Selective focus…


Goldenrod and deer copyright 2012 Pamela Breitberg

Both of these images show a White tail Deer wandering through a field of Goldenrod in seed at North Park Village Nature Center in Chicago. My camera had a different opinion than I as to what the “subject” was in this scene. I am able to half click the shutter so I can choose to focus on specific items in a scene. But sometimes I accidently fully click resulting in a captured image with a perspective that was different than I intended. My eyes and the camera lens saw an entire scene with plants, trees, insects, birds and deer. Some plants were in bloom, most in seed; some had leaves of green and some were in their dormant leafless stage. Bees were busily searching for remaining blooms. An occasional bird would pass through on its morning venture. The artist observes and then makes choices.

White tail Deer in prairie copyright 2012 Pamela Breitberg

The “art” of photography is using the camera to capture a specific vision, based on the artist’s intent. The camera is the paintbrush, an artist’s tool for expression. My intention was to show a deer in their natural environment. Some artistic renderings are more successful than others at turning a vision into reality, in this case a photograph. All art takes practice, and sometimes what an artist considers a reject may be valued by others. “One person’s trash is another’s treasure” are words of advice to artists. The wise photographer should delete images with caution.

Unintended concentration on a different subject, the Goldenrod, provides a new awareness of this prairie savannah. I know that I would not have had the patience to set up an image with a deer in silhouette as background while carefully focusing on native plants in seed. Or if I had the patience I would probably not have had the fortune of the deer posing in the correct spot behind the plant subject of my choice. Focus on the deer could take the viewer’s mentality away from the habitat. It is possible that someone recalling the image may not be able to describe the setting in any detail. If the artist’s intent is to show the deer in its native habitat then the image was not a success. I have at times captured multiple images at a time of plants visited by insects in hopes that I end up catching a scene with multiple points of interests as different insects are each doing something dissimilar: in flight, busy on the plant, taking off. Then it could be argued whether it was an image created with an artist’s talent or documentary photography.

This image of the deer as background to the Goldenrod is an example of the camera creating an image; it was not made by me as artist. However I might take partial credit as I did place the deer in the frame in such a way that she did draw the viewer’s attention.

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