Some tips on advantage places and the end result:
If your closest park is like ours, the challenge is gone after about 10 minutes. I’m not complaining because it has all the usual stuff, a couple ball parks, things for the kids to play on like a slide etc.; but almost every park has the same stuff. It means you have to get pretty “creative” in not only your thinking but how you handle the creation you have pondered. What I wanta do is give you some suggestions that will get the unusual picture the rest haven’t thought of yet. Remember, we are working with memories and how to improve the picture for those special memories. You have to be creative and do the unusual to get the picture no one else thought of.
Remember my earlier comments about the architect that was fascinated by a ceiling in a building he was in. He grabbed his camera, and lying face up he was shooting straight up at the ceiling, getting pictures. His wife was fortunately with him and making sure some lady didn’t get too close for one of those very embarrassing shots.
He can’t be shorted for his creation thinking. In fact, I think he was really on top of the creative process. Many folks would try to stretch their neck back and back trying to shoot straight up, and getting lousy results for all the trouble, but he knew what he wanted and did it. His wife was doing (for him) the “common sense results” and protecting his knickers from a possible law suit and maybe a black eye from a narrow-minded husband.
Believe it or not, but the park is one of the best places to get interesting shots of interesting subjects and offers some very interesting challenges as well. Lots of folks just point and shoot, and expect some salvageable pictures as the end result. You do that a couple times, realize the wasted time and effort and give up.
Parks are usually green with a few trees. OK, you already knew that one. How about this? All trees are different with different leaves or shrubs here and there, maybe the flower garden is in bloom (yawn). Gotta do better than that.
You did take a chair with you, didn’t you? Use the chair as a prop by having a bottle of water (or something) in the arm and a book face down and open. That shows someone was setting there, reading and enjoying the book. Still not enough, but getting there.
Place the chair rather remotely but have maybe the “rest” rooms way off in the distance. Using different angles, you are now implying that someone has been reading but taken a special break and will be back. No good? How about your subject just standing and stretching in front of the chair? Maybe you’re on to something. I don’t think you’re done, but you do now have something to work with. Experiment – You’re getting there!
Did you bring a partner with you, someone that you can share the afternoon with? Good, you also brought another chair, so get it in the picture and put your partner in it, very relaxed to the point of being asleep. Looking good, but one thing is missing. You need a hat to cover the eyes and most of the face. A white cowboy had would probably look best, but any hat will work well. Now you have the chair with the book next to your sleeping partner. Much better, because you still have the park environment but now you have something else to fuel the memory. You could get the sleeping shot on a blanket under the tree, but everyone does that one, so try for a different pose.
Now, we have the prop and with it comes the hard work on your part. Be prepared to get 20 or maybe more shots from all different angles. Get on your knees, lay on your belly, stand here or over there, get all angles, views and perspectives.
While your there, lay on the ground and get some pictures straight up through the trees. It could be very interesting because shadows can create some interesting formations. You might also consider one of the picnic tables some way, keep your mind working. You’re working with memories, so be relaxed, but you will still have to be a little creative or the picture will fail. You still must be odd and different for the picture to have any special meaning.
You might get lucky while you’re there and get a couple action shots like maybe a couple dogs running and playing. Be aware of your surroundings and keep your eyes open and mind engaged.
Does your park have any water? Please go to my blog about using shadows, images from reflections or including other images in your pictures. Also, I try to shoot either early in the morning or later in the evening to get the softer sunlight. Consider your time of day. Just shoot the photos, a hellava lot of photos.
(Guess how long we stayed)
Remember the Colors, Shapes, Patterns, Perspective, People, Activity and play, and respect for the Wildlife.
If your park just doesn’t have ANY of the above, well, start looking for another opportunity, but keep it in mind!