Selected Excerpts from Chapter 10 - Adding Value with Cheap Shots

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I am not an exceptionally gifted photographer. Although I took a photography class in college, it did nothing for my career; my final projects were panned by the teacher and my grade was barely high enough to avoid being forcibly removed from campus. I now own an extremely cheap digital camera that I bought to replace the extremely cheap and worn out film camera mentioned above. It takes surprisingly good pictures for the price, so I figure I probably should have bought a cheaper camera.

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If you have every played with optical illusions, you know the sensation of looking at one picture and then suddenly seeing a different picture. Once you see it, it is always there. The trick is to see it the first time. A camera can pick out the rectangle of beauty from all the clutter and debris. Once it has done that for you, it is much easier to see it even without the camera.

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Ansel Adams was said to set up his camera and wait until the light moved to the perfect angle, snap his shot and then pack up and go home. Light is fundamental to photography and knowing how that light will play on the subjects you want to photograph is fundamental to getting distinctive pictures. In one spectacularly divine ordering of the universe, it turns out that the light is a wonderful angle just about the time I get off work. Unless you work a really odd shift, it probably works the same in your universe. When the sun is just above setting and the air is clear, the lighting on fields, woods, buildings, and people takes on a crisp and dramatic feel.


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