Photographers

On Opening up

On Opening up

The Art of Adventure - Bruce Percy

Over the past decade I think I have opened up to other possibilities with regards to the kinds of light I am chasing, and of course, the types of subjects I am drawn to.

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These days, I rarely chase the red sunrises and sunsets that I was once drawn to. Where they were all pervasive in my imagery from a long way back, they have become less of an emphasis and are now considered just as important as other kinds of light.

I think it is natural to open up to other possibilities. A good landscape photo does not have to be shot at sunrise, nor does it require to be bathed in red light. As time goes on, I am finding that I am opening up to shooting throughout the day and consider light that I may use during the daytime just as important or more so than the golden hour light. It's just that I've learned and grown over time. I think this is inevitable.

I'm much more drawn to muted tones these days and softer light. And I feel there is an internal battle going on within me to work more with high contrast light: it does have its place at times. But right now, I have been working with soft tones and muted colours for a while and I am still finding that I have a lot to explore in that area.

If we only stick to what we know, then we simply don't grow. I have found that rainy days and dull skies lend beautiful qualities to my work. Overcast skies with no clouds or textures lend simplicity to the scene when I wish to focus on one single subject. So I rarely am too worried if the sky looks 'boring' or 'there is nothing happening in the sky'. When nothing is happening in areas of the scene, these are quiet parts, that aren't clawing for my attention, and give my subject room to breathe.

Cramming your images with busy skies, busy foregrounds can be distracting and overwhelming. But so too can high contrast scenes. If the tones in the scene are busy everywhere then my eye is forced to leap around the frame and never settle anywhere and soon a sense of fatigue will ensue.

I've learned that good light can be more than golden hour photography. I've also learned that when it is raining the light can still be good, and is sometimes better than a dry day. Some of my best images have been made at the edge of weather fronts when things are changing.

So photography is really the art of opening up. Of learning to let go, and to try things you haven't tried before, and to look beyond our own internal prejudices.

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Oli Tennent

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The Art of Adventure - Bruce Percy

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