102 — Layering images with interesting elements

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #102 dis­cusses lay­er­ing your pho­tographs with inter­est­ing ele­ments. This involves seri­ous atten­tion to the over­all com­po­si­tion of every frame that you take.
If you are tak­ing a shot of a moun­tain for exam­ple, there’s always more to the shot than just the moun­tain. When you are aware of what’s around the moun­tain and take the time to “layer” the image with inter­est­ing ele­ments, the com­po­si­tion as a whole gets much stronger. We also touch on how to refine those “lay­ered ele­ments” in post processing.


Athabaska River Reflecting Pools at Sunrise - Banff National Park - Alberta., Canada

Athabaska River Reflect­ing Pools at Sun­rise by Marko Kulik — Banff National Park — Alberta, Canada. As you can see this shot is about more than just the moun­tain which is in the back­ground. The fore­ground, midground and back­ground “lay­ered” ele­ments all con­tribute to the over­all com­po­si­tion in this scene.


Sometimes you feel like a nut - Image by Lisa Couldwell

Some­times you feel like a nut — Image by Lisa Could­well. Even scenes using larger aper­tures ben­e­fit from “lay­ered ele­ments”. Here, Lisa focuses on the nut medal­lion but the tire in the back­ground is a repeat­ing shape that adds inter­est to the image. The diag­o­nal lines in the image help to guide your eye. The com­po­si­tion here is very deliberate.


Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
– Improv­ing bor­ing land­scapes
- Images that com­pli­ment SONG titles or Book titles is our reg­u­lar forum assign­ment for Novem­ber
Inten­tional cam­era move­ment  is our level 2 assign­ment for November

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Photography forum image of the month October 2011

Every month on our pho­tog­ra­phy forum mem­bers nom­i­nate images that they like. Then at the end of the month I choose an excel­lent image and talk about why it rocks. The photo I choose is not nec­es­sar­ily the best one of the month. I’ve come to real­ize it’s not really log­i­cal to pit images from totally dif­fer­ent gen­res against each other. That’s why there are cat­e­gories in photo con­tests. I just choose a photo that has extremely strong ele­ments that we can learn from.

Autumn Web by Richard

Autumn Web by Richard

This month’s choice is (click to see the larger ver­sion of this image)  Autumn Web by Richard

I chose this image for sev­eral reasons:

1 — Plan­ning and exe­cu­tion — This strik­ing image is the result of plan­ning, it didn’t “just hap­pen” and it wasn’t a quick snap. The light­ing, comp and post-processing are all well thought out here. The result is a strik­ing moody fall image.

2 — Com­po­si­tion — details — post­pro­cess­ing — Lovely ren­dered details like the spi­der as well as the spider’s web all con­tribute to the com­po­si­tion here. Spi­der is framed nicely between the red leaves and against the back­light. The post­pro­cess­ing includ­ing the vignette and pos­si­ble selec­tive sharp­en­ing are guid­ing our eyes thought­fully with­out distractions.

3 — Light­ing — Mood — Back­light­ing is a chal­leng­ing light to deal with, but Richard bal­ances it well with off cam­era flash. The end result is an image with a lovely mood that would likely have felt too dark with­out the added light.

4 — Selec­tive focus — A wide aper­ture is well used here to get the dreamy back­ground bokeh. It adds another ‘layer’ to the image.

For all these rea­sons, this is my choice for image of the month. Since we all have opin­ions, some mem­bers may dis­agree with my choice. That’s cool but THIS thread is not the place for debate over my pick, NOR is it the place to fur­ther cri­tique the image. The pur­pose here is to sug­gest strong ele­ments in the photo that we may learn from.

Con­grats again Richard for cre­at­ing this strik­ing image!