Field and Foreground

A man with a camera. Black and white photography

Last week we featured master photographer Ansel Adams. He employed small aperture settings and tight focus to achieve great depth of field. His photograph Tetons and the Snake River shows a winding river leading to two mountain ranges. The photo features dramatic clouds, distant glaciers, and thousands of trees. It encompasses many miles, but everything is sharp and clear. And even with layers of detail, your eye is directed to the first mountain range, which is the focus of the piece.

Keep this concept in mind when developing a presentation or speech. Your intention (or what you want to achieve) is similar to the photo's mountain range. Like Adams, use the equivalent of the river and lead the audience to your central idea. Include details (like Adams did the clouds and trees) so your audience can see what surrounds and supports your point of focus.

Too often people present as if they're looking at a closeup on a cellphone screen, with one object in focus and everything else a blur. Take the time to establish context and lead the audience to your mountain. Do it with a vivid river or path and everything in sharp focus.

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