Big Picture v. Little Picture

Lately I’ve been out shooting with other people and it’s helped me define my style.  When one is alone, there isn’t anything to compare with, so in a group I observe how others approach the same subject.  It’s fascinating and has led me to think about how I want to convey what it was like to be where I took my pictures.  Both macro and micro pictures are necessary for this, but which speaks more clearly?

Details v. Vistas.  For me, it takes both types of photos to really tell the story; to make the viewer feel like they know what it’s like to be there.  Too many times have I just told ½ the story by concentrating on the Big Picture.  A wide angle lens is a forgiving tool.  It’s easy to get decent or even good photos when using such an encompassing lens.

Stormy skies over Provincetown MA lifesaving station

For me though, I find I like crafting detail shots even more.  They’re more intimate and somehow more personal.  When I see some small element in a photo, it puts me in closer proximity to the photographer.  Now I can try to find what caught her attention in the first place.  What fixed it on this tiny part of the giant landscape?  Is it as magical to me as it was to him?  Can I convey that feeling of a special discovery when I make detailed photos?  It’s more challenging and I really like working the details of a given scene.  Anyone can show me the whole thing, but who can show me the secrets?

Bedewed feather and beach detritus
Sand-blasted chains at Marconi Beach, Cape Cod MA

The size of the detail varies, too.  Sometimes you need focus, but not so tiny.  A medium-shot if you will.  Something with perspective to help illustrate why being at that place at that time was worth photographing.  There was a big storm this past October on Cape Cod and the surf was high…unusually high.  But my big pictures just didn’t convey any scale.  They were impressive of the totality, but so what…oh look – waves.  Aren’t there always waves?  And tilted horizons?

Big surf after the storm, Cape Cod MA

I kept on the look out for something that would convey just how high the surf was coming.  Then I found it.

Surf's Up - right to the edge

Secret’s out.

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