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3. Elements of design - Project 21, Diagonals

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Diagonal lines often depend on the viewpoint. Many scenes contain true
verticals and horizontals but there aren't many examples of true diagonals
(staircases, for instance) but camera angle and perspective make diagonals
common in photographs. They give a feeling of depth in an image - Linear
perspective. A wide angle lens will produce a much stronger perspective

Diagonals give a much greater sense of movement and direction than do
verticals & horizontals. This is partly due to the contrast they form with
the frame's edges and partly the feeling they give of being unstable.
Diagonals can add an overall sense of activity to an image, they catch the
eye and lead it along their length and are therefore an important element of
controlling the way the viewer views an image.

Here are four examples of images containing diagonal lines.
14th Jun 2009, 13:51   | tags:,,comments (0)

3. Elements of design - Project 20, Horizontal & vertical Lines.

This project required going out and finding examples of horizontal and
vertical lines to photograph.

Lines appear in nature as well as in architecture. Here are four examples of
horizontal and four examples of vertical lines within an image. I have tried
not to repeat the way in which the lines appear, the "cause" of the lines as
it were.

Having selected these images, as examples of Horizontal & Vertical lines,
I've found that the most common kind of horizontal line was, of course, the
horizon. Buildings & architecture in general were the most common forms of
vertical line.

Other ways that lines can appear in photographs are as follows;


. The Horizon

. Man-made flat surfaces

. Long shadows (lit from the side)

. Rows of objects all at the same distance from the camera

. A mass of objects seen from a low angle


. Walls, posts & other man-made structures

. Tree trunks

. Standing human figure

. A road or path seen end-on from a high viewpoint

. A row of objects seen from a high viewpoint, when the sun is
directly behind or in front of the camera

In my examples (from top to bottom) I have included:

The tulip fields in Holland that form bands of horizontal colour.

A jet aircraft condensation-trail cutting a sharp horizontal line in a blue

The edge of the platform in London's underground system includes a number of
horizontal lines.

The lone tree on the horizon at dawn breaks up the stark horizontal line.

Vertical lines in architecture are all around us partly due, of course, to
our low vantage point.

A perfectly symmetrical view of the "London-Eye" gives us a strong vertical

Antony Gormley's Angel of the North is an over-sized example of how the
standing human figure can be a vertical line.

This collection of smoked eels form a frame full of vertical lines.

These lines have two kinds of quality within a picture - a graphic quality
and an expressive association. Graphic qualities of lines are that they make
divisions, locating things within the frame and have a sense of direction
(along their length). Horizontal lines have an especially strong "locating"
effect, we tend to see them as a base for things to stand on. The eye uses
the vertical and horizontal lines of the frame's edges as references. It is
therefore very important that lines which ought to be level (the horizon
line, for example, standing figures) should be perfectly level, as it will
be very noticeable to the viewer and seem "wrong".

Horizontal lines tend to be seen as static, having weight, while verticals
convey more of a sense of movement and of confronting the viewer.
14th Jun 2009, 13:27   | tags:,,comments (3)

3. Elements of Design - Project 19, Multiple Points

Relationships within frames containing multiple points are not as

A group of objects implies a network of lines. In still-life photography one
of the basic skills is to be able to group objects in an attractive way. A
still-life image is essentially a collection of points within a frame.

In this project I have gathered together a collection of six objects from
around the house and photographed them as a still-life. Placing one object
at a time, building up to the final 6-object image. Each time an object is
placed a slightly different arrangement is required to achieve a
pleasing-to-the-eye composition. The relationship between the objects in ,
for example, the group of three picture and the relationship between the
four objects in the next image is different and needed to be arranged in a
different way. So too that of five objects and of six.

After the final still-life composition I have added an extra image showing
the "lines" that relate the objects and the basic shapes they form.
14th Jun 2009, 12:26   | tags:,,comments (0)

3. Elements of Design - Project 18, Relationship between points

When there are two isolated points within the frame the relationship is between the two points rather than with the frame itself, as in P17, a single point within a frame. The relationship between the two dominates the composition and sets up an implied line and direction in the picture.
Often one point will attract more attention than the other due to its (larger) size, that it’s nearer to the viewer or that it is closer to the centre of the image, as is the case in these examples of mine.

• The boy following his boat along the river bank clearly interacts with the yacht, there is tension between the two points. The yacht is the more dominant of these pair of points due to it being closer to the viewer and therefore larger in the frame than the boy.
• The lambs are also a clearly defined pair of points within an otherwise neutral frame. Though similar in size one is a little closer to the viewer and its ¾ stance shows more of it.
• The pair of windmills at Kinderdijk, NL appear to have a relationship due to there being little else of interest within the frame. The closer, and therefore larger, of the two balances its smaller, more distant, twin within the frame because of its position within that frame.
6th Jun 2009, 14:48   | tags:,,comments (0)

3. Elements of Design - Project 17, Positioning a point

There are, essentially, three classes of points:
Middle, off centre & edge.

