Category Archives: Part 2

Elements of Design

Exercise – Rhythms and Patterns

Repetition has a peculiar but generally very strong appeal, particularly when it is unfamiliar to the viewer. There is some connection here with one of the basic pleasures in music: there is a visual beat to pictures containing a repetitive theme, just as there is a musical beat. Visually, repetition comes across in two ways: as rhythm and as pattern. The difference between them is that rhythm is to do with movement across a picture (or more properly, the movement of the eye through a picture) while pattern is essentially static, and has to do with area. In a more technical way, you could think of these as dynamic repetition and spatial repetition.

• The Art Of Photography  (OCA course book), Part 2, Rhythm and Pattern, p.95

Requirement:

Produce at least two photographs, one conveying rhythm, the other pattern. In rhythm there needs to be a repetitive sequence in the picture, so that the eye follows a particular direction. In the pattern image, there should be no boundaries to the pattern, that is, it should fill the frame.

Rhythm

ISO450, 45mm, f/5.6, 1/4000sec - prayer flags, Boudhanath, Kathmandu

ISO450, 45mm, f/5.6, 1/4000sec – Prayer flags – Boudhanath, Kathmandu

ISO1600, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/60sec - Festival - Patan Durbar, Kathmandu

ISO1600, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/60sec – Festival – Patan Durbar, Kathmandu

Pattern

ISO1250, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/400sec - Soda bottles - Chapagaun, Kathmandu

ISO1250, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/400sec – Soda bottles – Chapagaun, Kathmandu

ISO1600, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/50sec - Jumla beans

ISO1600, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/50sec – Jumla beans

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Rectangles & Circles

Rectangles – In geometric terms, these are less simple than a triangle, having four side and corners, but in a photograph they can seem more basic simply because they relate to the shape of the picture frame. When a rectangle in the scene or subject fits within the frame very closely it almost disappears from the attention.Rectangles have a special place in an art form that has rectangular images as the end-result. The simplest way of dividing the frame is horizontally and vertically as this automatically creates rectangles.

CirclesIf triangles and rectangles were relatively easy to find, circles are much less so, and depend to a great extent on real circular objects. This limits their usefulness in photography. Nevertheless, a circular shape, when you can find it, is the tightest, most compact and enclosing of any. In other words, it imposes even more structure on the image than would a triangle or a rectangle.

• The Art Of Photography  (OCA course book), Part 2, Shapes – Rectangles & Circles, p.93-94

Whilst not a required exercise, there is a requirement to look for photographs that make bold use of rectangle and circles, which I have chosen to do from within my own photo collection.

Rectangles:

ISO160, 55mm, f/8, 1/125sec

ISO160, 55mm, f/8, 1/125sec – Apartment block, Bangkok

ISO1000, 180mm, f/5.6, 1/2000 - London Bus

ISO1000, 180mm, f/5.6, 1/2000 – London Bus

ISO1000, 105mm, f5.6, 1/250sec - mirror reflection

ISO1000, 105mm, f5.6, 1/250sec – Mirror reflection, Kathmandu

ISOISO800, 18mm, f/6.3, 1/30sec - Buddhist Temple, Hue, Vietnam

ISOISO800, 18mm, f/6.3, 1/30sec – Buddhist temple, Hue, Vietnam

Circles:

ISO3200, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/250sec - Child stool and candle

ISO3200, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/250sec – Child stool and candle

ISO400, 34mm, f/4.2, 1/125sec - Cannondale SL5 MTB

ISO400, 34mm, f/4.2, 1/125sec – Cannondale SL5 MTB

ISO320, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/2000 - Moondance Cafe signage, Pokhara, Nepal

ISO320, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/2000 – Moondance Cafe signage, Pokhara, Nepal

ISO2000, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/2000sec - Home-made pie :-)

ISO2000, 50mm, f/1.8, 1/2000sec – Home-made pie 🙂

I found that it was easier to find or spot images containing circular subjects or objects than rectangular ones. I guess that’s because circular shapes appeared more immediately obvious than rectangular, which are such a common structure as to go almost unnoticed generally speaking.

