A place to think about composition in photography

Urban landscape

Blue and White

A bit of winter sunshine, taken in Greece.

Looking Up

Looking Up

I was drawn to the simplicity of the stark geometric shapes and reduced colour palette.

This is a block of flats, painted white to reflect the merciless heat of the sun, with a blue sun screen canopy on the top floor.

I thought about photoshopping the bushes that stick out from each floor, but they break up the brutality of the architecture and add interest.  These distractions from the strong composition add interest that makes the viewer look longer.

The thought processes can flash through one’s mind – “I wonder what they are,  Ah, herb bushes.  Someone must look after them.  A hint of humanity.  I wonder what it’s like to live there…”

Composition is more than pure geometry, it gets engaging when our curiosity is linked to people, even in small ways.


Tree Shadows

We were staying with some friends in London.  I like London a lot.  I first came here when I was ten, on a school trip and my love for this city has never left me.  I am always impressed by the quiet spaces  and secret places that London preserves to insulate us from the noise and rush of the city.

One sunny morning I spent some time in quiet contemplation on the balcony.  I was looking at the London skyline and watching the jets glide overhead, wondering where all those people were coming from and going to.  Then I looked down.

I didn’t have my ‘proper’ camera to hand, so out came my trusty iPhone again.  A quick dust of the lens and I had this picture.

tree shadows

tree shadows

Threes are often quoted as a pleasing number for composing pictures.  I do have an iconoclastic streak when it comes to rules, but in this case I’ll go along with that.  Especially when it helps to be playful with the language.

This works for me.  I hope it works for you too.


Waves

A self portrait this time.  Taken in Sheffield.  Getting closer to objective reality.

Self portrait with waves

Waves


Friends

I’m exploring different ways of looking at people.

Two friends walking together

Friends

I like the contrast of the sharp graphic lines with the softer edges of the figures.


Composing with the Golden Section

This picture has two main compositional elements, see if you agree with me:

galaxy2

Galaxy 2

There is the lead-in of the bright points of light from the left and the centre of the spectrum hub is placed on a vertical golden section.

I had considered cropping the image to make the centre of the hub sit on the intersection of vertical and horizontal thirds but in this case it did not work as well so I left it like this which for me is far more satisfying


Composing without the Golden Section (2)

This photograph does not follow many of the conventional rules.  It is asymmetric and not composed with the golden section.

Galaxy1

Galaxy 1

It works for me though. The colours make this picture and the starburst highlights make it look like a picture that NASA’s hubble telescope might have taken.

It is more earthly, but quite what is difficult to tell.  this underlying mystery holds the attention after the bright colours have done their work.


Composing without the Golden Section

I liked this picture for its simple colour contrast.

I think it works well in a square format and it is not deliberately composed using the golden section.

Yellow Bin Black Fence IMG_3086

Yellow Bin Black Fence IMG_3086

There is a little subtle detail in the green shape behind the fence which shows through as two green stripes.  These do sit very close to a vertical third but the yellow bin dominates the composition.  This contrasts with the black fence and the shadows cast by the railings in this photograph.