Archive for the ‘ Contrast ’ Category

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.

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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.

Fabulous.

fenced in

First featured only four posts ago, Adrian gets another mention…

fenced in

This is an interesting shot, in the way the interplay between the two subjects works.

On the one hand, we have a centred sun, a ball of luminescence that actually has texture to it, which is surrounded by bordering elements: the negative space outside the silhouetted fence. In the lower left side, the fence additionally provides framing in the form of the curved wire.

The second subject is the fence itself, and the finer details of the coarse vegetation that accompanies it – black-lined details against a very simple background. The part where it interacts most directly with the background, despite being but tracery besides the more solid forms of posts and barbed wire, is fascinating. Because of this double-subject, the fence falls into the rarely seen compositional category of subject as border.

It is impressive that something as easily overlooked as a rough section of fence could hold such visual fascination.

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.

Something Noir

Next up in this return to posting, a stunning piece of model lighting from my friend Andy Poupart. Providing the form, the seductive Julie.

It’s quite obvious from the outset that this image breaks compositional rules. Not only is Julie positioned between the primary and secondary golden rations on the right side, her body language is providing a definite sense of movement in that same direction – through and out of the frame. And yet, the pose works powerfully in combination with the lighting and black and white processing.

In part, this is to do with the smooth yet powerful contrast across her features. Also, it is aided by the rough texture of the wall which acts as counterpoint to Julie’s soft form. That the lighting is clearly brighter out-of-frame to the right also helps provide validation for the sense of direction – dark an wild as she is, she cannot resist the light.

But the strongest element that allows the breaking of the rules to work is the arm that anchors the whole in the bottom left corner. It provides not only the anchor, but also a leading line and solid diagonal, as well as being one side of the most prominent triangle in the composition.

Another clear masterpiece.

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.

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