Worth a Thousand Words: Issue #015


Worth a Thousand Words, Issue #015 — Unplug from technology and find inspiration in Nature

July 20, 2011

Insights and Inspiration
from Nature

This month, a new writer joins the fold. Katherine Keates, freelance photographer and writer, brings us an article filled with inspiration. She gives us a wake up call, and encourages us to reconnect with Mother Nature to make creative and inspiring photographs. Katherine writes:

"In a day and age of high definition vision, media overload, and entertainment and communication in the palm of the hand, we have become increasingly hard to please, over-stimulated, yet at the same time, incredibly lazy. Mea culpa.

What we seem to have forgotten in this hubbub is how to quieten down, look deeper within and, for goodness sake, open our eyes. There are great works of art by Mother Nature herself that we brush by, step on and simply ignore in our quest for the bigger and better. While focused on SMS, iPods and iPads, the world is not only passing us by, but we are at increased risk of getting run over by it.

So I ask you: Is there any hope left for being struck by unsolicited, unplugged inspiration?"


Creativity Exercise


I’m fortunate to be part of a photography evaluation group. About ten of us meet once a month in someone’s home to share a few of our images, and receive constructive critique. This group has been a huge source of inspiration and encouragement for me. I recommend the experience! To find a group like this, check out your local camera club; that’s where my group began.

Each month, our group sets a theme for ourselves, to give ourselves a creative nudge. Sometimes the theme is related to a style of shooting (for example "high key.") Other times, it’s related to a post-processing technique that we want to explore. And other times, like this month, it’s a particular subject matter. We are currently exploring "fabric" as our theme. I thought I’d pass this on, and see if it sparks any ideas for you. How do you interpret the theme? You can find a few of my fabric shots in my ongoing 365 project. Take a peek at June 18, 22, 23, 24, and 25.

Something Every Photographer Needs to Know: Tip of the Month

What Do Lines Do?

Most images contain some kind of lines. These can be boundaries between two different tones or colors, or they can be actual objects in the image like a road, the stem of a plant, or a human figure. Lines can even be implied by a series of repeated shapes.

Our brains are hard-wired to follow lines. We can’t help ourselves. That means that the main line in your image leads your viewer’s eye. You can use to it guide the viewer around the image, or to a particular point of interest.

Since our human brains are wonderful at forming associations, the orientation of lines in your image carries emotional impact, too. Horizontal lines imply calm, serenity and stability. Vertical lines convey strength, power and pride. Diagonal lines are dynamic, and signal motion, or change. Finally, curved lines can show hope, or sadness, depending on their upward or downward direction. Curved lines can be sensual. They lead your viewer on the slow and scenic route through your image.

Think carefully about using the lines in your subject matter to help you tell your story better.

See some examples here:

Cool Link of the Month

David Griffin on how photography connects us (a TED Talk)

David Griffin is the Director of Photography of National Geographic magazine. In this TED Talk, David discusses the story-telling power of photography. He talks about the power of photography to capture an event and, most importantly, our emotional connection to it. Images from National Geographic are used to illustrate the talk.

What’s New this Month at Ultimate Photo Tips

Your Thoughts

In last month’s poll, I asked you where you find photographic inspiration. Here’s the breakdown: A whopping 45% said Nature, and another 36% said "the world around us." Only a few of you said books (5%), other people (5%) and the Internet (9%).

What’s your favorite thing to photograph? I’ve just posted a new poll on my website today. Find it in the right-hand navigation bar on any page. Cast your vote, and then find out what others are saying.


Don’t Forget to Join Us on Facebook

Ultimate Photo Tips is now on Facebook. Follow us there to keep track of what’s new, find creative inspiration, network with fellow enthusiasts, and check out an occasional photo or two!


Photo Challenges

The topic of June’s photo challenge was "It’s All About the Light."This topic brought out some wonderful images, and will definitely be repeated in the future. There were some photographs with amazing natural light. There were a couple of great images (including the winning photo) where the photographer used artificial light to actually create the subject via light painting, or slow shutter speed. Others had beautiful light to light up the subject. Finally, there were some great and colorful shots of city lights. Check out the winning image of light painting by Lisa Ball here:

The topic for July’s challenge is "Flowers." I can’t believe I haven’t used this topic yet! I just love flowers: growing them and photographing them. Inside, outside, close-ups, portraits, fields of them — let’s see those flower images…

Submit your "flower" image here:

Happy shooting from Ultimate Photo Tips!