Thursday, August 27, 2009

Learning to See: Creative Compositions

As landscape photographers, we are trained to look for perfect light and stunning skies. We’re taught to shoot only during the golden hour, and only when the clouds are positively radiant with sunbeams. Most of us won’t even consider pulling out the camera when the sky is sunny and bright, or on hazy days when the image contrast is fairly low. Is this because there is nothing to shoot? Or are we just not looking at things creatively? Learning to see creatively is about thinking outside the box. Look for unusual lighting and unique composition. A different perspective can make all the difference in unfavorable conditions. And why not take it a step further? Creative processing techniques can bring out detail and interest that might get lost with more traditional methods.

One of the most common challenges for landscape photographers is capturing a unique image of an iconic location. “The Wave” in Arizona has been photographed by thousands, and it seems to have been shot from every angle many times over. Rather than taking standard shots, I forced myself to avoid the compositions that I had seen before. On this day, a pool of water filled the base of the wave. Bending down low, I noticed that I could fill a frame entirely with the wave and its reflection – creating an abstract composition that I had not seen before. I waited for the winds to calm down and took this shot under bright sunlight.
Tips for Creative Compositions

  • Find a new location to shoot that icon
  • Experiment with different zoom lenses
  • Change elevation of your camera
  • Get up close to focus on textures and patterns rather then location
  • Use reflections if available
  • Place a human or wildlife element in the photograph

Continued on Learning to See: Creative Compositions: Part II


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Anonymous Will said...

Great shot Jay! I too get tired of seeing the same shots of the same places. How are things going? It's been a while.

August 27, 2009 at 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Jay Patel said...

Will, This shot shows what you can do if you think outside the box. I have other examples of creative compositions that I will post.

Soccer, Karate, homework, cross country and six little hungry mouths keep us very very busy. Other then life is great. Thanks for the comment.

August 28, 2009 at 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Jay.

Very nice article and eyecatching photograph.
I think it`s great that you encourage people to open their eyes and actually see what`s there instead of only what we want to see.

Great art.

Seung Kye

August 29, 2009 at 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Jay Patel said...

Thanks for the comment. The hardest part is to remind myself that there is more to see then dramatic clouds and shooting at the Golden hours. I tend to limit myself into shooting at only the golden hours.

Hopefully this will help our viewers expand their horizons. This is first in series of articles titled "Learning to See".

August 29, 2009 at 1:28 PM  

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