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Author Topic: Effective composition  (Read 33944 times)
Howard Smith
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« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2004, 09:09:26 AM »
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Ray, I may be wrong, but I don't think this is a news photo documenting some Masai under a tree talking about the latest man-eating lion on the prowl, or whatever.  The photo really misses the mark as a news photo or a photo documenting people talking.  It is an excellant photo of people in their own environment doing what they sometimes do there - stand and wait and chat.
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« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2003, 10:05:02 AM »
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Thanks.

The reason that the mountain tops are cut off is to create "dynamic tension". Sometimes when things are simple, neat and orderly they can lose their tension. By clipping the peaks I found that the composition was enhanced.

It was also done to remove a bit of bland sky which distracted the eye from the more interesting and important parts of the frame.

Michael
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Howard Smith
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« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2004, 01:47:01 PM »
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Maybe instead of "why," I was thinking "what for."  The image does nothing for me, and I wonder "Why did the person take the photo?"  There isn't any tension is such a question.

Yes, I have seen more compelling images of the dunes than the one shown, but I still find it pleasing.
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Exegeter
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« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2004, 02:23:12 AM »
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haha.  

Well, subjective within reason.  Nothing in your example leads me to the point of tension, it all leads away.  I'm not looking up and expecting.  So it's not tension so much as it is a random missing chunk.  That's alright too.  I'm not coming down on you or anything.  Just trying to offer things to consider.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2004, 05:48:18 PM »
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I knew it was time to leave when we couldn't decide whether it was an exhibit or a wiring repair. Because I haven't forgotten that experience and still wonder but know, was it "art choked full of tension?"

During that same visit, I saw several photographs of gas stations on the wall. They were flat (low contrast), not well printed and needed to be spotted very badly. They were junk. Did they have tension because I had no idea how such bad work gets displayed?
I think that in the more abstract matters of taste ("tension" is a perfect example) it is difficult to extract one's self from one's prejudices and personal paradigms and agree on what constitutes "good taste" or "good composition" or what is "pleasing" or "good art". One man's profound principle is another's pseudo-intellectual kopfscheiss. This is why people tend to obsess and discuss more concrete things like resolution, sharpness, the pros and cons of various pieces of gear, and things of that nature that the arguably more important things like "good composition". It's not that hard to test to see if the EF 24-70 f/2.8 has a better MTF that the EF 50mm f1.4 at 50mm, and setting aside unit variance, the results are repeatable and verifiable science. But defining "good art" has a tendency to devolve into endless arguments and flame wars and people get tired of that. I'm happy to see that has been avoided here so far and look forward to the continuing discussion here with interest.
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Ray
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« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2004, 06:46:28 PM »
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On Jonathan's photo of the derelict house, I agree with Howard. The eye tends to move from left to right, as we read. (The Chinese might well have a different view on this, however.)

The bright patches of sky, top left corner, tend to get the eye stuck on the first word. Flipping the image horizontally produces an improvement in my view, but that out-of-focus tree trunk in the foreground tends to spoil the image somewhat.
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victoraberdeen
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« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2004, 11:58:07 AM »
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Howard, I think Kodak wanted to do that camera! For my own part my composition is best when I just let it flow, the more I think the more pictures end in the trash can!
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Ray
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« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2004, 06:06:35 AM »
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"Green" is a term that is specifically linked to light within a specific range of wavelengths. So that is clearly and measureably definable.
Well, I'd agree there is a sensation of greenness, an inner experience of greenness, that is linked to specific wavelengths of light, and I'd agree that a neuroscientist could probably measure subtle changes in our brains that result from the perception of different wavelengths of light.

However, that sensation of greenness seems to me totally subjective and is a property of our humanity. There's no objective greenness out there. For all I know, reality could be a totally colorless world.

In fact for some creatures, it is a colorless world, and other creatures, some species of birds, can see a fourth primary color directly linked to wavelengths that we would describe as ultraviolet. But I think it's impossible for us to imagine what a fourth primary color would look like because we're not constructed that way. The best we can do is imagine it as perhaps a deeper or different shade of blue, as different from blue as Sony's emerald green is different from standard green.
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Howard Smith
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« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2004, 06:03:37 PM »
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I have no idea what they are talking about, Victor.  And it doesn't matter a wit what they are talking about, or what language they are using, or if they are even talking at all, but singing a song.  Because of our vastly different cultures, I likely wouldn't know what they were talking about even if they told me.  The only thing that is happening for me is that something appears to be happening.  If they were just standing there looking blankly at the camera, I don't suppose I would be wondering why either.

I don't care what wave length of light is causing me to think the person is wearing something red.  While I understand why heat blurs the image, I don't care that it did, or that Michael manipulted it by adding some blur.

I just like the composition and design of the image, and the use of color.  I can only imagine what a really large print would look like.  I bet it would be wonderful.
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Ray
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« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2004, 06:21:48 PM »
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Howard, you're probably right. It's just me. I've been watching too many B grade movies featuring man-eating Lions, or wildlife programs from Africa where scenes of lionesses bringing down their prey are very common.

It's just, those people out there look so vulnerable under that lone tree surrounded by miles of grassland in the middle of nowhere. Are lions attracted to red? I'm getting scared just thinking about it.  Smiley
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JeroenM
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« Reply #30 on: December 23, 2003, 02:27:02 PM »
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Thanks.

The reason that the mountain tops are cut off is to create "dynamic tension". Sometimes when things are simple, neat and orderly they can lose their tension. By clipping the peaks I found that the composition was enhanced.

It was also done to remove a bit of bland sky which distracted the eye from the more interesting and important parts of the frame.

Michael
that's really neat to know. I never thought about a picture in terms of "tension"
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victoraberdeen
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« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2004, 11:26:39 AM »
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'Why' is just what the tension is about. I have seen much better dune pictures, I find Michael's pictures a bit bland, IMHO.
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Scott_H
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« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2004, 06:05:57 AM »
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Exegeter, you've contradicted yourself.  First you state that tension is created when you take something good and screw it up.  Mybe that was a typo or something, but I would agree with that after a fashion.  

You can create tension by violating the normal rules of composition.  Having the subject looking out of the frame, for example, can create tension.  I think hacking off the top of the mountian can create tension as well.  It doesn't neccesarily make it an image I would like, but to me it creates tension.
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victoraberdeen
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« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2004, 08:29:44 PM »
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But! none of the examples create real emotional tension in the viewer, so is it the wrong word to use?

So if tension is messing up what could be good, then can the messing up be brutal croping?

My point about the snap shot of the towers was the missing lower part did not create any tension! (It was part of a of a stich - trash!).

FYI: The news photo was taken with a 500mm lens, the wide 20mm shot just shows the whole column not even the banner.
Protestors (anti apartied) scale Nelsons Column in London's Trafalgar Sq
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Ray
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« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2004, 06:30:53 PM »
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Would the contrast between the dunes and the mountains create tension even if the sky had not been cropped out.
I'm now beginning to see that the dynamic tension in Michael's image results solely from the contrast (on many levels) between the dark mountains and the bland dunes. What we have here is a Yin and Yang principle; a contrast between light and dark, weak and strong, smooth and rough. Not only that, but there's a contrast of predominantly two shades of color, pale orange and dark orange. The image is like a well dressed person with  good color sense.

Cropping the sky is merely excluding that which is irrelevant to the above concept. The cropping does not 'create' the tension, but contains it.

In a sense, the mountains and dunes are like two separate photos that have been skilfully joined or enmeshed like two pieces of a jigsaw, each complementing the other, like man and woman.

Adding a sky could ruin the whole effect. How would dark grey/cyan fit in with the color scheme? Maybe a swirling, dust storm sort of sky, another shade of orange with the sun trying to peek through Huh
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Howard Smith
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« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2004, 08:35:27 AM »
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Victor, if there were an absolute right way, Canon would have made a camera with a little red light that would come on in the viewfinder telling you the photo is perfect.  Seriously though, if you know what works and why, you can consistently take good photographs.  Some photographers are able to do ths without consciously applying rules and giving each frame a lot of thought time, but the thought is there.  Accidents happen but rarely please.
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #36 on: January 19, 2004, 10:23:40 AM »
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However, that sensation of greenness seems to me totally subjective and is a property of our humanity. There's no objective greenness out there. For all I know, reality could be a totally colorless world.
How about for purposes of this discussion we agree that we all pretty much agree that the world is 'real', not a fiction in the dream of some amorphous caterpillar in some unknown universe?  And let's hold our discussion to what is normally seen by physiologically intact adult humans.

What we talking about at the moment is the ease of defining certain terms.  Colors are easily defined by their measured wavelengths.  And we can describe the properties of a 'new' color to someone on the other side of the globe and she/he can accurately create that same color by working back from the definition.

Other words just aren't as easy to define.  There are no 'controlling entities' as to what we mean when we use those words.  If we were to agree to pick a standard, say the Oxford English Dictionary, and abide by it our communication would become easier.  But we don't do that.

We use these words in idiosyncratic ways.  Meanings morph from person to person, group to group, time to time.  Take for example the words "cool" and "bomb".  Cool can be hot, bomb can mean excellent.

As long as we continue to use poorly defined words we will continue to argue over the words and be distracted from discussing the photographs.

The solution?  Don't have one.  

A partial solution would perhaps be if people would  make more of an attempt to describe in physical terms what it is about the image that strikes them.
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victoraberdeen
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« Reply #37 on: January 19, 2004, 05:39:04 PM »
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Yes Howard, and makes the photo more interesting as a result! and what are they discussing?
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victoraberdeen
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« Reply #38 on: January 20, 2004, 06:34:48 PM »
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Maybe it is in a park, in downtown of a city of 5 million it's just lost in the shimmer...
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Howard Smith
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« Reply #39 on: January 03, 2004, 10:43:24 AM »
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Photographically, what is "tension?"
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