Friday, March 28, 2014

Six Degrees of Separation

Well, maybe not six, but certainly separation helps to make this image successful. This composition was carefully controlled, deliberately leaving a noticeable space between the rocky point on the left side of the slot canyon and the facing wall on its right.

Paying attention to the separation of elements can enhance many different types of photographs. Separation can help define shapes, relationships between elements, and can provide the viewer a better grasp of the scene or the subject. Some examples of subjects where separation is helpful are a group of birds in flight where there is no overlap of wings, heads, or bodies; a group of animals where each one is distinct from the other with no merging of heads, legs, etc.; or scenics or flowers where important elements do not block one another.

Slot canyons in the desert southwest are beautiful, and the light plays across the canyon walls providing texture and form. They are magical places and sacred to the Native Americans who call this area home.

Composition and exposure can be dicey in slot canyons. A tripod is necessary since exposures can be as long as 30 seconds in these dark areas.  In some slot canyons the ground is uneven or the space is very narrow, making setting up and positioning the tripod more difficult than it would normally be.

That was the case for this shot. Finding the best spot to place the tripod in order to get this view took a few minutes. I needed a low angle in order to shoot upwards, and I could not block the path of others in the canyon. Other photographers in slot canyons is a fact of life, and many have no clue that they have just stepped into your shot. Being patient and polite is usually the best way to get the shots you want.

Shutter Speed  1/80 sec.  Aperture f/9.  ISO 400.  Lens: Canon 17-40mm f/4L, set at 17mm.  Camera: Canon 40D.  Gitzo tripod with ballhead.

TODAY’S QUOTE: “Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world. 'Friend of a friend' statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.”  [theorized by Frigyes Karinthy and popularized by playwright John Guare]  --Wikipedia

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