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November 2018
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DAJ Designs Photography
 
Go West Young Man

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Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Photography by: Benjamin DeHaven
I visited the American Southwest back in November of last year. However I am finding the more time that passes after my trip, the fonder my heart becomes of it. I cannot wait to go back. Last time I concentrated on getting the iconic shots such as "Horseshoe Bend" (above). My next trip I will focus on the more intimate landscapes such as the images below. "Tree In The Desert" (below) has become my favorite image from the trip. Iconic shots are great and I am glad I have them, but the real creative art for me is in the small puzzle pieces that make up the grand landscape. Shooting iconic places and landscapes requires showing up when the light is right and getting there early enough to beat the other photographers.
Tree In The Desert
Tree In The Desert
Photography by: Benjamin DeHaven
In contrast, the smaller, more intimate shots by their very nature are more personal. They are quiet, yet speak volumes about the photographer. Often there is not another photographer in sight. It is the kind of shot that other photographers drive by and mutter, "What is he shooting?" when they see the lone photographer.

In many cases, these intimate shots are taken with longer lenses so as to isolate a particular subject. Wide-angle lenses are great when used properly (and not just to capture everything in the image), and I will always carry mine proudly. But I find my imagination fired up by my telephoto lens and the possibilities it presents for the more intimate images. There are so many more possible shots when you think telephoto, and the creative photographic images are endless.
Golden Bryce
Golden Bryce
Photography by: Benjamin DeHaven
Lens selection is an art in itself. Wide-angle lenses stretch perspective in every direction and the distance between things suddenly becomes great. Telephoto lenses compress perspective in every direction, and things at great distances suddenly seem to snuggle up together. The focal length you choose will greatly effect the relationship between your subjects and their surroundings. For landscape photography, the worst thing you can do is assume a wide-angle lens is used to get everything in the picture, and a telephoto lens is used to bring things closer. While both are technically true, the real point is missed by this simple explanation. There are many times when you might want to get as close to your subject as possible with your wide-angle lens in order to emphasize its size and position. Landscapes taken with a telephoto lens often rely on an extremely shallow depth of field in order to isolate a subject and capture the eye of the viewer. 
Goblin Valley B&W
Goblin Valley B&W
Photography by: Benjamin DeHaven
Photographers can be grouped into three classes: those who do not understand how to use all the functions of the mode dial, and stay in automatic mode for safety; those who do not realize that different focal lengths capture images differently; and lastly, those who realize that each mode and each focal length are but tools in the tool belt. This last group understands that there are 100 ways to take every photograph "correctly" but only a few ways to make interesting compositions. Perhaps this is an oversimplification and wholly unimportant, but there is an obvious progression the more you study the art of photography.

As for me, I want to do my studying in the beauty of the American Southwest...
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