What’s Missing?

Bus Parked Under Ponam Bridge

There are things to like about this photograph. The layers of light and shadow from top to bottom, the brake lights of the bus peeking out of the darkness like a cat under a blanket, the relative simplicity of the composition, and, um, it’s level.

But it’s boring. Flat. Static. There’s something missing that would turn this decent photo into a good or very good photo. But I couldn’t see it when I was there pressing the shutter button. I saw a bus, a bridge, the light and shadows, the apartments in the background, and the brake lights in the patch of light. There was something there, I’m sure, that I could have included or excluded to transform this bit of documetary into art. But I’m not skilled enough to find it.

How do I get to that level? Keep looking at great photographs, I guess. And maybe I need to spend more time looking at a scene before photographing it. When I was younger I could sometimes get a good poem to appear by staring at a blank sheet of paper for half an hour. (Being hopped up on many mugs of sugary tea probably helped as well). I just need to stare at things more.

The next time I go out I’ll make a point of choosing just one subject and working on it for more than a minute like I usually do. And bring some tea . . . .

Hanging Light

Hanging Light in Restaurant, Gangneung.

I was at Central Pork Cutlet with a friend and while she was ordering at the counter I had a look around the restaurant. A lot of old buildings, shops, and houses in the downtown area are being renovated and turned into rather cosy coffee shops and other businesses. This place painted over the bare concrete walls and left the pipes showing in the ceiling. I liked the hanging light and wanted to make this photo of it, but all I had on the camera was a wide-ish lens so I had to crop heavily in Lightroom. That’s fine for sharing on a website, but I’ll remember to bring a different lens the next time I visit the restaurant.