One thing I’ve trained myself to do over the years while out in the field is to look in the exact opposite direction of what I’m focused on photographing. I call this creative exercise “The Law of Opposites“. If I’m looking in front of me, I’ll check behind me. If I’m looking up, I’ll look down. If I’m looking left, I’ll look right. You get the idea.Â The reason for this exercise is to break free of tunnel vision. With almost absolute certainty I’ll find myself focused to the point of distraction on something widely recognizable such as an iconic landscape subject. When looking in the opposite direction you view the world with a blank slate so to speak; all your visual preconceptions are cleared from your mind and you thrust yourself into something new that your brain has to reprocess.
Almost always I’ll photograph my primary focus, but as I wait for lighting conditions to improve or after I’m done I’ll conduct this exercise. Not only does this keep my mind working, it also helps me become hyper aware of my surroundings. Granted this exercise doesn’t guarantee that you’ll capture an image more impressive than your primary subject, but it will certainly exercise your minds eye.
An example of the “Law of Opposites” creative exercise in action…
After locking in on fog clearing to reveal the Grand Teton mountains, I broke my focus to look at what was underfoot and under-tripod. Dew had collected on lupine leafs in the field I was standing and if you looked close enough you could see other lupine leaves in the dew drops. I swapped lenses and began photographing the lupine. Upon review later I found that my macro photos had turned out far better than my landscape images. A perfect example of the “Law of Opposites” helping me see something I’d likely have otherwise missed.
[tags]photography, macro, law of opposites, lupine, leaf, dew, stock photo[/tags]