September 17, 2009

Photo of the Week: Sept. 8, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Animals are notoriously uncooperative subjects, but their behavior can offer a valuable lesson to aspiring photographers. Wild animals spend their lives occupied with two primary survival activities: finding food and avoiding danger. To stay alive, they must maintain a constant, vigilant awareness of their environment that involves all of their senses. Photographers, too, need a deep awareness to slog through the ubiquitous barrage of sensual muck and craft compelling pictures.

I took this shot at the Alpaca Farm in Mitzpe Ramon a few years ago. The camels are behind an enclosure and though not entirely frightened by humans, they keep an eye on us, nevertheless. As I tried to get a shot of one of the younger camels, an adult strode in my camera and intended subject, creating this perfect compositional frame. Because it is so obviously identifiable as part of another camel, I centered it on the image and cropped the head and hump to strengthen the frame.

A good photographer is constantly on the lookout for powerful subjects (our food, if you will) and concentrating on avoiding bad light and sloppy composition (the danger, if you please.) To carry the metaphor further, bringing in a regular supply of good images enables our continued survival in a very competitive field.

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