Bright coloured bracts on a stone path
Lens-Artists,  Photographic techniques,  Themed galleries

Gallery: things overlooked or unseen

It is better to be looked over than overlooked

Mae West

I don’t think Mae West was talking about photography, but her maxim can be applied. By ‘looking over’ the places we visit with our cameras, that is properly looking at and seeing them, we are less likely to ‘overlook’ a great photo opportunity.

That’s the challenge set for us this week by Janet, guest hosting the Lens Artists challenge. She says, and I totally agree, ‘As a photographer, I love showing the viewers something they’ve missed’. I’m happy when people react with surprise, tell me they would never have spotted that or, if spotted, thought to photograph it. My recent post on Keeping it Simple got such a reaction from Anita, and I was thrilled: ‘Now I don’t want to sit here in front of the computer anymore. I want to take my camera and photograph things that I might not have thought to photograph.‘ Isn’t that a wonderful response?!

I have a feeling that I’ve used this quote before but it’s too perfect for this theme not to repeat it:

To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.

Elliott Erwitt

Enough theorising, let’s see what often overlooked things I can find. But first, one more quote I consider apposite, remembered from my long-ago Shakespeare studies:

My father named me Autolycus; who being, I as am, littered under Mercury, was likewise a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles.

The Winter’s Tale, Act 4, Scene 2

So here are some unconsidered trifles that I have snapped-up!

Diagonal ridges of an old roof covered in lichen

Roof, Tynemouth

I must have passed this roof in Tynemouth dozens of times but it was only when the winter sun caught its ridges just so that I really noticed it.

Building with lots of small windows reflecting a sunset sky

Sunset, Newcastle upon Tyne

If you’re photographing a sunset in a city, don’t neglect to look behind you. There could be a great reflection shot that you might otherwise overlook.

Coloured light from a stained glass window on a wall

Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Sofia

Stained glass windows are beautiful of course, but don’t overlook the wonderful colours they cast on to nearby surfaces too.

Small gold medallion with Orthodox cross

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia

Meanwhile in the same city’s Orthodox cathedral, a single medallion hanging from a chandelier caught my eye. It speaks as much of the faith of the people who worship as do the ornate icons covering the walls.

Curved edge of a striped map on a copper table

Table mat, Leipzig

A table mat at a café where we stopped for coffee in Leipzig caught my eye and made a colourful abstract. I don’t think this shot would be half as effective if I’d included the whole mat, do you?

Single heart-shaped piece of confetti on a road

Confetti, Leipzig

Also in Leipzig I spotted confetti peppering the ground outside the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), a legacy of a recent wedding. Never neglect what’s at your feet!

Mosaic depicting a clown with a drinks tray above two women talking

On the Rue de la Seine, Paris

The presence of people can turn an ordinary shot into an extraordinary one. If you really look carefully you’re more likely to spot these serendipitous moments.

A window in Shrewsbury

Keep your eyes open as you walk along even the most ordinary of streets. Here a window in Shrewsbury is brightened by the presence of this little bear.

Small teddy bear perched on the bar of a window pane

Knotted string

String tie, Reykjavik

In a café in Reykjavik some little fabric angels were tied to pillars with string. I photographed the angels of course, but found the knotted string just as interesting!

Length of rope with rippled sand

Rope at the beach, Sal, Cape Verde

Contrasting textures of rope and sand caught my eye in Sal, Cape Verde, on a dull day when photo opps seemed initially quite thin on the ground. But not when I started to look more carefully!

Large bubble reflecting people, surrounded by smaller ones

Kyoto Garden, Holland Park, London

One day in the Kyoto Garden in London’s Holland Park I noticed bubbles on the pond caused by the movement from the small waterfall. Easily overlooked when the flowers and peacocks here are such a draw, but what a great opportunity for an unusual self-portrait!

Bag of coloured water suspended with string

Near Siem Reap, Cambodia

A roadside restaurant we stopped in south of Siem Reap had suspended bags of coloured water from the trees in an effort to deter insects. When I could tear my eyes from the pretty views I found these bags, and the inverted images they held, equally worthy of some shots.

White and tan feathers

Bald eagle feathers

When taking photos, don’t overlook the details. Photographing a bald eagle at a sanctuary here in the UK, I realised that a close-up of the beautiful feathers could make for an intriguing shot.

Pool of bright orange water with bubbles

Iron-rich spring, Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

The landscape maybe stunning but don’t forget to look down. A natural spring of iron-rich water has stained this pool on Iceland’s Snaefellsnes Peninsula bright orange.

Rough squares of cracked dry mud

Empty Quarter, Oman

The dried mud in a wash in Oman’s Empty Quarter had cracked into a mosaic of squares, like crazy paving but completely natural. A few brave plants were trying to grow through the cracks, adding interest to the shot.


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