Seeing the “Little” Picture

Text & photos by Ellen Bedrosian except where noted 

With our stereoscopic vision, the human eye is designed to see the “big” picture, especially when we come upon a new scene. As photographers, our first instinct is to try and capture the entire view before us, especially a breathtaking building or landscape.

While wide-angle (or even panoramic photographs) are the staple of any photographer’s portfolio, there’s much to be said for breaking down the entire scene into its composite parts. We often hear judges’ critique photographs during competitions, pointing out two or even three photographs that could have been made out of the one submission. They also often say that a detail from that larger photograph could have made a more powerful image.

On the club’s recent field trip to the 9/11 Memorial, while we were waiting for the group to gather, I spotted this building with some interesting architecture across the street:

Entire building

Then the windows caught my eye so I got these two different views:

Medium View

Small view

But I didn’t like the angle of the small view, plus it was out of focus, so I cropped the medium view…

Medium view-cropped

added a filter, and voilaI scored a 9 on this grab shot!

The field trip to the Train Museum proved to be a difficult place to shoot for me. Trying to capture the magnificence of a bygone era was marred by numerous “keep off” signs and lots of electrical wires. Without a lot of post-processing, the images I took of the locomotives are not competition material.

Lots of distracting wires and “keep off” signs

Walking around the train yard, I came upon a pair of sneakers, and set them up for this comical shot.

Watch Your Step

But Alda really found some treasures.

She found these rust patterns on one of the train cars, and I think her images are my favorite from that trip.

To me, Alda’s image looks like an abstract sunset over a waterfall with a bear fishing for salmon in the pool below.

Alda’s abstract rust patterns

Shooting in Fall

With Fall fast approaching, we’ll soon be out in the woods shooting breathtaking landscapes highlighting the magnificent colors of the season.

Fall Landscape

But don’t forget to take a look around you for the little things that may be hiding in the fallen leaves.

Detail from rotting log

Weird mushroom

So, while you’re out shooting, be aware of all of the “little” pictures hiding inside the “Big Picture.”  You’ll be surprised at what you can find when you narrow your vision.

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  1. Good article Ellen. I think Alda’s images make great overlay textures. So does the rotting log. Thanks for putting this together. We often do miss the “small picture”.

  2. Elizabeth

    Delightful article!! I love the photos, thought process, the commentary and your sense of humor. Thanks for sharing it.

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