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Photography 101: Treasure

Show us something (or someone) you cherish, and get up close.

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In the absence of a wooden chest full of gold doubloons, any object or experience that is deeply meaningful can be a treasure. Items, places, people — we all cherish something, or someone.

A treasure can be grand, like a precious heirloom or a night out with a loved one you rarely get to see, or teeny-tiny — like the first plump, juicy blackberry of spring, dripping with bright red juice as it preens on top of a tart:

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What’s your treasure? Perhaps you found a coat at the thrift store like the one your grandfather wore, or took a once-in-a-lifetime trip through the Himalaya. Maybe you treasure your children, or your cat, or a quiet space in the woods. Show us an image that represents a treasure to you.

Tip: Get close to your subject — either use the zoom function in your camera, if it has one, or physically move closer to it.

Often, our goal is to capture as much of the scene as we can. Zooming in (or focusing on) a particular detail can produce a beautiful image and help you tell a more interesting story.

We tend to take photos from the same vantage points: a landscape from far away, or an ensemble of friends where everyone’s bodies are in the shot. In my case, a plate of food so that the entire dish is visible.

When I first photographed this tart, I stood above the table and captured the entire thing on a platter. But when I squatted to get up close and personal, a prim rectangle of cream and fruit transformed into a luscious, glistening pile of jewels heaped on a pillowy bed. The first version was nice, but this one created a mood — all because I crouched a little.

Today, zoom in. Get close. Show us the twinkle in your son’s eye. A glint of gold. One perfect flower in the garden. Show us your treasure.

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