Thursday, June 5, 2014

How To Get More Interesting Images

Well, the easy answer is "go to more interesting places".  It's an old truism, but it is something that works.  About a month ago Doris (wife) said she wanted to go to the Lancaster Pennsylvania area over Memorial Day weekend.  Okay, Lancaster equals Amish.  Amish farms.  Amish buggies.  Flat brimmed straw hats.  Buttoned up (sometimes not) white (also sometimes not) shirts.  Beards and bonnets and horses along the highways (not the interstates).  Some things are contradictory.  The Amish won't ride a car or use a tractor to till the fields, but a weed whacker with a motor is okay.  There's no electricity to the house or farm, but that doesn't mean all the houses are old farm houses.  Some were absolutely modern in appearance.  Imagine a couple coming at you in a horse drawn buggy and the driver and passenger are wearing the latest in Oakley sunglasses.  One thing all these opposites do is mess up a "vintage" look images.  We noticed the thoroughly modern juxtaposed against the eighteenth century.  If nothing else, it was entertaining.

One thing to keep in mind if you're in or are going to the Amish country is that you're in their area.  You probably will be rebuffed if you ask to take someone's picture.  To be as unobtrusive and polite as possible long lens were used almost exclusively.  There's no point to encroaching on someone's personal space if you can help it.  In the case of today's image, the kids waved to us as we stood on the side of the road.  When we held up our cameras they smiled and kept walking toward/past us.  We noticed the same thing with the younger (under thirty) Amish folks wherever we went.  The old school crowd was more ... well, old school.  Several young couples (they may have been "courting") greeted us with waves and smiles.  As they would come into camera range they assumed more traditional postures.  It was pretty obvious what we were doing and they seemed to enjoy the celebrity.

The kids in today's image were walking across a field on their way to a Memorial Day weekend (Sunday afternoon) party at a neighbor's farm.  They party was about 90 degrees to the right of where we were as we photographed the party goers.  As the party was in full swing, we did think it would be an intrusion to photograph the actual party.  As a side note, it was back to business as usual on Memorial Day.  The farm doesn't take a holiday.  Work has to get done.

I can't tell you how much gasoline or time we've squandered driving around without a plan "looking" for something to shoot.  A much better use of time and natural resources is to go someplace where you know there are interesting and/or fun subjects to shoot.  If you ride 150 miles to a known spot you'll get interesting photos.  How good they'll be is up to you.  Don't stand at you're full height and shoot.  Images taken at "normal" viewing height are boring.  Get up, get down, get way down, climb a tree, stand on a roof, find a position that'll make people want to look at your shots.  Have fun with finding "a new angle" for a common scene.  But mostly --- have fun.
One thing we did happen on as we were going over to the Strasburg Railroad was The Red Caboose Motel and Restaurant.  We may stay there next time we go down to Amish country.  It just looked like a hoot.