A few things Bryan Peterson talks about in Learning to See Creatively have left quite an impression on me:
1. Lenses function differently. More precisely, the 18-55mm lens that came with my Nikon will take a photograph that looks different at 18mm, which requires me to be physically closer to my subject, than at 55mm. Technically, 18mm is a wide angle lens, as it gives a wider (and slightly distorted) angle of view. It is more of a storytelling lens. It's the setting I used to take these photographs.
I had always assumed that zooming in produced the same photo as not zooming in but getting closer to the subject. If I wasn't close enough, why not just zoom in? It hadn't occurred to me that the lens responds differently when set to different focal lengths.
2. Turn the camera vertically. I almost always take horizontal photos (partially because they look better on this blog), but Peterson insists that the better photo is probably the vertical one, especially if you get your subject to fill the frame. One exercise he suggests doing is shooting a photograph in the horizontal and immediately switching to the vertical. Often, he says, a better photograph will reveal itself.
3. Choose a theme. The final section of the book deals with being a career photographer, and choosing a theme on which to focus your photography. I may never be a career photographer, but I like the idea of focusing on the theme. So I may just end up taking a lot of photos of the sky in the evenings for a while because, let me tell you, it's just magnificent.