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My Favorite Quotes: Christine Lavin

Unusual portrait compositions keep me from falling into a rut.

First I wanted to let some of you know that originally had an interest, because of a family issue my completely full workshop with William Yu photographing the flooded rice terraces in China has two openings. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see places you only see in National Geographic and shoot with me. Check it out: Yunnan China with William Yu

Ok, Christine Lavin is a New York City based singer songwriter best known for her contemporary folk music. Christine once said, ” There’s a fine line between a rut and a groove”. So how does this translate to the Art of Photography? The best way to explain is through real life examples, and I’ve heard maybe not all of them, but a good many.

For the past six years I’ve taught a couple of classes for the BPSOP, and since 1983, I’ve been conducting my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around our ever changing ( 🙁 ) planet; critiquing lots of photos.

Some of my fellow photographers insist in only shooting either one way or one particular subject. For example, shooting everything with a 50MMF/1.4 prime lens, or taking pictures of nothing but dead flowers…yes, dead flowers!!!

That’s all well and good, but what might happen is that the groove you think you’re in suddenly becomes a rut, and because of the comfort level you’ve created and the security you think surrounds you it’s had to break out of it.

That prime lens I just mentioned is difficult to use, in the sense that most people shoot on a program and your photos wind up having the same look…sharp on the subject ( not all the time), and everything else out of focus; one of many reasons I don’t own one.

Don’t get me wrong as I like that look, but just not all the time. I can tell you from years of looking at photographer’s photos, most of the time they don’t even know what’s going to be in focus and what won’t be.

Btw, this happens because a friend has talked someone into buying this lens and that someone has no idea how it works; thus perpetuating the rut.

A groove is a good thing as long as that same someone realizes when to implement that 50mm lens or when to include dead flowers into their composition. As they say, there’s a time and place for everything.

Don’t fall into that trap. Shoot with different lens, at different F/stops. Broaden your visual horizon, open your eyes to the incredible amount of subject matter that is in front, on either side, and behind you: don’t forget my 25X4=100 rule!!!

Visual input is a part of our everyday life, and as photographers we need to embrace what we perceive and translate it into to images that will keep the viewer asking for more.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me some time. This coming January Along with William Yu, I’ll be taking a group to China to photograph the flooded rice terraces and also the tribal villages. Next February in conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be returning to Cuba for the fourth time. My next springtime workshop will Berlin next May; an incredibly beautiful city.

If you send me a photo and question, I’ll create a video critique for you: AskJoeB@gmail.com.


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