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How do you test a new camera. Well, simply by taking lots of pictures and finding out what you're doing wrong along the way. That's what I thought when I took my new camera on vacation to Normandy a few weeks ago. But the process was actually a lot more interesting than that. Because I really surprised myself by my choice of subjects.

Apart from the usual pictures of landscapes and flowers, my first theme turned out to be "Ruins". Ruins of all ages. Here are a few examples.


Then, suddenly, I found myself photographing a lot of gates. It started because I saw a photogenic gate on our first long walk and it staid one of my main themes throughout the vacation. That must mean something.


The next theme was more predictable, at least for me. I love The Sea and we always go to places within driving distance of a beautiful coastline. But this time I found myself focusing on the detail when taking pictures. Details of color and details of pattern.

Seashore: Colors

Seashore: Patterns

So, apparently I am a thematic photographer rather than a reporter of events. But what the themes will be seems to be a matter of chance. I also found out that I like to show groups of matching pictures to tell some kind of story.

Now, I am curious to hear how others chose their subjects. What makes a subject pic-worthy?
Any comments on the pics from more experienced photographers would also be most welcome.

(With thanks to my partner for letting me use some of his pics for the composites)


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Very cool!! I really enjoy looking at photos that other people have taken. I take pictures not just to record the moment but also of things that just resonate with me. Something that I look at and say "Oh, how very cool!" My problem is that I have an adequate enough camera for taking the 'record the moment' shots but it doesn't usually capture what I see when I take the shots of things that resonate with me. I know very little about digital cameras because I stuck to my film camera (which took great shots no matter) until they literally quit making the film for it.

"it doesn't usually capture what I see when I take the shots of things that resonate with me"
That's exactly what happens to me. I see a great shot, take the pic, look at it and am usually disappointed. I wonder if really experienced photographers still have that. I doubt if the type of camera has much to do with it.
Like you, I take pictures of things that resonate with me and then I find myself looking for more on the same theme. I'm really inexperienced but I love it! Post some pics on LJ yourself....?

i love these! Especially the 'color' themed ones of the Sea. I don't know about experienced photographers, but I also have the same feeling of disappointment in terms of capturing what i see. I've thought a lot about it and finally decided that not only is it sometimes not possible to capture the whole visual 'thing' you are seeing but (more importantly) it isn't possible at all to capture the other elements that go into that special moment: the smells, the sounds, even the way the wind and sun feel upon your back. The picture can recall these things to you (that's why we take them, isn't it: to summon memory), but it can't fully restore them. It's really case of our memory cup being half empty....or is it half full? People will look at a pro photog pictures and comment that he or she evokes a 'mood'. But is it the mood of that place, in that moment, or the mood the photog meant to convey, which might be entirely different. Only the picture taker knows for a certainty. One thing i know for certain: your pics are lovely and I am glad you shared them.

I'm so glad you liked them jan_u_wine. As you say, what someone else sees in our pictures, what we see in them ourselves and what we saw when we took them are really completely different things. In spite of the disappointment when a supposed "prize shot" doesn't turn out well, I think I will continue with photography. I especially like telling a little story with each picture separately and by making composites.

I enjoy these pics. Your camera catches colors wonderfully.

I'm glad you liked them shirebound.

So you got that holiday at last, and the pictures are so artistic I love the one's on the seashore such beauty we often miss in our busy lives
Love Carol XXX

Yes, we did manage to go on our postponed holiday after all. It was great. As you say, the seashore was beautiful, as always.
I was happy to see you're back. How was your cruise [apart from the lack of internet connection ;)]?

What makes a subject pic-worthy

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I love nature, water fascinates me and any rock formation, natural or manmade will catch my eye. I think because I'm always amazed how things fit together.

Just look at the variety of fences that you found, and the different testures and colors of the sea could hold my attention for hrs. I particularly love old cemetaries, which a lot of folks find unusual but I think they're beautiful.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". It sure is. I could fall for any of the subjects you mentioned, including the old cemetaries. I really love the profile picture you are using here. So difficult to make such a pic. Usually, the butterfly has flown away before you've had a chance to focus.

Wow, your new camera takes wonderful pictures. I like them all, but I think my favorite ones, as a group, are of the gates.

