Visual Balance

Posted on November 12, 2013

This was taken at the Embarcadero in San Francisco. It’s a simple composition but that’s why I feel it works so well, less is indeed more!

Size comparisons are always a great compositional theme but there’s always a bit of a balancing act to get the composition to work. When including a human figure in a environment composition, you have to account for the unusual balance that happens as figures always grab so much of the viewers attention. To counter that you need to have something with a lot of visual weight to balance the frame. In this case I used a very large tree that takes up almost half the frame. The figure’s gaze into the branches also helps move the viewers attention away from the main focal point and let the viewer wander around the frame. So with just a couple of elements I created something a little interesting.

SONY, SLT-A77V, 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM
1/250, f/4, ISO 200

Light, Tone and Gesture

Posted on November 11, 2013

As I was walking thru the dinning alley across the street from work, I saw the light coming thru the arbor that framed this little outdoor restaurant. It just happened that the waiter was taking a little break so I snapped a photo and just kept walking. I don’t even know if he realized I took his picture but knew I had a keeper.

This images has the three things I always look for in a successful composition; light, tone and gesture. I really like all of the directional light shapes that bring the viewers eye from the right side of the frame to the figure. It’s a really strong series of lines that could overwhelm the composition but it’s countered by the towel hanging from the waiter’s belt. It’s subtle but a really powerful compositional element. It wouldn’t have been the same composition without it.

SONY, SLT-A77V, 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM
1/350, f/5.6, ISO 100

No Turns

Posted on November 8, 2013

On the corner of Kearny and Market streets in downtown San Francisco stands Lotta’s Fountain. The cast iron fountain served as a meeting point during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire aftermath. Today it serves as a memorial to all who died in that disaster. Commemorations of the earthquake, including a dwindling pool of survivors, are held every year at 5:12 a.m. on April 18. The rest of the year it just fades into the background.

It was a beautiful foggy morning when I took this. The buildings in the background seem to float in the fog while the fountain and the figures created and wonderful group of silhouettes in the foreground. You could read into this some meaning about how the latest generation ignores the past but it really was such a great San Francisco moment, I’m glad to have captured it and leave it at that.

SONY, SLT-A77V, 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM
1/250, f/6.7, ISO 100

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