fbpx

Look for clean and simple

By Dave Brosha

The longer you’re in photography, the more you train your eye to look for clean compositions and the more you think about what NOT to include in your images, rather than what to include. Most of us tend to include way too much in our images when we start photography, with no clear, concise point of interest of the subject.

A challenge you can give yourself in any situation – no matter what genre of photography you love shooting – is to ask, before pressing the shutter: What do I want to express with this image? Is it the emotion? The story? The contrast? Something specifically beautiful or powerful within the scene?

Once you’ve answered the question of “what” you find appealing, you’ll then find it easier to narrow down on that element and strip out the unnecessary.

After thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of images, you’ll find that this narrowing down becomes easier and easier, and eventually becomes instinct.

In this particular scene – a chinstrap penguin colony in Antarctica – I, like many who have experience penguin colonies, started my experience onshore feeling overwhelmed. Penguin colonies are massive, and such a powerful experience to take in. Photographically, they can be challenging, however. There’s just…so much going on. Hundreds, or thousands of penguins doing what penguins do. The noise, the sight…and yes, the smell….can truly bombard the senses.

I found that my first 30 minutes at most of the colonies we visited yielded very few images, and even fewer “keepers”. It would take me time to simply experience the scene…and then time to ask myself what is it that I saw that really spoke to me, or stood out to me. My initial compositions tended to be cluttered, but as the minutes passed and I took more and more in, the “simple” would eventually reveal itself to me. Maybe it was a lone penguin doing something different than the masses. Or a repetitive pattern that was visually appealing. Or, in this case, a beautiful scene of an adult penguin feeding its young. It helped that they were standing “above” the masses, but it also took me shifting slowly around the outer ring of the colony to find the right angle where the penguins would be framed against the clean, simple white snow background (and not against the rock).

It helped frame my subject, simply…but much more effectively.

Dave originally wrote this article for our private online photography community here at OFFBEAT. There are dozens more where that came from. If that sounds like something you like the sound of, sign up for our community!

sunset on stretch of beach in Prince Edward Island featuring a lone lighthouse on the point

OFFBEAT Contributor Feature: Stephen DesRoches

OFFBEAT recently had a chance to sit down with OFFBEAT contributor and Prince Edward Islander Stephen DesRoches to pick his brilliant photographer and web designer brain and learn more about his photo journey. Turns out, he is a fountain of knowledge and as down-to-earth as they come…

What are some tips that you would give to a beginner photographer?

Study but don’t compare. Ask questions but don’t copy. Think about why instead of how. Many will learn so much more simply by doing and practicing and we could all spend a little less time wishing we would have created the image we saw on social media. Find a good resource that teaches the basic principles of how the aperture relates to the shutter speed and then go out and create, and then create some more. Ignore the marketing and advertising promising new equipment will make you better and understand that all you really need is the motivation to actually create. Buy only to solve problems that you have self-identified. 

Celebrating One Year + Wild Places e-Book

Words by Stephen DesRoches
Feature image by Paul Zizka

My introduction to OFFBEAT began in a hotel room in Whitehorse, Yukon, after a workshop in Kluane National Park and Reserve. It was from this hotel room that Dave Brosha and Paul Zizka launched and announced the first version of the OFFBEAT website to the world – the beginnings of a community of photographers geared towards pushing each other further.

Taking Flight

Wow.  So, here we are.

Today is the day that OFFBEAT launches. 

OFFBEAT – an idea that both Paul and I have been talking about for over a year. An idea that we’re finally putting “out there” to the wind, and the world, to see if it will take flight.

OFFBEAT came out of us talking about building a community of like-minded people. We have so many passionate, amazing people who have attended our workshops, or that we’ve met on or offline over the past number of years who we feel truly connected to. People who share our love of creating, our love of the world around us, and share in the belief that you can only raise everybody up by having a positive, sharing, compassionate outlook on life, and by default, photography.

OFFBEAT Community: What to Expect

What is this new online photo community all about? The main goal for OFFBEAT is simple: to create the most supportive, relatable, helpful, engaging photo community out there!

For many years, the OFFBEAT Team has been involved in many aspects of the photography industry, including other online communities. We have greatly benefited from being involved in other web-based platforms – so much so that we wanted to create a platform for others where we could put our own twist on the things we love the most!