"Where you stand is how you look"
Ok, so it's not a real quote by a famous person, but it's important to remember when trying to make your photos stand out from the rest. By looking for a place to photograph from, always look at the background first, then find your subject.
We've all taken great photos of people doing interesting things, only to find a distracting trash can in the background. Yes, we can get our Spot Healing Brush out in PhotoShop and presto, the offender is banished. I must admit to doing that a few times, but wouldn't it be nice to get in right without 'extraordinary measures'?
So, when I found myself at the Pinehurst Harness track one morning last month, I was careful to stand in a place that would afford the best background. Armed with my telephoto lens and a monopod for good measure, I just waited for the action to come to me.
It also helps to include something recognizable in the foreground. In this case, the Pinehurst Fair Barn.
For me, the background is a backdrop to place my subject on. I look for clean backgrounds, preferably something easily recognizable like the Pinehurst Fair Barn, then wait for the subject to enter the scene and Click, Click, Click.
Then, sometimes you get lucky. Or was it preparation and planning? In this case, a little of both. In this photo, Mr. Homer Hochstetler, from nearby Jackson Springs, NC, takes Rocket around the Pinehurst Harness Track for early morning exercise.