Composition - The Spirit of the Photo
Composition is the spirit of the photo. Composition contributes to the work of art that begins from inspiration. Inspiration begins when you disconnect together with the interior struggles of everyday life and free the spirit to experience the universe around you. Actually being in the moment and experiencing nature links you with all around you.
Comprehension of your surroundings without interference of outside ideas clears the mind, although it might seem like meditation and sharpening your senses. Where you didn't see them before pictures appear. The components start to art and align emerges.
Joseph Cornell in his novel 'Listening to Nature How to Deepen Your Awareness of Nature' had this exercise. Walk into a place which you'd like to photograph. Instead of setting up the camera and shooting. Sit down. Wait. Relax. Be still and sense the second. Very gently become conscious of nature. The Native Americans called this 'quiet hunting'. Nature will speak to you personally, but you have to be quiet. Nature speaks softly. Nature will reveal herself to you, in the event you are patient. And incredible pictures will appear.
There are lots of times that I've entered the woods with camera in hand and not found anything that I wanted to photograph. It may be that I wasn't prepared or nature didn't wish to show herself. That day perhaps she didn't feel photogenic. Other days, scenes appear as if by magic. If you can't find anything to shoot on any specified day so don't be disappointed. Utilize that time to scout the place for future opportunities and revel in the fact that you have a chance to be outside.
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Take this as an opportunity to plan for future shots. At these times believe, what if the light was coming from another way. Coming back in the early morning or late afternoon may produce a better image. The landscape changes. Perhaps shooting with the leaf in brilliant colours, in the fall, or winter with a fresh layer of snow would create the photo that you would like.
Do not run yourself when seeking that image. Time with nature is a pleasure all by its own self. The sheer joy of being one with the outdoors is worth the experience in case you don't find anything to shoot.
For the photo suggestion of today, lets talk a bit about landscape photography hints and techniques. This is going to be a review of things we've discussed before, but a lot of us haven't actually tried using them. Place as a target for this particular weekend to get out there and use these landscape photography tips and techniques to create something you can be proud of!
Light - with a portrait, we've got total control. We can adjust the light levels, we can place our light where we want, we can put modifiers in front of it - like umbrellas, scrims, diffusion material, gobos and so on... We may do pretty much anything we should get the image our mind has conjured up!
With landscape and cityscape photography, we're pretty much stuck with what nature supplies us. There is not much we can do.
Or is there? With some pre planning, we can practically ensure a stunning shot!
In an outside, landscape setting, there's not much we can do to modify or fix the light, but we can become hyper aware of what light does at various times of day - and in various weather conditions.
First and foremost to achieve success as a landscape or cityscape photographer - you have to truly have a urge to reduce sleep.
What am I talking about? Glad you asked! In the event you'd like to begin capturing those spectacular landscape photographs with all the colours that are gorgeous, there is actually only two times of day to shoot - at dusk and at dawn.
However, for a photographer, morning and dusk are a little more expanded than you may think. About twenty minutes before the sun first peeks over the horizon in the morning there's a 'false' daybreak. You will be given those intense cobalt blue colors you see in competition winners, but haven't been able to see in nature by this time of day!
As the sun gets nearer and closer to the horizon, the colors will start to get pinker. The colours you see at daybreak AREN'T the exact same as the colours you see at sunset. (They are more red and orange.)
Thus, pull yourself out of bed a couple hours before daybreak so that you will have the time to grab a cup of coffee (so you are conscious enough to focus) and make your way to your predetermined place, get set up and start shooting during the false dawn.
See what I mean about needing an urge to reduce sleep? Here's the great thing, the majority of your pals and camera club contest will be snoring away while you 'get the chance!'
Incidentally, there's a sunset that is bogus about 20 minutes after the sun goes down. You're not spending that time watching TV are you?
In addition to the fantastic colors, you also get great light angles!
Think about the last photo you saw of a body builder... Where was the light? I'd venture to guess that it was to the side. Actually about 90 degrees to the camera - version axis.
This peeking side light causes heavy shadowing around the muscles making them look larger and truly more defined. The light causes some specular highlights also - which makes the difference between shadow and highlight even more striking.
Now think of your cityscape or your landscape as a version that is muscle bound. The shadows brought on by the glancing sunlight will help outline and highlight the shapes.
Next appearance for an intriguing scene! Use foreground components to bring the eye into the photo. Use the rule of thirds, leading lines, diagonals and other compositional techniques to bring the observer's eye to the 'star' of your photo. (Be sure you have a well defined 'star!')
Finally, throw in several clouds to reflect the colors in the sun and add some visual interest to the sky and you'll be well on your approach to winning photo competitions!
Do all of this at daybreak - then do a picture of exactly the same scene at midday. Finally, do it again at sunset and compare all your results. I think you'll rapidly start to recognize just how important all the photo tips, techniques and rules we have been discussing actually are!
Make a note of these landscape photography tips and techniques, and make it a goal to USE THEM this weekend! Check back tomorrow for more...