Happy Sunday! I usurped my usual Exploring with a Camera wrap up post on Friday to celebrate my 1000th blog post (don’t miss the giveaway!), so I’ll finish up this month’s exploration of the Process of Elimination today with another example sequence from my recent trip to England.
First let’s look at the final image, and then let’s talk about how I got there.
It all started as I climbed a steep cobblestone street in Hebden Bridge, and noticed this lonely pink flower. I was attracted to the bright color and the contrast it provided against the brown of the town and green of the foliage. I took 19 frames of this scene in all, playing with the different elements. I won’t share all 19, but I’ll share enough for you to get the idea of what was going on in my head. All of the photos except the final image are straight out of camera, so ignore the exposure and focus on composition.
The background, even with a shallow depth of field, is too busy and doesn’t give the contrast I was seeking. I changed my point of view to capture the flower against the brick and slate of the building. I have four images with various compositions similar to #2.
While this image has an uncluttered background (good elimination!) the images seemed flat to me, so at this point I stepped back to get the wider scene I was seeing. There was so much great texture in the hand rails and cobblestones as well. I took four more images with various horizontal compositions, similar to #3.
I liked the diagonal lines and the textures, but the original reason I was attracted to this scene, the flower, seems to get lost. I tried again with a vertical orientation, which puts more focus on the pot and flower. Closer!
From there, I explored including or removing the different elements that remained in the frame. The hand rail posts and the tree were the main elements I was excluding/including, through both the focal length of my lens (zoom) and the angle of view. #5 is one with more of the tree included, while #6 is one with less.
After 10 vertical images, playing with placement of the tree and handrails relative to the pot, I was ready to move on. This was an extremely steep cobblestone road and it was starting to rain, I was worried about slipping on my way back down.
The best image of the sequence was #5 above, and here it is again with the final crop and edit.
What I like about this is the frame created by the tree in the upper left, the slate roof at top, and the handrails at left and right. These elements frame the pot and bring your eye to it, where you (hopefully) see the lonely pink flower pop out in contrast with the surrounding colors and textures.
If I were able to go back in time, I would try a couple of things that might further help the “framing” of the pot. First, I would see if I could get a little more separation between the leaves of the tree and the pot, by moving myself to the left. I would have to balance that with the space between the pot and the right handrail getting smaller, but there appears to be ample room. Second, I would see if I could get a little more separation between the leaves of the tree relative to the slate of the roof, by getting down a little lower. I think the slate of the roof would make a better framing element to contrast with the brick and frame the pot.
Since I can’t go back and try again, I am happy with the end result. Between the exploration I did with composition in the field and the further review and adjustments at home, I have an image I like that successfully conveys what caught my eye. I’ve also learned a couple of things from the exercise, around paying more attention to the framing elements relative to each other, which will stay with me the next time I go out and photograph.
So, what have you learned in this exploration of the Process of Elimination? Can you see how this kind of intention and attention to detail can help your photos? Share a link to your exploration or let me know what you’ve learned in the comments below.