Visual Articulacy


I was walking through the parking lot at Fallen Leaf Lake when I was startled by a young teenage bear. He or she was as shocked as I was and we both stared at each other seemingly fascinated by the other till he gave in to his fear and ran off.

My friend Leah encountered the same bear and I wish you could have heard her description. Instead of only presenting the facts, like I did above, she made the encounter into a story that brought all listeners into her experience. She didn’t change any details of the encounter—she just had a wonderful articulateness in how she could describe things.

I have no such skill with words and I haven’t had much motivation to develop any. However when it comes to visual articulateness, I am very motivated.

What I love about working with a camera is its ability to capture what’s in front of you. The more you understand how your cameras and lenses work, the more you’re able to use their strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies to create the photographs that you want to make.

Like my articulate friend, I’m not interested in just conveying an accurate reproduction of what’s in front of me. I want to create something that’s more than that. The details may be the same, but it’s how they’re presented that counts. That’s what I call visual articulacy.

I use and challenge my visual articulacy in a number of ways with the hope of continually improving. First is subject matter. I have zero interested in copying photographs or compositions I’ve seen before. I want my subject matter to be different or at least seen differently from how I’ve seen it photographed.

I’m very careful about my composition. I don’t consciously follow any set rules. I only want the composition to look right to my eyes.

I take care in my post processing. As far as I’m concerned, post processing is as creative an act as taking the photograph itself. I’ll look at a raw image and see something I like, so I’ll load it into Photoshop and try to bring that out. I never know what direction I’ll go in and often surprise myself. Sometimes I save more than one version of an image because I can’t make up my mind which one I like best.

This is what I mean by visual articulacy. My work is to make the image work for me and hopefully work for you, too.

In developing any articulateness, I think it’s helpful to do it a lot. In photography it can mean taking and processing a lot of photographs, or it can mean just looking a lot and seeing beyond first impressions. It’s probably a combination of both.

~ by danbaumbach on January 22, 2019.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: