Archive for the ‘ Silhouette ’ Category

Koto dur ar koto dur

Back again, having waited far too long with this next image (and what remains in the to-post queue), with another stunningly serene image from my friend Aftab Uzzaman.

Koto dur ar koto dur

Unlike many of the images have posted here over the last year and a half, this one does not include any particularly strong golden ratios. There is no strong diagonal. The suggestion of anchoring is tenuous at best. Indeed, there is very little in this image; it is the emptiness – the near-infinite expanse of negative space, given meaning through the subtle gradient from blues to orange, and back – that makes for the key draw here. The image’s detail, mostly silhouetted, is packed into the thinnest slice of the scene. We can drift through and beyond, with nary a distracted though.

Of course, for those in need of a little more compositional integrity, there is always the tightened S-curve in the river’s flow as it disappears into the distance.

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


Time to catch up with posting again, so here is a stunning piece of work from my Flickr friend Ethan, whose Burmese travels have produced a plethora of beautiful compositions.


There are three compositional techniques used within this shot, turning something serenely simple into a powerhouse of interest. Most obvious is the pairing of silhouette (the man in his boat) and layers (which is really a subtle form of silhouettes, where light is diffused in between the masking elements. The majesty of the landscape is given definition through the layers of hills that descend to the water’s edge, one so close that it is nearly as dark as the primary subject. And so the subject merges into the natural scenery; the man-made in harmony with its surroundings.

The third attribute is the golden ratios. These are not quite as obvious as one might expect, but fully appropriate to the scene: the boat between (but not quite reaching) primary and secondary horizontal, and sitting on the secondary vertical (yes, the boat, rather than the horizon). This interestingly puts two of the background peaks on the vertical primaries.

That the boat is between primary and secondary golden ration, moving out of the scene, breaks the rule that the subject should be entering the frame, but it also adds a sense of story; that this is a timeless life, repeated father to son for countless generations.

Wonderfully 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.


Volleyball at Dusk

After a very long wait, here’s a rather active image from my Flickr friend Allison.

OK, let’s admire the gradient colours of the sky for a moment. It’s not like I can draw your attention away from that. Now, let’s move on to the composition that takes advantage of that ever-so-vibrant lighting…

It is really quite impressive to see that a black dot against a coloured sky – a complete absence of anything to look at – can so completely give the impression of motion and action; of tension and expectation. While the nature of silhouettes provides form without disruption, the combination of anti-detail used here ends up telling a superior story.

Mostly, this has to do with the interaction of a triplet – the players – and a triangle – between players and ball. A double dynamic using very similar elements. That the whole scene occupies only a central band of the image, bounded top and bottom by so different forms of negative space, serves only to make obvious the openness of the playing environment, lending the scene gravitas.

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.

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