I just returned from teaching a workshop in Turkey for Strabo Tours. The Turkish people, culture and landscape were wonderful. Not only did the Turkish people openly invite us to take their picture, afterwards they invited us in for lunch!
One principle really helped with photographing in Turkey; think graphically, not literally. It is easy to shoot with blinders on when photographing any subject type. We get so focused on capturing the wildlife, the person, the market…that in our quest to capture the subject, we might not take as good a photograph if we captured the graphic quality of the scene.
Claude Monet, the famous French impressionist painter, had a great quote. “In order to see, we must forget the name of everything. By labeling, we recognize everything, but no longer see anything.” Take the top image here as an example. This was a shot of the sunset and travertine pools at Pamukkle, Turkey. The obvious composition choice for this image would be one with the sun in it. But as I shot the scene, I realized what really attracted me to the shot was the color and line. Eliminating the sun, but keeping the orange band, focused on the graphics of the shot, not the literal scene. I liked this image much better than the shot with the sun in it.
Here was another example at Paumkkle. This tomb was overtaken by the thermal features of the hot springs, resulting in a unique photo opportunity. The tomb was interesting, and I could have just shot this close up. But what was really interesting graphically was the contrast of lines….wavy, unhurried lines leading to a sharp contrast of square, bold lines. This wasn’t an image about a tomb in a mineral hot springs, but a study of contrasting lines.
The next time you head out the door with camera in hand, remember to focus on the graphics just as much as the subject. You might just get a better picture.