Atmosphere is important. In fact, it’s probably one of the most important things in the pursuit of art. And by atmosphere, I’m not talking about the mood of a photograph — although that does tie into this particular subject. More, I’m referring to the atmosphere wherever you happen to be taking those photographs. The atmosphere of your locale permeates — or should permeate — the photographs you are taking, but more than that, it should fill you and help you to guide your thoughts. Perhaps it’s something on my mind lately with autumn coming to these parts, but there is something to be said for immersing yourself in the atmosphere.
Just imagine yourself outside on a fall day. What will the atmosphere be like? There are lots of different kinds to experience. On sunny autumn days, it’ll likely be warm. Colors will come alive under golden sunlight, almost celebratory in a way, like beautiful fireworks to close yet another rich summer. Taking that further, if you’re out in the fields, then it’s time for farmers to be bringing in crops. Harvest time, a bounteous occasion. The atmosphere might be a little bit celebratory, and it’ll be one tinged with hard work and the fruits produced by those efforts. Things like county fairs often happen in the autumn, plus harvest festivals and these events always have an exuberance to them that is easy to get swept up in.
But a rainy autumn day, on the other hand, can have a depressing effect. Maybe it’s chilly, and there are leaves plastered to sidewalks and pavement. These kinds of days often seem drab, dreary and moody. They’re a reminder of winter to come, and with that reminder comes the worry that perhaps this winter will be a harsh one.
Those are just some examples of the kinds of atmospheres I’m referring to. No matter where you go, there will be some sort of mood to experience, whether it’s indoors, outside, summer, winter, spring or fall. They’re unique to the season, the area, and whatever happens to be going on at the time.
This is something to immerse yourself in. Whatever the atmosphere is, let it guide you. Let it inspire you. Let yourself be open to the atmosphere so that you can fully experience whatever thoughts and feelings it gives you. This is one of the best ways to create a meaningful piece of art because when you’re immersed in your surroundings and feeling what they have to offer, your thoughts will be more geared to put together photographs that fit the things you’re thinking and feeling. It’s not just about composition. Lighting, colors, and contrasts all come into play. If you’re truly engaged in your surroundings, you’ll find the ideas come easier, and too, it will be easier to channel mood and meaning into the photographs you’re creating.