Saturday, 28 February 2009

All about Composition and your Camera

All about Composition and your Camera

SELECTION

Get Close

You have decided what your subject is to be : a few sheep casting long shadows over the meadow.
Now go to it. Get close to your subject. You do not want the lake, the hills, the clouds. You do not want the horizon and the rising mist. You do not even want the whole of the flock to grace all over your image in disorderly manner. Get close to narrow down your angle of view. Leave out the rest. Leave out, leave out, leave out.
I know it is heart-breaking. But it is no use trying to weave two tunes into one song unless you are going to compose some sort of medley. (And medleys end so often in muddles.)
Do I mean to say that a "general view" can never make a fine picture? I certainly do not. But general views are so much more difficult because of all the single picture elements they may contain. Most of these elements display a fatal tendency to claim a life of their own. Take just this general subject : our soft hills in low sunlight. How to cut out the riotous sparkle of the lake? How to prevent those wandering sheep from disturbing the quiet of the scene? How to subdue that dramatic exclamation mark of a church spire?
Shoot your general view by all means. Do not be surprised, though, to get at the end one of those famous images which photographically more advanced people will cleverly split up into two, three or even more prints. Admittedly it is quite good fun to detect how many pictures may hide in one image. But believe me, it is never a really good image. A good image does not need and does not easily suffer "improvements."
If you prefer the part to the whole, take the part only from the outset. Why waste your time and struggle afterwards with all the mysteries of the darkroom ( film or digital ) for a patchwork art?
The size of your subject decides your distance. Whether the subject is large or small, whether the distance seems long or short : the right distance is always the closest possible one.