Why I must do all the things I do

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I struggled to find an appropriate image to go with this article. I think this works, though: firstly, it was shot with an iPhone, on an occasion I could not foresee doing any photography. But having an open mind and an active eye meant that I saw it; experience/ practice meant that I could make do with the bare minimum, and enjoying cigars meant that I was in the right place at the right time to begin with. All will be explained towards the end of the article…

Don’t worry. Despite the slightly off-topic title, it’s very much a post about photography. This isn’t a moment of existential angst, but rather a clarification of purpose. It isn’t quite the same as article on Why We Photograph from some time ago; it’s far more personal than that. On reflection, I think it’s very important to understand the motivations behind certain things so that a) we might do them better and b) we avoid doing things we don’t enjoy. Especially when there’s a choice.

I probably first need to clarify exactly what I mean by ‘this’. For most people, that refers to the daily corporate grind. I have been fortunate enough to be able to leave my corporate job, which frankly, I disliked for many reasons* and turn my passion into both a profession and a means to a living. I’ll also be the first person to tell you that it isn’t all roses, and anybody who says otherwise is either majorly deluded or has never actually left the comfort of salaried employment. I am a photographer first, and will always be. But I also strive to make images that are fine art, sell prints, teach, direct video – corporate documentary type things and television commercials mainly, of course in addition to the photographic teaching videos – and I’m a general purpose creative/ design consultant – usually for my existing photography clients, to ensure that all materials are visually and stylistically consistent. That’s quite a lot of stuff. And of course we haven’t counted the existence of this website yet, which I think is safe to say extends far beyond the scope of a normal personal or professional blog.

*The main one being the lack of creativity coupled with extreme indecision and fear of making a decision because of repercussions from above – grow a spine! Being the same as everybody else will not get you a different result to anybody else.

Quite honestly, I could probably make a living out of focusing on any one of these, and most people do. Some changes would be required, of course – photographing weddings, running workshops every week of the year, or selling out ad space on the site and being a brand shill. The problem is, I think I suffer from three things: being far too intense/ serious about anything I’m interested in, a very short attention span and terminal impatience. Altogether, this means I have to be doing multiple things at once because it’s impossible to be on the go with one thing all the time. The other people you work with get antsy, you run into roadblocks and get frustrated, and you can’t really do anything else. It’s a blessing and a curse: you have the ability to push much further than the average joe, which gives you an enormous competitive edge in business, but it also makes you a bit intolerable**. Having multiple projects in different areas allows me to distribute that focus down to a more manageable level.

**Nadiah and KH say this is actually more like very intolerable.

Ironically, doing more things lets me do each of them without compromise – and that’s what I like. I don’t believe in doing anything by half measures: if you’re going to do bother doing something at all, you might as well do it properly – i.e. to the very best of your ability. It’s why I’ll never be fully happy with any of my images, or the ultimate image quality achievable in print (sorry Wesley!). We as human beings have not really discovered limits to our mental abilities: why should we artificially constrain them? Beyond that, the more different things you do, I believe the more well-rounded your primary task becomes. In this case, if I want to be a good photographer, I must understand not only the psychology of the viewer, but the business of the client, the client’s customers, the way I work, the way other people in the industry work, how graphic layout and design affect the needs of the image, what the actual product does/ how it works in order to portray its best/ most interesting/ unique aspects, things that can be brought over from motion, how capture affects output…the list is endless.

This site, for instance, has forced me to up my game. Firstly, because there’s the pressure of expectation of creating for an audience. Though ultimately it’s my call as to whether I continue publishing, and what I publish, it doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the pressure to uphold and better my own past work; I do. That’s one of the reasons why you’ll see almost no reposts, even if the material is good – I find that some aspect of it doesn’t meet my current standards, or my understanding of the topic has changed/ deepened and I need to rewrite it – so I might as well start from scratch. Secondly, posting images in a curated form – photoessays, for example – is very different from the visual diarrhoea that’s Flickr – you have to think about the sequencing, the titles, the explanation and context that goes with the set. This forces you to be even more discerning than normal in your curation. It’s actually a tricky balance to achieve, because on one hand, the audience (and their preferences) is very wide; on the other hand, I do have 100% creative and editorial freedom, so the audience be damned – and I suspect that a lot of you would stop reading if you found that I was creating images to please you. Finally, thinking about the whys – why we make images, why we react the way we do to certain things etc. – forces you to understand human psychology, and better understand the way we see. That of course means you’ve got an even higher level of control in your image making, which should at least result in an audience response that’s closer to you (and/or your client’s) intentions.

This segues nicely into teaching, be it through workshops, masterclasses or video – I always thought it was easy. It isn’t. In fact, teaching is one of the most difficult things to do right because you have to understand your subject matter at a level that’s several orders higher than the audience; be able to break that down into a structured, logical manner; and communicate it to a very diverse variety of people. And on top of that, you’re dealing with a subject that has no real logical progression and is extremely subjective. It’s even more difficult when you’re doing it as a one-way process: in the videos, the audience has no opportunity to ask questions or seek feedback. It’s a tough balance between being too repetitive/ restrictive, but being specific enough for the audience to be able to understand your point. Prior to me teaching, there were a lot of things I mostly understood intuitively, but wouldn’t have been able to explain why; I have been forced to examine every single square inch of my images and the way I shoot to structure a logical explanation together. And that has unquestionably made me a much better photographer, because I comprehensively understand the psychology and science behind the making of an image. Am I done? Hardly. The Masterclasses force me to up that game to an even higher level, because the needs of the students are no longer formulaic, and they may well come in at a level equal to or higher than me in very specific areas – but seek development in others. Challenging? Definitely.

That challenge I plow back into my personal fine art work; one of the things I want to do is consciously spend more time on personal development. There are no workplace-sponsored courses for this kind of thing; it’s really just time, practice and introspection. The time bit is the challenge. I believe that with the Ultraprints the general direction is set, but I’m going to need a lot more of the first three to firmly nail down an overall creative direction and concept for my work. I don’t feel the objective is quite as defined as it is with say, my product or documentary photography. That’s probably got something to do with the fact that I’m still very much wrestling with the question of ‘what is art?’.

There is no question that the ultimate synthesis of all of this is intellectual satisfaction and reward. If I wanted to be rich, I’d have stayed in private equity. But that is an extremely frustrating industry for people who like tangible outcomes, because it works on the basis that you do a lot of deals, expect to make a loss on most of them, and get the payoff on the one rare one that hits the jackpot – which is the complete opposite to the way I work now. I do a lot of small projects – shoots, print runs, workshop video productions – that together constitute a living income. The satisfaction for me comes in seeing the ideas translate from thoughts into a tangible, physical product; this website is a good example. Three years ago, I wanted to write something that I personally would read – it seem that a lot of other people would like to read it, too. Beyond that, the very process of producing a photograph means that you can have a complete outcome in very little time; these individual photographs build up to something much larger – a job, a personal project, an exhibition – where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t a degree of financial motivation in it: we want to be the best at what we do, put in effort beyond the ordinary, deliver results at a very high level and expected to be recognised as such. Part of getting that recognition is educating your audience about just how much work goes into producing the result. Beyond that, ultimately, there is a sense of responsibility as the creator. One person presses the button, (even if several might decide the angle and murder it in PS later). There is a very strong sense of ‘I made this’ which I never got in corporate.

I want to leave you with a final thought, and the purpose of this rather meandering essay: there’s no such thing as being a specialist. It’s a myth. A specialist is really a person who can solve a very esoteric problem because they have a diverse range of knowledge outside a topic, but the ability to see how that knowledge is applicable to that topic in a very specific situation. In other words, a specialist can think outside the box, but at the same time knows the inside of the box well enough to understand when it’s time to leave it, and how to do so. To be a good photographer, you need to be able to see; to be able to see, you need to be a conscious observer of differences; to see differences, you need to be educated and aware enough to know what’s special. And that means consciously thinking about things other than photography. Ironic, no? MT

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Comments

  1. You always make good sense. Thanks for verbalising what I feel, a lot of us go through.

  2. Greetings,

    This is off-topic. I like to suggest, it would be highly appreciated if you write an article titled:”how to learn from your own bad photos”. By this I mean, when I look at my photos in lightroom for example, and I see they are slightly underexposed, over exposed, etc, how I can learn from the data lightroom provides me, from corrections I need do do, that exactly how much I was deviated from the correct exposure? How I can interpret that the unpredictable readings my meter does sometimes and conclude that -for example- I should have used spot metering for that particular shot, instead of centre-weighted. Why sometimes a scene that seems well exposed and have a rich histogram with no clipping, looks dull and impossible to improve and become contrasty by editing? What can be done when your convert a seemingly well exposed photo to black and white and colours become too dull and even beyond corrections by modifying individual colour channels? What should be done when you go back to take that shot again? I know you covered many of these issues with detail in the past in several isolated articles (Specially your superb articles about metering), but we never looked at the matter from the standpoint of photo “post-mortem”. Just an idea.

