Nikon D750 f/7.1 1/400s 85mm 1800 ISO

Week 10 Storytelling: Hometown (Tell us the story of your hometown. It could be a famous landmark, something the town is known for, or even just your favorite place to relax.)

Image and music submitted in response to Dogwood Photography’s annual 52-week photography challenge.

June brings to mind the summer between the fifth and six grades when a family move felt like an earthquake…an unexpected event that shattered my pre-adolescent footing.

Life seems to be filled with those moments…those moments when the phone or doorbell rings and in the summoned steps between here and then we are, unknowing, moving towards a voice…a presence that messages the unimagined without a return to the life we embraced. These life changing moments occur throughout our lives…some of them are, in hindsight, minor losses that resolve through a period of resistance, anger, tears, and sleep. Then, there are those losses and deaths that first numb us and then leave us so shaken that our life view… our life scape is forever altered…

I found that the resistance to those moments has the potential to open doors to new understandings that will, in time, bring an acceptance to or intensify the various elements of grief and loss. These sacred journeys also have the potential to inspire creative endeavor that gives voice to loss that is heard and felt by others and begins to ease an unimagined loneliness.

Photographers have written about the healing that rises from the creation of their images. This art form does invite us to see life through different perspectives, to open our eyes to the magic of light and shadow, to engage in mindful walking, and yes, to connect with nature and/or people.

My review of the posts made during last June was an exploration of opening myself to seeing the mundane anew, to exploring high-angle photography, and to introducing my self to the process of contemplative photography.


high-angle photography

contemplative photography

Why do you photograph, paint, draw, write, cook, knit…create?

For this week’s photo study, I decided to continue with Ian’s creative composition posts as they seem to be an ideal way to revisit basic elements of composition and explore how to incorporate them into street photography.  He begins the second positing with noting the importance of slowing down with intentional “seeing” as a foundation to finding the ideal background and good light and then deciding to or not to press the shutter.

via Creative Composition in Street Photography – Part Two

Photography is not what’s important. It’s seeing.
The camera, film, even pictures, are not important.
~Algimantas Kezys (cited: H Zehr, The Little Book of Contemplative Photography)

Setting the Stage, Timing the Steps (fishing)  Ian writes, “The key concept for this approach is to establish the static elements in your frame first (i.e. background and light), then patiently work to add interesting dynamic elements by moving close and far, exploring various angles, adjusting the camera’s settings, and finally with patience waiting for the person who fits into your story to walk on your stage.


Frame within a Frame  Create a frame within the image through the use of doorways, windows, window displays, trees, or any object that creates a frame around your subject.


Leading Lines  Drawing the viewer’s eye is an important compositional element  especially when lines converge toward each other and draw the eye to the subject.  I found that the gaze of both the man and the dog create an implied line as well as invite a story.


Juxtaposition  Ian describes juxtaposition is where two adjacent objects appear to contrast with each other, as within the image below.   The person in the foreground leans to the left opening us to the elderly man in the midground who is leading left.  The Starbucks coffee cup in the center adds a social justice element as well as a contrast to both men.


Perspective – create high-angle images by standing on stairs, platforms, balconies or low-angle photos by  getting close to the ground and shooting upwards.


Scale  Images where the subject is dwarfed by the environment seems to be a way of introducing feeling into the image and drawing the eye to the person within the frame.


Color  Color intermixed with light, shadows, and silhouettes have the potential to create unique photographs that nudge images away from the photojournalism and documentary genre.


Reflections  Entire stories can be created through the layers that are created when photographing through glass.


Light and Shadows  Using your exposure compensation to drop the exposure on the frame (which protects the highlights while creating wonderful deep shadows) will create amazing interactions of shadows, light, and silhouettes.


The Candid Frame  Within “Less than Obvious”, Ibarionex encourages us to open ourselves to “seeing” the world’s amazing detail and “being” intentional before we press the shutter.

I hope you find Ian’s educational blog and the Candid Frame to be an invaluable sources of information as well as doorways to a world of creative possibilities.  I’m looking forward to seeing your creative work as well as reading your throughs about the use of basic composition elements into street photograph.  Let’s tag with #aphotostudy.  Until next week…

This week’s photo study was motivated by Ted Forbes’ (The Art of Photography) photo assignment that explored high-angle photography.

High-angle photography is created when the photographer is situated above her subject(s)–upper floors of a buildings, at the top of stairs, up on a ladder, holding the camera above the head–and the camera is focused downwards. It is often used for the group shot as it is the best way to include everyone in an image and brings about a dynamic element not found in an eye-level image.

Ricoh GX100  f/2.5   1/143s   5.1m   80 ISO

It can also be use for a standard portrait where the subject’s eye are looking up at the camera; yet, it has the potential to have a person appear small, vulnerable, weak, subservient, confused, or childlike.

Nikon D750   f/4.1   1/500s   46mm   100 ISO

A sense of solitude and isolation can be evoked when photographing from the vantage point of looking down from the upper floors of a building. It also has the potential to bring about a sense of freedom, transcendence, and omniscience as you, the viewer, are invited to be see the whole picture. Also from this perspective, people’s faces and expressions are less likely to be part of the image and, because they are less likely to be aware of your camera, poses and actions will be more natural.

Ricoh GX100   f/3.9   1/125s   10.5m   80 ISO

When compositing from buildings, interesting images are created through the use of lines, objects, and patience to wait until someone walks into your canvas.

Ricoh GX100   f/4.1   1/200   5.1m    80 ISO

I found that street photography from “high above it all” is less likely to stir up the same degree of anxiety that I experience with eye-level photography.  Would love to see your images taken from this perspective and to read about your experiences.  Let’s tag wit #aphotostudy.

I hope you enjoy these amazing examples of high-angle photographs.