Although I was born and bred in London (many years ago now) I no longer live there and I rarely have a reason to go there these days either. Whilst I understand the appeal of living and being part of a big, vibrant, cosmopolitan city with all its inherent attractions, it no longer appeals to me. Yes, I enjoy the occasional visit but I have to say I breathe a sigh of relief when I am on the train returning home.
I like to be creative. I like to make an image, not just take a shot. I like to revisit frames taken a while ago, and sometimes I like to reprocess a shot because the first time round it didn’t really work out as I would have wanted…… and finally I like to be honest with myself and the viewer as to how the photograph was made. All of this requires a little more explanation.
Loch Maree in the region of Wester Ross in the North West Highlands is the fourth largest freshwater loch in Scotland, being some 12 miles long and a maximum width of about 2.5 miles. Arguably it’s also one of the prettiest lochs too, playing host to over sixty islands both large and small. Some of the Scots pine trees on these islands are estimated to be over 350 years old.
This particular image was taken from the shore near Slattadale forest and in the far distance the mountain of Slioch is clearly visible.
I did have to wait some time for the wind to drop and the ripples in the water to subside, to capture the reflections at their best; but if you have to watch and wait, then it’s no great hardship in such a beautiful location.
Bosham is a very pretty village forming part of Chichester Harbour, not far from the City of Chichester along the South Coast in West Sussex.
As you can probably imagine its picturesque appearance attracts numerous visitors throughout the year, as well as many a photographer. It’s a location that when the weather, light and the tide are all right, you may not find you are on your own with a camera. This is one of those scenes which has to be part of your photo library but I am all too aware that thousands of people before me will have been there and taken pictures of the setting sun; however it is too beautiful to dismiss just because of its popularity. In fact if it wasn’t for the tide then the tripod holes where I was standing to take this image would be very evident! Despite all of these comments it’s a scene that is hard to resist even if it lacks originality.
This was one of those rare occasions when my Leica M9-P and 90mm lens were attached to a tripod. The exposure time was several seconds long, as the there was little or no light to speak of and I wanted a slow exposure to smooth the water in the foreground and introduce a little movement in the veil of clouds over the church spire. The fact that lights in the houses fronting the water were just being switched on adds another element of interest to the shot.
For those of you who are not familiar with this area, you might like to know that Bosham is in fact pronounced ‘Bozam’ and not ‘Bosh-ham’.
Do click on the image to view a larger version which will open in a new window.
I often ask myself the question – ‘Why does a photograph interest me and hold my attention for more than a few nano seconds? What are the various components of the image that make it visually appealing to me and maybe to others?’
In answer to these questions I thought I would try and dissect the key elements of this photograph which I have called – Main Exit. Do click on the image to view a larger version as this will help you see all the detail in the picture.
To begin, the image is monochrome; obvious I know, but a colour image of the same picture simply wouldn’t be as interesting. This shot is all about tone, texture, contrast and the overall composition. Colour would be a distraction. There is though a subtle tone which has been applied in post processing, which may not be immediately apparent.
The main focal point is the man in the top right hand corner walking into the building. We can’t see all of his body or his head, but we do see a reflection of his pale jacket and he stands out against the dark background. White on black will always draw the eye. He is framed within a dark square which ties in well with the square crop of the image itself. It’s virtually a picture within a picture.
A square crop doesn’t always work but in this example I think it enhances the overall composition. There is a strong diagonal lead in line from the bottom left hand corner which takes your eye to the main subject of the picture. There are paler lines in the ground which also lead the eye. These are in contrast to the vertical lines of the modern windows. The ground also slopes upwards, so that the metal base of the building narrows to a point where it meets the man. This aids perspective and adds to the sense of depth.
Reflections always provide visual interest because they distort reality. The older buildings are all askew, there is half a car and half a waste bin. Behind the glass there is a person sitting down which begs the question as to what’s inside and the purpose of the building itself.
Top right there is a sign which says ‘Main Exit’ but the arrow points in the opposite direction to the man entering the building – has he gone through the wrong door?
As well as being a contrasty image there is also the visual contrast of the new and old buildings, the young person behind the window and the older person walking through the door. The contrast in texture between the ground and the mirror like surface of the windows.
Lastly a border has been added to provide a frame round the image.
For me it makes a visually appealing image, as the sum of all the component parts make for an intriguing story, complete with different textures and tones, all held together by strong compositional and geometric elements as well.
I have found this exercise beneficial and I hope you have enjoyed my ‘dissection’ of a photograph interesting. Arguably the approach could work just as well on images that you don’t like, as well as the ones that do. It’s worth a try.