Open Your Mind To Unusual Objects
Last week I had a lot of queries from bloggers who said they try without success to compose skyscapes without the intrusion of wires. Interestingly, I’ve always felt that a pure skyscape is a thing of great beauty, but a skyscape with a silhouette of some sort actually adds a certain value to an image.
The comments and emails came in the wake of two frames on my post D Is For Desolation, both of which included wires stretched across the horizon.
These frames were shot in late 2006. I was walking down a street in an old Melbourne suburb when I realised that if I waited for a few minutes the low cloud would present some great opportunities as the sun sank. But there were three problems – the street was interspersed with power poles, lots of overhead cables and fully mature trees that were twenty metres high.
So I quickly decided to use all three factors to my advantage. Rather than fret about the streetscape intruding into my view of the setting sun, I embraced the chance to include my surroundings. It made for an interesting ratio, because most of the frames included 30-40 per cent of silhouette across their surface area.
Part of the duty of any photographer, amateur or professional, is to faithfully tell the story of the existing landscape. If there are power poles on the horizon, you can always find a way to compose a shot to exclude them. Generally a vertical frame or even a tight horizontal from closer in will solve the problem.
But wires are another matter altogether. The only escape route is to shoot under the wires, because it is almost impossible to shoot above them unless you are looking down on them from a hillside.
Bear in mind, though, that if you are shooting into a rising or setting sun, any object in your viewfinder is going to appear as a silhouette if it is located between you and the sun. Be willing to experiment and be open-minded about including other objects in the frame.
A recent example of this can be seen in a sequence I shot on New Year’s Day and displayed in a post called Who’s Been Painting The Horizon?. Yes, there was a great sky – but I thought the streetcape in silhouette would be an interesting "anchor" across the entire bottom of the frame.
Have a look at the shots on that post and let me know what you think. One of the frames I shot is even deliberately composed around the central silhouette of a street sign, which dominates the centre of the shot.
(Extra, extra, read all about it: I've been interviewed here.)
For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.