Wednesday Vignette – a compositional oddball

On vacation this week, spending a few magical days in beautiful Bandon, OR. Amusing myself chasing wildlife through a lens. I find animals are hard to photograph. So, I figured out that by using the sports setting on my camera, I can get a series of sequential photos, hopefully one of which will turn out. Here I was chasing the seagull. As a result of cheating with the sports setting, I end up deleting a boatload of shots, and I almost deleted this one as well. It doesn’t conform to any of the compositional “rules” I usually adhere to, but there is something about it that speaks to me. I like the horizontal linearity of it alright, and the colors are beautifully saturated. But the elements in the foreground puzzle me. The potentially graceful and elegant grasses are cut short and pushed to the front margin, the monolithic Table Rock is truncated and lumped in with the grasses on the lower left, making that corner far visually weightier than the others. I guess the soaring bird serves as some kind of counterpoint, but still, I’m not sure why I feel it works as well as it does. Maybe it’s just me, but I like this oddball shot. Perhaps it can serve as a reminder that formulas aren’t always needed, and that it is okay stretch boundaries and bend rules.


About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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25 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – a compositional oddball

  1. Cath says:

    I think that the bird being directly over the other rock, and the grass going one way and the bird the other makes it sort of frozen, which makes it interesting. I love that grass and rock shape, sort of like a tree.

    • annamadeit says:

      You’re right, Cath – that it’s pulled in different directions adds a lot to the interest too. Hadn’t thought about the “tree”, but I can totally see what you mean!

  2. A good method. As for composition, your eye is all you need

  3. everything is below the horizon line except for the seagull which, by itself, has a lot of weight…plus the clouds are a different kind of horizontal in the upper portion. That’s my wacky theory, anyhow which doesn’t matter as it’s just a plain cool shot, my friend 🙂

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Tamara! Everything you said makes sense too – not wacky at all. In fact, as a gallery wonk, I think what you say carries its own authority. 🙂

  4. Alison says:

    I often fix bad composition afterward by cropping my shots. That’s the lazy way of doing things. I like this shot too, and I’m not sure why it works, but it does. The bird and the rock are out of whack in terms of “everything in thirds” composition rules and the clouds take up more than a third of the picture. Great tip to use the sports setting to take pics of animals in motion. I sometimes do something similar for flowers on a windy day.

    I did a series of Wednesday Vignettes today. It’s here:

    • annamadeit says:

      Yeah, the cropping tool can be a life saver. I use it a lot when trying to photograph insects, because I don’t have a macro lens. It has proven to be a very good substitute! 🙂

  5. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Sounds like you’re enjoying your vacation! I too like your picture as it makes me feel peaceful, kind of like actually being at the beach in person.

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh Peter – it is so beautiful here! It’s one of the most sculptural beaches I have ever been to. Low tide is in about two hours, so we’re heading down there soon to explore the tide pools. So fun! 🙂

  6. The expansive sky tells me you’re feeling the openness and decompressing. Looks like you’re having a fabulous time and that’s what’s most important.

    My WV is a cramscaping shot:

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Loree – you are dead on. It is so very nice here, and I’m loving every minute of it! (Even making coffee, and forgetting to put the carafe under the drip, barely fazed me, as the lovely brown liquid covered both counter and floor.) Feeling way too relaxed!

  7. Kris P says:

    I don’t have your artist’s eye for analyzing photos, Anna. I tend to react emotionally to content and color. The gradations of blue in the photo appeal to me and the touches of white in the clouds and surf and the grayish-browns of the rocks and grass add a subtle but effective counterpoint. When I studied the photo, I also thought that the shape of the cloud “above” the seagull mirrored the bird’s body and wings. My own WV this week is all about color:

    Enjoy your vacation!

    • annamadeit says:

      Ha! I didn’t even think about the cloud shape echoing that of the bird’s. You know – I love how everyone who commented here today saw a different thing. That in itself, is wonderful! 🙂

  8. Evan Bean says:

    It looks beautiful there. Rules were meant to be broken, or at least stretched. Sometimes you just get a scene that doesn’t work according to the rules, but does according to the human eye. I thought much the same as Tamara, and the clouds are also massed more to the upper right, which helps to balance the rock on the lower left. The seagull and clouds together balance the Rock and grass out rather nicely, I think.

    My WV is a day late. I had to wait for the right lighting and didn’t plan ahead:

    • annamadeit says:

      And I’m at least a day late to respond to your comment. We’re on vacation, and wi-fi was down all over town yesterday. Kind of nice considering the circumstances, actually! 🙂

  9. rickii says:

    Here’s to bending and stretching in all contexts.

  10. Evan Bean says:

    Hm, I think the web ate my first comment. Well, I think the birds and the clouds in the upper right balance the rock and grass in the lower left. And rules are meant to be broken, or at least stretched. Like Tamara said, it’s just a cool shot!

    Here’s my WV post:

    • annamadeit says:

      Both comments made it alright – not sure why they weren’t showing… Anyway, thanks for that, and for joining in – I would make your vignette spot my favorite hangout of the summer, if I were you!

      • Evan says:

        Ha, oops. Oh well. I forgot if you screened your comments or if they showed up right away. Usually there’s a thing that says “comment awaiting approval” in the former case. Whatever. Interwebs.

        • annamadeit says:

          I like to think it’s one of those Blogger v/s WordPress kind of things. Sometimes comments from “known” commenters go through without a hitch, and sometimes not. I guess this was one of the “not” times. Not sure why…

  11. Why is this an oddball shot? I think it’s cool. It feels very balanced to me.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Tammy – I guess photography is like eating your own cooking for too long. After a while, it is really nice to try something not so familiar… It does feel balanced, but it is definitely different to what I usually post.

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