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October 01, 2011

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I feel like I have set of templates in my head for the sorts of textures, patterns, or arrangments of objects that I want to photograph in a given situation; I then wander around, letting my internal pattern recognition find arrangements of things that satisfy these templates.

The real trick, for me, is to add to my collection of templates by letting the subjects show me their best sides. I was at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center (perhaps the best aviation museum in the world) yesterday, alone and free to roam for a couple of hours. I knew what kind of details I was looking to photograph (angular biplane support struts contrasted with ribbed wings, the patterns of radiator vanes and mechanical bits, etc.), but I was trying hard to let the planes tell me about their other interesting parts, like the bright yellow paint around the rounded triangular-ish intake of an F-86 contrasted against the gray hull and elliptical machine gun ports. Let's hope my image stabilizer served me well (no tripods or monopods allowed) and I got some keepers out of the afternoon.

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