What Is It?

While studying a scene or subject in my viewfinder, I often ask myself, What is it? What am I looking at? What is the subject? I want to pull more creativity from my vision, to further refine the photograph; I question everything I see. There may not be a single answer, however, after I figure it out, I push myself further, What else is it?


Will others see the same subject?


What else is in the scene?


Is there more here?


What am I not seeing?


Is there anything beyond my first impressions?


These questions help get me to the final photograph.


Hasselblad's Phocus Software

While scrambling along a rocky gorge I found tiny bowls of water on the boulders, each filled with leaves. I immediately saw a photograph in my mind of a tight or narrow close up isolating the rock, bowl of water and leaves. I ran back to the truck, got my camera and tripod and then returned to work on the original subject in my mind.


My Hasselblad camera workflow involves the use of Phocus, Hasselblad’s proprietary software; in the above screen capture it is easy to see in the film strip how I progressed until I finished with the right most (and selected) version.



My exploration of the scene demonstrates my steps. I progressed from image to image by asking myself the above questions. Is it a photograph of a leaf? Is it a photograph of the bowl of water? Is it a photo of the rock? How important is the leaf to the rest of the content in the photograph? Is it a photograph of a single, lonely or trapped leaf? Do I fill the viewfinder with the subject and accentuate the lines and rough surface of the rock? Every question leads me to a new photograph; this is how I push my creativity.

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