A place to think about composition in photography

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Cragside

One of my attempts at getting an abstract painterly effect with photography.  This image is pretty much as shot with a bit of cropping and adjustment to the colour.

attempt at painterly photograph

I made this shot at the National Trust Cragside property.  One of the Trust volunteers was curious to know why I was taking a photograph of some wobbly glass. I found that switch off the autofocus helped get the effect you see here.

I also met a fellow photographer there.  Aimee Wilson, I’d recommend a visit to her site www.imnotdisordered.co.uk

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Sand Fence

Someone placed this shell on one of the sand fence posts on a beach in Norfolk, UK.

The texture of the posts caught my eye and I used a wide aperture to put the background out of focus.

You’ll also note that there is no horizon line in this landscape photograph.


three sand fence posts

I was told a long time ago that odd numbers, particularly things in threes and fives work well in compositions.  I have no proof of this, it is a purely subjective statement but I’d be intersted to know what you think.  Please do leave a comment if you know.

Kettlewell Hiking

I like pushing the scale of people in the landscape to the limit.

How small can figures be before we stop noticing them?

Paraglider at Littondale

This weekend I was out walking in the Yorkshire Dales and met a group of members from the Dales Hang Gliding and Paragliding club at Windbank, Littondale Here is one of the pictures I took.

The main compositional device is one of vertical tension emphasised by placing the horizon low and using portrait format.

I thought you’d like to see the original image, so I have attached a jpeg that shows how the picture looked before the post production processing.

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You can see the original is less dramatic than the final,
(Canon 6D with an EF24-105mm lens at 40mm, with polariser and lens hood, ISO 200 f8.0 1/640s)

I used Affinity Photo to improve the image.  I thought you’d like to know how the transformation was done.

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The original RAW image was rather dark because the camera light sensor was exposing for a bright sky. Affinity photo allowed me to make a copy of the file with an exposure setting one stop higher. This is one of the advantages of using RAW files.  I saved this image and then used the High Dynamic Range (HDR) tool to merge the dark photo with the lighter one.  This essentially retained the best bits of both, improving the tonal range of the image.

A final touch was a minor crop to the left and right sides of the picture removed distracting figures.  The other figures were deliberately left in to provide scale and interest.

HDR is a useful tool.  I tend to use it sparingly because when I look at others’ work I see the HDR treatment first, then take in the composition of the picture second.

I’m learning when to use the technique so it enhances rather than distracts from the effect I want to create.

 

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Lifeboat House, Norfolk

If you’ve ever been disappointed with an overcast cloudy sky, it is worth noting that the calm even light is very good for details in a landscape.

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Blue Swirl

The National Trust is a wonderful part of British life.  Even better, they allow photography in their stately homes and precious houses.  Thank you.IMG_6387_7x5

Ghost at the Tate Modern

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Translucent glass at night makes for some attention grabbing photographs.  This one was taken with my iPhone outside the Tate Modern in London.  I’d been in to get my fix of the Rothko paintings, I find them deeply calming and never tire of them.  When I came out it was dark and as I walked down the side of the building this window caught my eye.  People occasionally walked past on the other side. There was something other worldly about the way the figures moved on the other side of the frosted glass.  As for the composition, I pondered whether to remove the vertical lines, and dark square shape at the bottom right.  I decided to leave them in as they connect and frame the main elements of the picture.  Namely the warm light, the figure the light rectangle in the background and dark black square in the foreground.  There is a slightly sinister touch of mystery that I find appealing about this picture.  Hope you like it too.

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