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Composition can make an interesting subject bland or make an ordinary subject appear beautiful. In this course, photographer and author Ben Long explores the concepts of composition, from basics such as the rule of thirds to more advanced topics such as the way the eye travels through a photo.
The course addresses how the camera differs from the eye and introduces composition fundamentals, such as balance and point of view. Ben also examines the importance of geometry, light, and color in composition, and looks at how composition can be improved with a variety of post-production techniques. Interspersed throughout the course are workshop sessions that capture the creative energy of a group of photography students; shooting assignments and exercises; and analyses of the work of photographers Paul Taggart and Connie Imboden.
Another way to think about layers is to think about collaging or juxtaposing things at different depths into the same frame. Reflections are a great way to experiment with this. Notice the reflection of the water tower in the puddle here, and we've got the water tower in the background. These are technically different layers, and there is a lot of other stuff going on in front of the water tower and in the puddle itself. This is a really interesting easy way to start seeing different planes, to look for reflections or to think about what you would do if you were collaging, taking disparate elements and putting them next to each other or thinking I am going to juxtapose this building with that water tower.
These are all ways of kind of changing the language that you're using around layering and possibly opening up more ideas for yourself. Let's take a look at some others. So this one is pretty straightforward. I'm simply mirroring this shape down here with this shape up here. Purely a geometric exercise. Obviously, there is no real correlation between dry mud and a mountain. I'm relating these two very different bits of subject matter compositionally, or graphically, and just looking for shapes that create nice symmetry and that juxtapose well.
Here is a case of I was first struck by the light that was striking these boards. It was very silvery. It was very pretty. But I also just liked what was going on outside the window. So I have kind of balanced and built the composition to include the window content and I need to do some post-production here to bring some detail back into here, because this is a very high-dynamic-range situation. We are looking into this bright window washed out. So I have these nice strong lines that are lit up that here I obviously can't really come in left to right here.
But it does follow these lines, and the whole thing kind of swirls around and ultimately ends at the window. So juxtaposing these strong lines with this view that's outside in the distance is kind of what I am working on here. This is a framing example that we use elsewhere in this course, but it's a great example of layers in an image, of juxtaposition of a shape right in front of the camera with a shape way in the distance. And of course, you look at this and you understand, well yeah, this is up close and this is far away. But of course in a purely graphical sense, we are looking at a flat, two-dimensional image, and so I am juxtaposing these shapes against these shapes.
So, when we were talking about juxtaposition, we are often very much thinking in a purely theoretical graphic-design kind of sense of this line and this line sitting next to each other, even though in reality they're very far way. You can play with juxtaposing tone, juxtaposing color. Layering is another way of thinking about this. I've got this layer in front and a layer in back. We are going to be talking more about layering elsewhere in this course, but that's another way of thinking about juxtaposition. Thinking in these terms is a good way of breaking up your normal seeing habits and starting to think of the world as a place with more depth and more combinations and more graphic play.
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