Find Creative Perspective Away from the Crowd
Over the weekend I attended a Heritage Day event at local Mueller Park, Colorado, and found myself disappointed with the photo content I walked away with. My end conclusion: there just wasn’t much opportunity for creative photo shots. And that was both accurate and inaccurate.
I continued to ponder the different factors that led to my discontent: too early for fall leaves, so all the trees varied only in different tones of green; the midday time slot discouraged wildlife sightings (not even a bunny!); uncooperative dragonflies successfully eluded me over the pond; field wildflowers were less than spectacular. And the people, people, people. Hands, legs, feet and sometimes heads were jumping in and out of whatever photo I was attempting to capture.
Yet in the “plus” category, there were horses decked out in Native American splendor, historic revolvers, donkeys, a functional spinning wheel busily creating yarn; a fine “Indian chief” and “cowboy” representation, popping corn being popped over an open fire, horseshoeing demonstration, a branding iron display, pleasant weather, and other activities.
When I started asking myself specific questions like, why didn’t you have someone aim a revolver at you and take a macro shot; why didn’t you do interesting closeup photos of the truly elegant Chief headdress, why didn’t you keep experimenting for that perfect angle of the spinning wheel….my answer came up the same: the people, people, people.
I underestimated the sense of “crowd intimidation” I would experience. Being “one of the crowd” seriously inhibited the photo set-up chances I was willing to take, and you will likely discover the same pressures in a similar circumstance.
What I learned: A “moving with the crowd” setting imposes fairly strict parameters, and it is difficult to be bold or innovative. If you are familiar with the event, try to go earlier or stay later to allow for crowd-free interaction and the potential for personalized attention. Explain your purpose when half a dozen other voices aren’t speaking simultaneously.
Secondly: examine the event surroundings for creative perspective. I captured lovely reflections on the same pond where I unsuccessfully stalked dragonflies. And in the tall grasses surrounding the parking lot, I discovered the biggest “puff balls” I had ever seen, and created some really interesting photos.
I was a bit disappointed, yes. But I also discovered that my photo event was not the event I came to photograph…and pulling away from the crowd freed my ability to look at subjects with increased creative perspective.
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