Trust your unique view of the world
Some scenes are beautiful in their quiet simplicity, requiring a keen eye and deft touch to identify and convey their natural elegance. Other scenes scream for attention, grabbing you by the eyes and pulling you into their world.
While each of us sees the world in our own way, the most successful nature photographers have learned to use their camera to express their relationship with the natural world. For example, my affinity for reflections of distant elements juxtaposed against nearby a surface drew me to this Yosemite sunset shimmering in rainwater pooled atop Sentinel Dome. Anticipating a vivid sunset, I aligned the foreground pools with Half Dome in the distance, and waited for the color.
But maybe you're pulled to the soft, overlapping folds of waves diminishing on a pristine beach, or the day's first rays filtered by the misty canopy of a mature redwood grove. Whatever your muse, evocative photography starts with the ability to convey your vision in a way that reveals what others miss. Your best images will come when you photograph those things that resonate with you.
In my photo workshops, I find great pleasure watching other photographers relate to the natural world. Many are timid at first, but their confidence soon grows and by the end of the workshop they're discovering things only they could have found. This kind of personal trust applies to anyone with a camera, beginner or expert. The next time you're in nature with a loved one, be aware of the things that move you to nudge your companion and say, "Hey, look at that." Chances are that's where you'll find your best images, and your greatest satisfaction. Pleasing yourself first, embracing your own vision rather than trying to duplicate others, not only makes you a better photographer, it makes you a happier photographer.
©Gary Hart, 2011
Read more of Gary's posts on his blog.