Monday, September 29, 2008

Foreground foreplay.

I have been so busy lately that I have had little time to even think about what to write about this past week. So, I decided to not think about it at all, but instead, to review some of my recent images to come up with a good idea to expand on. It didn't take very long.

I would love to talk about using available foregrounds in order to make more interesting images. Foregrounds can help to lead a viewers eyes into an image as well as help to frame an image. I will freely admit that I usually am so excited when I stumble across an object to photograph that I simply center the subject and then shoot. This is not a bad thing, per see, but the resulting image is nice, and only nice. It usually lacks some "pop", or any character at all.

Using foreground in our images can add depth to a scene and even make the viewer feel as if they are standing in the image itself, taking in the view. We can relate moods to viewers as well, by simply using some sort of foreground in our images. For example, colorful trees framing in a lake might suggest that an image was shot in the fall, or a rock jetting out of the water of a running brook might suggest some level of danger. I like the shots of low tide, with a clam digger out on the mud flats, at the foreground or bottom of the images. That is a classic use of foreground, as the viewer knows that it is low tide somewhere by the ocean.

Using plants, trees, or other objects to frame a subject creates more for the viewer to look at, and allows for some "travel" for their eyes. The longer you can hold a viewer in one of your images, the better. The human eye travels around images in certain patterns of travel, and learning these patterns and then applying them (via) using foreground and framing techniques will only enhance your images. Some of the usual patterns of travel for our eyes are from left to right, from what is in focus to what is out of focus, from patterns to blur, contrast to no contrast, and so on. Think as the master painters used to, and you will start getting images with depth and with interesting stories planted within them.

The images in this blog are almost just snap shots. As I was photographing the lighthouse and the lobster boat, I started just centering them and clicking away. It was not until I later looked at the images in the camera that I noticed that they looked rather dull and uninteresting.

I quickly thought about ways to improve them. I took a look at what I had around me to work with. For the lighthouse image, I noticed the interesting trees and lawn that was right next door to the rock that I had been standing on.

The grass in front of the lobster boat was there all along, I was simply trying hard to make sure that it wasn't in any of my images. When I finally bent down to take a look at the boat through the grass and weeds, the finished shot appeared.

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