Photography is, and always will be, subjective by nature. What one person finds inspirational, may leave another totally untouched. This article showcases some very simple compositions and discusses the power of simplicity.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
My wife and I visited Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado last fall. While we were hiking out to climb on the sand dunes I was stopped dead in my tracks by the two people sitting on lawn chairs looking at the sand dunes. The awe that I was feeling looking at these incredible dunes was being demonstrated by them quietly sitting and taking in the visual wonder before their eyes. I wanted to include them in the image to create scale for the sand dunes, but also to capture the emotion created by their presence. Placing them in the corner of the photograph integrated them, but kept everything simple and balanced.
During a recent trip to New Zealand I got up a bit earlier in the morning and went out on the beach in Nelson. After taking some images of the beach and surf I spotted these bird footprints and a small piece of driftwood. This little scene reminded me that every day starts fresh and what happened yesterday is nothing more than a memory.
The image above is from that same morning in Nelson walking along the beach. I shot this photograph from a crouched position so I could get closer to the incoming waves and used a wide angle for the shot to give it added depth. I loved the feeling of distance, almost infinity, that the scene created in my mind.
The photograph above was taken on the dock in Glenorchy New Zealand. I purposely used a mid-length telephoto setting on my 10-100mm lens to compress the deck posts and bring the light post in towards the viewer. I also cut off the end of the dock on the left hand side to create a feeling of mystery as to where the dock leads. I loved the simple, repeating pattern created by the compressed dock posts. What also caught my eye was the monochromatic look of this scene which added to the simplicity.
In my mind the image above is all about the power of nature and a demonstration of cause and effect with the waves and driftwood on the beach. I loved the simple, raw power captured in the waves.
The photograph above is one that my wife captured during our visit to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland on the North Island of New Zealand. I really like how she framed the bubbles in the thermal pool with some angled rock.
Fog can help accentuate the simple outline of trees along a riverside, creating a range of emotions depending on the viewer. This image was captured along the shoreline of the Niagara River.
Sometimes simple swaths of colour in a scene can capture the eye and the imagination. This farm scene was taken en route to the town of Elora Ontario. I find the layered effect created by the bands of colour draw me into the image and help my eye exit to the top right behind the trees.
While this image above communicates a feeling of quiet solitude to me, it may not do that for other folks. There is always a risk with any photographic composition…as well as potential reward.
While driving back in the late afternoon from the lighthouse at Kaka Point on the South Island in New Zealand, the scene above grabbed me. I immediately pulled over to capture this image. I was drawn to the simple outline of the trees against the sky and the silhouette lighting. I left the gravel road in the foreground of the image to force the viewer’s eye towards the contrast of the trees and sky.
Allowing the power of simplicity to find its way into our photographs can open up new ways for us to see the world.
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