Thursday, October 22, 2009

Project 20

For this and the next few projects I copied the general requirements into my notebook and for the last couple of weeks have been taking photos that emphasize lines, horizontal, vertical, diagonal, and curved.  I took advantage of a trip to the countryside as well as my usual urban environment to create the images. For every image I set out to really emphasize the linear aspect of the subject - I wanted the photos to shout vertical, horizontal, diagonal, or curved.  To my surprise the horizontal and vertical lines gave me the biggest challenge.  Lines in these orientations exist everywhere, the problem is that they are rarely pure lines, they are normally cluttered with other shapes.  Alternatively they are so banal in their existence that it is not possible to make an interesting composition  with them.  As an example here are two horizontal line compositions that meet the brief but make uninspiring images:

The result was a longer search than expected and use of very different subjects.  The first image is a series of hedges lined up outside the Bavarian state museum.  In this image I very deliberately limited the framing to the hedges, emphasizing the regularity of the shapes.

5D2, 40mm, f/11, 1/100, ISO 100

The hedges surrounded a very unusual installation, particularly juxtaposed with the historical architecture of the museum

My next horizontal line took advantage of a remarkably clear day during my trip home to the UK.  As a city dweller I rarely see the horizon, a walk took me past this gently rising hill covered in a luxuriant green cover of clover.  The sun was ideally positioned and just enough clouds dotted the sky to create a striking image.  The downside of this image is that the clouds do take attention from the horizon line and so from a pure line point of view this is flawed

50D, 18mm, f/2.8, I 1/500, SO 100

Back in Munich, I ordered a smaller camera than my usual SLR to have as a constant companion.  Whilst testing the new Canon G11 I too the following photo out my home office window.  Focus is on the blinds, but the blurred background and rain drops on the window add mood to the image.  This was also one of the few images of horizontal lines that I took in portrait, the subject was driving the framing

G11, 22mm, f/4.5, 1/50, ISO 100

My final image is from the cities underground railway system.  This photo has several different horizontal lines, structural such as the platform edge, decorative such as the station name and orange stripe, and a line made by a sequence of objects here provided by the 5 seats bolted to the wall.

5D2, 50mm, f/2.8, 1/125, ISO 800

The vertical line compositions presented similar problems, although I did find it easier to isolate the lines.  The first image is the entrance to the Neue Piankothek art museum.  The two massive stone slabs flanking the door provide a formidable vertical presence in the image.  The strong light coming through the windows has emphasized the shadows on the vertical pillars strengthening the vertical orientation of the image

5D2, 84mm, f/4, 1/25, ISO 800

Outside the museum was a flagpole standing in front of a small group of trees. This is a very simple composition, but works through the contrast of the highly linear pole and more or less randomly grouped leaves.  Keeping the pole upright and avoiding any convergence required a shift to a telephoto lens rather than my usual mid-range zoom

5D2, 400mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO 200

Back in the UK I spotted a ripe corn field, with a clouded sky background.  Horizontal shots of the field produced some pleasing images with strong colour, but the emphasis was more horizontal than vertical

To work this as a vertical line shot I needed to get down low and shoot up the stalks of corn.  I was not able to use the viewfinder for this shots, I simply leaned down pointed the camera up a took shots until I had one that worked in the review screen.  One other thing I needed to do was to use a Polarizing filter to cut the glare from the sky and deepen the blue

40D, 17mm, f/4, 1/800, ISO 100

My final selection is a gate post, a somewhat cluttered image, but one where I tried to place the post at the golden section and compose according to classic rules.

40D, 42mm, f/2.8, 1/80, ISO 100

Whilst selecting the vertical compositions I rejected a number of images that met part of the brief or simply did not work as well as others.  I wanted one natural object, my first thought were tree trunks

I also found a few architectural objects that strongly emphasized verticality - the first was too bland in my view:

The next image has a strong vertical element, but the diagonal convergence of the perspective confuses the message

Finally I returned to the multicolored Brandhorst museum, I simply adore this building, it is simply too complex to present the simple message of "vertical"

No comments:

Post a Comment