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Composition Help



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 17th 07, 01:39 PM posted to rec.photo.technique.nature
mmills
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Posts: 4
Default Composition Help

The other day, I was out at sunrise and saw a beautiful grass-covered
hill tinged with orange. Along the top of the hill, the tall grass
drew attention to its wavy outline against a clear blue sky. Halfway
up, a herd of glistening black and white cattle was grazing. Why does
my photo not match what I thought upon seeing this sight? The sight
was beautiful, the photo is just a hill with spots on it. Is it
possible to get so much into one photo. I took the photo from the
road, from a distance of approx. 200 yards. I was using a Fujifilm
500mpx camera, but I don't that that is the issue - I would just like
to know what others would have done vis-a-vis distance, angle, height,
etc. Thanks.

  #2  
Old September 17th 07, 03:10 PM posted to rec.photo.technique.nature
Floyd L. Davidson
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Posts: 5,138
Default Composition Help

mmills wrote:
The other day, I was out at sunrise and saw a beautiful grass-covered
hill tinged with orange. Along the top of the hill, the tall grass
drew attention to its wavy outline against a clear blue sky. Halfway
up, a herd of glistening black and white cattle was grazing. Why does
my photo not match what I thought upon seeing this sight? The sight
was beautiful, the photo is just a hill with spots on it.


A photograph is an abstraction, and what you see with
your eyes is too, but it is a different one. The trick
is to learn to realize what the photographic abstraction
will be like, and how it changes when doing different things
with the camera. Then you adjust the camera to get the
abstraction you want (which may or may not actually be
visible when you look at the scene by eye).

For example, you scan a scene with your eyes, keeping
track in your mind of all the various parts, but
actually you only look at one part of it at any time.
Yet the camera takes a picture of the entire scene at
once, and then how much of it you look at depends on how
the image is displayed. For that reason a photograph
looked at up close might in some ways be closer to what
you saw with your eyes than would that same photograph
when viewed from a greater distance. And various
techniques such as soft focus and/or selective focus
might provide a photograph that is closer to the
abstraction your eyes originally saw, even though the
abstraction is created in your mind in a slightly
different way.

Colors might be different too. To the extreme in the
case of Black and White photography!

Is it
possible to get so much into one photo.


Sure. Or too little. Depends on what you want and how
you arrange it. I'm reminded of large paintings where
there is a huge canvas and yet your attention is riveted
on 1/10th of it... or others where you can spend hours
exploring every inch of the canvas finding odd little
things the painter hid in the details.

Photographs are no different.

I took the photo from the
road, from a distance of approx. 200 yards. I was using a Fujifilm


That sounds as if you needed either a lens with a longer
focal length, or perhaps to just get closer with a short
focal length. The effects are different, but both are
valid depending on what you want the viewer to see when
looking at the photograph. If those cows that became
specks were interesting, either getting closer or using
a longer lens would have made them more prominent. But
getting close with a short focal length lense can make
the background appear distant (granted it is easy to
keep it sharply focused), while a longer focal
length lense can have the effect of making two very
distant objects appear equally "up front" (and then the
trick is getting them both to be in focus).

500mpx camera, but I don't that that is the issue - I would just like
to know what others would have done vis-a-vis distance, angle, height,
etc. Thanks.


Asking here isn't really a great deal of help. Go look
at pictures. Look at *lots* of pictures. What you want
to see are pictures that have descriptions or data that
tell you something about what made it what it is.
There's no point in looking at wonderful images that do
not give you a clue as to what techniques make them
wonderful; at least not until you get enough experience
to be able to figure it out without help. (I take
pictures of people or things that describe people, and
just love looking at photography by Alfred Eisenstaedt,
Walker Evens, and Dorthea Lange for example. I like
reading what Ansel Adams wrote, but his greatest images
to me are merely boring technical examples of his
interesting text descriptions!)

Once you do get enough experience, then you can look at
hundreds of pictures at one sitting, and none of them
will be interesting as such (fabulous to look at,
but...), and then one will stand out! The reason it
stands out is that it appeals to you and something isn't
immediately obvious, either why it is appealing or how
it was done. Either one is a show stopper, and you have
to spend time analyzing the picture to decide if there
is something there for you to learn and build on.

--
Floyd L. Davidson http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
 




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