Canon 5D MII EF70-200f4L@200 | 1/1000s | f/8 | ISO100 | Handheld

Please take a moment and observe this photograph. What do you see?

Nothing special? A vast meaningless black space with some scattered sources of light and a big explosion-like thing  in the middle. “So what?”, you may ask.

If you (same as me) are interested in “learning to see”, you need to take photographs seriously. Even the ones that may look bad or worthless. You can learn a lot by thinking “what exactly is wrong about this photo?” or “why I don’t like this photo?’. Only after paying attention and carefully observing a photograph, you may be able to criticize it or admire it or both.

Again what do you see in this photograph? I see lot of leaves and a photographer hiding behind a bush while facing the camera toward the other side of the bush which is sunny. That explosion-like thing is actually the daylight, coming through the spaces between the leaves.

But I also see another scene in this photograph.

I see an airplane flying over thousands of small lakes while the distant sun is setting. As the plane moves, the image of the sun is shaped in one of the little lakes and is visible from the airplane and through the lens of the photographer. That explosion-like thing is the sun itself, or to be precise, its image. If you look carefully, you can even see the image of the clouds in one of the lakes.

How do you like a photograph that can take you from a hidden corner behind bushes into the open sky?