Exercise – Real and Implied Triangles

Graphically triangles occur more frequently than any other shape, and they are very useable in design. In construction they are the simplest shape of all, and this has much to do with their abundance. In the same way lines have certain associations, so do specific shapes – or rather, they can associations in some kinds of picture – and triangles, because they have at least two diagonals, tend to create a sensation of activity and dynamism.

• The Art Of Photography  (OCA course book), Part 2, Shapes – Triangles, p.88

Requirement:

Produce two sets of triangular compositions, one using “real” triangles, the other using “implied” triangles.

Part 1 – Real:

  • a) Find a subject which is itself triangular
  • b) Make a triangle by perspective converging towards the top of the frame
  • c) Make an inverted triangle also by perspective, converging towards the bottom of the frame

Part 2 – Implied

  • a) Make a still-life arrangement of five or six objects to produce a triangle with the apex at the top.
  • b) Make a still-life arrangement of five or six objects to produce a triangle with the apex at the bottom.
  • c) Arrange three people in a group picture in such a way that either their faces or lines of their bodies makes a triangle.

Part 1

a) Triangle section of bicycle frame.

ISO400, 105mm, f/7.1, 1/500sec - Cannondale SL5

ISO400, 105mm, f/7.1, 1/500sec – Cannondale SL5 MTB

b) Triangle by perspective, converging at the top

ISO400, 18mm, f/5.6, 1/2500sec

ISO400, 18mm, f/5.6, 1/2500sec – Hindu temple at Patan, Kathmandu

c) Triangle by perspective, converging at the bottom

ISO1250, 50mm, f/8, 1/30sec

ISO1250, 50mm, f/8, 1/30sec

I found it difficult to create something suitable for this particular image. I just could not find something that gave the required perspective in which the implied triangle’s apex converged at the bottom until a unique perspective and a willing subject helped point the way.

Part 2

a) Still-life arrangement of five or six objects in a triangle, with apex at top

ISO400, 62mm, f/5.6, 1/30sec

ISO400, 62mm, f/5.6, 1/30sec – Indian ocean sea shells

b) Still-life arrangement of five or six objects in a traingle, with apex at bottom

ISO450, 58mm, f/5.6, 1/30sec

ISO450, 58mm, f/5.6, 1/30sec – camera parts

I think I may have taken this too literally, simply arranging found objects as apparently required. I’m not sure if some kind of still-life arrangement would have been better, but would probably have taken quite some time to arrange suitably.

c) Three people arranged to form a triangle

>>>photo to be inserted<<<

Exercise – Implied Lines

Two things to bear in mind are that the eyes follow a line, and that it also tries to construct a line from appropriate suggestions as clear line provides a natural path for the eye, which moves along it. The more active the line, the stronger the encouragement for the eye to follow it, hence diagonals and curves work better in this way than verticals and horizontals.

• The Art Of Photography  (OCA course book), Part 2, Using Lines In Composition, p.81

Requirements:

Part 1: Look at the two provided photographs and find the implied lines by way of indications or arrows.

Part 2: Select three already taken photographs and find the implied lines in each.

Part 3: Take two new photographs that each contain either an eye line or the extension of a line or lines that point.

 

Part 1

Image 1

Pt2E6-02

In this image the strongest implied lines are suggested by the postures of both the man and the bull. The flow of his cape, and the two principal colours in it also give rise to more implied lines, whose direction seems to flow or point inwards to the centre of the image. The implied line suggested by the bull is mostly due to it’s apparent motion or direction of travel, again to the centre of the image.

Image 2

Pt2E6-01

In this image, the most obvious implied lines are those suggested by the direction in which the man appears to be moving, the eye line of both of the horses (with that being so especially for the horse in the foreground) closest to the man, as well as that of the apparent angle at which the horses appear to be standing or moving at. The strongest line for me is that of the horses postures, as it dominates the image, and is the immediate focus of the eye when first seen. I think the implied lines given by all three subjects makes for a very compact image, and helps to focus attention on the very dynamic quality of the image as a whole.

