Not dirt.

I’ve heard that a scene often becomes more interesting in a photograph if it includes a person, much like a play or movie set can merely be considered a “prop” until the actors do their thing. I don’t always agree, but perhaps we humans are egocentric that way – our eyes are so frequently drawn to our own image.

While I love landscapes and architecture that aren’t marred by the presence of tourists, it’s true that I’ve made many photos which were pretty dull due to the lack of a living, breathing being.

The trouble is, my introverted self isn’t always in the mood to photograph people, especially strangers. In fact, when I go out wandering with my camera, I’m usually trying to avoid them. I have huge admiration for street photography, but I’m far too uncomfortable – at this point, anyway – to be any good at it.

But here and there I manage to find a scene I like – and, lo and behold – a person happens to be there, too. Said person is usually far away, and therefore, very small. While the distance helps avoid any confrontations, embarrassment, or privacy issues, I’ve also learned that it may not actually help the photo if the figures are so tiny that the viewer mistakes them for specks of dirt.

You may have to play a game of Where’s Waldo? to find the humans in these photos, but I can assure you that they’re in there (if in doubt, look for specks of dirt).