Monday, July 16, 2018

Showcase Your Subject (Part 2)

Hello, Friends! I am sorry for the long absence. We have been busy getting our farm ready to begin a horse boarding business. We hope to open our doors this Fall. Wish us luck! Now, let's get back to meditative photography. 

In my last post, in order to showcase your subject, I suggested that you either blur the background, keep it neutral, or darken it ( In addition to being mindful about the background, you can also use strikingly different colors to high light your subject. If you do, be careful not to clutter your image because it will be difficult for your viewer to know what the subject of your focus is.

Strikingly Different Colors

In the photo below, the black tree trunks not only provide a strong background for the maple trees to show off their autumn foliage, but they also help the eye see layers within the foliage.

Cedarmere in the Blue Ridge, Free Union, VA

In the photo below, the pair of Canada geese stand out against the green background.

Canada Geese Mating Dance, Cedarmere in the Blue Ridge, Free Union, VA

Avoid Clutter

Unless you are taking a photo of a market, a crowed city street, or something of that nature, don't overload your image. Instead, pick just a few subjects and focus on those. You will see what I mean instantly from the three photos below.

In the first photo below, it's difficult for the eye to focus on the Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies because there are too many coneflowers under them. In addition, the blurry green images in the background are too bright, creating an unpleasant visual effect.

Great Spangled Fritillary Feasting on Coneflowers
Cedarmere in the Blue Ridge, Free Union, VA

In the photo below, I tried to capture and highlight the interesting configuration of the garlic bulbils, but can you see that too much is going on in the background to allow the eye to appreciate the details?

Garlic Bulbils, Cedarmere in the Blue Ridge, Free Union, VA

In the collage below, the largest photo is more pleasant to the eye because it's not cluttered with apple branches.

Cedarmere in the Blue Ridge, Free Union, VA

Below is that large photo. Not only is the photo pleasant to look at, it's also easy to notice the various stages of the beautiful apple blossom buds. They first start out with a deep pink, almost red, color and they get lighter as they unfurl. The blurry background layered first with the pond, then the black run in shed with a metal roof, and then the mountain beyond provide depth to the image without cluttering the beautiful focused image of the apple blossom buds.

Cedarmere in the Blue Ridge, Free Union, VA

The cleaner the background, the easier it is for the eye to focus on the subjects. For example, in the photo below, I chose a late afternoon to take a picture of our grand nieces Misty and Jayden, not only because the lighting was ideal at that time of day, but also because the beach was mostly empty. This way I could avoid cluttering my image.

Misty (left) and Jayden (right), Long Beach Island, NJ

Below is another example of how easy it is for the eye to focus on the main subjects if the background is uncluttered.

Friendly Village Girl and Buddhist Nun, Phu Quoc, Viet Nam

To me, the photo above encapsulates meditative photography. This photo is visually pleasing because it's very simple. Deep in this simple image is a beautiful human bond between two beach goers who serendipitously met one summer afternoon. The nun's distant gaze, her gentle smile, her fingers twirling the edge of her robe, and her relaxed posture suggest that she is sharing her wisdom with the young girl across from her. By contrast, the young girl's attentive posture suggests that she is absorbing the teaching that the nun is imparting. How wonderful that wisdom can be shared amongst the gentle lull of the tropical ocean waves! As they parted and went in different directions, they both had a smile on their faces and spring in their gaits. For sure, they both will remember each other very fondly. I was thankful to have encountered such a beautiful relationship and connection between two strangers. Look around you with mindfulness and you will discover beautifully wonderful things around you! 


  1. Actually all your photos are gorgeous, but thank you very much for your tips I shall try to remind when photographing.

  2. Always nice to visit your blog!!
    I admire all your fantastic photos !!

  3. What wonderful shots. And good luck with your horse business.

  4. Hello, these are all lovely images. Good luck with the business. Enjoy your day and week ahead! PS, thanks for your visiting my blog.

  5. The horse boarding sounds really nice, maybe fun maybe not
    we had horses who would bite , they left real quick