A place to think about composition in photography

Archive for February, 2012

Looking at a Landscape

Our perception is tuned to recognise patterns for priority attention.  Probably a successful survival adaptation.

Take a look at this picture:

Walkers in the Yorkshire Dales

Walkers at Buckden

Did you notice the people in the picture?  Just about everyone will.

  • The people are the starting point of interest in this landscape.
  • They command our attention.
  • Then we notice the rest of the landscape
  • Then return to the people again.

The people occupy only 0.5% of the picture area. (yes, I measured it)

This means that we place 99.5% of the picture as a lower priority.

We have an automatic editing ability that allows us to focus our attention on a view and make rapid decisions about it.

When we think we are seeing a landscape, are we really looking?  David Hockney has thought deeply about this

So What?…. well we can make assumptions and miss things when we see a view.

Looking is much harder to do and takes time.

Making images that connect with others means that they must be different.   One source of this difference is cultivating the ability to look.  I’m trying harder to look, are you?


Tree House

Trees in the winter can be stark things rather devoid of colour.  This is a different look at a tree.

Tree House

Tree House

Wintry blue skies can be intense, especially if they are contrasted with warmer colours.

I liked the pattern of lichens on the ancient roof tiles, they are suggestive of foliage when combined with the shadow of the tree.

Fox Joy

It is always dodgy ground assuming animals have human emotions, however when I saw this fox running across a field from a farm in the south downs I’m sure it had a look of pure joy on its face.

Fox Running

Run Fox

My impression at the time, and not altered by reflection, was that here is an animal that is enjoying life to the full.