Master the Art of Seeing and Improve Your Photography

Henry Fernando

The following is an excerpt from Vision 365: Mastering the Everyday Practice of Seeing by Henry Fernando, a beautiful 772-page reminder that it's the practice of photography that trains your eye to see not only the spectacular and obvious, but the small, ordinary, and everyday things in new ways. Through 365 days of simple visual exercises, Henry teaches you to recognize daily opportunities in your surroundings so that you can make the photographs that better express who you are and how you see your world.

To open your eyes and really see, you have to look at the world around you as it is. That means that you look at things without any judgment, without like or dislike, or preconceived ideas.

"We begin as children seeing the world as a mystery. The mind absorbs and reflects the experiences of youth as a stainless mirror, and continually adds them to the knowledge bank of neurons. These stored memories combine and create another world, the conceptual world, where ideas and unlikely combinations of invisible elements stir constantly in the alembic of the mind. Somewhere along the road to adulthood, the mind accepts this other conceptual world as the real one." – George DeWolfe

Day 2: Photograph a pet.

Indeed, with our childhood experiences, what our parents and teachers taught us, and the constant bombardment of information from television and the internet, it can sometimes be hard to sift through all preconceptions and biases to figure out what is real. Our mind has a tendency to fill in details that are not there and disregard things that are there, based on our (unconscious) expectations. These are useful shortcuts that our mind has devised to help us function efficiently in everyday situations. We would never get anything done if we allowed ourselves to take in and process all the information our senses are able to perceive.

Day 21: Photograph a silhouette.

Day 65: Photograph texture.

As photographers, however, these shortcuts keep us from seeing and noticing what is in front of us. We must now learn to disengage this process and allow our mind to be aware of more raw visual information.

"In this conceptual world we are very quick to stick ‘labels’ on just about everything, and once we label it, the label sticks forever. By these labels we recognize everything but no longer SEE anything. It is like knowing the labels of good wines but we don't taste the wine." – Frederick Franck

Day 75: Photograph a subject with dominant negative space.

Day 178: Photograph light and shadow.

To be able to really see, it’s necessary to shed this conceptual way of seeing and get back to seeing what is really there. Throw away your conscious or unconscious biases and it will open your eyes to this phenomenal world that we live in.

"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are.” – Anais Nin

Day 144: Photograph a spiral shape.

Seeing things as they are offers endless possibilities for finding subjects to photograph. Look at that old chair you dislike and start seeing the shape and form of the armrest, the worn out patterns of the fabric, and the smooth texture of the wood. Do not see the mess in your kitchen; instead, see the light coming in from the window that forms a shadow on your cabinet door. See the colourful patterns on your plate and even the placement of your utensils on the table.

 

Day 341: Get close to a subject.

Get a copy of Vision 365: Mastering the Everyday Practice of Seeing and expand your vision and your craft, one day at a time. 

Henry Fernando has studied Zen, Miksang, and Tao contemplative photography subsequent to his training in biochemistry and as an IT manager. Based in Ottawa, Canada, Henry believes that travel is a tool for self-discovery, and that a sense of adventure opens doors to culture that do not revolve around fast food and social media. By combining his passions for travel + photography, Henry has experienced the rich, vivid colour and texture of the world.

 

 

 

