal pond; a log boardwalk through a bog; trails through a spruce-fir, birch and red maple forest; and excellent views of the sunset over the mountains of Acadia National Park.
I will be at the residency for four weeks following two weeks of teaching at the Maine Media Workshopsin Rockport. I will have both a place to stay and a private studio overlooking the water. While there, I will lead a three-day photography workshop on landscape and place. (You are invited; see details below.)
Preparing for a residency is an interesting process: How much to plan versus how much to leave open to the experience? Will I work on a current project that needs some deep attention, focus on a new project based on the island, or some combination of the two? What equipment and materials should I pack, knowing I have to get everything there by boat and will not have local access to additional supplies? Should I take my own backdrops or make do with what I can adapt? Take a small lighting kit for studio shots or rely on natural light? Should I post as I can about the experience while I'm there or totally disconnect? What needs to be taken care of at home before leaving on a seven-week journey (as I am also driving to Maine and back)? If I’ve learned anything about travel over the years, it is to prepare, but to be open to the unexpected and change of plans, so that is how I am approaching this adventure.
I will likely take a break from posting my newsletter and on social media while away, but I will keep you posted on preparations over the next few weeks and share my challenges, discoveries and experiences in some way when I return. I am extremely grateful to the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation for this opportunity to take a deep dive into my creative work and look forward to the journey.
Landscape and Place
A Photography Workshop on Great Cranberry Island, Maine
August 9-11, 2018
What is this thing we call landscape? What do we mean by place? And what elements in the landscape give a place a sense of place? How can we move beyond the obvious shots to photograph the true character of a landscape or the "fingerprints" of place? We'll explore these questions through discussions, image reviews and extensive in-the-field photography during a three-day workshop on Great Cranberry Island, Maine.
The workshop is sponsored by the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation. Details and registration information can be found on their website.
Why make photographs? Not just “take pictures,” but why take the time to create a compelling, memorable image? What compels you to pick up a camera—whether a digital SLR, a 4x5 field camera, or the camera in your phone—and create a photograph?
I believe this is an essential question that every photographer should ask, whether they are a working professional, artist, avid enthusiast or someone new to photography. Doing so and exploring the answer is part of what separates photographers from everyone else with a camera, which is just about everybody these days. Of course, that doesn’t mean the answer comes easily, or that it doesn’t change and evolve over time.
In exploring this question, you may find that there are both easy answers and more difficult ones—those more general in nature that many other photographers might identify with and those that are very specific and unique to you. Those unique to you are the most valuable. They provide the motivation. They bring focus, clarity and consistency to your work. The more you understand your “why,” the more compelling your images are likely to be.
Some of your answers may have to do with how the process affects you. Others may have more to do with what you want to share with others. They may have to do with recording your life, telling stories, expressing emotions, documenting change, exposing injustices, teaching others about a subject, sharing what others often overlook, or so many other reasons. Even within a particular genre, you have a unique perspective that is driven by your why. What is it?
Even if you’ve answered this question dozens of times before, why not take some time this week to think about it again—to see if the images you are creating are consistent with your why, if your thoughts on the subject have evolved, if the answers are helping you to grow.
It's always a treat to share the work created by students in my workshops. This one took place in my studio in late May. We explored simple, creative ways to create a compact and affordable home studio for photographing nature with both natural light and continuous lighting. Though we all love photographing nature and gardens outdoors, shooting in the studio allows us to spend more time with our subjects, to work with them in more creative ways, and to do so in a controlled (okay, air-conditioned and bug-free) environment. It is also a great way to keep shooting in winter when it is difficult or impossible to work outside. Anyhow, I hope you will join me in celebrating the work of these avid and talented photographers!
Although I have wanted to visit Badlands National Park for many years, it was actually Custer State Park that most delighted me during a much-too-short visit to South Dakota with my husband earlier this week. That’s not to say I was disappointed in Badlands; it's just to point out the uniqueness of Custer State Park. At more than 71,000 acres, it is among the largest state parks in the country and easily rivals many national parks in beauty and wildlife viewing opportunities. Located in the Black Hills, it is just a stone’s throw from Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Wind Cave National Parkand many other destinations.
