Posted by: David Vernon | August 21, 2009

Tell the story

Grand Hotel Fountain

When we teach the Introductary Photography class at the Art Guild we tend to cover a lot of material in eight weeks. But the gist of that material is built off of a few key points – and then developed and practiced over-and-over. One of those key points is about telling the story with your imagery. All the bells and whistles on the camera are tools to help you achieve this vision but they are secondary. We want you to be able to use them to help achieve your goal but telling the story is foremost.

Often to tell your story and work towards your vision, you have to pre-visualize the image. You have to imagine the possibilities and set about determining what you need to get it done. You envision angle, lens choice, perspective, depth-of-field, and shutter speed and then you set about doing it. It works or it doesn’t. You keep at it and you get what you think you need. You take it to the darkroom – be it “wet” or “digital” – and you work it further. And out plops your vision.

David duChemin has written a whole book on telling the story – about achieving vision. It’s well worth the read because it’s not really a “how-to do” book. It’s more a “how-to realize” book, where constructing and realizing the vision take center stage. It’s called Within the Frame. I mention the book and the author because about every third blog post or (dare I say it?) tweet he writes is an eye-opener. His post today is a simple one – about color temperature. And kicking kittens. Except it’s not really about either (and the kicking kittens reference is a metaphor – I don’t want my animal-loving wife to panic). But he gets it. He gets it on his post and he gets it in his book. I’m thinking of adopting him as a matter of fact. When people get it and help YOU achieve your goal – that’s a noble thing to talk about on a Friday. Go give it a read and see what you think. And then think a little more about achieving your vision.

And on a little side not – when it comes to getting it – Canon did a good thing this week. They released a new camera – the Canon G11. This is not an SLR – it’s a point-and-shoot – but it’s going to be a fantastic little tool. Even though I’m a loyal follower of the other company, this is the P&S I would buy. I’ve loved the Canon G series for some time, but I think Canon got all hung up in the same deal a lot of other manufacturers did: they kept shoving more and more pixels on a sensor the size of the your thumbnail. And more pixels in a small space means smaller pixels. And smaller pixels, nine times out of ten, means more noise and less image quality. Canon reversed this pathetic trend in the industry and shrunk the pixels from 14.7MP to a much more lovely and acceptable 10MP. Bigger pixels = better/cleaner images. Way to go Canon – for coming to your senses. You don’t need that many pixels – ESPECIALLY ON A POINT-AND-SHOOT. Less is more. Don’t sacrifice image quality for pixel quantity – the trade-off is a bad one.

Oh – and just because I say I would buy it doesn’t mean you should. This may still be more camera then you need – at a higher price then you want to pay. So caveat emptor doncha know.

Hey – come out and join us for the Peoria Flickr Group’s August photowalk TOMORROW MORNING at Springdale Cemetery – 9am. Details – as they always are – are over on the group’s homepage.


  1. ok….I have several points here.

    First – thanks for the post. I have heard of ‘Within the Frame’, but, never looked into it. Sounds very interesting!!

    I thought I’d point out that there is a flickr group (imagine that!!!!!) called “Tell a story in 5 frames (Visual story telling)” (hope that html works). 🙂

    @kick the kitten {perk} This is getting ready to be interesting hehe!!!!!

    What makes you think your wife actually reads this blog, anyway????

    re: the G11 – I agree, the pixel race has gone way overboard, particularly in the P&S line. But, the thing is, most people purchasing the P&S cameras pay attention to the marketing. The G series is high enough on the chain that you’re going to get a higher end crowd that wants an easy to carry camera. That’s why I think it will work out fine.

    Dontcha love Fridays???!!! 🙂

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