Archive for the ‘ Balance ’ 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

Washer Woman

Another shot from my Flickr contact Ethan‘s trip through Burma – it’s all in the little details…

Washer Woman

There are three parts to this image, though most people probably only notice the first – the most prominent – which grabs the viewer’s attention. That primary element is the subject: the washer woman, in stark silhouette, but distinct enough in form that there is no doubt what she is doing, or of her role in society. She is the balance that holds all else together: yin to society’s yang, which is reflected in the wrapping curvature of her body shape and the complementary form that is not silhouetted.

The placement of this balancing symbol perfectly on the intersection of lower primary and left-side secondary golden ratios is a clear element of mathematical balance. Though the image might still work otherwise, the impact would be nowhere near as evocative.

The second element is the secondary scene: the land beyond the lake, with its faint layering of trees: a cascade of softer shadow-silhouettes as one climbs above the secondary golden ratio that is the water’s edge, towards the far distance of the sky.

And lastly, the emptiness of one of the most powerful framing elements of all: negative space. The expanse of water fills at least half the image, and yet it is not there, but for the texture that gives it scale.

Undeniably powerful.

3 Mallard Ducks

In what is sure to become a regular featuring within these postings, recently added contact Adrian shows off more stunning composition and general photographic appeal.

3 Mallard Ducks

The basics of this image are very straightforward: we have a silhouetted foreground subject which provides a subtle diagonal over a soft and dreamy scene, lit by a newly risen sun placed on the primary golden ratio intersection. Already, it is textbook – contrast of solidity countering the softness of the tones employed.

And then the whole is taken up a notch, beyond the serene, by the inclusion of the titular ducks! The triplet, balances across the right-side secondary golden ratio (for added value, the balance between the single lead bird and the trailing two is naturally much closer to the lead, and that is exactly where the GR is), moving into the scene. A counterpoint within the negative space of that half of the image which manages to flip the composition completely, making the extras into the key subject and the foreground silhouette into framing.


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.

Essence Of Venice..

I was recently introduced to the work of Stockholm-based photographer Peter Levi, whose work tends towards the black and white – simply because it lets the spirit of the scene shine though.

This image is more than just a solid composition: it is an inspirational technique; an approach to capturing the essence of a setting that I have hot seen before, but which is perfectly suited to the Venetian mystique. San Giorgio Maggiore sits in sharp focus, in the distance, the horizon almost on the centre line, surrounded by the gaping expanse of negative space that is a cloudy sky and the silvery waters of the Laguna Veneta. The monastery’s façade and bell tower are placed perfectly on primary and secondary golden ratios, balanced by the lower profile of the isle extending right-wards.

But these elements are only a part of the scene. The real magic is in the foreground, blurred by both depth of field, and the motion of a the waterways during a 79 second exposure. The triplet of gondolas, ghosted in their gentle sway, truly does capture the spirit of this sinking city…

A masterpiece of imaginative technique enhancing composition.

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.


We return now to Canadian photographer Sandy Phimester, and his film-based work with local models.


While I could look at the two images here independently, and comment on the strength of each’s composition, it is the combination into a diptych that has real power. With its convergent leading lines and more pronounced contrast between subject and setting, the right-side image is quicker to draw one’s attention. The female form, is side-on silhouette, is undeniably captivating. But Catherine’s pose provides the element of direction to redirect one’s attention, back to the left, and the tighter portrait.

Therein, while the contrast is between elements within the model’s appearance; a full range of tone giving depth to her form.

The balance between the two images is, itself, masterful composition. Contrasting contrasts. Both black and white, yet so very different. Both capturing the essence of Catherine’s beauty.

There is more to the composition of an image than what is within it. There is the world it occupies…

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