Archive for the ‘ Patterns ’ Category


Returning after a short break (at least from being featured here), we have more from compositional star Jenny Downing.


While the concept of a still life comprising a pair of empty wine glasses is nothing new, this has to be one of the best results I have seen in the area. As can be expected from Jenny, the placement of the subjects plays on golden ratios: one glass straddling the left horizontal, while the right divider sits perfectly atwixt the glazen subjects. Vertically, the primary golden ratios provide the containment for the main body of the containers, the lower being positioned at the top of the refracted patterns which perch atop the glass’ stems.

From a subject positional perspective, there is not much else to say. The image, however, has more going for it. Predominantly, this is in the form of the Chiaroscuro tone, offset by the subtler shades to be seen within the window’s light. That, negative space, balanced against the rim-lights of plates providing foreground interest, frames the subject very well, drawing the eye in to contemplate the distortion of pattern that decorates the subjects.

Perhaps the best use one can put wine glasses to…


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.

Inside Dandelions

It’s another outing for my friend Lorraine Anderson, with a look at the detail – and beauty – within.

Inside Dandelions

There are some things around us we take for granted. We see them as they appear at the scale with which we interact with them, but forget to step back to embrace the bigger picture, or have not the patience to peer into the heart of their structure. Here, Lorraine has done the latter, exploring the subtlest detail within a dandelion flower. She has taken dew dops and expanded them to the side of marbles, or crystal balls.

The immediate compositional strength of this image comes, quite obviously, from the shallow depth of field that is a hallmark of macro imagery. Also, there is the clear diagonal – corner to corner – marked out by the dandelion feathers. If that were all, it would be merely a nice shot. There are, however, more elements that come into play here: the leading lines of the stalks, beaded with droplets of morning freshness, that anchor the diagonal to the left side of the image; the repetition of a mysterious image captured within the dozens of crystal balls; the delicate nature of this so often dismissed natural beauty.

Stunning. Soothing.

Into the heart

Now, Hennie Schaper gets creative in the floral department.

Into the heart

Yes, I know. Flower macro. Been there, done that. It’s not like… well, maybe it is a little like… A flower macros shot that actually stands out, that adds something more to the pot than just prettiness of form, is rarer than one might imagine, given the obscene number of such shots taken. This one takes a different view of things floral.

The tight crop is the key to this image’s success, removing the “distraction” of the outer petal shape. We go beyond the floral, into an alien world of distorted space and organic patterns: a descent into some unknown, from which some unknowable life form emerges. There is a sense of direction, as we are sucked into this funnel, and the sinuous creatures come to meet us. We are lost going over that edge.

And, of course, those details of life are placed where they should be, nicely about the golden ratio intersection within this passage between worlds.

Yes, floral macros could indeed become addictive.


It’s been a little while since my Flickr friend Ethan (cormend) last featured herein, but his Burmese adventure continues to provide some spectacular shots.

Aquaculture (V)

Something of a classic – shot many times by others – this is a powerful example of simplicity. The scene is well known: a life aboard a small boat, working the waters to survive. But not every example of this scene balances the elements so well. Here, there is little more than a boat spanning the width of the frame, sitting on the upper golden ratio line with a sea of patterned negative space as a lead-in, but it is that very simplicity that makes it work. It is the placement of the fisherman on the secondary golden ratio, facing out of the scene, that strengthens that sense of emptiness, giving the impression that he is all alone in an infinitely large world. (Yes, I know, there are the other ships on the horizon, but they are more mirage than real.)

The casting of the scene into silhouette also serves to make it more impersonal: we, the viewers, may be able to observe and empathise, but we are not a part of the scene; we cannot be a part of his world.

There is one additional detail in this shot that is a very effective extra: the triangular curve of reflected sunlight off the nearest wavelets – an anchor that suggests the distance may not be quite as uncrossable as the rest of the scene implies.

Serene yet strong.

The hype

Finally, I get to add my friend Samia (neelgolapi) to the list of those featured in this blog; and with the blue/pink her nickname implies.

The hype

For a subject that is mostly “flat”, the controlled depth of field here is impressive. But that is a feature coming from deeper consideration: the immediate compositional brilliance lies in the placement of the elements, and the echoes in the folds. Horizontally, the bud is on the double golden ratio. Its vertical position may appear ad hoc, but it actually sits perfectly on the 45° diagonal out of the bottom left corner.

The folds are something special. The play of light and dark creates leading lines, which contain as would concentric rings. Here, though, they are misshapen, adding triangular structures to the pattern. The one enclosed by the next, creates a flow that draws the eye as inexorably as the contrast between the pink and the blue. That the folds are repeated inside the bud only adds to the draw.


end of sand

Picking up a month on, we have another, very different, work from Florian Sprenger (mav_at).

The rendering of this image in black and white allows the compositional elements to stand out; it provides an interplay of artistic form without the distraction of colour. Most obvious is the texture in the near sands, the fingerprint of the first dune: foreground interest, patterns and leading lines all rolled into one. It has the added benefit that the leading lines are arrayed in two sets: one that follows their direction, and the other across the grain of the pattern.

The scope of the foreground interest is quite impressive in itself, reaching as it does almost to the upper left intersection of primary golden ratios; nearly half the image’s surface taken up with this pure abstraction. The extension of the primary dune to the right picks up another technique hinted at in the shape of the foreground: triangles. This is repeated in the texture of the mountains beyond the sands.

This image is evidence, if more were really needed, that one does not need to dominate a scene with the subject to give it power. Indeed, the emptiness of half the image can convey far more than the larger subject in the distance.

A powerful study in tone and form.

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