Photo op!

I’ve been trying out the photography tips from this week’s ongoing assignment and yesterday I think I caught something really cool using some of the tips. I had gone outside with my dogs (both are very clingy and like company, even when doing their business… and one can’t be trusted not to jump the fence) and decided to just keep my phone’s camera up and running in case I found a moment. I wanted to try to take a photo that used a natural frame, like the wood of the fence or tree trunks or, if I got low to the ground, some particularly tall weeds. I also wanted to try getting something that was timed just perfectly, even if I had to wait a while and get eaten up by mosquitos.

Right now I should mention that there is a wooded lot next door to our house. We purchased it a few years ago as soon as it went up for sale. This was 80% an investment, 10% because we didn’t want neighbors on both sides of our house, and 10% because there is a family of deer that live on that lot, and we adore them. Whenever I mention to people that deer come into my yard, they tell me “shoot it! Dinner!” as a joke, since this is Virginia and all. I think they catch enough trouble from the cars that speed down the road late at night.

This year, there are about five deer that I’ve seen. They’ve come really close, too, but every time I’ve tried to Snow White my way close to them, they’ve been startled off. I was more lucky today!

After trying to perfectly frame some kind of bug through the chain-link, I heard leaves crunching. I waited for a moment and it came. I was able to make my way toward it without spooking it, and I caught this moment between my dog and the deer.

I’m still quite far away and taking the photo from a crouching position. The deer is to the right of my dog behind the second section of fencing. I know that this photo isn’t framed like I’d hoped and it’s not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing. The lighting is bland, there’s nothing special in the way of balance or overall composition. But this is the photo I liked the best because of the moment that I waited for and captured. The wild deer, who I like to say “lives here too” really looks like it’s connecting with my curious little dog, who is staring intently and standing stiff as a board. However, I think what’s actually going on is a psychic conversation wherein my dog is asking, “please jump to this side and do some ‘business’ here that I can roll in.”

In that shot, I feel like I got tip #6: “Pay Attention to the Moment.” I think I may have gotten an interesting foreground/background interplay in this next shot, but it might be a stretch.

Here is the same deer after it wandered uphill to keep eating. Running diagonally through the photo is our fence, and bisecting that is the neighbor’s fence further in the background. The deer is near the center of the photo and looking toward the camera. I think that, if someone didn’t tell you that I was standing inside a fenced area when I took the picture, it might seem like the deer was the one inside a fence. Perhaps it is a bit of a stretch to call it a perspective switch (tip #3), but you never know. It could be a zoo deer and I purposefully the “White-tailed Deer” info sign. It could be a regular old backyard deer. Maybe we’re the ones in the cages, maaaaaan!!!

Here’s a third photo where I tried to use the foreground to emphasize something in the background (tip #10).

Unfortunately, there’s a dog head in the very foremost area. Some models are so unpredictable. The intrusion creates some distracting visual clutter I think. Her head is white and sticks out like a sore thumb in front of the brown and green. I tried to make the deer the focal point of the photo by “framing” it between the top two slats of wood. I do hope that is at least vaguely communicated here.

I think I was really lucky to be able to get these photos – they were definitely a case of “paying attention to the moment,” but I think I sacrificed most of the other tips in order to get a few pictures of the deer without making it run away. If I could have gotten closer, I definitely would have liked to create a better foreground/background interplay using overhanging tree branches or fence posts. The “Architect’s Dream” painting in the “What is Visual Literacy?” made me really want to try taking a photo with a foreground that emphasized the background, but I don’t think these photos lived up to that aspiration.

Leave a Reply