If you first consider ‘Mesquite Sands, Death Valley’ you will be struck immediately by the strong foreground sand patterns and shapes that occupy a large portion of the image. I might have been tempted to make a more open view of the sands by using the camera in a landscape format (i.e., not having the camera set to vertical) and taking in more of the surroundings. However, on this occasion I knew that the strong, low and direct sunlight would accentuate the sand patterns and I selected this as the main part of the composition, with the distant sand dune shapes and textures occupying only ten per cent of the photograph. My camera was pointing down at a sharp angle so the patterns are exaggerated even though they were only a few centimetres deep and wide. Sometimes some shapes may be apparent and others may not and you have to allow your ‘mind’s eye’ to see what you can create in making an exposure.
Nikon D800e 24 mm PC-E lens, f13, 3rd sec, 0.6 Neutral Density Hard Graduated Filter
In woodland areas the exploration of form, line and texture can be taken to its limit. The reason for this is that trees present you with many intersecting lines, the bark of trees is full of texture and the overall form of trees is beautiful.
The image ‘Beeches and Pine Plantation’ was not only an exploration of forms and lines, but also of the tonal contrasts that are always evident in woodland and which can sometimes be tricky to deal with. On this occasion I was firstly fascinated by the tonal differences between the almost white trunks of the beech trees set against the dark and dense pine plantation. After I established that I wanted to use this as part of my composition, all I needed to do was make some order out of the chaos of the woodland, which is often easier said than done. As I walked about I noticed that in one particular position in the woodland I was able to get a separation between the beech trees but also to place them against the darkest part of the pine plantation. To further accentuate the forms of the beech trees I placed them running vertically through the frame. Using forms, lines and textures in woodland often requires the photographer to be somewhat ruthless in making compositions. This is because the more of the beautiful environment that you leave out of the frame the more the finished photograph becomes understandable and digestible to the viewer.
Nikon D800e, 70-200mm lens, f16, 0.8 sec.