    Thank you very much,
    Kasra

    • Hmm…that’s not something that can easily be done in an article, and it’s quite image-specific. One would have to go out and deliberately shoot bad examples to make that work…I honestly have not been able to make the post mortems work in a general sense, nor is there a formulaically objective way to be able to assess your own image – if you knew what was wrong, then you wouldn’t have made the mistake to begin with :)

      • Thank you very much for your reply. Perhaps I’m too novice that I think that exif info and playing with digital adjustment parameters can show the possibilities that a scene had and lost by bad photography. Or maybe I can’t communicate exactly what I mean. I will sit patiently and read your upcoming articles and eventually get what I want :) Thanks. -K

  3. Hi Ming, This is a fantastic post, one of your best! It’s made me think about what I do and why I do it, not just with photography but my day job as well. Thank you for your insight and your honesty.

  4. Richard says:

    Thanks for the window into your mind, Ming. Introspection and reflection is what ultimately enables us to improve to the next level. As with many here it struck a chord with me.

  5. With regards to the last question, I don’t find it ironic at all. All of these factors can be applied to any number of doctrines or practices; in fact, they are the cornerstone of any progression in any field, for anyone wanting to push their own personal boundaries or simply to “progress” as a “thinking”, rather than reacting, person.
    I hope Nadiah doesn’t find you “very intolerable” most of the time. I am aware that you are indulging in hyperbole, and it seems that you are an intensely self-critical person. My hope is that your moments of pleasure, bliss, extreme satisfaction in accomplishment eclipses, by an order of magnitude, your moments of doubt and (overly?) self-critical analysis. Sincerely.
    Carry on in this vein and we’ll be adding “public intellectual” to your abundant CV. ;)
    (Minor question: is the Cosmograph a duo-tone? Trying to gauge tonality on an iPad screen…;) )
    Great piece of writing. IMHO.

    • I’m pretty sure a lot of people do find me intolerable – at least the ones who know me reasonably well, mainly because I care too much about little things other people ignore. It’s a blessing and a curse – you can go further, but at the same time you get stuck on things which perhaps aren’t really that important.

      What does one need to do to be a ‘public intellectual’?

      I’m pretty sure the Daytona was a two-tone.

      • Well, if we consider “an intellectual is anyone who is thinking critically and employing a perspective that is informed and supported by systematic analysis” and the OAD definition as “an individual who expresses views (especially on popular topics) intended to be accessible to a general audience”, then I think you might well fit the bill. :)
        Although I doubt your self-effacing nature would allow you to be categorised as such..;)

  6. Excellent article as usual, Ming.
    You truly are a quite “different” blogger from the “norm”.
    Now, to come back to what really is “important” in life, has your muse fully recovered her bout of Dengue Fever?

    • Thanks Bob. Perhaps it’s because I don’t consider myself to be a blogger; I just happen to enjoy writing almost as much as photography. The muse is back to her normal self, fortunately.

  7. Patric Gordon says:

    Questions, Questions! Sounds like life to me and apparently you’re living it, well.

  8. Gregorio Donikian says:

    Relax man, you are doing good !! we love to read you from the whole planet and we will follow on you . Just understand we are not all here for the same reason ! the best photographers i know are very talented people, they don;t read blogs and they have no idea how to use all the function of a camera. just what they need to know.

    Just do what make you happy and enjoy the ride !!

    Greg

  9. Tom Liles says:

    On the creative direction of personal work:

    I’m still very much wrestling with the question of ‘what is art?’

    The only wrestling match similar that I can think of is Jacob with a mysterious stranger at the river Jabbok.

    I had a think about all this in the car today, and I could only end up where I began: which is the standpoint that asks of the above proposition is personal work worthy, or even personal, when consciously directed? Is the creative direction of personal work something we can think about and decide?
    I have the inclination that we don’t actually need to do anything except take pictures and post pictures, and when some critical mass is achieved, it might be clear what a personal project/creative direction was. This goes hand in hand with a conviction that photographs, or any art, is a delivery or transmission device for the persona of the artist; at its best, the art and the person become one: a Rembrandt, a Michael-Angelo, a Spike Lee Joint… We have little fictions necessary for social life, true, but on a broader view we don’t have to, or can’t sustain the energy to, totally enact ourselves in real life; mostly, we just are. Much like breathing, which gets uneven and hard to do once we concentrate on it, but otherwise occurs effortlessly and naturally all day long… the creative direction, philosophy behind, and meaning of personal work is isomorphic to the person—you don’t have to try to be you*, it just happens. Hence personal work should just happen.

