Composition is one of the four pillars of a strong landscape photograph (See Making a Photograph – The Four Pillars). There are many approaches to mastering composition and certainly countless excellent books on the topic. Many books discuss the elements of design and how they relate to composition – line, shape, form, texture, pattern and color. Others go into the various rules of composition – rule of thirds, golden rule, leading lines, near / far, layers, frames, etc.
All of these rules or principles are very analytical and, I think, are necessary and useful building blocks. Often creating a strong composition is very much of a problem-solving endeavor. But in the end I believe the goal of the composition is to support what the artist wants to communicate through the image. And this comes more from compositions that just feel right, not ones that are mechanically created from the rules. That’s not to say that one is not aware of these principles as the composition is being worked out. Rather these principles are like words in a sentence. They are carefully chosen so that the sentence as a whole communicates the author’s message. There are several techniques that lead us to this goal. And one of them is to ask yourself, ‘’”What am I photographing?”
Continue reading “Mastering Composition – What?” »
Tags: balance, Big Sur, blue, coast, color, composition, cool, design, form, hue, isolate, landscape, leading line, line, pacific, pattern, photograph, photography, rule of thirds, Salmon Falls, shape, simplify, texture, warm, waterfall, workshop
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The next step in selecting the best photograph from among the photographs I captured in 2012 is completed. And you have spoken in a loud and clear voice.
We are doing this one area at a time. The first was the California Deserts. Next came the Eastern Sierra. This round was magnificent Big Sur. And since I was there three times in 2012 there were a host of photographs to choose from – ten in all.
How did it turn out you ask? Let’s get right into the results and this time we’ll start with the most popular photograph.
In the number 1 position is Sunset, Pfeiffer Beach.
Everyone loves a beautiful sunset. But Mother Nature doesn’t pass them out freely. So you need to be patient and ready for them when they happen.
Sunset photographs have the best color when they’re underexposed a bit. But they are so inspiring that too often not enough attention is paid to the foreground. On this evening I sprinted 100 yards or so down the sandy beach to work the rock outcrop into the composition. And it worked well with the triangular shape of the rock mirroring the diagonal sweep of the clouds.
But that wasn’t enough for an strong foreground. It was important to capture an interesting pattern in the surf which completed the composition.
Continue reading “Best Photograph of 2012 – Big Sur” »
Tags: anticipation, beach, Big, bixby, Bridge, cathedral, china, clouds, composition, cove, dawn, diagonal, Earth, energy, falls, foreground, god, gold, gothic, green, light, line, lobos, mc way, middle, morning, National Park, ocean, pattern, Pfeiffer, photography, pier, Point, power, powerful, rays, Rock, rocky, sacred, salmon, San Simeon, shore, static, sun, sunrise, sunset, sur, Surf, tranquil, triangle, Tunnel, twilight, warmth, waterfall, waves, winter, workshop, Zion
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We are choosing the best Ralph Nordstrom Photography photograph of 2012, or, more precisely, you are. We’re running a series of surveys, selecting the best photograph from each of five areas where we did workshops – Death Valley and Joshua Tree (collectively the California Deserts), Eastern Sierra, Big Sur, Zion and Bryce Canyon.
The first survey covered the California Deserts. And the results are in. But before presenting them I’d like to give you an opportunity to weigh in on the second survey – the incomparable Eastern Sierra. We were there in early June which is summer in the Owens Valley but still spring up in the mountains. There are six photographs to choose from and the survey will only take a couple of minutes. So click the link below and share your opinion.
Select the Best Eastern Sierra Photograph of 2012
OK, now let’s turn to the results of the California Deserts survey. There were four photographs, two from Death Valley and two from Joshua Tree.
Continue reading “Best Photograph of 2012 – California Desert” »
Tags: 2012, abstract, badwater, Big Sur, Bryce, campground, Canyon, clouds, cockscomb mountains, cottonwood, dawn, Death Valley, depth, Eastern, haze, interpretation, Joshua Tree, layers, Mirror, National Park, Owens Valley, pan, pattern, photograph, Pinto Basin, playa, quartz, Rain, salt, Sierra, Sierra Nevada, storm, sunrise, sunset, survey, twilight, Zabriskie Point, Zion
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