 

Part 2

Photo 1

ISO400, 98mm, f/5.6, 1/50sec Glass bottles embedded in wall

ISO400, 98mm, f/5.6, 1/50sec
Glass bottles embedded in wall

In this photo the alignment of the bottles gives rise to very many combinations of implied lines, with not all being indicated. The grouping of the bottles as a whole also suggest some directionality, as in pointing upwards.

 

Photo 2

ISO640, 105mm, f/11, 1/320sec
Boats on Fewa Lake.
Pokhara, Nepal

The implied lines in this photo are much simpler, and maybe not as clear, certainly not as strong as in the previous photo.  The line up of the thin poles leading into the lake is principal to the image as a whole, but the boat in the background suggests movement in a certain direction, whether it is actually doing so or not.

 

Photo 3

ISO400, 26mm, f/5.6, 1/640sec A procession of women celebrating a local festival

ISO400, 26mm, f/5.6, 1/640sec
A procession of women celebrating a local festival.
Chapagaun, Kathmandu, Nepal

The strongest element of the implied lines in this photo is chiefly one of direction. The women all face the same direction, though their slow movement forward may not be so apparent.

 

Part 3

Photo 1

ISO800, 58mm, f/5, 1/4000sec Signpost to the world Kakani, Nepal

ISO800, 58mm, f/5, 1/4000sec
Signpost to the world
Kakani, Nepal

The implied lines are are clear as the the arrows of direction. It is natural to extend ones gaze to follow the indications into the distance, especially when presented with a wider view.

 

Photo 2

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/1250 Microwave relay mast, Jhamsikhel, Kathmandu, Nepal

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/1250
Microwave relay mast.
Jhamsikhel, Kathmandu, Nepal

Unless you knew what this is, one might not notice or recognise the implied lines in this image, certainly not as readily as in the previous photo. Here the wire mesh dishes of a microwave relay mast imply direction, pointing to where signals are being sent or received from.

 

It took me a while to get the point of the exercise, despite it being readily described. Maybe I somehow lack the ability to see implied lines in photos, they are not always apparent to me. At least one thing it has taught me is to probe deeper into an image for them, especially when need requires.

 

Exercise – Curves

Curves, like diagonals, have a sense of movement and direction, and is some ways can be considered a kind of diagonal line. Because they pull the eye in, they are useful in planned composition. Curves have associations of smoothness, grace and elegance, and so add these feelings to an image.

• The Art Of Photography  (OCA course book), Part 2, Curves, p.80

Requirement: Look for and take photographs containing curves that emphasise movement or direction – (4 photographs)

Photo 1

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/400sec

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/400sec
Wind toy

I think the curves in this composed photograph give a sense of movement. It may not be obvious in this view that is part of a wind-driven toy, but the whole structure of it is meant to impart movement.

Photo 2

ISO125, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/30sec
The Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

I like the simple and obviously functional curvature of this building.

Photo 3

ISO1600, 80mm, f/5.3, 1/20sec
Concrete and brick sculpture, Benjasiri Park, Bangkok, Thailand

A section of a sculpted structure, that in whole formed two simple ovals.

Photo 4

ISO200, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/125sec Fern, Shivapuri Forest, Kathmandu, Nepal

ISO200, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/125sec
Fern, Shivapuri Forest, Kathmandu, Nepal

The gentle organic curves of these fern leaves suggests the constant direction of their typically rapid growth.

Exercise – Diagonals

“Diagonal lines are rather easier to create in a photograph, as they depend mainly on viewpoint. Whereas many scenes contain real horizontals and verticals – streets and buildings, for instance – there are few real diagonals, staircases are one of only a few instances. the camera angle and perspective, however, make dials common in photographs.”

