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Steve Cole (





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About this photo

Steve says, "All my shoots are carefully planned out days or weeks in advance. We spent a few hours on this mountain shooting different concepts. I asked the model to stand on the rock, and what do you know, the wind started blowing his shirt around in just the right direction, adding more action. Captured with a Canon 1DS MKlll and Elinchrome Ranger 1200WS Power Pak."

Steve's tip

"Shoot loose! Crop later! Quit thinking about the megapixels, f/stops, shutter speed, and so on. Think concept first and technical second. Focus on ideas!"

Spectrum of Stock

If an isolated object on white is on one end of the stock photo spectrum, the conceptual stock photo would be on the other end. My photo of the flock of geese flying in the classic V formation at the beginning of this chapter (Figure 3.1) is actually an image I created in Photoshop by merging a photo of a sunset with geese in flight from another photo. I did actually shoot both images at the same location, but not on the same day. It was in a field I used to pass every day on my commute to and from work (another reason to always have your camera with you). I shot the geese one morning on my way to work and shot the sunset another time on my way home. No one has ever asked if the photo is "real" or not, and I hope I didn't ruin the illusion for you, but that is not really the point of a stock image. The point of a stock image is to communicate.

The sight of a flock of geese in formation is an iconic symbol of the changing seasons. Seasonal changes are rich in metaphor and meaning. Images of spring might conjure thoughts of new life and new beginnings, whereas images of autumn can conjure thoughts of maturing. Migration brings to mind transitions and change. A sunrise is a new beginning, and a sunset is another ending. I've since seen that flock of geese image used in very concrete ways alongside news stories about avian migration; I've also seen it as the cover art on a music CD.

Having done the work to isolate the images of the geese to use with the photo of the sunset, I thought those geese images alone would make a useful element all by themselves. I created two versions—one of the geese in silhouette and one just a straight photo—and put both on white backgrounds (Figure 3.11). Together, the three images have been downloaded more than 1,400 times.

Figure 3.11

Figure 3.11 Different versions of the same flock of geese images.

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