Thursday, January 27, 2011

Composition - Multi-Horizontal lines

As you might surmise, with the use of the single horizontal line it's difficult to make it a most predominant feature of an image. But with the use of many horizontal lines then we are able to use its effect and by breaking the image into parts create more varied areas of interest.
The banding can create tension between layers especially when compositional form is different either through colour or texture. There is almost the perception of a wall between the layers keeping elements at bay. 

The image of the sunset over a frozen lake demonstrates this banding and contrast effect between layers.

The number 3 is a strong design element and with other odd numbers. I guess its easier to find the  middle  with odds.

There is first the 3 layers of Sky, Earth and Water.
The brightness of  the sun and the darkness of treed landscape and the mid-tones of reflected light.
With texture there is the smoothness of distant shoreline, the speckled nature of the ice and the in-   between texture of the sky (smoothness and edges). Each major band is of a different size and colour and each has its own mini bands in between. The ducks on the ice, while not quite on the thirds, add the uniqueness to the image.

Contrast in its many forms is one of our primordial attention gathering tools.

Multi Horizontal Lines
While many of the attributes are the same as with single lines, there are some changes in our perception because now, with many scenes, there's tension created between bands and this gives the scene some potential energy.

less stable
more on-hold than timelessness

Just after a thunderstorm was passing over in downtown Toronto and with a low horizon sun, the reflections changed dramatically on the glass walls on the office towers. One building's normal tint caused its reflected light to turn a vibrant green.  Below the windows were white tile panels and with the green windows created vibrant visual image. There was a section where white diagonal tiles traversed the building and this created a strong focal point. Its abstract, not to every one’s taste but with the varied texture in each of the green bands there is nice detail found by gazing around.

 The edges of the white tiles help to compliment the lines of the larger bands.

More often we tend to see multi-horizontal lines in shorter lengths, especially around buildings.

The bottom image, which I have hanging in my own home, was an interesting study in different textures found on a concrete structure. The horizontal lines of the grooved lines, block work and the flat of steps all form a cohesive pattern of permanence. This stable pattern is contrasted with the diagonal  movement of the hand rail which is re-enforced for the diagonal tips of all the blocks and stairs.

In looking for images to use, I found that this was not a feature that I had used often.
It tended to show up in wider angle landscape images. Like the sunset photo there are distinct horizontal lines and bands in the photo below. There is some stability created by the bands but some tension is created with the singular lone boat out in the vast expanse set against the dark storm clouds and augmented with the wave like hill lines in the distance.

Contrast and conflict create interest within photos, and compositional elements are only aids to set apart or unify various parts of image. When developing images,   these aids help to identify areas that re-enforce the photographer’s vision.

Niels Henriksen


Anita Jesse said...

Bravo! You continue to do an excellent job of presenting complex material in a straightforward manner. Your presentation is so simple, and direct; yet, your articles are rich with information. Thank you, again, for taking the time to present these valuable lessons.

erica | postcard printing said...

I really think the first photo is really nice. The layering you did with the photo is simply amazing. It has a different feel into it and very appealing.

Anonymous said...

Great handy tips. Your writing is just plain simple and relevant. Nice job and thanks..

Frank Zweegers said...

Nice post, I find it really difficult to deal with clearly visible lines in my pictures.


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