The most active of shapes use diagonal lines – the triangle is an eye-catching building block for your picture. Its three sides also introduce odd numbers into the photographic vocabulary. As well as triangular-shaped subjects, think about the structure of your photograph – are there three elements you could join together with imaginary lines to form a triangle?
Four sided shapes such as squares and rectangles mirror the four sides of the picture frame – there’s no conflict there, so the viewing experience isn’t as absorbing. However, they can be used alongside diagonals and triangles to produce a more exciting image.
~Digital Camera Magazine: Master Composition
Every image needs strong underlying compositional order so that it grabs the eye from a hundred feet away…If it can’t grab the eye from a distance, it will never be an interesting photo, regardless of how many fine details it might have. Details don’t matter if there’s no story behind it.~Ken Rockwell
1. Great B&W images tend to be simple, with their main components isolated and easy to identify.
2. Great B&W images tend to have depth and dimension – usually accomplished by creating visual layers that extend from the foreground to the background and all points in between.
3. Great B&W images rely on shape and/or form to make up the image. Hue and color distractions are gone. Only the shapes or forms made up by objects remain and can be arranged in such a manner that they draw the eye into or out of the photograph at the appropriate time and place.
4. Great B&W images tend to exploit contrast. The difference between the whitest white and the blackest black is the highest contrast point in the picture and this can be used to draw the viewer’s eye. Good contrast can help add depth and dimension as well.
5. Great B&W images rely on tone and texture to take the place of color and hue. This can be accomplished in many ways. Texture for instance can be enhanced with side lighting. Sometimes high ISOs are used to emulate film grain for more texture.
6. Great B&W images often rely on patterns to draw the eye into the subject of the photo. It helps form shapes and designate important elements in any B&W scene.
7. Great B&W images tend to minimize the background and accentuate the foreground. While this is not always true, if you look at the bulk of the work of some of the great old-time B&W masters, you’ll find this technique used in many of their images, particularly portraits.
~Scott Bourne from his article Seven Elements That Help Make A Great Black & White Photograph
Wishing you all a refreshing weekend!
Here’s a sample collection of boat images that I have used in my previous posts (some of them from my earliest postings – more than 560 so far in the last nine months). Thank you all for the visit, views, likes and follows during the boat week. I hope you enjoyed the images. Till next week when we embark on another picture series. Thanks!
I photograph things which I want to look at a little longer.~Gunnie Moberg
There is something about capturing water movement using long exposure. Ten, 15, 20 or 30-second exposure times will result in smooth, silky effects to the motion of water. We are always awed and amazed at such creative power of the camera. As everyone keen on photography knows, one needs a tripod and a steady base to achieve such effect. These three pictures, taken while I was on a rocking unsteady boat, were taken using the other creative extreme feature of the camera – fast shutter speeds enough to freeze movement. You can see water particles suspended in mid-air, a split second splash of time stopped from its proverbial march to eternity. Nothing mind-blowing really. Any camera or beginner can do this. But what strikes us, with the aid of technology, is the ability to capture a slice of time, to hold on to an extreme instance, a tick of infinity right there with the press of our fingertip. Photography endows us with this gift and capacity. The father of photojournalism Henri Cartier-Bresson expresses it this way:
“Photography is, for me, a spontaneous impulse coming from an ever attentive eye which captures the moment and its eternity.”
Piers and ports are not the most picturesque of subjects and locations. These places are usually a tangle of cargo, industrial materials and whatever can be transported on large ships. Then there are people. Unlike airports which are built as symbols of architectural beauty, ports are just that – transport hubs that play important roles in a country’s trade and commerce. We photographers, however, don’t always go for the picturesque, we go for the “photographable” whether it is a thing of beauty or not. There will always be a photo-reporter in us, capturing the essence and mood of a place. We like to document reality – the “how it is” as oppose to “how it should be” – simply because there are times we do not have a choice on our subject and situation. In other words, what we see is what we get. A wise photographer will visualize and compose his shot then seize the scene, be it a visually inspiring airport or a description-defying port.
As in our tips last week on photographing stained glass windows, we tackled on zooming out or backing farther away in order to capture the whole piece. On the other hand, we are advised to zoom in on parts and areas to emphasize details. In my experiences in photographing boats I also follow that process – get it wide to capture the subject whole then zoom in on areas to get some particulars. That way I get as much perspectives and variety in my shots. Details can be a confusing mishmash of objects, colors, lines, shapes and forms such as the picture of a tanker ship below, or it can be a clean image showing the finer points of a fisherman’s gear like the picture above. Why are details important? As in anything else, details comprise the big picture. Let me share a quote from sociologist Howard S. Becker:
“Every part of the photographic image carries some information that contributes to its total statement; the viewer’s responsibility is to see, in the most literal way, everything that is there and respond to it. To put it another way, the statement the image makes – not just what it show you, but the mood, moral evaluation and casual connections it suggest – is built up from those details.”
However much a man might love beautiful scenery, his love for it would be greatly enhanced if he looked at it with the eye of an artist, and knew why it was beautiful. A new world is open to him who has learnt to distinguish and feel the effect of the beautiful and subtle harmonies that nature presents in all her varied aspects. Men usually see little of what is before their eyes unless they are trained to use them in a special manner.~Henry Peach Robinson
Boat photography is a bit trickier than shooting on land, but becomes more natural with practice…Framing and tracking a subject through the lens while on a boat takes some practice, as even the slightest waves can make the job very difficult, especially at higher magnifications, so start on calm water with shorter lenses, allowing a bit extra room around your subject, and progress to rougher water and longer lenses, with more tightly framed compositions. In general, you will always want to photograph from smaller boats when there is little wind, as the wind will not only kick up spray and make the water choppy, but it will move your boat around, making it difficult to photograph.
On larger boats, give yourself some time to feel how the boat moves, and see where spray is coming from, before beginning to photograph. On some big boats, you can lose your balance pretty easily while others are very smooth, so you want to know that before you take out your gear. Once you get a feel for the boat, shoot away, keeping an eye out for spray and changing weather conditions.
Photographing from a boat can add a new dimension to your photography and open up the possibility of photographing new subjects or older subjects in a new way. So the next time you venture out on a boat, consider bringing your camera gear along and seeing what you can capture.
~Kari Post from her article Have Boat, Will Photograph
It will be a week-long images of boats – large and small, fast and slow, empty or with people. The Philippines is an archipelago with 7,100 islands and a combined coastline of 23,000 kilometers. Though airplanes provide fast, convenient means of transport to major cities, it is the boat, from large inter-island ferries that carry a couple of thousand passengers to small dozen seaters, that are preferred by most of the budget-conscious traveling population. Smaller ones are workhorses of the country’s fishermen. And of course, island-hopping with these boats provides a different kind of adventure. All aboard! Have a great week ahead my friends!
In an age of digital photography, a lot of us appreciate the visual impact and elegance of black and white photography when juxtaposed with color photography. Black and White photography is not simply a result of old technology of a bygone era. Black and white is a technique that we can still employ today to enhance our photography. With black and white photography, we are allowed to see the world beyond colors. With black and white photography, we can control moods. With black and white photography, we can highlight details we normally would not see in color. Ultimately, with black and white photography, it is a technique that can enhance our ability to tell our story through imagery. However, unlike color photography, many of us have trouble creating artistic or compelling black and white photos.
~The Art of Black and White Digital Photography from Intructables.com
Black and white photography can seem dull next to the burst of colours emitted by colour photography, which creates a feeling of optimism and joy. Today, however, people are rediscovering the purity, beauty and power of black and white photography, which strips the image of the interpretive colours and has the ability to portray the timelessness, deep human emotions of pain, loss or despair.
Although the subject you are photographing is an important element of the picture, there are some other important factors to consider when shooting black and white photography. Basically, black and white photography is all about light and shadow. If you want to create stunning images, you need to learn to use these elements to compose your photos effectively and correctly. Experiment with the quality and intensity of light and try to take pictures of a subject at different times of the day and notice how light and shadow can affect the mood of the photo. For example, take a picture of a subject on a cloudy day, and then photograph the same subject on a bright day.
