Porch Rail

Black And White Photography, Photography, Steven
Porch Rail, Washington Depot, Connecticut © Steven Willard

Porch Rail, Washington Depot, Connecticut © Steven Willard

The decision to make a photograph is an interesting proposition. What is it that catches our eye and convinces us that we’ve seen something that is worthy of a photograph? And why would we think anyone else will be interested, and should that matter to us? Do we really make photographs for others, or are we simply trying to satisfy our own needs?

I honestly don’t have answers to these questions, but they are questions that I find myself wondering about more and more. I think it is something most photographers go through as they gain years and experience. As a newcomer to photography we start out struggling to learn the craft well enough that we can make images that are in concert with our vision; it’s all about learning how to use the gear. We waste time, and money, looking for short cuts. We buy more gear thinking that better cameras and more lenses will magically make our photographs better when in fact it’s hard to find a really bad camera these days. Sure, if your interest is specialized, like wildlife, you may find yourself in search of longer and longer lenses that focus quicker, but most of us just don’t utilize the gear we have to its potential.

Most of us who keep photographing eventually realize that the gear isn’t the answer to making better images. The search becomes about what does, and that’s what keeps me interested in the art of photography. It’s a game you can play the rest of your life. Once you learn the rudiments of the game you realize its not about the equipment anymore than golf is about the clubs or fishing is about the rod and reel, or even about the fish; its about the quest. It’s about learning; what makes a good image, and how you convey your vision to others. Its about opening your mind as well as your eyes.

Pentax K5IIs with 70mm lens processed with Photoshop CS4 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

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12 thoughts on “Porch Rail

  1. Steven, I’ve taken images of porch railings, as they always catch my eye. This is wonderful and far better than any I have taken.
    Love those lines!

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      1. I also want to tell you how much I appreciate your words. For me, they are quite timely as I was having a discussion similar to this just recently.

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  2. nice post, nice pic. I have always lived by the rule that any camera is basically a black box with a hole in it and the rest is window dressing. Learning to work with those two things until the light passing through the hole touches something inside me is something that makes a great photo. My job is to bring everything in my life to bear on making that work. My joys, sorrows, wonder, experiences, questions and all with an open mind and heart. Jus sayin’ 🙂

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    1. But do you ask yourself-seriously-what it is that makes one image “interesting” and another one not? It is a question I ask myself over and over because I think if I could figure out the answer I’d stop making uninteresting photographs.

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  3. My sentiments exactly. Love the lines in this image. Many people think that they can become a great photographer because they have the latest and greatest camera gear – but you do need to have an eye for detail too. And this shows that you do.

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    1. I fear I’ll sound chauvinistic when I say that men seem to be hung up on gear more than women. For all my words above, I’m forever tempted to swap money for a new camera or lens, or whatever, not with the hope of making better images, but just because I like shiny little things. The best I can say is that a new piece of equipment will get me out to see how well it works. Thanks for your comment.

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  4. Very well said Steven. What I love about this image is its simplicity. Even though it is just a porch rail it has all the elements of a good image. Proper exposure and processing, recurring lines shapes and shadows. Wonderful post.

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  5. i’m sure as a photographer i look with a different eye to the world 😉
    there is no such thing as a bad photo. indeed the gear doesn’t make a difference, its learning and shooting (a lot)

    Liked by 2 people

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