Inside the Photo
Maybe the best photographic advice I came across (forgetting the source) is to “Look for the light”. At first, this might seem the textbook kind of suggestion of always having the light come from behind. But this is different.
Look for interesting light. This means looking for both the vivid light of sunrise/sunset, the diffuse light of a cloudy day that can give a soft effect, the interplay of light and objects to create shadow. Many times a photo I take is just when I notice not always the subject, but the presence of good, interesting light.
That was the case here. This is a nondescript place, the underside of the deck on the back of my house. Usually this time of year, the bottom is draped in cobwebs (I might have swept recently).
As I was walking around my tiny yard looking for something to take a photo of, I was drawn to a pattern under the deck- the bright sunlight falling through the slats in the deck made a repeating pattern of vertical stripes on the deck beams below. That was what I saw that whispered “take a photo”.
I took maybe 4 shots, but it was this one where I aimed to make the focus point the metal loop I sometimes use to lash objects underneath. I opened up the aperture wide in the low light (f/2.8 – not the super wide the nifty 50 lens goes to), but wide open apertures is one of the ingredients to get this light pattern called bokeh.
I never saw it in my “mind’s eye”, but boy was I happy when I saw this in the editor! The farther the eye recedes from the focus point, the most the vertical lines of light get transformed into the circular shape that reflects the opening in the lens, plus there are various shades of color from bright white to a tan.
I thought the angle of the wood beams would bother me, but it makes for an interesting intersection with the lines your eyes travel to go deeper into the photo.
In summary, I got something I did not expect, but it all came from noticing the play of light in an otherwise mundane location.
Light is you and your camera;s best friend. Get to know each other well.