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Working with themes

From: The Practicing Photographer

Video: Working with themes

I've really got a thing for bicycles. This week, on the Practicing Photographer, I'm not going to

Working with themes

I've really got a thing for bicycles. I mean I really like riding bicycles, but I really have a thing for shooting bicycles. It doesn't matter where I am. I'm currently standing next to the Hamburger Inn in Mangum, Oklahoma. In fact, if you listen closely, you can hear like, a hamburger machine or something in the background. And there's this bike rack full of old rusty bikes and I cannot help it, I have to stop and shoot them. This week, on the Practicing Photographer, I'm not going to talk about shooting bicycles, though, but I am going to talk about that thing that you might have also. That thing that you just keep finding yourself shooting. I don't know what it is about bicycles.

I don't know if it's the simple perfection of those two triangles and two circles. if it's the fact that they always described a nice arrangement of lines. I would never shoot a recumbent bicycle. And I mean no offense to recumbent riders. But it's, it's this classical perfect bicycle shape that just really, really gets me. Found another one across the square earlier, and just had to stop and shoot at a bunch. The thing is, I don't know where any of this is leading. Paul Taggart talks about this in his course about how photojournalists are out there with some image in the back of their head that they're looking for.

And maybe one day they find it, and maybe they don't. That's what I want to talk about here. Maybe you've got a think for doorways or hanging laundry or puppies or whatever. And you, you just have to shoot them. That's how I am with bicycles. Now the curious thing is that I got all these shots of bicycles, and I don't really like any of them, but I'm doing it anyway. The point is, there's some bicycle shot out there that's going to be the one that I've been looking for this whole time. And what's great about doing the shooting anyway, because it means I'm practicing. I'm becoming more familiar with how tires relate to each other and how to take advantage of the shape of particular handlebars.

I'm building a bicycle photograph vocabulary. That's a very refined, specific, niche-y sort of vocabulary to have. But I'm trusting that one day it's going to serve me. The, the heavens are going to open up and spill light onto the perfect bicycle and the perfect background, and I'm going to get this great shot. Until then, I'm still getting a lot of good practice in both basic composition and just learning to see. So, find that thing that, you maybe already know what it is. Maybe it's doorknobs, maybe it's little details.

If you know that, go out and keep working at it. If you don't know it, go look through some of your images. You may find that you've already been shooting the same thing over and over. Keep with it. If you don't have something like that, start looking around. See if, see if there's a particular shape or something that your eye is drawn to. The point is, let yourself relax about it. Don't worry about coming back with keeper shot after keeper shot. Trust that sometimes you just have to follow that obsession over a particular shape or a particular subject matter and keep going until you see where it leads. I don't know where my bicycle thing is leading.

It may not ultimately lead anywhere. But I can't help doing it so I may as well not even try to fight it.

