I love to shoot churches, and on a recent early morning in Pendleton County, West Virginia, I happened upon an attractive Methodist church situated in a picturesque spot near Germany Valley. Although I did makes some images of the pretty-as-a-picture scene before me, after a time I found that I was most interested in the front door itself of the church. Bright red with underlying grayish blue paint showing through in spots, hung with a colorful wreath. For some reason that detail jumped out at me, and I was more pleased with the resulting photograph than any of the scenic images I made of the church and its surroundings.
For me this is a natural way to work through a scene. Start with the big “obvious” compositions, trying to fit everything into the frame that’s there before me, and then sorting my way through the details that provide spice to the recipe. I find that it is often the spices, the smaller elements of the scene, that speak most clearly and best communicate the vibe of being there.