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Composition High Versus Low: You Keep Shooting with Bryan Peterson

September 23, 2019


I want to share with you a very simple composition tip here, that I hope will have some use in your own photographic pursuits. Notice what we have before us, we’ve got beautiful rows of blooming tulips, some wonderful clouds in the distance and a proverbial lone farmhouse at the end of those rows and of course, the dyke lined with trees off to the right. What’s the tip? It’s real simple, you want to create the illusion that these rows of tulips go on forever. How do you do that? Well, you don’t do this… Notice what I’ve done here, the rows in this composition clearly come to an end. You might argue and say, “I want to show the dyke.” Why is the dyke important? It really adds nothing to the photograph. You have a dyke on the right and people know you’re in Holland, people probably know that there’s dykes here and realistically, again, it adds nothing to the photograph. But it makes it very obvious that those rows of tulips aren’t very long after all. This is what I would do, I’m going to go in tight, like so and subsequently also show a little bit more sky. The vast landscape now becomes just that, it’s somewhat vast and goes on forever. We don’t have an idea of when those rows actually stop. That’s the beautiful thing about pattern, when you don’t show the pattern coming to a close the brain thinks that that goes on forever. That’s the illusion you want to create. While we’re on the subject of illusions let’s also consider something else. Let’s go in tighter, push that horizon line near the top Take a look at that shot. Cut the horizon because interest in all those tulips is greatest below the horizon. 2/3 tulips, 1/3 farmhouse and sky. Lens choice, Nikkor 18-300mm. That last shot was taken in about 150, counting the crop factor with the Nikon D500. Wide angle once again, let’s really magnify the vast open space of the Holland sky. In this case I’m going to go about 35mm. Take a look at that photograph. Once again, lots of sky, some cloud and at the bottom of the frame we have that colorful anchor. In this case those fields of tulips. Notice I have not included the ends of those rows in the overall composition. That’s key. So a couple of tips that I hope you will find useful and that you then can in-turn apply these to your own photographic pursuits. Until next time this is Bryan Peterson saying You Keep Shooting.

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