    *If you do have to try to be you, it will break down sooner or later, possibly painfully—no-one can live a lie forever.

    Just as we never really know what our own voice actually sounds like, what our own project actually is, what (who?) we are, may be more apparent to others (a subject never logically being able to have an objective view of himself, else he occupy subject-object status at the same time and it becomes unclear who is doing what or what anything else actually means); and our projects, our personas, shouldn’t be, I’d say, tended to by the artist themselves (that’s us!). It invites lies; if four millennia of recorded history and received human wisdom can reach down and show us anything, it’s that art, and life, is firmly about honesty. So just do it. Be it? It’s an act of faith, in oneself—both that it has or will have meaning, and that it therefore has value. Two articles of pure faith, absolutely.

    Which is why Jacob at Jabbok comes to mind. He was wrestling with God; but in my view, God is just the complete self (which might actually be the entire edifice of reality, physical and psychological)—so Jacob was wrestling with himself. We might have to wrestle ourselves a bit in personal work, but it should be clear that the battle is always internal and always about us. And it’s a fight to get out of our own way. Once we have ourselves, all our constituents parts, pointing in the right direction, in harmony :), then surely the gold (the definitive, the magnum opus style work) will flow. And people looking upon it, might say, “oh a Thein.”

    Rolex Daytona on the cigar maker!?

    What a photo

    • I can’t help but think the ‘just do it until it’s clear’ philosophy doesn’t really result in the definition of idea that one would want – it’s too easy to get side tracked. I do believe you need a clear gestalt – at least in your own mind – first. Can’t say that it’s fully crystallised for me yet.

      But I do know that if people disagree with you, it’s probably a good sign: it means you’re doing something different. And everybody knows that doing the same thing all the time isn’t going to give you any different results…if it was that easy, then there’d be no value to originality or creativity at all. Even if that’s the case, it’s depressing, and I don’t want to believe it. :)

      • Absolutely, to do anything of note we need a strange kind of confidence. I’m convinced of that—the first real success (big job) I had as a copywriter, I was really tired and had had enough of the job and the customer (constantly modifying their requests for the copy) it pushed me over my line and I went in strong, over my boss, I was a bit of a dick about it, and gave them what I’d wanted to do along and invited them to take it it or eff off. They took it, we won a huge contract on ye back of it.
        Over the following years and many, many fumbled jobs and missed contracts, I’ve learned how to do it without being a dick but just confidently let customers know what’s best, take it or leave it—but have faith and take it, and end-users will respond (in the minute way they do to advertising copy). It’s not for every job — we simply can’t invent the wheel that many times — and I’m not super writer, often another agency can do better and I have to admit to myself (privately) I’m a fake, but a base insistence that we’re right, when all around say no, you say yes and stick to it, that’s obviously important in a creative field. I think Sportsmen and women need the same kind of ego to get anywhere.

        On conscious direction. I hear you; but often wonder if this kind of thing isn’t already just a surface rationalization of what you want to do on the inside anyway. I think you’re a psychologically honest person, Ming, and what you say above seems like it could be no other way, considering the content of your character.
        Just my take, but you’re often taken for being “analytical,” a euphemism for dry… But in my view this is spectacularly unfair and doesn’t give your work a fair look—contemplative which can easily handle your analytical side without throwing away the human and artistic element is much closer to how I think about it. And what could be more true to your creative direction, then, than reflexive contemplation on that itself. I think whether you wanted to or not, you’d just automatically think about these things…

        So that’s why I think the general guide is “just do.” Our self is inescapable, what’s going to happen is going to happen. I agree that this sounds overly passive and can be used a prop too easily—that’s where psychological honesty can play a part, perhaps. Only the individual can sense when he’s lying to himself. And in a funny way, viewers have a sixth sense for it too; we can somehow just tell when a creator is putting it on. I never get this from you. Though “you” is a dynamic concept, and it’s a plain we can periods of “in-between.”

