Category Archives: All about Composition and your Camera

All about Composition and your Camera

All about Composition and your Camera

ILLUSION

Introduction

How people love decorating things with stolen adjectives. The colour of music – they would say. They would talk about the music of a poem, the movement of sculpture, the depth of a landscape, the speaking likeness of a portrait. Do they mean any thing ? They do. There is sense behind these figures of speech. It is the indication of the artist’s ultimate goal : to do more than his technique could produce by itself.
He will recognise the limitations of his craft and – fight them. He will struggle to create an illusion in place of those qualities which his technique must go without. The composer wants you to see the colour of his music, the poet wants you to hear the tune of his words, the painter wants you to feel the depth of his world.
The photographer, too, wants us to realise colour, space and movement, while looking at a piece of black and white paper ; and not just to try to make you believe in them, while he is laboriously explaining, “The sea was deep blue and endless, and those flying sails were white as a seagulls wings.” If he is any good he will compel you to see that blue – that endlessness – that flight.

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>All about Composition and your Camera

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All about Composition and your Camera

EMPHASIS

Light

Mass dominates over smallness, sharpness over blur and light over shade.
Light is the source and life blood of photography. It is the material which we are supposed to shape with our tool, the camera, and is a material superior to that tool. The effect of light will outdo any other effect the camera is able to produce. It will be stronger than any pictorial distinction which size or definition can create.
Even a comparatively small area of light will attract more attention and convey more emphasis than all the rest of the picture which is darker. Some blurred and even empty patch of light will draw our eye more strongly than all the shadows, however well defined and full of meaning they may be.
Light’s emphatic power is so limitless and acts so automatically that it can be the photographer’s pitfall. More than any other means at his/her disposal, light will tempt you to superficial exaggerations and confusing elaborateness. All the initial effort put into selecting the right subject, the right distance, the right view, may only too easily be scarified again by yielding to the temptation of playing around with light
Masterpieces of photography do not necessarily originate from studios with the most imposing lighting equipment. Even light cannot give emphasis amidst an orgy of lightness.
And this goes for all the methods of photographic emphasis : they live on contrast. Anything said just before may be found equally true turned the other way round in some cases. If the image is full of large masses, the sudden smallness of a detail may command attention. If the image is sharp all over, some spot of intentional blur may win importance. If the image is bathed in light, the only point of shadow may catch the first glance. Values are relative.

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All about Composition and your Camera

All about Composition and your Camera

EMPHASIS

Light

Mass dominates over smallness, sharpness over blur and light over shade.
Light is the source and life blood of photography. It is the material which we are supposed to shape with our tool, the camera, and is a material superior to that tool. The effect of light will outdo any other effect the camera is able to produce. It will be stronger than any pictorial distinction which size or definition can create.
Even a comparatively small area of light will attract more attention and convey more emphasis than all the rest of the picture which is darker. Some blurred and even empty patch of light will draw our eye more strongly than all the shadows, however well defined and full of meaning they may be.
Light’s emphatic power is so limitless and acts so automatically that it can be the photographer’s pitfall. More than any other means at his/her disposal, light will tempt you to superficial exaggerations and confusing elaborateness. All the initial effort put into selecting the right subject, the right distance, the right view, may only too easily be scarified again by yielding to the temptation of playing around with light
Masterpieces of photography do not necessarily originate from studios with the most imposing lighting equipment. Even light cannot give emphasis amidst an orgy of lightness.
And this goes for all the methods of photographic emphasis : they live on contrast. Anything said just before may be found equally true turned the other way round in some cases. If the image is full of large masses, the sudden smallness of a detail may command attention. If the image is sharp all over, some spot of intentional blur may win importance. If the image is bathed in light, the only point of shadow may catch the first glance. Values are relative.

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All about Composition and your Camera

All about Composition and your Camera

EMPHASIS

Definition

Human eyes see near and far, the whole and the detail, equally sharp. Normally, they do. They are quick, versatile and adaptable. In the minutest fraction of a second they will adjust themselves to communicate to us the profile of a far off mountain range, the shape of a butterfly’s wing, the meaning of countless little letters in a book. And all these pictures will be uncompromisingly sharp, clear, well defined. Normally, we cannot see “blurred”, even if we meant to and try to do so.
Subconsciously, however, our brains seem to record everything around us slightly “out of focus” – except the relatively limited area on which our eyes and our interest happens to be focused at that very moment. But that subconscious blur we do not notice at all as blur. The scene on which our eyes get focused is changing so unceasingly, and at such a speed, that we only too willingly assume a uniformly “sharp” world around us. After all, it is much more comfortable and secure that way.
The lens in the camera has slower habits, more mechanical ones. It will record at a time only one subject, one distance, as sharp, and leave everything behind and in front of that point fuzzy. Certainly the lens, too, is adaptable enough, but it has to be adapted. It has to be focused if we want some other subject at some other point ; and while we get that one sharp, everything else, including things, which appeared well defined just a few seconds earlier, fade again into blur.
This peculiarity of the lens, of showing only part of the scene at a time as sharp, helps to stress a point, to emphasise importance, to focus the spectator’s interest – as we are focusing the lens – at the thing we want to be more than the rest. At the same time we throw the rest, the things of less importance, the background perhaps, out of focus. Push if back, as it were, into that “subconscious” department of our brain.
Photographing a face, one might focus just at the eyes, in a way allowing the nose, the lips, the ears, to fade gradually into a blur of insignificance. But one might as well decide to have the whole face sharp and blur a somewhat old fashioned wallpaper behind it out of existence. Or does just that old fashioned wallpaper fittingly accentuate the outlook of our elderly model? Well, let us have it. Let us have it as sharp as the face itself. it can be done.
It is happily in our hands to determines the depth of the field to be rendered sharp by the lens. It may be just a few inches. It may cover many meters. The shorter the depth of focus chosen, the more obvious the effect will be, the more intentional the distinction will appear.

