It is often said that there are no ‘rules’ of composition. And yet, there they are – Rule of Thirds, Golden Rule, Leading Lines, S-Curves, Layers, Off Center, Symmetry, Perspective, Lines of all sorts and on and on. And why is it that when so many fellow photographers comment on one of your photographs they comment about the rules of composition and not what the image expresses? In fact, most books and courses on composition begin by stating that there are no rules of composition before launching into an exhaustive analysis of, yep, the rules of composition. And of course, it’s not fashionable to refer to the rules of composition as rules anymore because ‘there are no rules of composition.’
And yet we diligently study them all the same.
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Tags: balance, composition, Edward Weston, leading lines, rule of thirds. golden rule, rules of composition, unity, visual tensioin
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There are some places you have to see to believe, experience to begin to understand – Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls,… Photographs don’t begin to capture the feelings you have. Big Sur is such a place.
Big Sur is a 100 mile stretch of the California coast that has no competition for sheer grandeur anywhere on the West Coast. Henry Miller claimed it was the way the Creator intended the world to be.
The first thing that comes to most people’s minds are the towering Santa Lucia mountains that plunge headlong into the blue Pacific Ocean. And there’s no doubt, this is what characterizes Big Sur. The mountains in some places are a mile high and drop to the sea in only two miles. Statistics – interesting but they don’t begin to convey the feeling you have in your stomach when driving the Cabrillo Highway, the two lane road that clings to the cliffs, snaking its way from San Simeon in the south to Carmel-by-the-Sea in the north.
Wherever you have such a precipitous coastline you’ll find plenty of cliffs into which the surf endlessly crashes. You can experience calm seas like the photograph above. After all it is the Pacific. Or you can get a little more action.
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Tags: abstract, August, beach, Big Sur, Bixby Bridge, California, Carmel by the Sea, cattle, China Cove, Edward Weston, Garrapata, Hearst Castle, inspiration, McWay Cove, McWay Falls, mountains, November, old coast road, Pacific Ocean, Pfeiffer, photograph, photography, photography workshop, pier, Point Lobos, redwod grove, redwoods, Rocky Point, Salmon Falls, San Simeon, storm, sunset, waves, zebra
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It was in the ‘70s when I was backpacking through the Kaweah Gap areas of the Sierra Nevada mountains. We were two days out and came upon this lake. I instantly recognized it from on of Ansel Adams that I particularly liked – Precipice Lake. It was exciting and we spent the night there.
I’ve always been a fan of this Ansel Adams classic. For me it has a feeling of immensity and majesty. So it has a special meaning to me reading about it in “Examples.” A few things caught my attention in Adams’ narrative…
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Tags: Ansel Adams, Aperture, California, chaos, cliffs, composition, compositions, depth of field, Edward Weston, exposure, exposures, Frozen Lake, Group f.64, Group f/64, image, instinct, Kaweah Gap, light meters, mountains, paper, photography, Pictorialism, Precipice Lake, Sierra Nevada, techniques, vision, visualization, Western photographers, Zone System
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