Archive for September, 2011

The sun gives to all an aura…

Falling back into my pattern of being a little late posting, here is another from Claire McFarlane (missnoma).

The sun gives to all an aura...

Colourful sunsets are simple enough… just about anyone can capture a half-decent one, with fascinating tones. Lacing it with a strong composition so that the image stands out even when the colours are not considered is somewhat harder. This is a good example of a simple trick that works in this way: the use of a reflective foreground to provide a leading line through the silhouetted portion of the scene. Of course, the softness of the tones do help.

The placement of the sun on the right, in combination with the left-attached lead-in gives a sense of direction across the scene; the eye passes through the fine detail of trees before reaching the heart of brightness. This one simple addition to the basic sunset colours makes for a far more dynamic scene.

Now, this image is not – in my view – perfectly cropped. The arrangement is such that the right-most tip of the foreground water reached to the golden ratio, rather than the sun straddling that line, and the horizon has not been placed on the vertical golden ratio (though it is in the vicinity).

Quite enthralling, especially with the cloud texture offsetting the silhouette.



It feels like a long time since I have posted a piece of excellent composition from Aftab Uzzaman (aftab.), so here goes…


Less, or so they say, is more. This image is a perfect example of that. Mostly empty, tonally gradated space dominates; softness with a philosophical tilt. Only a small area remains in focus, minimal texture hinting at the delicate complexity of the unfocused areas. But those few details are enough to provide a sense of direction, leading into the dreamy distance.

A question perfectly asked.


Hot on the heels of his first appearance in this blog, David Gumbrell (Auribins) earns a second mention.


This image is many things: a powerful abstract, a captivating pattern, and a study of the erodible nature of stone (and, if we anthropomorphise the message, ourselves). The simple three-by-three pattern is naturally balanced; the inclusion of the black frame dominantly setting the dividers off from the thirds of the image, thereby making it more comfortable to view; the inside edges of the middle holes being exactly on the image’s golden ratios.

The choice of a section of grill that has three stones “missing” sets up a nice negative-space triangle, which allows the eye to focus on the remaining textures without being overloaded by detail.

A very effective find.


There was no way I could pass up this image from Jenny Downing (especially as it seems to be taking a leaf out of my own theme-book).


When one learns the trick, these brushed-water abstracts become rather straightforward to pull off. And the ever-evolving form means that no two will ever be the same. This example has many things going for it: a two-part diagonal streaking, diptych of motion, one of which also provides a solid corner anchor; sharp lighting on the most prominent explosion of streaked foam; and the most calming blue tones permeating much of the scene.

Simple, yet dramatic.


It’s a first time analysed here for David Gumbrell (Auribins).


So often, good composition is about seeing something from just the right angle, getting the elements to line up in the way that makes the image flow. A step to one side or the other and it all falls apart. Here, we have a perfect example of that: a heavy mechanical piece shot in such a way as to come across as abstract, the physical depth somewhat lost through the limited context, and the slightly out of focus masking hole.

Given the regularity of the pattern, the horizontally centred position is perfect. The vertical being off-centre likewise works with the symmetries at play. The lighting is very nicely emphasised by the light layer of grease on the nearer cogs and the hole.

A very effective bit of work that manages to make the mechanical interesting.


Keeping with the recent theme of abstraction, we have this intriguing piece from Ananya Rubayat (dream_maze).


While the principle behind creating this image is simple enough – dangle a string of lights and shake it – the resultant effect is nothing short of a captivating composition. Of immediate interest is the extreme contrast, with deep blacks and streaks of blow-out white. This forces the eye to concentrate on the subject of those lines, and the chaotic dance they represent. That these forms are largely embedded within a triangular area – actually very distorted, but still triangular composition – gives the eye a pleasant form to roam within, being drawn vertically across the horizontal strings of light.

While this pattern of lights would make a captivating abstract on its own, the presence of a person – the photographer herself – to give the scene context makes it into a story. It adds interest. This is very subtly done, with only hints of form – dark on dark; leaving the focus where it belongs, on the lights, while providing just enough information for us to build up the larger picture for ourselves. The horizontal placement of these elements – lights and face – are excellent advanced golden ratio work. The face is on the double golden ratio, and the centre of the lights on the primary between that and the edge of the frame. Overall, edge to lights to face to edge, teh ratios are 1.618 : 1 : 1, creating very harmonious balance while emphasising prominence.

A fun concept, well executed.

our conversation remains etched in my brain

It is time for more sensual abstraction for Kate Mellersh.

our conversation remains etched in my brain

As has become a common theme of late in these posts, it is the simplicity of the composition here that makes it so effective. The subject, being sand, provides only a patterned texture to enthral us. That is enough. There is a sense of motion in the ridges and crevices carved in the beach; we can feel the water as it flows. And so we follow the directed chaos through the picture, the perspective clearly drawing us from bottom to top through the abstraction of flow.

It is texture and lighting together that make this work as it does, plus the angle it is shot from.

A powerful abstract – simple, and without distractions.

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