By Emily Jarvis (No 4)
Absorbing the surroundings
We set off without an agenda. It's not about collecting another summit or doing a route by a certain time. The route itself is not crucial. There is usually an area we intend to cover. However, we may drift off it occasionally, if the mood takes us.
Camera in hand. Walking slower than we normally do gives us more time to take in the landscape and evaluate its photographic potential. Individually, we are all drawn to different things and work at different paces. Generally, we are walking within eyesight of each other, but not taking much notice of the other person.
Taking pictures where quantity no longer a consideration because we have more or less infinite digital space, no film to consider. The routine of doing this repeatedly, unconsciously trains you to know when it is or isn't worth taking a shot. This is valuable when you come to the processing and selection of shots for publication. Do I really want to troll through ten images that are virtually identical to pick out 'the one'. Confidence in knowing increases with practice.
What to take
Sometimes, it doesn't look much at first glance, but the ordinary can develop into something special. It's often abstract. We're looking for something to draw the eye in, so it's not a random shot in the dark that we're just hoping will become a picture. You can point your camera and click, but that doesn't make it a thing anybody is going to want to view. Instead, it'll be something they saw too, but didn't see it that way. It's been imagined. Pre - visualised.
It is necessary to have some idea of what you want to achieve. Random shots don't often come to much. Although accidental blurry shots often appeal more than they should!
Composition and framing are key. Too much of any one component unbalances the finished item. Lack of detail in a prominent place. Or the focal point not being pin sharp.
When it's good, you know. It's an “OH, that's good” moment. It's also personal. Do not expect this as a universal reaction, and you won't be too gutted about it. We are all our own best critics, to some extent. Interaction with other photographers is super useful. Any college course I have ever done has led to me thinking I have gained so much from my fellow students. The instruction alone is almost without value. It's how you interpret that counts.