Dr. Foto Fix Flanigan’s ‘Clickity Vison’ takes ifs, ands and butts out of photo set-ups

The photo you are about to see was submitted to a magazine editor to support a biographical article. Although the main subject is rendered very well and properly exposed, the photographer failed to notice the distracting cat’s hind end in the photograph’s lower right corner. Not surprisingly, the magazine’s editor noticed it immediately.

Such photographic goofs are very common due to photographic tunnel vision, i.e., the photographer is so mentally focused upon the main subject and getting the exposure and composition correct that he or she fails to notice very obvious and glaring items that mar and detract from the image – things such as bit of trash or a cigarette butt at the base of a beautiful wild orchid.

Here's lovely Grace Bacon Ferrier and her cat. Photo by, you guess it, Barbara Baird.

Here's lovely Grace Bacon Ferrier and her cat. Photo by, you guessed it, Barbara Baird.

In this photo, it is the cat’s butt. Although the cat is departing the scene, it obviously walked through the frame as the photographer was preparing and exposing the photo, yet it was invisible and ghost-like to her because her entire mental focus was upon the main subject.Obviously, we see with our minds, not our eyes. Our eyes capture and transmit reflected light to the brain where we actually see the scene that the eye is monitoring. The eyes don’t actually see, but rather catch light reflected from everything in the scene including things like the offending cat’s butt, but we ignore it mentally because of our tunnel-like mental focus upon the main subject. There’s no ifs – ands- or buts [in this case, butts] about that.

We see the difference between a Myrtle warbler and a Chestnut-sided warbler with our trained minds. The eyes only capture the varied shades of light reflected from the birds, just like a camera. Fortunately there is a very easy method of accurately previewing the scene immediately prior to pressing the shutter release and it’s as simple as mimicking a camera with our eyes.

Here’s how: Just prior to taking a photo, look intently at the scene – close your eyes for several seconds. Open and close your eyes very quickly, just as a camera’s shutter snaps quickly open and shut. Doing so, you will notice that your mental vision continues to see the scene for a ¼ second or so after your eyes close. Let’s call it mental soak. You will actually see the image fade slowly as the eyes close.

Repeat the process several times and you will be amazed at how certain elements of your image jump out and others recede. With just three “Clickity” vision samples, offending or detracting items within the scene, such as cat butts, actually jump out to your mental vision.

Once you learned this, “Clickity Vision,” photo preview procedure, you will never again take a photo of a fisherman with a trolling rod growing out of his head or a sportsman standing beside a bumper sticker that proclaims: “Crap Happens,” (paraphrased), as I once did.

Tim flaniganTim, and his wife, Debbie, operate “Nature Exposure,” an outdoor writing and photography marketing business in Bedford, Pennsylvania, that specializes in supplying content and photography to outdoor publications. Nature Exposure also showcases limited editions of Tim’s award winning fine art photography, as both framed Giclée prints on canvas, as well as premium papers along with his note card collection. His work is exhibited and sold at various art galleries, art shows and festivals. For more information, please visit their new web site: www.natureexposure.com or call 814-623-7865.

And, Dr. Foto Fix Flanigan has decided to hang out his shingle here at The WON and will be happy to look at your bad photo and give you some tips to correct your technique for next time. Sooner or later, Babbs will run out of bad ‘uns to send him. Send us the photo and we’ll send it on to the good doc.

  • About Tim Flanigan

    Tim Flanigan has been producing top-quality photographic images for the print media for more than 30 years.Tim, and his wife, Debbie, operate Nature Exposure, an outdoor writing and photography marketing business in Bedford, Penn.