Friday, April 15, 2016

Macro Mania

Macro can be addictive. Once you start shooting, a variety of different possibilities begin to reveal themselves. It can be a very creative process, and each image you make takes you to another and another and another. That is all part of the creative process - letting one idea or composition take you on an exciting road of invention and creativity.

This image was made with just 3 items - a narrow clear glass vase, and two pieces of colored paper. The green paper essentially becomes the base, and the magenta paper forms the background. In a shot this simple, composition and color are the key elements.

So let's examine the composition. Look at the placement of the colored papers and the vase. They are angled slightly to create a flow from upper left to lower right. The angle was achieved by simply tipping the camera slightly. Also notice the matching triangular shapes at the upper right and lower left. They are about the same size and because of their placement in the corners, they serve to keep the viewer's eye within the frame and not wander out. 

The center of interest is the white curved area, which is near the bottom of the vase. The white is created by the reflection of the light source, a small lightbox set up to the right of the subject, just out of view. This area was placed off-center to provide visual tension in the image. Visual tension is also created by the use of opposing colors, with the warm magenta being a counterpoint to the cool green.

What is visual tension? It is a technique, achieved in a variety of ways, to engage the viewer and to prevent the image from being too static or uninteresting. It is a dynamic approach used by artists and photographers to draw viewers into the image, and to keep their attention. It can employ movement, the use of space, balance or imbalance, opposing colors, and more.

So when composing any image, and especially macro and abstracts, think about all the compositional elements possible. Then experiment with camera position, camera angle, placement of the center of interest, and positioning of the other elements to create the strongest image you can.

To learn more about macro photography, come to the Macro Mania photo workshop at the Outer Banks of North Carolina on May 23 - 26.  Details here     You will learn a variety of creative techniques, AND have time to photograph on the beach as well. It's the best of both worlds. We will work indoors with different subjects, props, and lighting, and then outdoors to work with shells on the beach, wave action, etc. Don't miss this great macro workshop!

Shutter Speed 1/125 sec.  Aperture f/11.  ISO 800.  Lens: Canon 100mm macro 2.8. Camera: Canon 5D Mark II. Gitzo tripod with ballhead.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for."  --Georgia O'Keeffe

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