Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Part 1 The Frame; Project: Frame shapes and sizes

Theories of frame division
I have read about the size and shapes of frames and been introduced to the idea of the Golden Section (a traditional rectangle of pleasing proportions 144:89) and the theory of Fibonacci divisions. The maths of these theories escaped me and the explanation in The  Photographers Eye was sketchy but I was previously aware of the use of the division of the sides of the frame into 3 and the use of the intersections of these thirds to place points, lines, objects etc to make pleasing compositions. I was also aware that like all aids to composition, they should be used selectively and in relation to the subject matter and not as a 'rule' for composition which would result in formulaic compositions.

Exercise: Vertical and Horizontal Frames
Objective: To take a series of photographs using vertical format and then repeat each frame in a horizontal format. It should be possible to achieve some good compositions using the vertical format and in some cases, a good result may be achieved using both formats.

I went to the village of Selborne, walking through the village and into the churchyard. My camera was set in programme mode and although I intended to use a fixed focal length lens to discipline myself to frame images consistently, it soon became apparent that because of the narrow working space in the village street, I would need the wide angle end of a zoom lens. Shown below are two 'contact' sheets from both parts of the exercise.



I have selected  three subjects which have worked reasonably well in both formats and shown them below.

The Plestor Green from the churchyard: These two vertical images made pleasing compositions. The second was rather spoiled by the  the yew branch at the top but the third and forth, horizonal format from the gate are an improvement.

4229: 1/500s f5.6 62mm

4232: 1/250s f8 50mm

4228: 1/500s f5.6 62mm

4233: 1/200s f7.1 50mm

Plestor Green 2: This alternative view of the green using the tree as a dominant feature seems to work well in both alignments too.

 4227: 1/250s f8 22mm

 4226: 1/250s f8 22mm

Church Meadow: Again I have chosen a tree as the feature of this landscape which works well in both orientations.

4238: 1/200s f7.1 29mm

 4239: 1/160s f6.3 29mm

What did I learn? Over many years I learned to use the vertical format in many situations. I find it  instinctive to turn the camera to the vertical position to frame a shot if necessary. In this particular location, most of  the buildings favoured the horizontal format as they were close to the road with little in the way of foreground interest. I wasn't until I got to the Plestor Green that the forground became more interesting and could  be included.

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