A place to think about composition in photography

Colour contrast

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

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Red Poppies in Suffolk

I like poppies, the scarlet is a perfect contrast to a green landscape.  This caught my attention when out walking on holiday in Suffolk, UK.

I could have stepped a few metres to the right or left and captured many more poppies but you can have too much of a good thing.  Those of you with a composition mindset will notice the poppies are also placed almost on an intersecting third, but not quite. Again you can have too much of a good thing.

I wanted the contrast to work on a few levels, colour being just one, focus is another.  The intimacy of the poppies gradually makes you aware of the open space of the field behind.  Notice the horizon, it is right at the top of the image, a thin sliver of darkness against the diminishing blandness of the wheat field.  This implies the space behind the foreground is large but not infinite.

Look closer and you’ll notice upward slanting diagonals in the wheat field contrast with the slight downward slant of the horizon. In Northern and Western cultures our visual language interprets a left to right slope as up, optimistic, reassuring.  The bright colour against the wheat field is happy, positive, enthusiastic.

Red Poppies

Red Poppies in wheat field in Suffolk

I felt good taking this picture and still feel good looking at it now.

 


Le Tour – Kettlewell

The Tour de France comes to Yorkshire in July 2014 and the locals along the route have been decorating all the villages with a variety of yellow flags, jerseys and bikes.

The locals have a long tradition of set dressing their villages, many have scarecrow festivals, now they have a scarecrow on a bike

I saw this straw man just over the bridge into the delightful village of Kettlewell.  A friend of mine is lucky enough to live here.

Straw man on a bike at Kettlewell for the Tour de France

Straw man on a bike at Kettlewell for the Tour de France

The composition is fairly straightforward, the dominant colour is Yellow which advances and contrasts against the grey clouds in the background.  The main lead-in is the road, also look for two minor lead-ins that echo one another, the white dashed road markings on the left and the yellow flags offering a similar punctuation on the right.

Oh and this was taken on my iPhone.

 


Cray Barn

Another Easter shot taken in the Yorkshire Dales at  Cray near Buckden

Cray Barn, Yorkshire Dales

Cray Barn, Yorkshire Dales

Laying down to get this shot with a wide angle lens meant that I could get the foreground detail in focus while still showing the context of the area.

If you look carefully you’ll see the barn in the distance is slightly out of focus, this is deliberate.  The contrast in focus makes the foreground seem sharper.

The deep blue sky was enhanced slightly with a polarising filter when I took the shot.  An added advantage was that the polariser took out some of the reflections from the grass making the green leaves a more intense colour.

A lovely walk on a lovely day and a nice picture to go with it.

My wife, Jayne, liked it so much she made my Easter card from this picture.


Easter Tulips

I went to my parent’s house the other day. Mum had been given a bunch of tulips that she had put in a vase by the window.

We are a close family and I’m one of the lucky ones that still has Mum and Dad around and in good health (long may that continue)

As I put on my coat in the hall I happened to glance round at the tulips.  The sun shining through the window brought out the intensity of the colours in both the flowers and the garden beyond.

Easter Tulips

Easter Tulips

The hall window has patterned glass and the leaf pattern seemed to harmonise with the green of the sunlit lawn beyond.

I’m happy with this picture, thanks Mum and Dad.  By the way, this is another one taken on my iPhone.  No photoshop treatment apart from slight cropping.

 


Fountains of Light

This time the title refers to Fountains Abbey, a world heritage site in Yorkshire in the UK. The 12th century abbey ruins are lit by coloured lights for Christmas and the opportunity to take photographs is irresistible.

Here are some of the pictures that caught my eye, I hope you like them.

Stone vaulted chamber at Fountains Abbey lit by coloured lights

Stone vaulted chamber at Fountains Abbey

If you’ve not been, I can recommend this place.  It has a tranquil beauty that is enhanced at night.  Here is another view of the same place.  I’m deliberately using the rule of 3 in this picture.

Vaulted columns at Fountains Abbey

Vaulted columns at Fountains Abbey

Let me know what you think, I’d be fascinated by your comments.


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.