Monday, August 18, 2014

Land versus sky

click photo to enlarge
When I was starting out in photography over four decades ago I remember reading a number of "rules" - the dos and donts of good picture making. As I progressed and matured I came to see them as guides rather than rules and each as something that could be ignored if the circumstances warranted it. One such rule concerned the balance between land and sky. Never, it was said, have the horizon in the middle of your photograph giving equal weight to sky and land because if you do the viewer will not know where you wish to place your interest and emphasis - or words to that effect. It's not a bad piece of advice, and there is some truth in the guidance. However, there have been times when I have done just that because my compositional judgement said it was the best solution.

An extension of this rule was that you should split your composition 1/3 to 2/3. If the land was to be 2/3 then the sky would be 1/3 and vice versa. Again, it isn't a bad rule because it often looks "right". However, there are times when it looks wrong. These days I compose largely intuitively but every now and then I pause and think about the land/sky split and what the proportions should be. In the shot above the enormity and the interest of the Lincolnshire sky was accentuated by making it more than 1/3 of the composition. Moreover, the spire of Walcot church (see previous post), a structure that is big when you are nearby, is reduced to its proper insignificance when seen in the context of a broad landscape.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 38mm (57mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/1000 sec
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On