The Benefits, and Challenges, of Culling

In one of my past life adventures, I was a part time, small scale sheep farmer. Well to be perfectly honest, I was a Border Collie Sheepdog Trainer, who owned sheep. But even with a “small” flock of, maybe, a 100 sheep you start to get keenly acquainted with the idea and importance of culling. There’s seemingly an infinite number of qualities to cull on (hardiness, healthiness, ease of lambing etc.) but it usually boils down to making hard choices on what matters the most and then picking and choosing which lambs to keep.

Bill EvansBecause the reality is you just don’t get to have it all. At least not if you goal is to improve and excel.

And I think this concept is important in almost every aspect of life and especially relevant in photography. And it’s one of the prime reasons I culled social media from my life.

Too often social media photography pushes you towards events. Whether it’s eclipses, or super moons, or northern lights, or summer forest fire sunsets, or whatever is trending, there is a constant pull in a new direction. And those temptation are very hard to resist. At least they were for me.

So culling social media from my life has helped me to return my focus to photographing the things that I love and not be distracted toward the things that are popular. And at the same time pursuing photography that compliments both my Architectural & Real Estate Commercial work with my love of landscapes. And although at times it can be hard to say no, I’ve found that a “no” is really a “yes” to something else and something better.

Rural Architecture & Commercial Landscapes

So how does this play out in real life? Well in my case often when I shoot “landscapes” I end up with buildings as my subjects or important parts of my images. And that’s no accident what with my love of Lighthouses, Churches, Barns and such. So, photographing Rural Architecture hones and reinforces the same skillset that I use in my Architecture Photography work and vice versa.

So, a trip to Patos Island reinforces and trains the same skills as a Commercial Twilight Architectural shoot.

As does a Commercial Exterior shot and a Long Exposure Black and White image.

Or an old Palouse Barn in a sea of grass and a Real Estate Exterior from across the bay

Or a Scottish Seascape and a Real Estate Sunrise view shot.

And I could go on and on. But the key is to photograph what you love, dive in deep and don’t get too distracted.

And a small footnote on gear

And let’s not forgot about gear. One of the hardest things about being a “Jack of All Trades” photographer is compromising on gear. Because few folks can afford the cost and weight of carrying the optimized gear that each specialty would choose. So, most purchases become “average” or best “bang for the buck”. I talk about this a bunch in my gear posts so I won’t harp to much here. But suffice it to say that the more focused your photography, the better your photography kit is. No matter what your budget.

 

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