Monday, May 3, 2010

Form and Texture – Clouds and Tree Tops

Before Spring starts its mad dash to populate the earth with bright green foliage, the landscape can seem quite desolate.  As a photographer looking for interesting subjects, It may at times appear bleak and uninteresting. Some of us may just decide to wait it out until the glorious colours start to appear again. 

If you have time to observe, and this means more than the cursory glance, objects and subjects may appear if you can wait it out, but you need to see slightly differently.

These photos are all in Black and White because its about texture and shape, and colour would only confuse these elements.

Initially the sky was clear blue, bereft of good detail, at least with a photographer's eye.
Clouds  started to roll in from the north and I wondered if I might be able to match the cloud forms to the top of the bare trees that surrounded the fields around me.
This was not just a random thought occurrence, well it might have been, but there was some history to these thoughts.

For a long while, I had been looking at all the bare tree tops and liked their forms and texture. I just wasn't sure I could capture them in such a way as to make them interesting.

By cascading them against the cloud forms now I could add more interest and complexity to the photograph.

While the tree tops and cloud shapes have similar forms (complementary to each other) the texture is completely opposite. The clouds are very soft and almost non-existent in texture. The tree top branches are hard.

The list below highlight these differences
Clouds              Trees
Soft                    Hard
Fat                     Thin
Low Contrast     High Contrast
Flowing              Rigid
Thin                    Dense
Smooth              Jagged

In the above image I was going to crop the portion (in camera) to where the split in the branches mirrored the split in the clouds, but I found that this longer form worked better. There is more balance between mass of clouds and mass of trees. It takes softer parts to balance smaller denser part.

Down along the pathway there were these giant oak trees, like sentinels guarding the landscape.

The small solitary figure adds more interest to the image and creates a strong focal point.
The tall trees may initially capture your vision but soon the man appears and grabs your focus. Only then when the eye starts to go back up do the diagonals created by the tree branches start to guide the vision.

Sometimes it's important not to think about the actual objects that make up the landscape but to see the spaces and patterns formed and linking individual pieces together.

Niels Henriksen


Damien Franco said...

Seriously great post.

I agree that color in this exercise would have simply gotten in the way.

I think there is also a grandness of the clouds that's juxtaposed in the photos where their shape "conforms" to the shape of the trees.

The trees seem to be in command of the much larger and unpredictable clouds anchoring them in your photograph ready for capture.

It's a play on how the elements of mother earth can be at odds with each other and odds with herself.

The bare trees "holding on" to the clouds, perhaps yearning for the valuable water floating high above, seem sad to me.

I love it.

nielsp said...

Thanks Damien for the extra insight. It great when we share ideas and thoughts as I learn to see even more.


Corporate Photography Services said...

This series of images are beautiful. Makes for good art prints. Thanks for sharing.

Singapore Studio Photography said...

My Partner directed me to your side. We run a video agency PixSynchere in Singapore and was researching for some stock images. It would be great if there could be images like that which one could purchase for use in corporate videos.


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