Below the Ruskin Dam

Next up, we have another black and white image from excellent landscape photographer, Keith Rajala (maclobste).

Below the Ruskin Dam

This image confused me for a while, when I measured it up for compositional placement. The key elements did not appear to be sitting where I expected, when I checked them for golden ratios. The horizon line is on a third rather than the stronger golden ratio. the sun sits inside the primary horizontal ratio line, and vertically between the secondary and tertiary. My sense of compositional propriety struggled to understand… It looks so right.

The answer is that there are a couple of golden ratios in use – where the river’s edge hits the lower border is a primary horizontal and the dominant tree hangs across the left-side secondary. But… well, sometimes, golden ratios do not matter. Sometimes, other compositional elements can come into play that make an image complete anyway.

In this instance, it is the curve of the river – a subtle S – which anchors in the bottom right corner and sweeps us across the scene and in, that holds the whole together. The darker body of the opposite trees provides an area of interest – an anchoring mass – around which the subtler tones of the image can flow. That bulk provides an echo for the dominant tree, despite the lack of similarity between the parts.

Pure, melodious softness.

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