~The Art of Black and White Photography from fotoLARKO.com
When I use the camera, I often feel like I know part of the people or places I come in contact with.~Christophe Agou
Besides artistic portraits and street photography, there is another area that captures humans and its called documentary-style people photography. It is about photographing people in relation to issues, situations, places and the environment they are in. It involves documenting their stories as they go about their everyday lives, such as the girl and her little brother in the photo.
They live in a small coastal community in Guimaras Island in central Philippines. The main livelihood of families in the community are fishing but they get a bigger income by ferrying tourists to nearby small islands that boast of pristine beaches, undeveloped and undisturbed patches of nature. The primary means of transportation from one island to another is the banca, a local outrigger canoe that can carry two to three passengers. It is propelled by the sheer effort of paddling, by the girl in this case, with her little brother playing the role of lookout and assistant. The girl has just ferried me and my photo buddy to this small island and I took this picture as they were about to set off to transport more of my fellow photographers waiting in the main island some 300 meters away. I guess we are all chroniclers when we have our cameras and arrive at a new country, city or place. Knowingly or unknowingly, we capture images of people as they go through the daily grind and struggles in life. In the picture above, it is a poignant story of siblings helping their family to make ends meet; their parents are out at sea fishing. The camera is there not only to capture beautiful sceneries but also slices of life, no matter how humbling, as we encounter them.
In this visual odyssey I have been pairing off my images with quotes (Photo Quotes series numbering over 130 so far), with poems (Poetry & Photography in collaboration with poet bloggers) and with inspirational messages (Weekend Inspiration series with over 20 as of last count). I’d like to start another pairing, this time with the power of music. You all know I’m partial to jazz, its in my long-time Web name plus I have an internet jazz radio and a blog – Junsjazz Cool & Smooth – dedicated to jazz music. Images themselves have character and mood, but they can be enhanced with the appropriate music, sort of putting a musical score in your picture. If you have noticed, I have done this in Junsjazz Digital Magazine. For this new series I utilize SoundCloud as music source. The music player is set not to automatically play when you view the image. It’s your choice to click the “Play” button to experience the mood that comes when you combine music and imagery. Enjoy!
To shoot poignant pictures we only need follow the path of our enthusiasm. I believe that this feeling is the universe’s way of telling us that we are doing the right thing. The viewing public will always disagree over the intrinsic merits of a particular photograph, but no one can deny the enthusiasm that originally inspired us to capture and offer that image to others.~Timothy Allen
Being a photographer is making people look at what I want them to look at.~Ruth Orkin
Mood in photographic terms is simply atmosphere, attitude and character. Expressions in portraits and images of people evoke emotional moods. The general feel and look of a place create a climate and a general mood of the environment. Mood in an image is highlighted by the thoughtful use of colors.
An overwhelming use of blue (as in the sky and sea in the picture above) connotes calm and peace and freshness. Pair that with a complementary color of yellow as in the boat, and you have contrast both in color and subject. Colors have meanings and they excite, attract and influence. Which is why there is a whole science on color management, theory and concept because the proper utilization of color creates a positive emotional response. Let’s refresh ourselves on colors and the meaning they carry:
Green – balance, growth, harmony, renewal, restoration, abundance, nature
Blue – peace, calm, tranquility, devotion, truth, direction, order
Red – action, energy, speed, confidence, passion, courage
Yellow – optimism, cheerfulness, enthusiasm, fun, originality, academic, analytical
Orange – optimism, enthusiasm, cheerfulness, flamboyance, creative flair
Indigo – sincerity, integrity, idealism, faithful, ideal, responsible
Purple – inventive, intuitive, selfless, unusual, creative, humanitarian, mysterious
Brown – wholesome, down-to-earth, friendly, reliable, warm, earthly, sensual
Pink – romantic, sweet, feminine, nurturing, compassionate, understanding
Gray – elegant, dignified, neutral, impartial, professional, mature, intelligent
Silver – soothing, dignity, glamour, self control, sleek, hi-tech, scientific
Gold – abundance, wealth, wisdom, charisma, optimism, positive, masculine
White – innocence, purity, cleanliness, equality, self-sufficient, pristine, open
Black – protection, comfort, strong, contained, formal, sophisticated, seductive
These are but some of the psychology and positive traits of colors. What does this mean in our photography? Be attentive, observant and thoughtful in your use of colors in your images. They will induce a response and reaction, mostly in a positive sense. But such reaction will be deeper and richer if colors are presented beautifully and are part of a well composed image.
