Monthly Archives: June 2021

More Than One

The Church At Black Mesa (No. 2). Near San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico, 2016.

My previous post was the Church at Black Mesa (No. 1), so this week I thought I would post the Church at Black Mesa (No. 2).

These two images were made the same day, from the same location (quite probably from the same tripod position), and likely within no more than about half an hour apart, if that.  While the subject is the same, and even the key compositional elements are the same (same sky, same mesa, same crosses), I think the two images actually communicate quite different impressions of the scene.

They also illustrate my approach to working the scene.  Rarely is the first composition I see the one for which I put the camera on a tripod and shoot.  Almost always I move around a bit and check out the subject from different angles and positions first.

But even after I shoot my first composition, I typically look for more.  Why would the first acceptable composition I found necessarily be the best one?  What else is there to shoot that I would not otherwise see but for having kept looking for it?  If time is not an issue, why not move the camera left or right?  Up or down?  Put on a telephoto or wide angle lens?  Switch between portrait and landscape orientation?

If it sounds arduous, it’s not.  The looking is fun, like solving little visual puzzles, and keeps me engaged with whatever it was that caught my attention about the scene in the first place.  The process of trying all the possibilities helps to uncover all the potential worthy images that can be found in the scene.  And yes, usually there’s more than one.

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