• The Art Of Photography  (OCA course book), Part 2, Diagonals, p.78

Requirement: 4 photographs photographs showing strong diagonals

Photo 1

ISO200, 98mm, f/10, 1/800sec

ISO200, 98mm, f/10, 1/800sec
Cornerstone section of Buddhist stupa

Photo 2

ISO100, 25mm, f/4, 1/500sec

ISO100, 25mm, f/4, 1/500sec
Centrepoint Thung Lo Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

Photo 3

ISO100, 40mm, f/4.5, 1/500sec

ISO100, 40mm, f/4.5, 1/500sec
Wooden decking around swimming pool

Photo 4

ISO100, 105mm, f/11, 1/160sec

ISO100, 105mm, f/11, 1/160sec
Office building, Bangkok, Thailand

Exercise – Horizontal and Vertical Lines

“Lines in photography are usually the edges of things, and the quality that makes them stand out is, more often than not, contrast. In other words, the edge of something bright against a dark background, or vice versa, is how lines normally appear to our eyes. Lines can occur by implication, with our imagination making the connection between points.”

• The Art Of Photography, Part 2, Lines, p.74

For this exercise, 8 photographs showing examples of lines, both horizontal and vertical. The aim of the exercise is to “find some of the differnet ways in which horizontal and vertical lines appear to the eye and camera”

Horizontal Lines

Photo 1

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/160sec

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/160sec

This photo shows flattened bamboo poles that were being used in the wall of a house under construction to provide a kind of insulation. I zoomed in on a small section of it.

 

Photo 2

ISO640, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/30sec

ISO640, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/30sec

At the same property as above, but a part of the construction that was being completed using bricks. I stood quite close to the wall, but at the same time zoomed in.

 

Photo 3

ISO800, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/320sec

ISO800, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/320sec

This house was turning out to be a treasure trove of horizontal lines. This image is of ceiling height planking. Again I choose to zoom in to try and get a sense of the different textures and colours of the wood grain.

 

Photo 4

ISO200, 105mm, f/8, 1/40sec

ISO200, 105mm, f/8, 1/40sec

Walking around the neighbourhood I came across a steep set of brick steps that had strong highlights across the flat of each step. I zoomed in strengthen the effect.

 

Vertical

Photo 1

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/800sec

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/800sec

The Kathmandu Valley is home to a very large number of earthen brick factories. It’s very common to come across piles of neatly laid bricks, awaiting delivery. I walked up faily close to a pile for this image. I think if I had kept to a wider view then a stronger or clearer vertical line effect may have resulted.

 

Photo 2

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/320sec

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/320sec

This is a painted concrete column attached to a part of my house. The alternating light and shadowed edges of the physical relief form the vertical lines. Another zoomed in photograph for effect.

 

Photo 3

ISO400, 50mm, f/5, 1/80sec

ISO400, 50mm, f/5, 1/80sec

This was one image in which the lines were not at first obvious to the eye, but became much more so when viewed through the confines of the camera frame. It’s a knotted weave rug. It’s quite colourful and textured., I like it.

 

Photo 4

ISO1600, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/15sec

ISO1600, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/15sec

This may have been the laziest photo of all to take. Sitting on my sofa on night, I noticed the vertically arrayed folds of a curtain and took the shot. I didn’t even have to put my beer down!

 

I think the most successful of the photos, as seen by the camera, is the 4th horizontal photo. Within the confines of the frame  one’s eye is drawn the the long bright reflective highlights of the edges of the brick steps. But the most successful as the eye sees it, for me, was the rows of bricks. The image of the bricks is a zoomed in view of a much larger wall of loosely piled bricks, and upon first observing I almost immediately saw the rows and column of their arrangement. i didm not have to seek out this pattern, as in say any of the other images.

The least successful is probably the 2nd horizontal image. Whilst the horizontal lines are continuous and unbroken, the effect is somewhat lessened by the short discontinuous vertical lines created by the end-layed bricks.

I found that I had to actively seek out examples of both and horizontal lines as they were not always immediately obvious. I guess that may not say much for my powers of observation. I think I also took the requirements too literally in looking for definite examples, usually by zooming close-in on the details of the subject to show the required qualities.