Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A compositional echo

click photo to enlarge
When it comes to photography I sometimes don't know what I'm doing. By that I don't mean that I lose my faculties, or cease to be sentient. No, I mean that I'm not fully aware of what my conscious and unconscious mind is accomplishing.

Take yesterday for example. My wife and I were walking past some old farm buildings that I've stopped and looked at every time we've walked that way. Each time I've framed the group with my camera, and occasionally taken a shot. But, the outcome has never proved to be what I want; it's never the composition that I think is somewhere within the buildings. Well, I stopped again, framed a shot, didn't even press the shutter, and walked on saying, "I still can't see that shot." But then, as we passed the last of the buildings, a wooden structure patched with corrugated metal sheets, I stopped and saw a couple of images. They weren't of the whole ensemble, but were details. The photograph above is the best one of the two I took.

It was only when I got the image back on the computer and cropped it to square - something that had been my original intention - that I realised what I'd done. My photograph of the detail of the shed was yesterday's composition, "Snow, Icicles and Frost" turned anti-clockwise through 90 degrees. It even has the "icicles" though this time it's the pointed shapes (damp?) in the corrugation. Somewhere in my subconscious there is clearly a liking for semi-abstract compositions that have (often three) parallel elements. I've been vaguely aware of that over the years: look at my semi-abstract "Best ofs" and you'll see what I mean. What I wasn't conscious of was the extent to which I could see and photograph the same composition within two very different subjects.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 58mm (116mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/80
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On