I'm not enough of a photographer to take pics of things because they would make a good picture. To me, pic-worthy subjects are things that I want to remember or making an interesting story.

Hey, thanks Addie. My favorite ones, as group, are also of the gates.
Certainly, things I want to remember are pic-worthy but my psrtner (who is a keen photographer) has been taking care of that for years, resulting in many great albums. I am new to pic-taking and still at the experimental stage.

Great pictures they are beautiful!:)

Thanks for sharing!:)


I'm so glad you liked them mumis. :)

These are beautiful, Ann! I love all four sets, but I think the ruins speak most to me.

I am a really terrible photographer, but I do enjoy trying to improve. I think one of the reasons I'm not very good, though, is because the thing I'm always trying to capture is unphotographable -- it's time. So, for example, behind my apartment there's a huge oak tree, a smaller tree I can;t identify, and a winterberry bush that has a honeysuckle bush growing through it. I have pictures of all three in every season and at different times of day. When I go on trips, if I remember to take pictures at all, they're probably pictures of ruins (no wonder that's my favorite set, right?) or old buildings or land formations that have been there for thousands of years. I'm fascinated by transitions and liminal spaces and, yeah... time.

Oh, I'm with you there. This spring I tried to record the day-to-day development of the flowers in the tree right outside my window. I failed utterly to capture the magic of it all and that wasn't because of technical problems. Time just can't be captured. Did you ever see David Attenborough's "Life of Plants". That was time compressed! Although only on a time scale of days. And you would like to see a longer historical perspective, right? ;-)

These are wonderful. I hope ladysnaps sees them.

Glad you liked them. I hope so too but she's probably too busy taking pics herself, which is all good.
I love the icon you've used here!

How do you test a new camera. Well, simply by taking lots of pictures and finding out what you're doing wrong along the way

for me, that's the meat and potatoes of testing camera equipment. but not only correcting what was done wrong, taking note on what was done right as well.

you took this on with pure conviction and i love that. the gate series is really interesting but may i give a little advise? full shots are always good but try shooting from different angles. get down low and shoot upwards. stand at one end and shoot along the distance. get the camera into the action.

shooting with a theme in mind can also record the events. i did a series of photos in my old elementary school a few years ago before it was demolished. some of the most fascinating photos i've taken.

what camera do you shoot with? you talked about wanting a macro lens and those beautiful seashore photos would be great with macro. the seashore patterns are very cool especially the first of the series. nice patterns, textures, compositions and reflections!

as far as my method for shooting? i see things with a photographic eye. just yesterday i noticed a red brick building with white trimming against a bright blue sky. the colors were amazing but i didn't get the shot. i was busy at work. :P if something strikes me like that and if i have my camera i'll compose this shot in the camera. if it looks good, i'll take the shot. if not, i'll try it from a different perspective. sometimes i get lucky. sometimes i walk away because it didn't look as good as i thought.

i can shoot 100 photos and come out with seven that are like wow!

Thanks a lot for your comments lady. You're right, I should vary the angles more than I've done so far. And, although I like to make composites, I think some of my pics would actually work better on their own. For instance the middle bottom one of the last series is really funny because you can see the traces of the crawling snails but that gets kinda lost in a composite.
I have a pentax WG-1. I'm a complete beginner and I've not yet explored its full potential. If I really fall for this I might consider buying something better (if I win the lottery).
What you said about taking a shot: Instinctively, that's precisely what I have done so far. And the 7% satisfaction ratio also sounds familiar. Anyway, I'll just keep trying! Thanks again!

I love the top right ruin and some of the gates/landscapes are very Shire like. :)

Namarie, God bless, Antane :)

You're right. The landscapes of Normandy are very Shire-like. I once read that the geological structure of the area is quite similar to the area in England (west Midlands?), that serves as the prototype for Tolkien's Shire.
The top right ruin is so funny because it is a derelict building with a working letterbox on the doorstep. Unfortunately, it comes out a bit too small in the composite.
Thanks for your comment Antane! :)

Wow!!! It fits perfectly to your yesterday's "green post" ...
The photos are sooo beautiful, I always had (and have) a soft (what an understatement) for castles, ruins, and everyhting that has to do with it...

The blue gate ... makes me dream...

Julchen, how nice that you are checking out some of my older posts!!
Yes, the blue gate makes you want to explore what's behind it.

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