(John Enman photo)

(John Enman photo)

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

Discovering roadside art through photography

Here we are at the beginning of another pandemic shutdown. I guess going out for lunch is now out of the question unless it’s takeout for a picnic with only 10 people.

After hearing the news, I called my photo partner Jo and said another short photo drive is in order, wanna come?

This past year has slowly seen me changing the way I usually like to create photographs. Sure I have always liked wandering around, but I also would spend time choosing locations to visit and planned the photos I would take. With the images I captured I always do some post-production work, but not as much as I do now that I’m spotting something off the side of the road, jumping out of my car, and almost never spending more than five minutes photographing it. And heck, although I really do enjoy using a tripod, since last April, I have only employed mine a few times.

For this day, Jo chose to use a 28-300 mm and I had a 24-120 mm lens. Both were reasonably wide angle on our full-frame cameras and had enough telephoto reach to bring most roadside subjects up close.

I have never been a great fan of fixed focal length (prime) lenses, especially not for the catch-em-if-ya-can type photos that are made by us roadside photographers. Stopping the car, selecting a position that works and then changing lenses because some subject is either to close, to far or to wide is a hassle. For that, one needs the versatility of a zoom lens (multifocal length).

This time out I thought about how there are discarded items along the roads and in the fields that with an interesting perspective and some creative cropping can become quite artistic in the final image. (Depending on the eye of the beholder.)

I tried to pre-visualize my subjects for final processing to black and white. Black and white photographs always seem to have a mood of their own that is quite different from the original, no mater how colourful the scene is.

I like to look for those old buildings that are no longer being used, dilapidated fences or rusty farm implements; gosh, just about anything interesting that catches my eye and is in a location where it is safe to pull my car off the road.

We were able to make several stops and even pulled in to a park along the river and later, supported a struggling restaurant by purchasing some take out for our trip home.

During these strange and trying times that we are being put through, I think that any hobby helps. The short photo drives might consume a little fuel, but that’s a cheap price to pay for our personal well-being, and as I write, I have to think about how addictive this wonderful medium of photography so much of us are dedicated to actually is. I’ll repeat that quote by the famous American photographer Richard Avedon, “If a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it’s as though I’ve neglected something essential to my existence.”

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week.

Contact me at www.enmanscamera.com or emcam@telus.net.


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