Archive for the ‘ Texture ’ 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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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.

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.

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.

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