Photography demands attention

Muench WorkshopsSo you can take photos! Now what?

Photography is about ideas, concepts and emotions. Clicking the shutter takes about as much cognitive power as there is in my dog's left ear flap. What makes a photo is us. So, when you consider bringing your camera to take pictures, don't forget yourself!

Photography began when an artist wanted to recreate reality. What a great idea! Reality is so rich, so full of concepts, so overflowing with emotions, so totally covered with beauty. And on the contrary, lots of nasty crap as well. We all experience this plethora of reality in our own ways. Therefore, there is no shortage of images to take and no lack of places to take them. Oh, and lots of time to plan on taking new photos (if you are thinking ahead, that is), which brings me to the reason for this blog post.

I have been taking pictures for over 20 years as a professional photographer. The most important lesson I have learned in all this time is this: Successful images tell stories. Yes, the light is important, composition is wonderful, focus is always helpful, and some contrast is nice, but the most important part of the image will always be the subject! It is the subject that you need to frame in emotion, wrap up in light and compose with the right angle. It is the subject that needs to be in focus to engage the viewer.

I say if you really want to take great images, don't get bogged down in technique. Instead, spend your time studying your favorite subjects. Become familiar with what you love to do in a new way. When you are excited about your subject, your images will reveal it. You and your reality are what interest your viewers. For me the Southwest is like my backyard. I have logged more miles on the highways between Flagstaff and Santa Barbara than President Carter has peanuts. After spending days on end exploring for unusual vantage points, different geological features and ancient rock art, this image is what that exploration looks like, in my memories.

It is for this reason I enjoy sharing with others that amazing feeling of exploring the Southwest. In past workshops to Utah we have done just that.

During the past 20 years I have taught over 60 workshops, each filled with amazing participants, many of whom I have kept in contact with and who have become friends. The best part has been how thrilling it has been to experience photography through others' eyes, share concepts, techniques, and most importantly experience some reality. Life is so very short. Take pictures of it!