Placing a point within the frame defines the dynamism of the image.

• Points placed in the middle of the frame will produce a “static” image, as in the picture of the old man shuffling along the alley in Barcelona.
• A slight sense of movement is created by moving the point to a place off centre within the frame. The swan is “moving” gently from left to right to occupy the empty space in front of it.
• Setting the point nearer to the edge produces a proportional increase in the feeling of movement within the frame. The stork is “moving” with more of a sense of speed from left to right than was the swan.
6th Jun 2009, 14:32   | tags:,,comments (1)

3. Elements of Design - Project 16, Defining a point.

An image can be dissected into its graphic components; Points, Lines, Shapes & Colour.
We see a photograph as a whole but we also need to be able to recognise these graphic components, asses how important they are to the whole and be able to use them effectively in composition.
Colour is such an important graphic component that it will be covered later in its own chapter. The images for this chapter, 3 - elements of design, have therefore been converted to Black & White so as to concentrate on the lines, shapes & points.
A point is the most fundamental design element. It should be small in the frame and in some way be in contrast with its surroundings.

Project 16, Defining a point
Clear examples of points would be:
* A single bird in a blue sky or green field.
* A boat on a large expanse of water.
* A single car in an almost empty car park.
* A child, at a distance, playing in the sand.
* An aircraft flying overhead.
The photos shown here are all examples of images with a clear point within the frame.
31st May 2009, 13:56   | tags:,,comments (1)

Assignment 1, the theory and practice of contrasts. (I)

The object of this first assignment was to collect eight pairs of images that express extremes of different qualities and one image that contained two such extremes in one picture.

Pair #1 "Black-White"
Nikon D80 with 18-135mm zoom lens fitted. Circular polariser.
The "Black" picture was slightly under exposed to give an even darker effect and cropped to have the graffiti in an intersection according to the "Golden Section" while the " White" picture was one stop over exposed to lighten it up and it also adheres to the "Rule of Thirds".

Pair #2 "Continuous-Intermittent"
Nikon D80 with 18-135mm zoom lens fitted. Circular polariser.
Both images were slightly under exposed to retain the sky detail. "Continuous" is cropped following the "Rule of Thirds". "Intermittent" shows more sky in the reflection than in the actual sky and it is chopped up by the architecture.

Pair #3 "Light-Dark"
Nikon D80 with 18-135mm & 10-20mm zoom lens fitted. Circular polariser.
The marble Greek statue against the white wall in the British museum lends itself to a "High key" treatment and the wide angle view over the Thames from Tower bridge was under exposed so as not to allow the camera's software to blow out the highlights in the illuminated buildings.

Pair #4 "Many-Few"
(Many) Nikon D80 with 18-135mm zoom lens fitted. Circular polariser.
(Few) FUJIFILM FinePix S7000
The (many) water drops in the foreground and the (many) Italian school children disturbing my early morning walk along the South Bank thrown out of focus in the background by use of a large aperture. The single child looking for a suitable seat in Paphos, Cyprus caught my eye and needed quick reactions.
25th May 2009, 11:10   | tags:,,comments (1)

Assignment #1, the theory and practice of contrasts (II)

Pair #5, "Diagonal-Rounded"
Nikon D80 with 18-135mm zoom lens fitted. Circular polariser.
The diagonal pattern of paving stones is emphasised by the area of square stones that has been cropped into the bottom right hand "Golden Section". The Mayor's office in London is a very "rounded" building and looks to me like it's about to fall over.

Pair #6, Large-Small"
Nikon D80 with 18-135mm zoom lens fitted. Circular polariser.
The "Real" Tower bridge and a much smaller version, both displayed using a shallow depth of field, one for "suggestion" using its recognisable shape against the sky thrown out of focus, the other "highlighted" by it being within the narrow band of sharp focus in a shallow depth of field shot.

Pair #7, "Pointed-Blunt"
Nikon D80 with 18-135mm zoom lens fitted. Circular polariser.
I would have liked to get the "Pointed" subject more prominent in the picture but I was in danger of being run over by a #19 bus outside London bridge station and a police officer actually asked me if I wasn't a terrorist.

Pair #8, "Transparent-Opaque"
Nikon D80 with 18-135mm zoom lens fitted. Circular polariser.
Fascinating glass building on the northern edge of Tower bridge was a dead cert for the "Transparent" image and I liked the weathered texture of the very much "Opaque" wooden wall. Again, both somewhat under exposed, each for its own reason.

Combined contrasts image
Sony Erikson K750i Cam-phone.
A quick "jump out & shoot" shot alongside the road, these tiny mushrooms dwarfed by my 44ton truck in the background.
25th May 2009, 10:48   | tags:,,comments (0)