Posts Tagged ‘ Keith Rajala ’

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.



Next up, a little Italian flavour from Keith Rajala‘s archives – the town of Montalcino.


While one could think that the processing of this image is what makes its composition – the textured sepia that gives it the feeling of an old-style scenic engraving – it is the arrangement of the elements that makes it. The processing simply adds to a mood captured in this timeless place. The dominant sky, with the roiling cloudhead, provides a backdrop to keep the interest of anyone who fails to find fascination within the body subject; that there are parallels between the shapes of these clouds and the village’s skyline only help incorporate them into the main scene.

Within the real subject area, we find a dominant leading line from near the lower right corner to the upper left golden ratio (mid-point of the church’s roofline). As this line is countered by the rise of the hill from the other side, we have an open triangle leading the eye up the the top of the village. An interesting aside on the triangle theme is the presence of a second one in the tone of the right-side roofline, brought about by perspective.

And to cap things off, we also have the road in the foreground, providing an anchoring balance point, and the implication – through the arrangement of the nearer roofs on that side, of an S-curve.

So easily mistakable for an engraving from a time long past.

Kanaka Creek OxBow

It is time now for another outing from one of the best river photographers I know: Keith Rajala (maclobster).

Kanaka Creek OxBow

Of immediate interest in this image is the shape of the river, extending into the foreground and away in two arms which draw the eye ever into the depths of the distance. An excellent choice of location from which to shoot that allows this feature to be captured. But what makes this instance of this simple-enough approach to capturing an oxbow unique is that the form of the waterway is mirrored in the cloud, drawing the eye in to the same central place. Everything draws us in to the distant points of the river.

Adding to the already powerful composition, we have the horizon sitting perfectly on a golden ratio, and the highest treetops (left side) equally reaching up just far enough to touch the upper golden ratio. The log (bottom right) provides foreground interest to the whole.

There is an additional element here that Keith does exceedingly well: the matting of the image to make it “presentable,” matching the border lines to the tone of the subject perfectly to make the whole pop.

A scene of powerful tranquillity.

Napili Bay Surf

Next up, a dreamy sunset scene from the regularly featured Keith Rajala (maclobster)

Napili Bay Surf

It is difficult to miss the dominant compositional theme of this image: the diagonal that leads from the bottom right into the beautiful colours of the top left. The scene is almost a diptych, divided along that axis, with the soft brown of sand on one side and the turbulent blue/white of windswept waves on the other.

This is by no means the only element worthy of mention. There is also the detailed texture within the sand – a woven pattern that catches the late sunlight to provide anchoring foreground interest. And let us not forget the fabulous palette of the sky, fired red on one side while the other is a soft blue. Too, we have a wonderfully subtle fan of spray breaking over the nearest rocks – I suspect seen even larger, this would be sufficiently detailed to steal the viewer’s attention.

Perfectly peaceful.

Edith Cavell

Next, somewhat late relative to when it was originally posted, another excellent slice of wilderness from Keith Rajala (maclobster).

Edith Cavell

This image contains all of the building blocks that make up a great landscape image (even when it is shot in portrait). Starting, as we must, in the foreground, there is an element of interest; in this case a cairn. This structure serves a double purpose: to give the viewer something that provides a sense of scale – a conceptual starting point from which to explore the depths; and, consequently, as a visual anchor, giving meaning to what is beyond.

Beyond the foreground is the depth. Not a lot of the image needs to be used for this, but the arrangement of its elements through a clear sense of perspective takes the eye from the foreground to the majesty of the main subject area. In this instance, perspective is provided by the floating ice, and there is the added bonus of beautiful tones.

The completion of a large scenic shot such as this comes in the form of the actual subject, which must in itself be dominant and impressive… it’s scale having been established by the foreground and depth. Here, the huge mountain, so large it towers straight up, provides that sense of awe.

Additionally, here, we have the tongue of a glacier reaching in on the right side, aligned directly with the cairn. This bonus diagonal, with the extended rim of the ice pack and the foreground rocks, provides a further S-curve to hold everything together.

Dramatic power, with glamorous colour.

Direction of Flow

Next, a re-shoot from Keith Rajala (maclobster); an image I discovered he had taken before but had escaped my notice. This version, however, is far superior.

Direction of Flow

It is hard to decide which aspect of this image jumps out at me the most in the fist instance. Is it the glorious, lively colours? Or am I drawn by the velvety S-curve of streaked, foaming water? Both are elements that demand attention. Though it is mostly concrete, the wet tones, with subtle low-lights of moss, make this image come alive.

The position of the divider line, between the foreground wall and the steps, into the bottom right corner anchors the composition solidly. The water cascading down a great distance – yet barely making it out of that corner – gives us a great pattern to follow; not a single line but evolutionary curves. Then, we have the recursion of steps: repetition to create a leading line at cross purposes to the individual step edges. We are drawn in and through on the diagonal to the top left corner.

great motion in a static setting; great life in a harsh setting.

Below the Ruskin Dam

Next up, we have another black and white image from excellent landscape photographer, Keith Rajala (maclobste).

Below the Ruskin Dam

This image confused me for a while, when I measured it up for compositional placement. The key elements did not appear to be sitting where I expected, when I checked them for golden ratios. The horizon line is on a third rather than the stronger golden ratio. the sun sits inside the primary horizontal ratio line, and vertically between the secondary and tertiary. My sense of compositional propriety struggled to understand… It looks so right.

The answer is that there are a couple of golden ratios in use – where the river’s edge hits the lower border is a primary horizontal and the dominant tree hangs across the left-side secondary. But… well, sometimes, golden ratios do not matter. Sometimes, other compositional elements can come into play that make an image complete anyway.

In this instance, it is the curve of the river – a subtle S – which anchors in the bottom right corner and sweeps us across the scene and in, that holds the whole together. The darker body of the opposite trees provides an area of interest – an anchoring mass – around which the subtler tones of the image can flow. That bulk provides an echo for the dominant tree, despite the lack of similarity between the parts.

Pure, melodious softness.

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