Lessons in Creative Composition

Scroll through any photographers 'Instagram' feed and you may be inundated with vibrant sunsets, majestic mountain views and interstellar astro photography.  Of course we all want the likes, shares and accolades these images reward, and rightly so.  For many of us, those kind of images are extremely hard to achieve while sacrificing many grueling hours for one click of the shutter.  When Mother Nature raises the curtain on the light show, it's easy to capture something special.  But what about all of the other photos we scroll past because they don't have the inspirational green glowing auroras, turquoise blue-green glacier lakes and fiery autumn skies?  

I recently conducted a private one-on-one lesson during a day when shooting conditions were extremely unfavourable.  The light was harsh, the air was cool and humid and the visibility began to flatten out more as the day progressed.  Lucky for us, this was a lesson on creative composition.  Because of the lack of colourful light Alberta usually gifts us, this gave us a great opportunity to focus on finding and/or creating pleasing images without the help of Mother Natures colourful personality.

Behind every knock out image is a photographer who has flexed their creative muscle in the worst situations and have made the best of it.  They persevere to see past the harsh light, cold wet weather and mental fatigue to work for that creative composition.  The absence of kaleidoscopic colour leaves us to the mercy of contrast, form and mood in a single tightly constrained frame.  Giving up is not an option.  There is always an image to be discovered by putting a little foresight and concentration behind the lens.

Private photo tours of iconic and hidden locations within Calgary as well as lessons on composition and editing are available.  - Robert

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RAW Alberta II

These 41 images were taken during a quick road trip through southern Alberta early September.  Every image was captured as naturally as possible without a tripod or polarizer.  Minimal cropping, basic exposure and contrast adjustments were used in Lightroom afterwards.  The idea was to try and capture rural Alberta exactly how it is by using natural light, shadow and mood through composition without all of the heavy post production work afterwards.  The purpose is to create more images, document the road trip and stay creative without the pressure of getting that one 'big' shot.  Anyone can create images like these.  All you need is a basic DSLR and the means and desire to get out and create.  Happy shooting!

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