Thursday, November 16, 2006

A composition is all about the flow

Working out some images I shot in the Bishop Creek Canyon area of the Sierra's I thought a lot about texture and energy flow. Of course this time of year there is color, lots of it which makes it even more fun to wander about and just shoot.

Autumn is a fun time to shoot as you have big bold blasts of yellows and red to create contrast and visual tension in an image. Add in natural movement of water, clouds etc., and you can set up an image that has a lot of tension and movement to stimulate your brain. How you funnel that energy is only part of how you convey what you saw at the time to the viewer.

Another factor you have to look at really closely is how you expose your image. The color of light changes during the day, if you want your yellows and reds to really pop shoot early morning or late afternoon. Where possible back light those trees and let them take on a glow that really makes them pop.

Exposing all of that is where skill comes in. Sure, you could just let your camera take an average meter of the scene and your image will more often than not be acceptable. I shot a lot of the leaves and trees bracketing 1/2 to 2/3 stop over/under what the meter said to make sure I kept detail in both highlight and shadow. I metered off the leaves themselves as I wanted to ensure maximum detail and saturation, bracketing to get the other parameters with in reason.

The end result..."Bishop Creek" which I shot later afternoon as the first winter storm (yes it snowed that afternoon) was crossing up and over the mountains around me. I got an energetic composition due to the rushing water and contrast between the cool blues of the clouding over sky against the vibrant leaves of the aspens. Even the few lone sequoia's added in contrast with their dark greens and stout upright thrusts. Am happy with the result...enjoy!

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