Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Lonely Composition

Lately I've been braver in applying various image effects to my photographs in order to make them more interesting, which has also infused them with different stories to tell versus their original nonchalant versions. Sepia tones and black and white conversions focus attention on subjects in images where color was distracting or simply didn't add any value to the photo. In addition, such versions can age a scene or add a gritty feel, especially when combined with other effects like pinhole and noise. In fact, I'm particularly becoming quite fond of noise to make it appear as if the shot was taken with a fast film and to remove that digital crispness. For my next outing I think I'll deliberately set my ISO to 1600 on some shots to see what that yields. So much for having a camera that handles high sensitivity levels well.

Image effects aside, I wanted to add a little about unusual compositions. Breaking rules can often be difficult as it both puts us beyond our comfy zone and the results don't always live up to our expectations, which can also put us off of trying again. I find that most of my photos adhere well to the rule of thirds and golden mean (or spiral) and there's nothing really wrong with that, as such photos generally end up being pleasing to the eye. But as a fairly keen photographer, I'd like to start getting more of those, "wow, that's different!" pics versus, "yea that's nice" ones. The picture of the excavator below is starting to get there in my opinion. Rather than worrying about putting the subject where the rules dictate, I focused on the story I wanted to tell with the image. Here's a monster of a machine that has been tired out by the amount work it has been doing all by itself. Sure you're tough, but a little help is always nice.

The original photo was very different and what you're seeing here is a substantial crop. In fact, the machine was centered towards the lower part of the scene, there was plenty of sky present, a few buildings were in the distance off to the right, and a little more dirt filled the lower portion. But by squeezing the excavator to the bottom right-hand corner and tightening in on the shot, the dirt mover actually appeared to shrink and become less significant. Why? Well without the buildings, power lines, and other visual cues, it's now more difficult to relate sizes of objects; plus there's a bit of compression from the zoom lens which exaggerates the dimensions of the rocks in the foreground and the dirt hill to the left.

Anyway, the idea I've hopefully presented, especially if you'd like to improve your composition skills, is to sometimes try to fit the photo to the story you're trying to tell versus trying to fit the story to a set a rules.

1 comment:

  1. Great shots. They definitely convey a sense of loneliness. And I know what you mean about wanting a "wow" picture versus a "nice" one.


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