Photography, A Beginner’s Guide – Talking Pictures 1 – An article by Goff James

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Goff James, Autumn Gold, 2017 (FL 18.00mm, Exp. 1/100sec, f/8, ISO 3200)

Image information – FL 18.00mm, Exp. 1/100, f/8, ISO 3200

Sometimes, especially for a beginner, it is good to look at photographs one has taken as well as those of other photographers; by doing so, one is able to learn to understand better what photography is all about. Landscape photography is a good place to start.

The image above is a photograph of a scene within a local park taken in the mid afternoon. The Autumn lighting condition was bright but hazy.

The image is a wide angled outdoor shot. The image possesses an excellent depth of field ensuring that the whole image remains clearly defined.

If one views the image from the bottom up I have attempted to use the rule of thirds to dictate how the image is laid out.

The darker shrubbery, fence and path in the foreground travel approximately a third of the way up the image, the middle third is taken up with the bank and background woodland and the top third is composed of the canopy of the tree on the right. The image is also made up of approximately two-thirds brightly lit whilst one-third is in shade. The darkness of the path is made more intense by this counterpoint of light.

Compositionally there is a diagonal line that runs from the top left hand corner to the bottom right hand corner that creates two right-angled triangles. The right angle to the left contains the the path, fence and shrubs in the foreground. Whereas, the upturned right angle at the top of the image contains part of the path, the bank and the remainder of the tress and their foliage. The central vertical tree trunk accentuates the symmetrical nature of the composition by dividing the frame into two halves.

In this image it was my intention to allow the autumn foliage’s contrasting colours and textures to be the dominant factor within the composition. The dominance of the foliage was enhanced in editing through increasing the colour saturation of the leaves and darkening the the shading of the path.

The focal point of the image is the central dark silhouetted tree trunk surrounded by the canopy of multicoloured foliage which are distributed right across the frame. The composition demonstrates a very good balance between the light and dark areas of the composition.

There is a scattering of dominant subjects across the whole image – the trees, the bank (in the background) the path and the fence. All arranged around the main focus of the image (the point at which the central tree, path, fence and the stile in the foreground intersect).

The reds, gold, orange and green hues of the leaves in the woodland canopy and the background are what the eyes are drawn to. This is due to the numerous bright warm colours which take up most of the image. The branches, fence and path lead the eye in that direction. The trees unify the whole composition

A pleasing counterpoint is created through the use of contrasting light and dark areas. The path emerging out of the darkness leads the eye towards the lit area of the bank which accentuates the the brightness of the tree foliage.

The trees not only create textures but stand as static structures within the composition providing a sense of cohesion. A strong sense of rhythm and movement are created through the fence, path and top edge of the bank leading the eye to the point where they vanish from sight.

Try it out. Its all about gaining confidence with whatever camera one uses. Select a photograph and write down what you think about it.

Remember what I referred to in previous articles about taking photos; the same applies to writing about your own and others photos.

There are no right or wrong answers or ways of doing it. Its not a test. It is just you writing down your own thoughts about the image. 

Don’t worry about the theory and trying to remember everything about how to take a photograph.

Don’t worry about what you might think is right or wrong in taking photographs.

 Make mistakes. Laugh. Have fun.

Remember the Auto Mode.

Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!

Happy Photography. Happy Writing.

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