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Thread: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

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    Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"? Before setting up your large format camera do you use a frame to view a scene or take snaps with a compact camera?Are there any online sites, videos or artists reference books that may help beyond the "rule of 2/3rds" , I'm talking more about perspective, balance, negative space, symmetry, emotion etc. Your thoughts and knowledge would be most appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    I use a viewing frame and a Linhof Universal finder.

    I spot a potential image just by eye, then frame it to see if it works.

    However I started 50 years ago so can no longer comment on what books are available I'm afraid. These days Youtube might be better, that said I have seen contemporary photographers releasing eBook for beginners that look pretty good, I just can't remember who they were right now.
    Rob Gray Nature Photographer Extraordinaire
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    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    I will add, looking at many images helps

    The problem is copycat

    Many here are stuck in emulation and Hero worship

    me too
    2022

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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoodOldNorm View Post
    Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"? Before setting up your large format camera do you use a frame to view a scene or take snaps with a compact camera?
    That sounds more like "previewing" than "practicing".

    I practice "seeing" whenever I'm out and about without a camera. When I'm walking with my wife, and I slow down, she automatically says, "You see something, don't you?".

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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?


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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    I hope that link works. It’s a google of “photographic composition “. Lots of resources on the basics. Studying that, plus looking at images, will help make “seeing” that which might be worthy photographic images more instinctual.

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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    Quote Originally Posted by GRAYnomad View Post
    I use a viewing frame and a Linhof Universal finder.
    Also use one in my travels. I have labeled it to approximately equal the focal lengths used with the four formats that I shoot. Using the finder I am able to come back to the location(s) with a minimum of equipment. Makes a huge difference when having to haul out the 11x14.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails linhoffinder.jpg  

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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    Yes!
    One can use many tools. The finder referred to is fine, but perhaps you will find that making a viewing card will stand you in good stead and save you money. A single card can represent a variety of focal lengths depending on how far from the eye it is held. Set up your camera with a given lens, and frame a suitable subject at some distance. Mark where the edges lie, and replicate this framing with the card at your eye from the same position. The distance from your eye to card can be measured with a knotted string or perhaps just your hand and fingers. Repeat with other lenses.

    As for composition, I have become among those less inclined to use constructs (thirds rule, etc.) than intuition and study, but I started out decades ago with the rule of thirds, which was at least a starting point for organizing the frame rather than following the natural tendency to unthinkingly put the "subject" smack dab in the center as the eye works. I think there is something to be gained initially from evaluating fine images by others with some of the "rules" in mind, but nearly every composition book/presentation/video I have ever seen ends up imposing on one or more images a construct that simply doesn't apply or is such a "stretch" that it serves no good purpose.

    I think that there are principles of organization that supersede rules, and because they encompass more than the formal organization of lines, masses, and so forth, and include a host of subjective factors, they appear at first to be elusive.

    In any case, learning to see involves mentally playing with what is seen, which can be done without a camera or a card. It's really a process of posing "what ifs". You see something that attracts your eye. Would it make a good picture from this angle, this lighting, this distance, with this included to the side(s), with the foreground/background in/out of focus? What if you move over here, come back when the light is coming from there/is overcast, use a different aperture/focal length, etc.? The more you get used to asking such questions, the better you will get to see your subject and how it is being rendered to your vision/film by lighting, optics, etc.

    To my mind, the real question is, what is it you wish to say?
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    I just walk around, wandering actually, seeing. Sometimes with the camera, mostly without. That is how I practice. I have not used the viewing frames, tho I will sometimes use my fingers to create a frame to give my eye a jump start.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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    Nodda Duma's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible to practice the art of "seeing"?

    Yes, always. I’ve envisioned far more photographs than I’ve taken.
    Newly made large format dry plates available! Look:
    https://www.pictoriographica.com

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