Happy Saturday! I’ll be away from the blog for most of this week, unplugging for a new perspective. Photo-Heart Connection for July will open on Wednesday, August 1. Please join me then!
It’s amazing how something can be so simple, yet at the same time so elusive. We go around, looking for inspiration, but it’s everywhere. Truly everywhere, when we open our eyes. Inspiration can be as simple as vines on wood.
I don’t know why, but I always love the lines and curves of climbing ivy vines. There is something so beautiful about the way they reach out and grow and grow. Add a textured wall and some soft overcast light to give depth of highlight and shadow in those wonderful green leaves, and I’m in heaven with my camera.
So beautiful to me, yet so simple. Proving yet again, we often make things harder than they need to be.
It’s been an interesting week so far, studying all of these diagonal lines in our photographs! Exploring with a Camera: Dynamic Diagonals has got me thinking and observing how our eye moves in the frame.
How does your eye move through this image? The diagonals are integral to the image, yet they are not part of the main subject, the city sky line. The view through the fence creates a feeling of separation, but the crazy diagonals of the fence give more energy and life. It doesn’t feel like a stiff separation to me. What’s your response?
I’ve also been pondering the whole idea of the eye primarily “left to right” through the frame. I have seen many situations in the linked exploration where my eye does not move this way. I think the subject itself, along with our own perceptions and experiences, have a strong impact on how our eye moves through the frame. “We always read photographs left to right” is too much of a generalization.
For example, in this image my eye moves from the upper left to the lower right. All of the branches are along this diagonal, with varying angles. It feels as if I am following gravity this way, so it is a comfortable flow. Gravity is pulling the branches toward the ground; my eye follows.
I have noticed in images oriented vertically I tend to follow the diagonal top-to-bottom more than left-to-right. That is how I read the staircase image in my original post, top-to-bottom. Many others, however, followed the staircase UP, bottom-to-top. That is in direct opposition to both the premise that we will read a photograph left-to-right, or even my new idea of top-to-bottom in vertical photos.
As another example, I’ve noticed converging lines along a path or a road have a stronger impact on how I follow a diagonal than the expected “left-to-right” reading. My eye is going to want to follow the path to its conclusion, regardless of the orientation within the frame. In this case, my personal experience of walking down a path or road outweighs the other factors that might influence how my eye moves through the diagonal.
Without a doubt, I’m seeing that diagonals are a dynamic and powerful force in our photographs. How we read them, however, may have more to do with our personal experiences and perceptions than any compositional generalizations.
What are you seeing so far? Share with us today.
[Author’s Note: Through the summer months Exploring with a Camera will be “Second Edition” postings of previous explorations with some new images. You will find a new link up at the end of this post to share your photos, and your photos are also welcome in the Flickr pool for the opportunity to be featured here on the blog. I hope that you will join in!]
Have you thought about the flower’s point of view before? What is the perspective, near to the ground, reaching for the sun? The answer is found in these photographs. I had a marvelous time, playing around with my camera from a flower’s point of view. I got a couple of amazing shots, like the one above and the one below. They are delightful because they are so unplanned, they are the results of experimentation and play. And digital photography is a WONDERFUL medium for this, because there is no cost to just play around!
There is creative power in exploration and play. I’m thinking to post some “Exploring with a Camera” ideas like this from time to time, let me know if you want to participate and I’ll create a Flickr group to share photos so that we can create a little community of explorers!
So here are some tips on how to explore from a flower’s point of view:
1. Hold the camera near the ground, pointing up toward the flower. You are not looking through the viewfinder, at the screen, anything. Depending on your camera/lens minimum focus requirements you will have to play with distance to hold the camera away from the flower.
2. Shoot, review, shoot, review. Move the camera, the angle. After a while you’ll get a better hang of what you are aiming for remotely.
3. If you’re not getting the focus you want (say, on the flower), switch to a manual focus point. For the second image above, I set the focus point for top middle point, then took a bunch of pics moving the camera around a bit to get the one flower in focus that I wanted.
4. Play around with aperture. Higher aperture will give you a better opportunity to get what you want in focus. Lower aperture will really help your flowers pop, but focus will be difficult.
During the whole process, delight in the randomness of the images. Laugh at the ones that came out totally awkward. Swoon over the ones you think that come out amazing. Enjoy the freedom that comes out from letting go of planning, composing, deciding with every shot.
Since writing the original post, I’ve come to enjoy using this technique on a regular basis. The lead-in image of this post is from the Scottish Highlands, near Loch Ness. I wouldn’t have chosen the framing or focus of this image with my eyes on the viewfinder, but I like it anyway! Here are a couple of other more shots I’ve captured, using the same principles to see things from a different point of view.
Yesterday I started to look through my photos from the Portland Photowalk, and here is one of my early favorites, of a beautifully curly fence. I still need to finish reviewing photos and write up a post on the Photowalk, it was so much fun!
I am feeling so behind this week… even though I got back home a week ago, we went to Venice for the weekend and had house guests here for most of the week. There are piles everywhere in my life – on my desk, on my bedroom floor (suitcase is still not unpacked!), on my “to do” list, in my email inbox, in my google reader… everywhere. I don’t like this feeling, to be honest. This weekend I hope to get things under control. Anyone have suggestions for me?