How To

Look For The Wow!

My Favorite Photo
Look For The Big Picture
Pick The Spot
Filling The Frame
Tell The Story
Pick The Format
Try For Something Different
Picking the Background
Up Tight And Personal
Nothing But Sunshine
I Hate Mondays!

My friend Mark at work came up to me one day and asked if I had seen the fields of sunflowers over on Oak Grove Rd. I looked at him a little stumped, then asked, what fields and where were they? Mark told me about two fields which were only a few miles from work. He said, the first field is only a few acres, but the second is sunflowers as far as the eye can see and they were almost in full bloom. "Wow", I said and that day I took a ride to see them. (Mark knew of my love for photography)

From the road Mark was right about both fields, the first was kind of small and it was too close to the road and houses. The second field got me excited as I went to park my truck, grab my camera and go out of a closer look.

Walking along these rows of six foot tall sunflowers I was thinking about the shot, or shots, all the while I was taking a few here and there. I was asking myself, "Where was the best shot? How could I best tell this story in a photo? Was the lighting going to be the best in the morning, noon or at sunset."

That night I got home from work and downloaded my treasure, closely examining each photo for that special clue to my questions earlier in the day.

My conclusions ended up on me doing at least two photo shoots and involved a wide angle lens, and trying to catch the field around noon and again in the evening for a couple back lit shots.

As I arrived for the noon shoot, the wide angle lens was truly a blessing and it brought more of the field into my view finder. My biggest question was where to shoot and how it would look with some different back drops of clouds.

My first question was answered by my walking out into the middle of the field and searching for an opening where I could work. This shoot was one of my best, I could tell because I could feel how excited I was and the photos showed it.

The second question was answered on another day, in almost the same spot. The clouds were a photo in themselves and I waited for some to pass and others to open up for the best light. This too was a good shoot.

Later that evening I went back, just in time to catch the late afternoon sun and although it was more dramatic, it didn't lend itself to the kind of photo I was looking for.

A few weeks later I went back, but I knew the sunflowers were about all done. Yes, they were not standing up smiling at me, but they had an attitude that I could relate to, and I had fun trying to capture the moment.

The main thing I learned was, don't be afraid to try something new! This is also one of the things that I like about JPG magazine, because they encourage us to do just that. Make sure your photo tells the story. Fill the fame. Try different lights. Take the photo again using different exposures and use some new piece of equipment that you are not used too.

Last but not least, look for the "Wow!" in your photos.

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—The JPG team

11 responses

  • Michael Adams

    Michael Adams gave props (17 Nov 2008):

    Great series. Amazing set of photos!

  • Pamela Johns

    Pamela Johns (Deleted) gave props (21 Nov 2008):

    How beautiful!

  • Rob Roy

    Rob Roy (Deleted) gave props (28 Apr 2009):

    Lots of "WOW" here, Bill... my vote!! Well done, my friend!!

  • Ted Zahn

    Ted Zahn gave props (8 Jun 2009):

    I really like the perspective you chosefor these shots -- got my vote - ted

  • Jerry Pittman

    Jerry Pittman gave props (5 Sep 2009):

    Nice story Bill, and Great photos,

  • Sherry Davis Johnson

    Sherry Davis Johnson gave props (21 Feb 2010):

    I loved the story! I'm impressed by how well you captured the juxtaposition of the first shot and last shots. The first shot looks like children screaming while leaving school on Friday for a three day weekend. The last shot looks like college kids heading back to class after a three day weekend. Hilarious!

  • Lynn Pepper

    Lynn Pepper gave props (1 May 2011):

    Love the shots, the story and the advice. Nice work William!

  • Donna Mullins

    Donna Mullins (Deleted) gave props (20 Aug 2011):

    a man after my own heart with these sunflowers. just gorgeous! Voted.

  • Betty Maxey

    Betty Maxey   gave props (22 Aug 2014):

    All good shots, BUT the WOW shot is the bottom left !!! It tells the story best !!!

  • Carl Kuntze

    Carl Kuntze gave props (18 Oct 2014):

    Reminds me of Van Gogh and David Duncan.

  • amsha amash

    amsha amash gave props (2 Apr 2016):

    thank you for this lovely story ...... and your advice ........... your shots is beautiful .....

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