The Exchange of Ideas

Article and photo by Al Perry

One of the benefits of belonging to an organization such as RMOWP is the exchange of ideas. Over the years, I have come to appreciate concepts introduced and reinforced by RMOWP members.

1.)The rule of thirds is a principle that some of us keep forgetting. Tom Ulrich had to repeat this concept a number of times before I put the rule of thirds into practice without giving it a second thought. However, a possible exception to this rule might be: You should always follow the rule of thirds unless the photo looks better otherwise.

2.) Jack Olson has reinforced the concept of anchoring the image with a good foreground element. He has shown us great examples of how this concept improves photos. With wide angle compositions, a good foreground element provides depth and dynamics to the image.

3.) Occasionally people ask me what it takes to capture a good image. I often respond by saying: “It helps to spend time in the field.” The more persistent and patient the photographer, the more likely opportunities will arise to create better photos.

Last photo of the day… Alpha Female Wolf, Alaska
Last photo of the day… Alpha Female Wolf, Alaska

Here is a story to illustrate point 3 above. While in Alaska a few years ago, a group of photographers spent several hours observing a large pack of wolves about a mile away playing and sleeping. The wolves were too far away to photograph so we spent time waiting and hoping the wolves would come our way. Sunset was approaching and all the photographers packed up and left except for my friend and me. I wanted every opportunity before dark to photograph the wolves because wolves often begin to travel and hunt at sunset. A little later, just as my friend finished packing his gear, the alpha female appeared at about 200 yards and trotted directly towards me as I photographed her every step. Here is the last photo of the wolf that day.

I suppose “spending time in the field” works well with life itself. When I worked for companies (including my own), I came to believe success is enhanced by being the first in the office and the last to leave. I was most productive before and after the normal working hours when I had time to think, plan and organize. The extra time invested during my career resulted in quicker promotions, improved earnings, higher savings and early retirement.