May 25, 2009

Photo of the Week: May 26, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: One of the first assignments I give students in my introductory photography course is to bring two pictures to class for discussion – one which they like and one which they dislike. In presenting their choices to the class, students begin to develop an internal language for identifying elements in their own work that succeed or fail. I came across this week's photo in my library while researching images for a book project and stumbled upon an interesting insight into how I evaluate my work.

When I first shot this photo of an orchard on the Golan Heights, I rejected it. I don't recall exactly why, but I may have been striving to create something different or I may have been emotionally disconnected from it when editing the shoot. Upon rediscovering it in my library, while perusing hundreds of files late at night in my office, the image evoked a softness, orderliness and a genuinely peaceful early-spring-morning kind of quiet that fit my mood at the moment perfectly.

One of the best times to photograph trees is late winter or early spring, when bright green new leaves or colorful buds give the tree a unique coloration which fades as the new growth matures. I stood on an embankment looking down into the valley where these trees had been planted, and using a telephoto lens, composed an image that removed all other growth save for a small errant patch toward the top of the frame.

I try to explain to my simcha clients that the real value of their investment in professional photography will only become apparent in 5 or 10 years. Sometimes pictures deserve a second look after a period of time, so that when you return to them, you are in a place to see their true value.