Thinking about a composition problem
This is a subject I've been struggling with for a while, unable to get "That One Photo" that really captures the spirit of the thing. I thought I'd bring my troubles to the hivemind here and see if anyone can help me find some new ways of approaching it.
There's an abandoned section of road near me, with a couple of fair-sized eucalyptus trees and some smaller chaparral scrub growing straight through the asphalt. In person the scene, and especially the tree trunks emerging from the road, make for quite an eye-popping "nature bats last" image. Photographically, though, I can't come up with a compositional approach that shows that impression; I can get a photo of the scene in which the trees are too distant to see what they're doing at the bases, or I can get a closer image of the tree punching through the asphalt but with no wider context. I attach an example of each (both are negative scans with minimal processing, so they aren't necessarily great technical examples, but I hope they show the compositional aspects).
The more distant scenic shown below isn't a terrible picture of the setting (this example isn't great but it's compositionally kinda-OK), but the closer images are a bearcat to build into a decent composition. As seen in the attachment, I tend to get the asphalt prominently presented but a big uninteresting tree trunk leading the eye out of the image.
So, folks, what are your thoughts? What would you try as an approach to this subject?
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_
Out of the two and bearing in mind what you are trying to draw attention to, the closer image works better. However, you may try an even closer shot taken to the right of this image where you show asphalt in the lower part of the frame and tree above ( I mean really close, inches away). Don't know if this helps.
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
shoot 8 x 10, with movements you should be able to get what you want, expensive and time consuming, yes. but sometimes, even 5 x 4 does not give adequate detail. I would think, also enlargements to 20 x 24 would be great.
As Cliveh says, I am thinking cropping to the bottom half and right 2/3 of the second image, cropping out the left side of the tree.
2 cents worth, but we don't have pennies any more.
"There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).
Did you consider using a pinhole camera?
Make a shot taken from about 15 cm / 6 inch above the ground.
Imagine you're a cat walking around over there. What do you see?
"Have fun and catch that light beam!"
Bert from Holland
my blog: http://thetoadmen.blogspot.nl
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* I'm an analogue enthusiast, trying not to fall into the digital abyss.
* My favorite cameras: Hasselblad SWC, Leica SL, Leica M7, Russian FKD 18x24, Bronica SQ-B and RF645, Rolleiflex T2, Nikon F4s, Agfa Clack and my pinhole cameras
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I'd try another scene because I don't see a shot there anywhere in any format.
I think the time of day is important, too, due to the shadows. You may want more or less.
I wonder if a Hasselblad with a super-wide lens might do the trick.
My first thought... shoot 2nd photo with a very wide angle lens, asphalt tree in the foreground, road at mid and background. Smallest aperture possible for very long dof.
"So I am turning over a new leaf but the page is stuck". Diane Arbus
A triptych seems in order here - ab shot establishing the environment, then two others with interesting detail.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
My initial reaction is the same as Bert's. Very wide angle, right up practically touching the tree trunk so that half the frame is the tree punching through the asphalt with detail, including the texture of the bark and asphalt, then the rest of the frame can take in the overall scene fading out to the distance. I agree with above that time of day could make a big difference.
But then it was just WPPD so I've got pinhole on the brain... maybe something similar could be done with a wide angle lens?