Archive for the ‘ Leading lines ’ Category

curves

It’s time now for a little more black and white sand from Florian Sprenger.

curves

From a compositional perspective, this image is very simple. Simplicity, however, does not mean it is any less impactful.

The dominant feature is quite obviously the S-curve, that is the entire subject of the shot. The eye cannot help but be drawn in along its line, from the slightly out of focus foreground that anchors in the lower left corner, up-across, back and around, passing from one curve to the next and to the third – the differentiation between them only real in the visual sense, not the compositional.

The stark contrast also plays into the scene, and the impact of the curves – the success of the S as an abstracted subject – is a direct result of the tight crop.

A ride one cannot get off without looking away.

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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.

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.

Beautiful Morning

And I finally manage to catch up on the back-log with a post from another first-time-featured photographer, Adrian.

Beautiful Morning

Clearly, the dominant compositional aspect of this image is the use of negative space – the V-shaped prominence of cloud that creates a foil to direct the eye downwards, the to triplet of subtle, silhouetted subjects. That cloud reflects, duplicating the negative space within the river and thereby providing texture and foreground interest. The whole scene as we drift up the river, past the swans, is a gentle S-curve: barely perceptible to the inquisitive eye, but undeniable in the flow it induces in how one sees this colourful scene.

Also of interest is the second – more important but not quite so blatant – triangle, as formed by the line of swans and the new-risen sun. While the sun itself is very nearly centred, the slight off-centre placement allows it to act as a supporting element rather than the dominant focal point of the whole scene.

Another element, very powerful but so rarely employed, is the layers of this image: not just those resulting from cascade of hazed silhouetted, but also the horizontal stacking of cloud and water.

You might ask why the third swan, the one trailing, is more prominent in this scene. The answer is double: firstly, there is the obvious emphasis provided by its wake (which the other two lack); also, it sits on the intersection of horizontal primary golden ration, and vertical secondary (the horizon-line, beneath the buildings, sits on the primary).

A powerful composition, combined with very attractive colours. No wonder it was short-listed.

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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