        The film directors John Carpenter and David Lynch have always been big guides for me, works are hit an miss, but they always be themselves very truthfully.

        • I definitely think about it, perhaps too much. But the result is I’m either happy with the results or not – and usually not when I haven’t been involved in the creative process and asked to do something that makes no sense. It’s about conscious exclusion and curation again: on the site I only show work *I’m* happy with, because I have that prerogative.

  10. John weeks says:

    What a great puc…now need to read the article!!

  11. Another great photo! You inspired me to take b/w iPhone photos this morning. Thanks for another great article, too!

  12. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for thinking out loud! For working at parsing out the minutia of what goes on before, after, during the click of the shutter as you see it. Working from the specific and personal generates something that resonates. We are so much alike as humans having experiences that the more you articulate your understanding of your own whys and whats – the greater the likelihood your audience knows exactly what you are talking about!

  13. Kristian Wannebo says:

    Ming, a good read, as always.
    And very true.

    So long as you don’t forget the other side too often… :-)

    http://t-norum.bloggplatsen.se/2013/12/07/10392010-familjelycka/

    [ You talk about the psychology of image making.
    Robert Högfeldt (also the image above) has made many images of human ditto ... for some humorous examples:

    http://www.artistsandart.org/2010/03/robert-hogfeldt-1894-1986-swedish.html

    ]

  14. Bill Yuey says:

    You are a very wise man, Mr. Thien.

  15. Wonderfully essay. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  16. wayne seltzer says:

    Great image of the cigar maker and well written essay.
    I wonder how you balance all this photography work with your wife Nadiah?
    Has she fully recovered yet from Dengue?

    • Thanks Wayne. I probably don’t balance it very well, I think. Our schedules seldom overlap so I suppose it’s a case of making the most of what you’ve got. She does seem pretty much back to normal, thank you.

  17. I have enormous respect the way you personally stand out in this most stimulating essay. Extremely inspirational and motivating reading.
    You touched some string inside me and I like the melody I hear :)

    • Thank you, Gerner!

      • I feel to add: Reading this meaningful article was like it was meant exclusively for me. If others felt the same, I think you have touched an all so important universal string and entangled yourself in a deep and essential question we all have to ask ourselves daily. This is so far the most important article I’ve read and only I know why. It is though not a secret, but would take to many words to explain :)
        Thank you.

  18. The articulating what you think is one of the hardest things to do and probably the most important thing you do. The recent article on composition was a good example of that.

    Staying in touch with the demands of your students as they improve is a worthy enough challenge! Where I think you are still ahead is identifying trends and how you curate and put some words to it. The last article of the isolation in Tokyo is maybe something not so obvious on the surface for most shooters. I definitely try and ‘see’ more than I shoot and try to figure outwhat’s happening in my surroundings, but I still have a way to go to put a story together!

    • I try – sometimes the lack of suitable language is a limitation, sometimes it’s that the thought is not fully clarified in my own mind.

      Tokyo: I’ve been saying it for some time. But for some odd reason, people only noticed now. One incident that came to mind was a comment in which I was criticised for shooting too many people on their phones and calling it street photography – well, that’s what we see these days: people stuck to their phones walking along. There are no more top hats, umbrellas, shoeshine boys and other accoutrements of the 1950s. People sometimes need to be a bit more open/observant of the current reality rather than be stuck in nostalgia…

      • I noticed in Singapore that hot pants was all the rage at the moment. However trying to create a photoessay of that had to be abandoned as it was admittedly a little bit creepy…

  19. When you let go of that fear… Wow. Watch out!!! Great post.

  20. Very inspiring article Ming! Both in life and for photography. Glad you do what you do!

  21. Love this, Ming!

  22. What a great way to cap off a Saturday evening. I spent the last 5 hours shooting in downtown Seattle and it was nice to come home and see this piece in my email. Thank you. The article explains why you needed to buy the D810. You have a passion to create the best work possible.

    • In a nutshell…yes.

      • John W. says:

        Hehe you didi it…..
        I already thought this “how long will it take until ming gets a d810 despite your initial intention not to buy one…you couldnt resist bad (boy;)) for you account but good for us readers….there will be definetely a review of the d810 i guess and hope….at least a brief or short one in comparison to the old d800e and d600 maybe…..
        Excited have fun with your new toy & tool…
        Take care!
        Regards John

        PS: It is already confirmed that we get a review there are some indications….the recommended gear list is clearly stating that….no way back ming;) …!