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This video is part of

Image for The Practicing Photographer
The Practicing Photographer

88 video lessons · 52461 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 3m 3s
    1. Creating an unaligned HDR image NEW
      3m 3s
  2. 1m 35s
    1. Introducing The Practicing Photographer
      1m 35s
  3. 8h 40m
    1. Choosing a camera
      5m 27s
    2. Looking at light as a subject
      2m 22s
    3. Using a small reflector to add fill light
      5m 45s
    4. Editing photo metadata with PhotosInfo Pro for iPad
      6m 30s
    5. Let your lens reshape you
      7m 26s
    6. Compositing street photography images with Photoshop
      7m 44s
    7. Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings
      3m 56s
    8. Shooting without a memory card
      3m 6s
    9. Give yourself a year-long assignment
      5m 28s
    10. Working with reflections
      1m 26s
    11. Exploring mirrorless cameras
      7m 25s
    12. Batch processing photos with the Adobe Image Processor
      7m 30s
    13. Limiting yourself to a fixed-focal-length lens
      2m 13s
    14. Creating tiny worlds: Shooting technique
      4m 15s
    15. Creating tiny worlds: Post-processing techniques
      11m 41s
    16. Shooting macro shots on an iPhone
      3m 18s
    17. Using a tripod
      3m 33s
    18. Wildlife and staying present
      5m 58s
    19. Batch exposure adjustments on raw files
      6m 52s
    20. Why Shoot Polaroid
      11m 12s
    21. Seizing an opportunity
      4m 4s
    22. Four photographers do a light-as-subject exercise
      12m 24s
    23. Shooting macro bug photos with a reversed lens
      4m 54s
    24. Varnishing a photo for a painterly effect
      13m 36s
    25. Shooting wildlife
      7m 24s
    26. Discussion on how to shoot architecture
      12m 27s
    27. Using a lens hood
      4m 48s
    28. Working with themes
      2m 48s
    29. Setting up an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    30. Processing an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    31. Two perspectives on travel photography
      12m 28s
    32. Scanning Photos
      5m 37s
    33. Photo assignment: shooting an egg
      3m 13s
    34. Reviewing the egg shot images
      6m 47s
    35. Shooting in your own backyard
      4m 38s
    36. Jpeg iPad import process
      3m 17s
    37. Shooting a product shot in open shade
      9m 34s
    38. Reviewing the product shot images
      4m 5s
    39. Warming up
      3m 26s
    40. Taking a panning action shot
      10m 17s
    41. Scanning polaroid negatives and processing in Photoshop
      8m 17s
    42. Shooting a silhouette
      3m 9s
    43. Going with an ultra-light gear configuration
      5m 29s
    44. Working with masks and calculations in Photoshop
      12m 38s
    45. Working with flash for macro photography
      4m 55s
    46. Colorizing a black and white photo in Photoshop
      5m 10s
    47. Using duct tape and zip ties in the field
      4m 14s
    48. When the on camera flash is casting a shadow
      3m 4s
    49. Using Lightroom on the road
      6m 28s
    50. Listening to your camera to get good exposure
      2m 20s
    51. Shooting a successful self portrait with a phone
      7m 18s
    52. Switching to Lightroom from another application
      9m 48s
    53. Photographing animals in wildlife refuges
      6m 41s
    54. Shooting level
      2m 42s
    55. Photoshop and Automator
      8m 54s
    56. Shooting when the light is flat
      3m 23s
    57. Discussing the business of stock photography
      9m 48s
    58. Shooting tethered to a monitor
      3m 21s
    59. Making a 360 degree panorama on the iPhone
      4m 45s
    60. Understanding the three flash setup
      3m 34s
    61. Shooting a three flash portrait
      4m 6s
    62. Understanding the differences with third party lenses
      4m 43s
    63. Understanding why files look different on depending on device
      5m 25s
    64. Working with a geotagging app on the iPhone
      4m 43s
    65. Using high speed flash sync to dim ambient light
      7m 29s
    66. Using your iPad as a second monitor
      5m 46s
    67. Understanding exposure with a leaf shutter camera
      3m 28s
    68. Photography practice through mimicry
      8m 8s
    69. Canon wireless flash with built in radio control
      5m 59s
    70. Posing and shooting pairs of people
      5m 35s
    71. Shooting with a shape in mind
      3m 15s
    72. Shooting tethered to a laptop
      4m 40s
    73. Softboxes vs. umbrellas
      2m 55s
    74. Getting your project out into the world
      6m 25s
    75. Exploring how to think about shooting a new environment
      3m 56s
    76. Discussing the book "The Passionate Photographer" with Steve Simon
      6m 4s
    77. Highlighting iOS 8 updates on the iPhone5S
      10m 46s
    78. Exploring manual controls with iOS 8 and ProCamera
      5m 30s
    79. Understanding how to compose with an empty sky
      4m 54s
    80. Using an iPhone to make a print in the darkroom
      7m 16s
    81. How to use glycerin as a photography tool
      2m 16s
    82. Understanding micro focus adjustment and Lens Align
      11m 19s
    83. Working with hair in post
      3m 28s
    84. Taking a quick portrait and directing a subject
      5m 50s
    85. Getting inspired through the work of others
      11m 22s
    86. Taking a flattering portrait with flash
      4m 21s

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