Craft & Technique Creativity Henry Fernando

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  1. Choosing Lighting Patterns
  2. Understanding The Stages
  3. Conceptually Speaking: A Word With Claire Rosen
  4. Best Places
  5. Thinking Less Literally
  6. Vision Is Better, Ep. 63
  7. An Iconic Photograph, or a Photographed Icon?
  8. Thinking in Monochrome
  9. Vision Is Better, Ep.62
  10. Vision Is Better, Ep.61
  11. Making the Image: Kathleen Clemons
  12. Night Ranger: A Word With David Kingham
  13. Understanding the Night Sky
  14. Vision Is Better, Ep.60
  15. The Value of Critique
  16. Capturing the Moment
  17. Vision Is Better, Ep.59
  18. Five Key Elements of Food Photography
  19. Using Flash That Doesn't Look Lit
  20. Vision Is Better, Ep.58
  21. Using Flash To Improve Your Photographs
  22. Five Tips for Using Off-Camera Flash
  23. Vision Is Better, Ep.57
  24. Finding Critics
  25. Street Life: A Word With Libby Holmsen
  26. Using the Frame
  27. The Photographer's Tools
  28. Backlight: The Art of Silhouettes
  29. Vision Is Better, Ep.56
  30. Understanding Perspective
  31. Vision Is Better, Ep.55
  32. In Conversation: Sharon Covert
  33. Create Projects + Collaborate
  34. Mirrors or Windows?
  35. 2018 Mentor Series Workshop: Varanasi, India
  36. F/ The Rules
  37. Drawing the Eye With Selective Focus
  38. In Conversation: Willem Wernsen
  39. Exposing for Highlights
  40. Using Fill Light to Create Dramatic Portraits
  41. Cameras Don't Make Photographs
  42. Shooting with Your Final Image in Mind
  43. 10 Ways to Make Better Black and White Photographs
  44. 2018 Maasai Mara Photographic Safari
  45. 2018 Mentor Series Workshop: Lalibela, Ethiopia
  46. Start With the Corners
  47. Creating Painterly Images with Movement and Multiple Exposures
  48. Using the Guided Upright Tool in Lightroom
  49. The Power of Photographing Icons
  50. In Conversation: Susan Burnstine (Part II)
  51. In Conversation: Susan Burnstine (Part I)
  52. Controlling Your Edit with Lightroom's Tone Curve
  53. Making the Image: David duChemin
  54. 3 Ways to Make More Honest Portraits
  55. The Adjective-Driven Approach to Photography
  56. In Conversation: Oded Wagenstein
  57. Making the Zone System Work for You
  58. Ten (More) Ways to Improve Your Craft
  59. Reference View: A New Way to See in the Lightroom Develop Module
  60. In Conversation: Laurent Breillat
  61. The Best 3 Filters for Landscape Photography
  62. Creating Classical Portraits with Simple Lighting
  63. Photographic Processing and Believability
  64. Visual Storytelling: An Introduction
  65. Making the Image: Piet Van den Eynde
  66. In Conversation: Satoki Nagata
  67. Use Repeating Elements for Stronger Images
  68. In Conversation: Kate Densmore
  69. One (More) Reason To Use Adobe's Creative Cloud
  70. Three Ways to Use Backlight
  71. 2017 Rome Mentor Series Workshop
  72. 2017 Venice Mentor Series Workshops
  73. Controlling Foreground to Background Presence
  74. Making the Image: David Adam Edelstein
  75. In Conversation: David Adam Edelstein
  76. Using Contrast for Stronger Images
  77. Three Ways to Make Better Portraits
  78. How to Direct the Eye in Your Photographs
  79. How to Improve Your Street Photography
  80. In Conversation: Piet Van den Eynde
  81. Starting Your Next Personal Project
  82. Five (More) Creative Exercises to Improve Your Photography
  83. Five Creative Exercises to Improve Your Photography
  84. Three (More) Ways To Discover Your Vision
  85. Four Ways to Discover Your Vision (Part I)
  86. Three Ways to Make Stronger Black & White Images in Lightroom
  87. In Conversation: Cristina Mittermeier
  88. How to Add Mood to Infrared (and other) Photographs
  89. In Conversation: Paul Nicklen
  90. Four Ways to Tell Stronger Stories
  91. In Conversation: John Paul Caponigro
  92. Master the Art of Seeing and Improve Your Photography
  93. Adding Light with the Radial Filter in Lightroom
  94. The Power of Abstraction
  95. In Conversation: Anja Büehrer
  96. Five Ways to Add More Depth to Your Portraits
  97. Four Ways to Make Stronger Travel Photographs
  98. In Conversation: Martin Bailey
  99. Learn to Isolate
  100. Gear Is Good
  101. In Conversation: Dave Brosha
  102. For the Love of Your Photographs
  103. Working with Target Collections in Lightroom
  104. Review: Epson P800
  105. Seeing: Receptive & Observant
  106. Better Questions
  107. Siri? Ask Lightroom!
  108. Wake Up.
  109. In Conversation: David Jackson
  110. Photographic Skills: Patience
  111. In Conversation: David duChemin
  112. 2017 Jodhpur Mentoring Workshop
  113. 2017 Maasai Mara Safari
  114. Rome 2016 Mentoring Workshop
  115. Florence 2016 Mentoring Workshop
  116. Venice 2016 Mentoring Workshop
  117. Vision Is Better, Ep.54
  118. Vision Is Better, Ep.53
  119. Vision Is Better, Ep.52
  120. Vision Is Better, Ep.51
  121. Vision Is Better, Ep.50
  122. Vision Is Better, Ep.49
  123. Vision Is Better, Ep.48
  124. Vision Is Better, Ep.47
  125. Vision Is Better, Ep.46
  126. Vision Is Better, Ep.45
  127. Vision Is Better, Ep.44
  128. Vision Is Better, Ep.43
  129. Vision Is Better, Ep.42
  130. Vision Is Better, Ep.41
  131. Vision Is Better, Ep.40
  132. Vision Is Better, Ep.39
  133. Vision Is Better, Ep.38
  134. Vision Is Better, Ep.37
  135. Vision Is Better, Ep.36
  136. Vision Is Better, Ep.35
  137. Vision Is Better, Ep.34
  138. Vision Is Better, Ep.33
  139. Vision Is Better, Ep.32
  140. Vision Is Better, Ep.31
  141. Vision Is Better, Ep.30
  142. Vision Is Better, Ep.29
  143. Vision Is Better, Ep.28
  144. Vision Is Better, Ep.27
  145. Vision Is Better, Ep.26
  146. Vision Is Better, Ep.25
  147. Vision Is Better, Ep.24
  148. Vision Is Better, Ep.23
  149. Vision is Better, Ep.22
  150. Vision is Better, Ep.21
  151. Vision is Better, Ep.20
  152. Vision is Better, Ep.19
  153. Vision is Better, Ep.18
  154. Vision is Better, Ep.17
  155. Vision is Better, Ep.16
  156. Vision is Better, Ep.15
  157. Vision Is Better, Ep.11
  158. Vision Is Better, Ep.10
  159. Vision Is Better, Ep.09
  160. Vision Is Better, Ep.08
  161. Vision Is Better, Ep.07
  162. Vision Is Better, Ep.06
  163. Vision Is Better, Ep.05
  164. Vision Is Better, Ep.04
  165. Vision Is Better, Ep.03
  166. Vision Is Better, Ep.02
  167. Vision Is Better, Ep.01

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