Saturday, August 11, 2012

What do you think?

I thought I might try something a little different over the next few weeks.  What I thought I'd try to do is write down what it is I see as I frame the shot and why I take the shot the way I do.  It's not because I think my photographs are particularly good, far from it!!  However, a number of people have asked me what I see that inspires me to take the photograph as well as why I take the shots the way that I do.  Perhaps explaining what it is I look for and how I decide to set up the camera may give you a better idea of what not to do as well as what to do?  I'm hopeful also that if this is seen as a good idea I may be able to solicit feedback from you to help me to take better shots.  Let's see.  Perhaps we could try this  post as a sample of what might happen with future posts?
Pictorial Composition, E Gordon Barber, Fountain Press
Many years ago, in fact rather more than I care to mention, a close relative of mine gave me a book called Pictorial Composition.  Mine is the 1946 2nd Edition of this little pocket book and it has been a treasure ever since it was presented to me.  I can't say that I agree with everything in the book, but it made me think and ask questions.  It helped me to observe, rather than just look.

Back in 1946, most photographic work was done in monochrome.  Monochrome was a medium with which I loved to work and must admit to still thoroughly enjoying this medium to this day.  Being able to picture an image as a monochrome shot focusses your eyes on structure and form; vital components of a strong image.  Where the various elements of an image are placed as well as how they interact with each other can either make or break the shot or transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

So let me start off this series (if indeed that ever happens) with some photographs of daffodils.  For the first image I was really inspired by the light on the leaves and that almost misty look to things.  I was looking at the leaves, noticing highlights as the sunlight hit water droplets on leaves and how the leaf colours changed when the light was reflected or passed through the leaf.  I looked at scenes with the light in front of me, and also with the light behind me.  Looking into the sun emphasized the misty appearance of the light and then I spotted a daffodil.  The way the light passed through its petals was just gorgeous, and then there were the highlights in the background.  Using a tripod I managed to get into a position where I could include all the elements that I'd been enjoying on my walk.  Highlights from water droplets on leaves, somewhat misty appearance to the scene and nice play of light on some of the leaves.  I used an 85mm lens at f2.8 as I wanted the background soft and those highlights to be as round as I could get them.  Exposure was measured for the flower as I really wanted detail in the petals.  f2.8 let me get most of the petals in focus.
Lone Daffodil in the early evening light.  Hall Lee Bank Park, Westhoughton, England.
Shot two is quite different.  I rather like triangles as shapes and working along the diagonal with shots.  I suppose this came as a direst result of reading the book I mentioned earlier.  I'm always looking for shapes and angles with the way objects in the fram interact.  I can't say I succeed in my endeavours, but that's all part of the fun and what makes taking photographs a challenge.  This set of daffodils, with one fallen gave me a diagonal of intertest and also provided me with a triangle.  Again a wide aperture was selected as I saw the bloom of the foremost daffodil as the main point of interest in the shot.  f2.8 again with focus and exposure taken for the foremost bloom.  I could have used a longer focal length and concentrated on the bloom itself.  For me, this shot reminds me that the daffodils are in a group, under my silver birch trees and that when it rains they get knocked about yet still manage to look rather pretty.

Daffodils in my front yard.  Auckland New Zealand.
The last shot was inspired by the overwhelming number of daffodils planted close together.  It was this sea of blooms with these three bloom facing towards me that inspired me.  I tried to place the blooms of interest off to the side of the image and leave a significant portion of the fram to be filled with this sea of blooms, but out of focus.  I uses a wide aperture (f2.8) to blur most of the other blooms.
So many daffodils!!  Harlow Carr Gardens, Harrogate, England.
So there you go.  Interesting?  Boring?  Worth continuing?  Perhaps let me know what you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment