Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Writing Descriptions

Describing What I See

I often find myself struggling to describe what I see. I envy those writers who are able to put wonderful written descriptions in their work.

This… lack of mine… really struck me while I was on my journey south this winter. I did not have the words to describe much of what I was seeing and on highways, everything went by so fast. Then when I did stop, there was so much to see that I didn’t take the time in the moment and hurried along to see as much as I could.

This morning it hit me. Some of my problem is because I don’t STOP. It seems that even when I’m not in a hurry, I hurry. I jump from one ah moment to the next, take a few quick photographs and move on to something else.

In thinking this further, I reflected on the outing to Windsor the other day. What did I first experience? When we got out of the truck, the heat of the day struck us. Gayle was immediately drawn to the waterfall and my eyes were drawn upwards to the tall, unusual electrical towers. Both our attentions were caught on the back of the building where we could see the outlines of old windows and doors. Gayle liked the one big door near ground level that was still operable while I looked at the one three stories up wondering where that once led.

So, I can write a description like that whereas others might go fully into what those doors and windows really looked like. How could the back of that building be described so the readers could fully understand what was seen? Me, I’m ready to move to the inside of the building. Again, though, I tend to be like the butterfly flitting from flower to flower. Even if I did want to describe the machinery, I don’t always have the proper words. I can tell a gear from a wheel and I’m fascinated how these lathes and gear making machines were made… but I can’t really describe it.

Maybe I need to fully stop and examine one thing. What would I find? In that case, I would have needed to have one of the museum people give me proper terms for what I was looking at. I couldn’t be saying things like, “…that big black thing fitted into another big black thing which turned that little silver piece…”

Taking the time is the lesson. As a photographer, I should already know this. Many times I hear other photographers talking about how much time it takes them to get good photos. In this aspect, I’m like a little kid who can’t sit still. I’m one of these people who snaps, snaps, snaps because I want to see everything. I take the chance that I get a few good photos while others take the time to make sure they’ve gotten great pictures.


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