Article Excerpt: “Landscape shots rely on strong composition, often with foreground interest, and this isn’t any different when shooting black and white. Without the distraction of colour, the lines within the shot will be highlighted. The gradients and differences in tone will become more apparent and the shapes will be more prominent…Try taking advantage of gloomy storm clouds, which often come out very well in black and white. You can also experiment with urban landscape and architecture shots, which will again highlight strong form and shape.”~Simon Bray from his article Getting Started in Black and White Photography
A picture is a story conveyed in a single shot. That solo frame of an image is a narrative summarized through meticulous capture, execution and presentation. On seeing an image, composing and arranging the elements and subject, we hope for a reaction. And one of the first things that trigger reaction is colors – how it is effectively presented and utilized. Colors create mood and character, and highlight subjects. Strip away colors and what do you have to evoke reaction from your viewers? How will you incorporate mood and character in an image whose primary element of color is missing? How will you tell your story, your message in black and white?
The art of story telling in a single image is hard enough, more so in the absence of color. Liken this to peeling away the layer of color and exposing the innards which are the structure and form. We literally return to the basics, such as:
1. Find the lines and there are many of them: the straight line, horizontal and vertical, the diagonal line., the broken line, the jagged line, the leading lines, and the curves.
2. Find patterns, textures and shapes. Color can be disorienting and confusing. A pattern of contrasting and playful colors is fun. Take away color and you have repetitions of light, shades and shadows. You can highlight outlines and shapes with light and darkness. You can use side lighting on a surface, whether rough or fine, for textures to come out.
3. Let your black be black and let your white be white. But if your read the previous post “The math in monochrome,” we learned that 000 is pure black and 255 is pure white, which means that there are 254 shades of grey in between. Effectively apply greys in your image through the tonal adjustment feature in your editing software. Tones define details, add depth and establish mood.
4. Go for low key or high key lighting. An image enveloped in soft white light, or plunged into subtle darkness creates character. This creative light technique will always add drama and impact on an image.
My primer and principle in photography is right there at the top of the sidebar. You have probably come across it several times. It is that every image you take is a story. You should be true to your art and tell your story well whether in color or, more importantly so because of its characteristic, in black and white.
A photographer is a seeker of silence, both in the literal and symbolical sense. He will photograph festivals, concerts, sports action, rallies, scenes of war and destruction, but he will find order in chaos. He will take pictures of solitary ponds, placid lakes, still mountains, pastoral fields and primeval forests, yet his perception will be so concentrated that he will sense and hear nothing but the snap of the shutter button. He will be at a standstill, focused and unruffled, as he points his camera to capture a moment.
The photographer’s energy, heart and soul are all fixed and engaged into that second, that fraction of time, when he has decided to press the shutter. He is the epitome of peace and solitude, the disciple of stillness and quiet. He doesn’t want to be bothered and divided in his attention. Far from being solitary creatures, photographers like all artists need some quiet time especially at that crucial instance of capture. He is all wrapped up and even holds his breath a few seconds both to gather composure and to steady his shot, not wanting to be disturbed by the slightest body movement of breathing. That is so much like suspending his life for a while just to get that shot! It is in the sanctity of silence the photographer excels.
Article Excerpt: When considering nature images, one finds that most differ by the scale of scene captured. Three loosely defined categories to keep in mind are:
* Grand Scenic – covering large expanses of the landscape
* Intimate – perhaps the most elusive of all – isolating the “scene within a scene” – keeping only what’s important and giving the viewer a sense of being there.
* Close-up and/or macro – enlarging and drawing attention to elements often too small for most casual viewers to notice otherwise
Each of these requires a different way of examining and interpreting a scene. Surprisingly a given scene may yield successful images in any or even all these scales – standing in front of a grand mountain scene, you may discover interesting patterns that can be isolated, or a small flower at your feet.
Do not “lock” your vision to a given scale. At any opportunity, try to think about all possibilities. You may find interesting new and original compositions even in the most familiar places.~Guy Tal from his article Landscape Photography Composition Part 1