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All about Composition and your Camera

All about Composition and your Camera

EMPHASIS

Definition

Human eyes see near and far, the whole and the detail, equally sharp. Normally, they do. They are quick, versatile and adaptable. In the minutest fraction of a second they will adjust themselves to communicate to us the profile of a far off mountain range, the shape of a butterfly’s wing, the meaning of countless little letters in a book. And all these pictures will be uncompromisingly sharp, clear, well defined. Normally, we cannot see “blurred”, even if we meant to and try to do so.
Subconsciously, however, our brains seem to record everything around us slightly “out of focus” – except the relatively limited area on which our eyes and our interest happens to be focused at that very moment. But that subconscious blur we do not notice at all as blur. The scene on which our eyes get focused is changing so unceasingly, and at such a speed, that we only too willingly assume a uniformly “sharp” world around us. After all, it is much more comfortable and secure that way.
The lens in the camera has slower habits, more mechanical ones. It will record at a time only one subject, one distance, as sharp, and leave everything behind and in front of that point fuzzy. Certainly the lens, too, is adaptable enough, but it has to be adapted. It has to be focused if we want some other subject at some other point ; and while we get that one sharp, everything else, including things, which appeared well defined just a few seconds earlier, fade again into blur.
This peculiarity of the lens, of showing only part of the scene at a time as sharp, helps to stress a point, to emphasise importance, to focus the spectator’s interest – as we are focusing the lens – at the thing we want to be more than the rest. At the same time we throw the rest, the things of less importance, the background perhaps, out of focus. Push if back, as it were, into that “subconscious” department of our brain.
Photographing a face, one might focus just at the eyes, in a way allowing the nose, the lips, the ears, to fade gradually into a blur of insignificance. But one might as well decide to have the whole face sharp and blur a somewhat old fashioned wallpaper behind it out of existence. Or does just that old fashioned wallpaper fittingly accentuate the outlook of our elderly model? Well, let us have it. Let us have it as sharp as the face itself. it can be done.
It is happily in our hands to determines the depth of the field to be rendered sharp by the lens. It may be just a few inches. It may cover many meters. The shorter the depth of focus chosen, the more obvious the effect will be, the more intentional the distinction will appear.

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>All about Composition and your Camera

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All about Composition and your Camera

EMPHASIS

Size

Things near the camera will be depicted larger than others farther away. The basic laws of perspective cannot be tampered with. Yet, the apparent comparative size of near and far will seemingly change when changing the lens. Lens with different focal length will open up different angles of view to the same camera. Lenses of long focal length give a narrow angle of view, producing a large picture of the central scene and leaving out most of the things left and right in front of the lens. Lenses of short focal length give a wide angle of view, producing a smaller picture of the central scene but taking in more of the things left and right in front of the lens. The difference can be appreciable. Lenses of the longest focal length may show a angle as narrow as 10 or even 5 degrees only,, while lenses of the shortest focal length may cover an angle of 75 or even over 100 degrees.
Obviously, the shorter the focal length – that is, the wider the angle and the broader the foreground – the more imposingly will subject near the camera stand out against everything placed further away. Reversed, the longer the focal length – the narrower the angle and the smaller the foreground – the fewer the chances of foreground subjects to be depicted as a whole, while the centre of the picture will be recorded enlarged, sometimes covering the background altogether.
The choice of the foreground,centre and background in conjunction with a carefully selected and a suitable viewpoint will amplify one pictorial element and reduce some others. It will make an insignificant tree-trunk in front of us domineering, while the ten thousand feet mountain peak, farther back, become a mere decorative addition – or vice versa.
But we can do even more. We can crouch down with our camera, making our subject tower over us; or look down, dwarfing it from some higher point of view. Low viewpoints will lift subjects out of their surroundings, making their own dimensions the only dominant ones in the picture. High viewpoints, in contrast, widen the floor space and introduce plenty of dimensional comparisons. Low viewpoints accentuate the outline of the subject. High viewpoints are likely to blot it out.
This, however, belongs almost to the next installment on photographic emphasis.

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All about Composition and your Camera

EMPHASIS

Introduction

Emphasis is the art of introducing proportion : making words, sounds, things of importance, stand out against a surrounding of comparative indifference. In photography it is the art of centring all interest on one particular quality of the subject. It is this emphasis – where we put it, how we put it and with what – which will make a photograph an individual piece of human work as distinguished from a dull example of mechanical reproduction.
How to emphasis, pronounce, under-score some part of the picture made by a camera? There are ways : we can differentiate by comparative sizes, we can render sharp or un-sharp, we can distribute light and shade. We can play all these cards together or just one of them at a time.

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