Four primary roads provide access to the park. The most popular is the Wildlife Loop Road (18 miles), which winds through lush, rolling hills with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. We saw prairie dogs, pronghorns, deer, coyote, bighorn sheep and a herd of buffalo. (Not to mention the “wild” burros that poke their heads in tourists' cars looking for food.) If we had been there during prime viewing hours (closer to dawn and dusk), we may have also seen elk and mountain goats.
Iron Mountain Road (18 miles) is a narrow, winding road that features one-lane tunnels chiseled through stone, sharp switchbacks, a series of pigtail-loop bridges and stunning views of Mount Rushmore (including one perfectly framed by a tunnel). Needles Highway (14 miles) offers a spectacular drive through a spruce and pine forest, and alongside spires and domes of granite. We drove through a narrow, stone passageway just wide enough for a single car and stopped for a while at Sylvan Lake, set against a backdrop of granite boulders rising up out of the water. The Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway bisects the park and connects the scenic drives.
Sections of the park burned last December in the Legion Lake Fire, but are recovering nicely. If anything, the red, singed branches of ponderosa pines are striking against a new flush of green grass (it has that complementary color thing going for it) and it is fascinating to see the regeneration process. Dead timber is being cleared in some areas of the park, which should help prevent further forest fires.
The diversity of scenery and wildlife in Custer State Park is a photographer’s dream. I’d love to go back and spend a week in the park, staying in one of the lodges or cabins. This would make it much easier to explore the park photographically and to be in the right place for sunrise and sunset. I'd also like to rent one of those kayaks on Sylvan Lake for a closer look at those boulders (though I'm not sure I want to dip more than a toe or two into the chilly water).
I was also pleasantly surprised by Rapid City, just an hour away from the park. It is a wonderful small city with the historic Hotel Alex Johnson, excellent restaurants, art galleries and unique shops. My favorite was Prairie Edge—a combination Sioux trading post, antique store, regional bookstore, art gallery, Pendleton shop and more. Tucked away on the top floor was a bead library—a collection of thousands of beautifully displayed jars filled with colorful beads used by Native Americans to decorate their ceremonial clothing and accessories.
Have you visited a new place recently? What were your first impressions? What did you discover when you dug a little deeper? How might you photograph it if you were to return?
There is a difference between taking pictures and making photographs. The first is a casual act; the latter is a contemplative one. It is possible to produce interesting images either way, but making photographs is done with much greater attention and intention.
Last week, I asked about some of the ways you go about slowing down and making photography a more contemplative, creative act. Today, I’d like to share a few of my own approaches.
- Set the camera aside. Just sit for a while or take a walk and become more aware of your surroundings. I believe this is especially important in nature, but may be equally important and insightful in other surroundings, as well. This can help you slow down and become more in tune with a place. It can also allow you to see things you might otherwise miss.
- Notice your first impressions. Sometimes they are the most important impressions; other times they are misleading. It is your job to discern the difference.
- When something attracts your attention, think about why it does that. What compels you and how might you best emphasize or translate than photographically?
- If possible, move around your subject and look at it from all angles. Notice not only the subject, but how the light falls on it, what is behind it, and what is beside it that might be encroaching on your image. This can apply whether you are photographing a flower or garden, a stone or a mountain, a doorway or a building.
- Focus more on making one great photograph than taking lots of shots.
- Stop often to look up from what you are photographing. Notice how the light is shifting, what may be falling in or out of shadow, and what is taking place around you. If you are shooting close-up, observe the overall scene. If you are photographing a broad scene, take a look at the details around you.
- Eliminate distractions. Might you need to turn off your phone? Get away on your own for a bit when traveling with others? Go to a quieter location?
- Pay attention not only to the subject, but how it makes you feel. Can you bring some of that emotion into your photograph?
- Let go of expectations (both your own and those of others). Instead of worrying about how to get a great shot, allow the scene to speak to you.
Do any of these resonate with you? What would you add to the list?