Keeping the Canvas Clean – Vol 1

24 Jun
Keep Your Canvas Clean - Vol 1

Keep Your Canvas Clean – Vol 1

I spent the first weekend in June attending a workshop in California hosted by David Gaiz, Toby Harriman and Michael Shainblum.  One of the points they made, which I guess I always subconsciously understood but never articulated was the importance of keeping your canvas clean.

(Side note…this is a great group of guys to take a workshop from!  If you can, do!  And if you can’t still follow their pages and work!)

As a landscape photographer, I often search out places that are beautiful and still relatively pristine.  After all, the thing that draws people to landscape shots is that fact that they aren’t your everyday, commonplace, dirty, graffiti’d, covered in trash scene.  It’s one of the reasons I rarely shoot the views from our mountains in Connecticut….too much civilization in the views.  Go a bit further north though…

Anyway, my favorite location shots have good light, a relatively clean landscape and a unique subject.  From the perspective of  photographer, that means the scene is your canvas and it’s up to you to keep it pristine.

(Disclaimer…photos are art, and everyone’s tastes are different.  There are many shots that I enjoy adding a human element to, but not every shot.  One that human element is there – like foot prints in snow, for example – it’s hard to undo them.  I try to start with an unblemished scene first, and if I decide it needs something, then I’ll change my angle or perspective to include evidence of my own passage.)

During the workshop, the example given was footprints on a beach.  Once they were in your shot you had a lot of work to edit them out later, or you had to wait for a wave to reset your canvas.  It became a bit of a theme for the weekend, and we teased each other about getting in each other’s shots. 🙂

The image above is a prime example of keeping the canvas clean.  There is a little speck next to my setting sun that I easily could have cloned out of the image.  But the reality of the speck made me laugh, so I decided to keep it.  That speck is a helicopter and in that helicopter was Toby Harriman (along with Mike Mezeul II and Mital Patel).  Toby, if I recall correctly, was the one who first brought up how much of a pain editing out footprints was. haha

Keep Your Canvas Clean - Vol 1 (Inset)

Keep Your Canvas Clean – Vol 1 (Inset)

So…uh…Toby, you’re in my canvas, dude. 😉

For those of you on the FB, I turned this image (heli-bomb and all) into a banner for your page.  My gift to you.  All I ask in return is that you like my FB photo page.  With all of the changes made recently to FB, I have begun to use the page less and less…but every now and then I’ll post give aways and freebies and other FB only content there and if you don’t follow the page, YOU’RE MISSING OUT!!  Neither of us wants that.  So, if you wouldn’t mind hitting the like/follow/subscribe/etc button, I would appreciate it!

San Fran Banner

San Fran Banner



6 Responses to “Keeping the Canvas Clean – Vol 1”

  1. David June 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    Good post and good points!

  2. Justin Avery (J.T. Avery Photography) June 25, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    Nice shot. I agree completely as when I take photos I’m always paying attention to my composition. What’s along the edges of the shot. Do I need to move in a little or how much cropping do I need to do? Where are others and what are they doing as I’m getting my shot? Sometimes I won’t notice something when I get the shot but when I spot it afterwards, it may be very distracting. It’s because of those few times though that I always make the extra effort to go through a mental checklist to make sure I’m getting the best shot I can of the subject I’m trying to capture. It is nice that with digital you can clone something out, but that’s just extra work.

    • seeingspotsphoto June 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

      100% agreed! Do the best you can in camera to save yourself a lot of grief later! Work smarter, right? 😉

  3. July 1, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    Thank you for sharing information. And great shot.

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