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  1. #1

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    Composition

    I have wondered if it wouldn't be helpful to some to post images depicting different aspects of composition. This could be the different types of balance or the different ways that perspective can be utilized. For those who post images, it would be nice if you would describe the compositional considerations that your image incorporates and what you are attempting to illustrate through your image.

    I will begin this thread with an image that illustrates asymetrical balance.

    For those that may not be aware, asymetrical balance utilizes a planned or constructed imbalance wherein a single seemingly disconnected aspect of the composition balances the remainder.

  2. #2

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    Re: Composition

    I, for one, think it would be helpful Don. I'm not eloquent at all when describing composition, nor one who thinks in eloquent terms about it when I'm doing it. So, I would like to read and learn from the thoughts and examples others may post.

  3. #3

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    Re: Composition

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Hawley View Post
    I, for one, think it would be helpful Don. I'm not eloquent at all when describing composition, nor one who thinks in eloquent terms about it when I'm doing it. So, I would like to read and learn from the thoughts and examples others may post.

    Alex, That is would be O.K...perhaps it might be helpful if you posted one of your fine images and some of us might comment on what we observe compositionally.

  4. #4

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    Re: Composition

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller View Post
    Alex, That is would be O.K...perhaps it might be helpful if you posted one of your fine images and some of us might comment on what we observe compositionally.
    OK, here goes. This is a recent one and its a Polaroid Type 52 print so no cropping or enlarging.

    First constraint was physical, as it usually is for me. I set up across the road from the elevator. The road was banked up very high in this area so if I moved back any further, I would lose my lens elevation and be standing on a very steep bank. But, I thought the frame was filled nicely from this distance.

    Second: I moved to the left of the main structure centerline. This put the roof peak of the scale house on the right edge. My thought was that another angled line drooping away from the main structure, would add unwanted complexity. I like the geometric arrangement better in this view than if I had been on center with the Gano logo. Also, the logo is full face, prominent, and undisturbed. That's important because the Gano name and logo is the sole reason this building still exists.

    Third: Moving left of center placed the left edge of the main structure roof right on the edge of the frame. Now the whole frame width is bounded by the two roof lines, one left, and one right.

    Fourth: This view also allowed some slight depth on the left faces of the building, so it doesn't come off as being entirely "flat". I thought it added depth and body.

    That's it. Nothing very intellectual. How'd I do?

  5. #5
    3d Visual Effects artist
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    Re: Composition

    This one was tricky (for me) to do a 4x10 vertical composition. I managed to get layers (from bottom to top) of Rock, Plants, Hill, Sky in fairly even 4ths (instead of the usual 3rds)

    Daniel Buck - 3d VFX artist
    3d work: DanielBuck.net
    photography: 404Photography.net - BuckshotsBlog.com

  6. #6

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    Re: Composition

    Daniel, A really fine image. Do you see anything more in the composition of your image that brings it all together? What engages one's eye and what is the effect?

  7. #7

    Re: Composition

    Both excellent photos. Daniel your photo is more in my style of landscape photography, so I'll comment on yours.

    Firstly, you get points for a vertical 4X10 landscape! Wow...The compositional qualities that hit me in this excellent photograph would have to do with the repetition of tonal values and textures.

    The triangular shape, texture and tonal values of the foreground rocks echo those of the cliff. The moss in the water echoes the sky. The dark band of water, I think, is very strong and it splits the composition but echoes the tonal values of the background tree branches so I don't get stuck in this horizontal band.

    The grass gets the viewer's eye going again, as it shares the tonal values of the tree branches in the distance as well as their texture: the top of the branches and the tops of the blades of grass. The grasses also are light at their base and there the grasses tie in the lighter values of the foreground rocks, cliff and sky. Scanning up from their base, the breeze in the grass tops gives off energy(similar to the sky) and gets my eye moving again.

    I think the repetition of tones and textures in this composition helps the viewer to see something tall, thin and beautiful.

  8. #8

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    Re: Composition

    This is an example of a second type of balance. This type is named symetrical balance and as one would expect it is symetrical in that if one drew a line down the center of the image it would be very nearly the same on both sides of the line.

    In symetrical balance the line could be either vertical or horizontal.

  9. #9

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    Re: Composition

    My thoughts on the image that Daniel posted are as follows. This image shows several of the considerations that one could evaluate in making an image of this type. Particularly apparent are the considerations involved with perspective. The first thing that I notice is that the stones in the lower left corner of the image give us the beginning of the classic Ansel Adams near/far relationship.

    The triangular shape of the near shore directs our eyes into the image. The darkness of the water beyond the apex of the triangular shape noted provides a needed and beneficial break of tonality. This is then further interrupted by the vertical lines of the reeds. These transitions in either tonal value, texture, or form continue throughout the rest of the image and these transitions provide the needed visual clues to impart a sense of depth in the image. We can observe that each of these transitions are overlapping other aspects and in order for that to be true we know that they were nearer and further from the point of observation. All in all, a very nice and effectively composed image.

  10. #10

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    Re: Composition

    I've recently discovered a book my wife has had for years entitled A Painter's Guide to Design and Composition by Margot Schulske. It can be utterly invaluable to the photographer as well as the painter who is a constructor of images. What I've done with it for the time being is to look back on the photographs I've made to see what I've done, or not done, or done correctly, or not correctly (and I mean that with the full force of its implied orthodoxy...I am not the trained professional artist she is, and have to start with the discipline somewhere.). I recommend it to the many of us who have not attended art school, but who would be far better photographers if we paid as much attention to the acquired wisdom of painters as we perhaps do to the technology of photography.
    ----------------------------------------------------

    www.johnvossphotography.blogspot.com

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