“…., You’re Not Close Enough.

Summary – Did the originator of this quote mean closer in terms of physical proximity or did he have something else in mind? Here are examples of getting closer to a subject.


If your photographs aren’t good enough,

you’re not close enough

Robert Capa

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Am I Close Enough Now?

Long side is about 1″

As captured with macro lens + teleconverter; not a crop

Lens was about 6 inches from the subject

My favorite dahlia plant

Won me a grand prize magazine cover in a contest (5 years ago)

Took this the other day; plant isn’t doing well this year


When Robert Capa made his comment about close

I’ve always assumed he meant physical proximity, but

Now I wonder???

As I shoot flowers (or anything else for that matter)

I work the subject by starting at a distance and

Gradually move closer (not by zooming, by moving)

Trying different lens & angles at points along the way

Time-wise (and occasionally distance, too)

It’s a lengthy progression

I spent an hour with today’s flower

(& another hour yesterday with the same flower)

I average roughly a shot every two minutes


While working a subject I’ve come to realize

That while time passes and I get –

Closer to the subject in terms of physical proximity

I’m also closer, much closer, to it in terms of feelings

Maybe I (we) misunderstood what Capa was saying


A 3-to-4 foot, 60-minute journey in terms of distance & time

But I moved disproportionately further in terms of

Getting in-touch with my subject


At the start of the journey

Not trying for a keeper; just examining the subject

It’s a circle (several actually) and a line

If you keep thinking flower, you’ll miss out

A longer stem might have been nice, but

I knew that little if any stem was in the image I envisioned



Same distance – about 4 feet, but try a different angle

The circles are now a rectangle, the line hasn’t changed



Move a bit closer to those circles

Check them out for possibilities

Possible what?

Who knows, but not flowers. That’s the fun.



Try another angle

(between the start & here I actually made 16 images)

Try squinting your eyes to hide details and

Bring out shapes, lines, textures, colors & tones

Still a line & rectangle – squint or not


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Let’s take a look at two of the three circles (& a squiggly “line”)

Get as close as possible & see if there are possibilities


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How about backing off 2-3 inches,

Opening the aperture wide open, and

Pan around to see what there is to see

Here’s a leading line pointing to an impression of a circle

Bringing it all into focus is a disappointing “jumble of stuff”

I much prefer this style with just an impression of a circle

I’m “farther” in distance than for the previous image, but

Closer in other ways


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After the above shape & line taken from a frontal aspect (circles)

Let’s change the angle to the side (rectangle)

Keep the aperture open and pan around again

The sight in the viewfinder doing this (not just with this flower)

Is like being admitted to a fairly land

Seeing it in the camera’s Live-View is even more magical

The smallest movements (camera or subject)

Open whole new worlds


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A very slight change in angle from the shot made above

And we’re transported to a different place

What is this place?

Who knows & who cares – it’s a beautiful place


As I said at the top –

Capa may have meant something other than

Move your body closer


Click any image for a full screen slide show


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