Take it to the limit


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Take it to the limit

18 Aug 2020 8:54AM   Views : 412 Unique : 293


To quote The Eagles. But have you tried it, with anything - let alone anything photographic?

Iím pretty sure Iíve written about this before, but itís a horse thatís alive and well and kicking, so here goes again.

I remember a couple of lines from another song I heard 40 years ago Ė ĎI donít care what you say, you can go your own way, and Iíll go mine. Living close to the edge, living so close to the line.í I remember that the writer/singer was young, played a mandolin, and was far too good-looking, but I donít recall his name. If you can help, please get in touch.

Itís good advice for achieving excellence. Brilliant success is often just a step from catastrophic failure: and though you may not want to apply this to climbing or flying, the risks are different in pictures.
So, if you have an f/1.4 lens, try shooting with it wide open: practice at getting pin sharp images at full aperture. Only a small part of the frame will be sharp, possibly Ė and itís the contrast between that sharpness and the softness elsewhere that makes the image.


Or push the shutter speed. Put your camera on a tripod, add ND filters, and see how low you can take the shutter speed. Turn running water milky, or eliminate the pedestrians from a busy street, leaving a few eerie ghosts looking into shop windows.

Wind the ISO right up, perhaps: shoot a black cat in a coal cellar today. Or add closeup lenses or extension tubes and see just how close you can get to a subject.

If you shoot conventional compositions all the time, try negative space and a small subject in a bottom corner. And if you normally shoot happy portraits, ask a subject to look serious. Frown even: some models will be interested if you want them to cry in a picture. Visit the extremes of emotion.

If you normally shoot with elaborate props and glamorous costumes, try a plain backdrop, one light, and give your model nothing to do. If you are shooting images of a model who works nude, strip her of all clothing, and just ask him or her to stand still for a picture. One photographer I know suggests shooting head-and-shoulders portraits of a nude model. The look, the attitude, will be completely different.
Some people will take this to the extreme of deliberately making a model feel uncomfortable to elicit a wider range of expressions Ė think of the story of Yousuf Karsh in Ottawa, taking a wartime portrait of Winston Churchill, pausing the work to go over and take away the trademark cigar. The result is a growling, defiant bulldog of a leader.


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
18 Aug 2020 8:56AM
Burlesque performer Annie Andrews glamming it up to the max, Anastasia and Alicia getting closer, and April K very, very pregnant.

Find some boundaries, and explore them today.
PCarman Avatar
PCarman 11 2
18 Aug 2020 9:56AM
love testing the boundaries , i think that's mostly what i try to do in my everyday life , gets even better when doing it with a picture and maybe a few chosen words .
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
18 Aug 2020 10:31AM
Absolutely, Peter!

Keep going...
chase Avatar
chase Plus
18 2.5k 682 England
18 Aug 2020 11:00AM
Boundries are made to get past !
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
18 Aug 2020 5:13PM
Except - obviously - in the British public service, where one must scrupulously follow the rules if one is a public servant (as opposed to a politician or a political advisor. I know whereof I speak.
Lovebe_eyes Avatar
20 Aug 2020 5:20PM
Absolutely yes... And beyond..!

It's where we can discover new creative possibilities and the exciting stuff can happen..

Staying safe, it doesn't happen there..!
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
20 Aug 2020 9:54PM
The old saying was faint heart never won fair maiden: or fortune favours the brave.

And I like the modern expression that it's better to ask forgiveness than permission. And, although that can go wrong, it's still the better way to live, and work. (Though a face mask in the supermarket is a must!)

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