Monday, August 17, 2015

The essential compositional element

click photo to enlarge
Photographic compositions can be constructed in many ways, some orthodox and some not so usual. Down the years I have come to realise that some compositions depend on a single element to complete it or to connect the disparate parts. It can be a leaf, a reflected figure, an empty can, or a tiny group of people whose compositional significance outweighs their size.

On a recent walk by the River Witham in Boston, Lincolnshire, I took a couple of photographs of some old hulks, wooden boats of early twentieth century vintage that have been left to rot on the river banks, their mud-covered forms inundated daily by the tides and exposed at low water. I couldn't compose a satisfactory photograph of the complete boat that features in today's photograph but I liked the bow detail and thought that, together with the gull, it would make a composition. But, the space between the two elements was too great and, to my mind, the whole did not bind together satisfactorily. However, when I changed my position the gull's footprints leading to its position at the water's edge were more strongly emphasised and they created an essential element that, for me, made the composition work much better.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 52mm (104mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/800 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3
Image Stabilisation: On