Archive for the ‘ Arc ’ Category

Nature’s “A” Frame

Continuing with the work of one of the newest-featured photographers on this site, whose work is constantly of high compositional quality, we have another of Adrian‘s sunrises…

Natures "A" Frame

While the colours captured here might be enough to enthral the casual viewer, it is the compositional quality that really gives this image its power. Yes, the primary subject – the arc of the title, not the sun – is generally centred on the horizontal (it and the sun are both fractionally off, which helps give the scene a natural feel), but it is on the vertical that the scene really plays out.

The sun sits, as is to be expected, perfectly upon the lower primary golden ratio, with the shoreline directly beneath it on the lower double. The top of the arc comes in at a further subdivision of that double’s opposite (the double’s outer-most tertiary?)

The other interesting feature has already been mentioned: the slight offset of the centre line on the image. In itself, this is nothing fancy. But if we consider the tightening of the shore’s silhouette from right to left, it is only natural that the image’s balance point have been pushed slightly off kilter.

Simple, strong and peaceful

Bow Glacier Falls

It has been a few months since I last featured any of Keith Rajala‘s work, but that does not mean there has been any let-up in his quality.

Bow Glacier Falls

Reminiscent in some ways of Adams’ mountain shots – simple, compelling, with very carefully managed tonal ranges to bring out the finer details – this shot provides a sense of majesty, but controlled enough not to be overbearing.

As is de rigueur for a scene like this, it is perfectly proportioned: the foreground interest anchors in both lower corners, drawing the eye up against the water’s flow to the lower left intersection of primary golden ratios, where the detail in the tonal range keeps the eye endlessly occupied. Every part of the centre of the image includes a detail of form or texture – or nature’s rugged beauty – that could be studied indefinitely. And then the eye finally finds the falls themselves: hanging from the intersection of the right primary and upper tertiary golden ratios; a sweeping arc that tumbles lazily down the cliffs until to sweeps into the foreground path to complete a stunning S-curve.

Without doubt, a masterpiece of mountain scenery.

Winters mists

Again, Adrian produces a stunning composition around the fowl and waterways east of London…

Winters mists

While one might be immediately drawn to the soft tones of this image, and the way the morning mist emulates a shallow depth of field by obscuring the horizon, it is a combination of compositional elements that is the real strength behind it. The more obvious of these is the dominant arc of the river – a leading line into the distance, through the tiny focal point of the swan silhouetted against the reflected sun.

The real power, however, stems from a far more mundane part of the image: the two clumps of foreground roughness, which fulfils a triple role of foreground interest, balanced anchoring elements, and framing elements that point in towards the bird as they offset the negative space of the pastel sky.

Peaceful, yet empowered.

Cascade Ponds

Next up, a powerfully alive landscape shot from Canadian Wendy Erlendson

One might think it easy to shoot a strongly composed landscape. That perception is nothing if not deluded. While a landscape may not be in motion, while it may simply be a case of getting into the right position, landscapes have many parts that all need to line up just right. It takes time to get from where you are to where you need to be; if even you know how the scene will evolve as you reposition yourself. And in the time it takes to get the static elements into place, the clouds and light can change enough that the shot no longer works.

In order to pull together a scene that makes people feel that they want to step into it, one needs to use a range of compositional elements. Clearly, having majestic elements helps, but in itself it is not enough.

Here, Wendy has started with the majesty of the mountain, the summit positioned on a golden ratio, and played on the reflection in the rippled waters. The duplicate ridge line runs parallel to the foreground shore, even going so far as to echo its unevenness. That foreground interest element, even though no more than a patch of grass, provides a further anchoring element as it nestles so tightly into the lower left corner. And finally, running back along the shoreline, we arc around the end of the water, and reach an actual as well as metaphorical bridge between fore- and middle-grounds. We arrive in a refined scene of pleasant calm – a small filed edged with trees – amidst all this majesty.

The additional processing here to emphasise the texture of the clouds does not so much enhance the composition as reinforce the original majesty of the setting.

Powerfully peaceful.

Busy bee bie

While I have been busy of late, I have been keeping an eye open for shots worthy of featuring, and they will show up here over the coming weeks. First in the queue is one from a long-time Flickr friend, Nina Skutton who has been hiding for a while on a new account…

Busy bee bie

The first thing that jumps out about this image is not so much the actual subject as the way the foreground dominates the scene: a pattern of out-of-focus yellow and black – a level of sunflower detail one does not see every day – which provides a series of meshed leading lines, from left to right across the image, where we then discover the bee clinging to a carpet-like rim of feasting-ground: black-and-yellow on yellow-and-black.

It is this positioning on the edge of the arc, cropped in a way that – combined with the depth of field – gives the impression that the sunflower really is a great ball of seething yellow flame.

That the whole falls of not to more of the same yellow tones, but to a world as much green and white and it is defined by backlit petals only serves to hold the eye on the edge of the golden world, negative space pushing back.

A very creative shot: unusual and unique. I want this on my wall.

Harbor wall abstraction

Now, Hennie Schaper continues with his discovery of his new home of Kampen… There is much to be uncovered.

Harbor wall abstraction

Hennie’s abstractions of shape are becoming ever more refined, compositionally. Here, as well as the obvious combination of lines and curves, we have the interplay of light and shadow, and some excellent use of (secondary and tertiary) golden ratios.

The combination of forms – the metal and its cast shadow – create a naturally appealing shape of a tick: sharp, straight line matched against an ever so gentle curve. Everything about the shape comes from the interplay of bright light and shadow. Light and dark. That it is set on a very simple, low-palette pattern of interlaced water lines and run-off streaking only serves to make the abstraction more appealing. Keeping the touch of green in where the two parts of the form meet was genius: so easy and almost instinctive to mask through desaturation, that almost-overlooked touch of colour emphasises the intersection point.

The golden ratio work here is quite complex. There are two vertical points of interest: the top and bottom points where the shadow meets the beam that casts it. The perfection? That these are perfectly positioned on the secondary and tertiary golden ratios. Horizontally, it is the lower of these points that is perfectly on the primary golden ratio. In themselves, getting these elements lined up in that way is impressive, but not too difficult. To combine it with the straight line anchoring the tick so firmly in the upper left corner, so it leads in from the blown-out part of the wall: that is a sign of dedication to precision.

A perfect balance of forms and contrasts, sitting on all the right intersections.

platter

We return once more to the tabletop work of Jenny Downing, and a little alien abstraction…

platter

As with many if the images in this vein that Jenny has produced, the key to its beauty lies in a combination of factors: there is the abstraction of a simple object through a tight crop; the use of reflection to show the reality of the subject where the direct line of sight manages to remain out of focus; and strong lighting to pick out the most attractive elements of curvature.

In itself, the dominant aspects of harsh-contrast curves, abstracted as they are, would be enough to make this shot special. But add in the expert placement of the platter, ever so lightly toughing upper and left primary golden ratios, thereby creating a balance between subject and enclosing negative space, and we have pure harmony. Also, the contrast between the light lower half and the dark upper creates a subtle diptych within this soothing scene that flows generally horizontally.

Another fine example of considered placements.

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