        • Cote E. says:

          D810 is my first ff cam after 5 years D7000… its like making the driver license again or on a ferrari or getting a lamborghini after finished successfully your practical driving test…. nevertheless …love it so far!

          Just missing the built in wifi, gps and the use or decision from nikon for one storage format cf or sd cards…..dont understand why not they improved the sd card slot to uhs II standard like the fuji xt1 has….would be the right standard for the high resolution cam, bigger data, faster transfer of bigger files, faster reading and writing etc…
          If you dont want to spend too much money on the nikon wt 5a (@Ming would love if you could test or confirm if you already knows that the wt5a for d4s is recommendable without any hesitation/issues for the d810 as well….) you could buy the TP-LINK TL-MR3040 at amazon for $35, and use free app qDslrDashboard (Android, Windows, Mac), you will have the wireless connection to any Nikon and Canon cameras with ton of useful functions: advanced custom bracketing, timelapse photography… You could set Raw+Small Jpeg to have faster jpeg transfer to you device for preview. The qDslrDashboard is far more function than CCP2. I forgot to mention that you need to flash the openWRT firmware for the TPlink which explain clearly at qDslrDashboard….
          I think the d7200/d400 and then the successor of the d610 next spring probably will have the wifi and gps built in for the first time in a ff cam (nikon history)!
          Excited on your D810 review Ming!

          Glad to have your awesome work and you!;)
          See you!

          • You’re right about it being like trying to get the most out of a supercar. As for wifi – I’ve yet to find any solution that works well for tethered shooting; though to be honest I haven’t really needed it yet.

            • Please tell us if you find a better wifi solution and what is the best way for tethering shooting…..would be awesome…;)

        • D800E-D810 comparison coming in a couple of days.

  23. You hit right on the experiences and feeling I have towards photography. I’m not sure if many of us working professionals feel this way, though I certainly agree with the thoughts in this post.

  24. Edward Pentney says:

    A good read, as always.
    Do you ever find yourself with an internal conflict on whether to create an image for purely your own personal enjoyment or an image that has a commercial / website value ? How well do you pre set and keep to your boundaries when you step out with a camera ?
    Even though we see a fair bit of your styles and thought processes on your blog and in the training videos, do you keep much in reserve ?

    • Good question. If it’s for a commercial client, they get what they want – I try to put as much of my own style into it as possible, but a lot of the time the desired result is generic. For personal work, I definitely don’t seek to consciously make it commercial.

      Is there anything in reserve? Honestly, no. I don’t see the point, because aside from being severely lacking in integrity, there’s the bigger problem of not being able to deliver the expected results when the methods are applied. Lightroom is a good example: I’m sure a lot of people want me to make a video, but I refuse because I am not happy with the output, which means I don’t use it. And I suppose the bar is always moving; so even if I do a complete brain dump at the time, my own knowledge/ tools will be different in a year. I reflect that in the videos and most certainly the workshops – the syllabus for Outstanding Images is now both streamlined and less complicated than before, but the results are still just as effective.

    • Ming does not keep anything in reserve on the videos which is great. What I have noticed is that he personally can use all of the techniques at once and he is also able to string things together. The below shot of his places 3-7 subjects all in their own negative space and two of the subjects are moving!!! And he has a foreground,midground and background. All explained in his videos and it helped me appreciate the shot:

      _8A12416 copy

      He also has a great eye for simplicity/elegance and the below shot freedom demonstrates that in my opinion. The number of intentional elements is also very high.

      https://www.flickr.com/photos/mingthein/1411071189

      • Thanks Eric. The second link isn’t working. I’ll just add one point thought: all of the elements are intentional in my images, even if I have to wait a very long time for them to come along – the student who was with me when I shot the first image will tell you exactly how long we waited! :)

        • Here is the link to Freedom in case anyone hasn’t seen it:

          _G006084 copy

          Besides the fact that it is a great photo and a personal favorite. The part that gets me about the photo is the alignment of the car’s hood and the top of the rail and the alignment of the top of the car and the water and I could go on about the alignment of various car parts and the rail/sidewalk. Which meant your camera had to be at the proper height and the car had to be in the correct lane.

          • Thanks Eric. The student who was with me for that shot will attest we waited quite some time…there’s also the lack of other traffic in the oncoming lane to consider, plus the right color of car to compliment the color palette (but stand out), and the right shutter speed to induce just a fraction of motion blur so you know the car isn’t static…

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