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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Focussing on the details

One of the things I tried to do more on this trip (well more than usual for me) is focus more on the details. The little things.

I find that one thing we tend to do as photographers is look for the spectacular, the out of this world, the wow factor. And in doing so we sometimes forget that it's the little things, the quiet moments, that can be much more special.

So on this trip I tried to keep my eyes open for little things that gave a little insight into how I felt about a place or an experience.

This picture is one of those moments. To get to Sapporo from Cairns you have to overnight in Narita. Usually we just stay one night and fly out first thing in the morning but this year we decided to spend a day in Narita. One so that we could take it easy after a long day flying, and two so we could take a look around the town my wife flies to every week with work.

We visited Narita-san, a giant pagoda temple with beautiful grounds filled with tranquil waterfalls and beautiful cherry blossom trees. I photographed those (and will post them in the coming days) but this little vignette caught my eye. In the eaves of an ancient temple I spotted some straw brooms, leaning casually up against the wall. To me, perhaps even more than the ancient buildings themselves, this use of traditional-style brooms (when obviously more modern examples can be bought easily) spoke to me about how a modern society can develop whilst still paying homage to the past.

This simple image told me more about the ways that the traditional ways of doing things are honoured in Japan than a hundred pictures of geisha talking on mobile phones. I found it really interesting to focus my attention more on the little details and the quiet but telling moments and I'll post a few examples over the coming weeks. No matter how long you've been doing this, or at what level, you can always find ways to stretch yourself and learn to see the world around you in new ways.

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