Fitting the frame to the subject
For this subject I chose a charming, run-down old Japanese summer house set in the beautiful Japanese Botanical Gardens in Newstead Abbey, Nottingham.
Four images were shot for this exercise and a further five images of possible crops of the first image were then added. The equipment I used was a Nikon D300 in conjunction with a Nikkor 18-200mm lens, f/3.5. It was a sunny day, however, I deliberately used a shady white balance to slightly alter the hue of the yellow in the scene adding some warmth to the image; the first shots seemed too cold.
This was the image I used as the base for the five crops in the latter half of this exercise and the result of the first request: to shoot the first image in a conventional way with little thought on how the shot should be composed. Subconsciously I must have put a little thought into it as the composition is actually reasonable (thanks to the tree). Had it not been for the gnarly tree on the far right of the image, I would say that this image would have lacked any emotion or energy that you would normally get from conscientious planning of the composition. After reading the exercise objective, I assumed that the first image would be the least interesting and the most generic of all the images; after shooting, I found this not to be the case. Your results can be very different, depending on the subject or any other circumstances.
This image had to be cropped to achieve the tightest frame possible. Although this image is concise in the way that there are no distractions from the subject, it holds a very insipid composition; this is simply a photograph of a Japanese summer house.
I really like the simplicity of this image and the tension is held purely responsible by the healthy composition. The contrast of the shadows and highlights make the image powerful and the deep shadow adds a sense of mystery. As there is contrast in the shades and colours, there is also distinction between the straight lines and the curved; the circles and the rectangles. These two types of contrast in this image work extremely well in creating a strong, profound image.
The final image was shot with the landscape and surroundings in mind. I composed the image with four important elements strategically placed within the frame: the subject, the horizon, the large tree to the right and the path. All of these elements have worked together to create a flowing energy and a good focal point with lead-in lines. Well balanced and serene.
‘Crop 1’ is much the same as image 1 and not much elaboration needed. Slightly more tightly framed than the former; cutting out the space around the edges has created more focus. This image is very conventional.
The second crop is reasonably composed, very average but not offensive. The elimination of the tree has lessened its interest some-what.
Not too dissimilar from ‘Crop 1’. Eradicating the left edge of the summer house has made this image less generic than ‘Crop 1’ putting more focus on the tree and making this my favourite of all the crops.
I decided to add a crop in a really unusual place to substantiate the fact that without important elements in an image, you could consequently have an unsatisfactory image.
Much like ‘Crop 4’, I wanted to demonstrate that you need certain elements in an image to make it aesthetically pleasing.
I have learned in this exercise that sometimes conventional, generic shots often lack aesthetics. It can depend on what you are shooting, what you are trying to convey, how you position the elements in the viewfinder and, subjectively, how you react to the image as an individual. I have also learned that often you can make a completely contrasting photograph from the same scene by concentrating on the smaller details. In my opinion, image number four is the best image in terms of composition because it is well balanced and using the ‘rule-of-thirds’ has clearly given this image some integrity.