Posts Tagged ‘ river ’

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.

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.

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.

Sunset over Minden Riverwalk Park

Next up for an analysis is a Canadian winter sunset by (first-time featured) contact Pavel Muller.

Sunset over Minden Riverwalk Park, by Pavel M

This image has many of the classic aesthetic qualities of a good sunset going for it, but it is the well-balanced composition that holds it together. The combination of soft light and silhouette is powerful in any situation, but this scene does lack the tones-of-red colouration of the sky that attracts many.

Instead, it is the way the light falls on the river’s surface, picking out the soft mist that floats above it that creates the magic here. That bright fire on the water provides the stunning contrast with the silhouetted trees: ingredients for drama. This lighting provides a powerful leading line that also acts as an anchor in the lower right corner, balancing the anchoring line into the left corner (as formed by the edge of the bank’s shadow on the river): together, a dominant curve that demands we follow it, with a soft – sensual – path across the smooth water in between.

All of this draws us to the intersection of the double golden ratios in the lower-left: the intersection of the horizon line and the horizontal position of the afternoon sun. And the sun itself sits at the heard of another dominant feature: a triangle of trees. All these elements between them create depth that brings the scene alive.

A perfect calm.

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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