Monday, April 11, 2011

Line Please! ~ Mono Monday

"Rail Yards At the Bay"
(1/30 sec.@ F/10, ISO 100, 52mm fl, tripod, overcast evening light, pattern metering)

Found a photo card yesterday given to me one year by my very first photography teacher. I've talked about him before on the blog. He's the one that showed me how important passion for your photography was. He had no use for you if you were just there to get an easy credit. He could pick out the fakers out in a heartbeat. I was honored then to receive a card with a B&W photo he'd taken, a very Ansel-ish scene of a rock quarry. I'm in the process of finding the perfect frame for it. I was saddened when he passed away last year... I had been in the middle of writing to him to thank him for his profound influence on me when I heard the news.

His influence is never far away. When I started out in photography I already had three years of advanced art to my background. But it was Mr.Shoveller who forced me to dissect what made a scene work. I would shadow him on a shoot and inevitably he'd grab my tripod, plant it in the ground and shout, "Look at those lines Chris!" He'd stand right over your shoulder and describe why the light was working or not, why the composition was engaging, and whether or not you should have your head examined for not noticing the way the lines traveled through the shot earlier.

I could distinctly hear his voice the day I crossed this bridge heading down to the park. I was heading to a shoot and I looked to the left... and there was the train yards below. "Look at those LINES Chris!" is all I heard. So I planted my tripod on the sidewalk, checked my settings, and composed the way Shoveller taught me. Letting the lines lead right through the entire scene. He would have approved the result.

Originally this was a color shot, with a glaring orange sunset sky. But another friend suggested it may work better in B&W. Shoveller would have approved of that too. It's a spot I know I'll return to, to get a better sky in the background. But this will do for now.

If all you ever do is pay attention to the light and the lines in a scene, you'll have better composition over time. It'll be a start anyway.
Thanks for the sentimental ramble folks, and have a good one!

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