Tuesday Viewsday: Washington, DC Lilies

It’s been a while since my last Tuesday Viewsday post and I thought I’d dive back in with an image from this year’s trip to Washington, DC. I know I’ve bored all of you with my play-by-play of the trip so let’s take a closer look at one of the images that was captured during those few days in the nation’s capital.



Let me start off by saying that I have realized over the years that I am not a nature or wildlife photographer. Yes, it’s true that I have a few images in my collection from those genres, but those are mostly from times and places where I was in the right place at the right time.

I was never passionate about capturing the natural world; don’t get me wrong, I love experiencing the outdoors, but actively seeking out plants and animals to capture with my camera isn’t where my heart lies.

So, when I’m presented with the opportunity of capturing a subject that I’m not used to, I challenge myself to use my knowledge and vision to create an image that I am passionate about. When it comes to flowers, I feel an extra set of challenges.

With this shot, aptly titled “Low,” I was inspired by a workshop I took with the great Ben Willmore a few weeks earlier back home in Peoria. As a photographer who is also not particularly excited about capturing nature, one of his suggestions for spicing up an image is to explore every angle or, as he put it, “shoot like an ant, shoot like a giraffe.”

This is great advice for photographers of all skill levels and genres. No matter what you are capturing, try to shoot from the left, right, top, bottom… get up on a ladder or lay down on the ground… stop shooting the images that everyone else is. For me, I challenge myself even further when I’m in heavily photographed places like Washington, DC, to capture images that represent that place, but most people haven’t yet seen “on a postcard,” if you will.

One little sidenote about this image… I love the use of leading lines in here as well. What does that mean? Well, take a look at the curved “line” that the row of flowers make as they move through the frame.

Do you see how your eye seems to follow from the larger, closer flowers in the foreground all the way back into the background as they recede away from the camera? That’s a leading line… it is “leading” your eye through the image. This is a wonderful composition element to use when capturing buildings and architecture as well so make sure to give it a try.

Now, granted, I did get some very funny looks when capturing these beautiful lilies, but laying down on the ground in the middle of a path in the nation’s capital will have people staring no matter what. I’d also like to think that they might be thinking to themselves, “well that guy is trying something no one else hasn’t… he might be nuts or he might just be on to something.” Remember, the line between insanity and genius is thinner than anything I know.

So, go out and try it yourself… shoot like an ant from down low or like a giraffe from up high. Let me know how it goes!

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