A place to think about composition in photography

Archive for December, 2010

Composing with limited palette and colours

The limited colours made this picture attractive to me.  Just the white of the snow and the shadows are blue light reflected from a clear winter sky.



snow lines

The photograph has an abstract quality, it is very difficult to know what part of the landscape this is. The composition is very simple too.  the repeating horizontal lines are the first thing the viewer notices and this gives the sense of calm.

The viewer then notices the detail within the horizontal elements, there are lots of complex shapes within this seemingly simple picture.  Looking closer you will see lots of snowflakes.  This is not the snow as it fell but is caused by partial melting and recrystallisation of snow over several days in very cold, dry conditions.




Creating a sense of unease with Rhythm

This  picture is a different kind of landscape photograph, verging on the industrial.

The unsettling nature of the image is partly due to the subject.  Electricity pylons are intimidating structures in the own right.  The composition adds to the feeling of unease.

Pylons in the Cotswolds © Adrian Nixon

Pylons in the Cotswolds

The reason I chose this particular composition was to take advantage of the repeating rhythm of the structures.  The vanishing point is kept central and within the frame.  This emphasises the origin of the pylons giving an impression of indefatigable progress.  As the viewer looks at the photograph this vanishing point commands the attention leading into the unfathomable distance.  The low horizon emphasises the sky which was deliberately chosen to be dramatic.

Then you  notice the cables stretching towards you beyond the edge of the frame and you, the viewer unconsciously become aware that there must be more pylons to the left and right behind you.  This is what creates the unease, the almost subliminal impression that there is something out of your field of view but nonetheless perceived.

Composing with Colour Harmony

I noticed these beehives at Hartwell House and felt an instant attraction.

The gentle shades of colour of the hives compliment the rich texture of the background of the brick wall.

This was a day when I set out not really expecting to capture a good picture, it was overcast, a bit dull and raining.  These lighting conditions suit this subject perfectly bringing out the textures and letting the colours do the work.



Some people recommend using an odd number of elements in any composition.  I would challenge that view.  The even number of elements (4 hives) seems to work quite well for me, what do you as the viewer think, please leave a comment to tell me.