Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pattern Recognition

I’ve been asked how I spot all of the things that I shoot. The simple answer is that I stop and look –but it’s hard to say that and not make someone offended ;)

But the more I shoot a particular critter the easier it is to find them, and I think it’s due to some sort of simple pattern recognition. There is so much information in a scene that the mind has to find a way to quickly process it all, and one way to do it is to throw out the objects that aren’t in memory and concentrate on the ones that are. After you start looking for a particular pattern that shape gets added to memory so that when you see it you know what it is, or you know that something is out place.

The more time you spend looking for an object the easier the pattern is to find.

Take the image with this post. I was shooting a single butterfly when I noticed an odd pattern at the end of that grain stalk. From the distance (about 10 meters) and the angle it looked like leaves, but leaves don’t grow that high on that pant. So I knew that something was out of place and I went over to check it out. Glad I did, because it turned out to be the very first mating pair of butterflies that I’ve ever seen outside of a magazine…
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