Photography 101: Observation and Planning

One of the greatest skills that I learned FROM photography, is the ability to see. What I mean by that is that before I got into this exciting and creative hobby, I viewed the world in a different way. I can honestly say that I didn’t notice the clouds in the sky unless they were the only thing outside my airplane window. I didn’t look at tree foliage unless it was autumn and the colors were changing. I didn’t even notice bugs or insects unless they were crawling on me, which probably made me scream like a city-grown child.

Learning to understand different types of light, weather conditions, the beauty of textures, composition rules and depth of field in photography has helped me to observe the things around me from a more appreciative angle. I definitely feel closer to nature and to things that surround me, because I take the time to visualize them in my images, then edit and store them on my computer, which cements that relationship further.

Seeing the things that compel you to take their picture is firstly about observation. You should definitely take the time, wherever you may be in order to look around.

What is the main subject or the point of interest that you want to feature?

After you locate it, walk around your main subject from various angles and perspectives. At times, you may find some new details that you may not have noticed from your original point. Is there a more creative perspective that you can come up with or another time of the day/season that would suit this subject more? (now you’re thinking like a planner!)

As an observer, are there other photographers, also grabbing a shot? Don’t follow them (unless you want an identical picture), instead WOW them with your own interpretation of the same subject. As an observer, think of the kinds of settings you want to use in your own image:

  1. A deep or shallow depth of field (high f stop number vs low f stop number)

  2. Fast or slow Shutter Speed (are you freezing motion (1/250 sec+ or blurring it 1/20 sec and lower)

  3. Do you need a tripod in case of a slower Shutter Speed?

I’ve recently planned a weekly walk through Daejeon’s Hanbat Arboretum park and noticed a new platform that has been installed. I decided to come back and climb it every week in order to see the changes that the trees undergo as they face the warmer spring temperatures. It also helps that there is a new Department Store being built in the distance, so I planned to keep it as my Point of Interest.

Note, in South Korea, cherry trees bloom in late March to early April, so check out the images below to see if you can spot them at this park.

What do you think about seeing such a tall building from any vantage point inside the Hanbat park?

Check out the side by side images, which are just seven weeks apart.

New Lotte Department from Hanbat Arboretum – March vs May

In the slideshow below, you can see that cherry blossoms were around for a single week, and as they do, they disappeared until next year.

To be fair, the difference between last and next to last images is three weeks 😛

From the new platform in Hanbat Park, looking south.

If you enjoyed this post about making observations in order to photograph the differences, you may also enjoy this one where I document Daejeon’s National Cemetery Park in different seasons.

Like to learn more about Photography? Check out other Photography 101 posts.

Living in Daejeon and want to explore more? I’ve been a Daejeonite for 10+ years and have quite a few helpful posts here.

Not a Daejeonite? I also travel frequently around South Korea, documenting anything that is photogenic and interesting.

Feel free to share or pin this post! Thanks!

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