Riskin’ it for the Biscuit: The time I almost backed my car into a pond in pursuit of the perfect photo

This week we were tasked with trying several new tips in an attempt to take better photos. The tip I tried more in depth was taking an interesting foreground and putting it in front of an interesting background. This is one of the tips found in David DuChemin’s $0 ebook and also explained in Unit Five of our online digital storytelling course. I chose this particular tip because I thought it would be fun and was more practical for me personally. (As previously mentioned I am taking this class with a used iPhone camera so some of the tips, like using the best lens, just did not apply to me).

When I chose this tip I already had an area in mind- the pond by my neighborhood. I personally think it makes for a lovely background in photos so I was planning on taking pictures of different things in front of it. The first couple photos I took were of flowers (okay weeds) that I found nearby.

First few photos all looked similar to this one

See? It’s not bad but it certainly is not great. I liked how focused I got the image of the flower and I liked the pond in the background, but the photo is kind of a yawn. Looks like a stock image for a summer in Kansas.

I then had the brilliant idea to back my car up by the pond and use it as my foreground instead of the weeds. The photos came out MUCH better


Okay, I might be biased because I think my car is stunning (I quite literally named her Pretty Kitty) but I think that is a MUCH better photo to look at. I also started playing around with other techniques I’ve learned this week (such as looking into the light and being mindful of the rule of thirds) and I was able to get an even better looking photo.


The above photo is my favorite for trying this new technique. I did not really intend for this to happen, but this photo also demonstrates a few of the other techniques I learned this week as well. For example, there is quite a bit of contrast in this photo. There is contrast in terms of color- the dark green of the car versus the bright greenery in the middle ground. There is also the contrast of my car itself being in the middle of this natural scene- sort of like it does not belong. This kind of reminded me of the Batman in the Midwest example in our unit. There is the impact of the light; it creates an interesting shadow and reflection on the hood of the car. This might be a bit of a stretch but with the storytelling aspect of this class I have also been thinking about the story behind the photo/creating a story with my photo and I am thinking of the fact that cats do not like water! (it is a Jaguar after all).

I created an album for all of the photos I took while trying this technique, in case anyone would like to see this weeks outtakes.

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