Many photography books advise you to carefully compose a scene in your mind, and then carry out that vision with your equipment. However, I don’t do it that way! When I go out looking for stunning Smoky Mountains photos and hope to find a candidate to add to my Gallery, I’m usually gathering hundreds of photographic pieces for later evaluation. Surrounded by beauty such as you see on this page, it’s quite overwhelming. There are photos every way you turn! My strategy is to get into the moment, really feel it, not think it. Let the camera roam around and find what it likes.
Sometimes it will be weeks later before I get around to sorting and evaluating. The two photos here are good examples of how I work to create a best-selling photograph from all the pieces that were gathered before. The image below is quite nice. Gorgeous autumn leaves on a foggy day, with a road in the scene. But it doesn’t rise to the level that is required to really touch the patrons of my Gallery enough to want it hanging in their home.
The image above is just a short rotation to the left of the one below. The road has disappeared, and the woods have become isolated and prominent. Without the road and the short grass as reference points, the scene has become grander, and more mysterious. There are layers of color and contrast which are enhanced by the fog. There is so much going on in foreground and distance that your mind gets caught up examining the scene, and while doing that you begin to feel the emotions that come along with those details.
I’m always drawn to images that have layers of detail near and far. With my printing techniques, these images often take on a three-dimensional quality. The image above is a candidate, and will be printed in a few sizes to see how customers react. Sometimes the mood of an image strikes a universal chord in people, and they respond.
If you’re visiting the Smokies, please stop in to see this image and my complete display of Smoky Mountains photos at the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail along Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg.