The View, Denied

Its easy to offer your viewer a broad panorama. But with the loss of the third dimension in photographs, such a view often, so to speak, falls flat. Layering foreground elements into the composition is the simplest technique for adding depth to an image. But a variation on that technique is to deny the viewer the bigger view, to force them to peer, in a sense, through the keyhole to see it. While this may seem a contrary technique, the result can be quite compelling. Below, one of the Porcupine Islands off the Coast of Maine is viewed through the gap between the gunwales and the boom of the sail. Yet the result has more flavor for the compression of the scene, and the addition of the other elements.

C. David Tobie

Advertisements

Tide Pool Macros

Tidal pools are a wonderful source of material for shooting macro photos. They offer life, texture, color, and mystery. Such shots can occur above, or below, the waterline. Often it is possible to shoot underwater images without an underwater camera or housing in tide pools, since they are very shallow, with a smooth surface. In other cases, the distortions of the water movement can add interesting effects to the images. The first image below is all about detail and color, with the amazing pearl-strand-like details on the purple and orange starfish. The second image has a smoother, dreamier quality, created by the surface of the water, which is relatively flat above the anemone, but more distorted in other areas of the image.

CanonStars-1 TidePoolAnenome-1

C. David Tobie

Local Color as an Emotional Key

Color is something the human eye reads in many ways. One of those ways is as memory colors, the color of our childhood holidays, of the sky in our favorite location, or other emotionally linked memories. When a color stands out, consider its memory color value to your audience. Anyone who has experienced the vivid cranberry color of blueberry barrens or cranberry bogs in the fall will instantly recognize that tone in a landscape. Similarly, the unique orange tone of the seashore lichen shown below will tell viewers in England, New England, and the other coastal locations where it grows, that this is a shot from near the ocean, be it on a gravestone, or a natural outcropping.

Designers looking to trigger these local memory colors will be happy to find your images including them, if they are tagged in a way that makes them visible when making location-oriented searches.

Orange Lichen-1

C. David Tobie

Heroic Shots of Small Subjects

Sometimes the hero shot is the right answer, even when it does not seem to be the likely question. In this instance, a clean, simple image, without background elements, (as tempting as ocean backgrounds can be) produces a more focussed image, with a clearer composition. The low angle of the shot, taken crouched and kneeling, cleans up the background, but also produces the classic heroic image. While dune grass surviving the winter and a short section of dune fencing may not be a monumental subject matter, treating it as one gets the viewer to look at it in a new way.

Popham Stillife-1

C. David Tobie