We all have things we do good as photographers, and things we don’t do so well. I’m on the road for two weeks right now teaching workshops around the fall color. In Ouray right now, the Tetons last week. I was teaching a composition class last week talking about exploring new ideas and techniques, and shooting outside the box. But when was the last time I really experimented with my own landscape photography? At String Lake we found the perfect F16 vertical shot, a familiar angle and technique to me. So I took the shot, and felt good with it.
But then I started to experiment. I knew the f16 approach, what about the F4 approach? I started shooting everything wide open, and started making a lot of ‘trash can’ shots. But it was liberating just to shoot on a whim, put technique aside (mostly), and see what happened. I found a backlit aspen leaf I liked.
Then I went off the deep end. I put my tilt-shift lens on, and started shooting wide open with the lens tilted various directions. Now everything seemed to be a delete photo. I had one shot that you could also make out Mt Moran…I wouldn’t send it to a client, but I liked the mystical feel of the shot.
And then I got it. Even though I was making a lot of ‘bad’ images, the process was way more important than the end result. I think this is very important for photographers. If we never experiment, make mistakes or try new things, how can we advance our craft and vision? Get the shot you want, then try for something else. In the end, the process is more important than the final image.