Photography Composition and Cambridgeshire

October 19, 2019

A little while back I came across @write52 on Twitter that encourages us to post something every week, make it interesting and something sensible! It was created by Ed Callow and I liked it because it doesn't have millions of followers, it is a nicely formed bunch of creative people who all have a passion for writing about a variety of things. What's more Ed is a curator who writes a superb email newsletter each week picking out the highlights from the feed over the course of the week. I think people like this are what we need these days, not influencers not politicians. Twitter would be a better place but hey, that is another topic and another rabbit hole I prefer to hop over ;-)

I have chosen to schedule my posts to go out (using the fabulous buffer app) every Saturday at 12:30pm. It just seemed like a good strategy to follow and I hope that more people will have time to read my articles as I go for a longer format.

Catching up

Last time round you may have read my article about the city of Ely but prior to that and just afterwards, we visited two other amazing places Cambridge and Audley End House which isn't actually in Cambridgeshire but does have strong ties with the universities, both in it's history and current day. Feel free to have a look at those articles but what I want to do here is to pick out some of those photos from that weekend and talk more about them.

Composition tips

Depth (of field)

The wrought iron work

In the above photo I was initially having a good look at the college from the street that we were walking along. The architecture much like most of Cambridge was stunning but I couldn't get a composition at all. I was conscious of avoiding the sky which was not looking too good. I fhen saw the wrought iron work that looked amazing and it just clicked. If I could get the depth of field just right, I could get both in one frame, so creating an abstract of sorts.

Patterns

Patterns
Punting in Cambridge
Repetition
Old pots in a garden shed

Repetition can work very well in photography and sometimes you can mix it up with a little bit of creative DOF (depth of field) but this depends on the angle at which you want details to fade away from the viewer. In the first of these two examples I wanted to get some slightly different angles on the punting boats and to show the name of the company. Scudamore's are very good by the way, well worth a look if you are in Cambridge! The great thing though is that repetition need not be of perfectly identical elements but so long as the concept fits, it can most certainly lead to very strong images that stand out from the crowd. The second image follows some similar principles and once again none of the plant pots in the old shed are perfectly identical, the fact they aren't helps attract the viewer's eye for a bit longer without there being clutter in the frame.

Window Light

Available light
Window light
Available light

You could also refer to the method used in the case of these two images as being "available light" where you use no flash and allow the light to guide the viewers eye across the image. It would normally fade to black around the edges. In fact some times it is necessary to make use of the black and/or shadows controls in Lightroom to eliminate the elements of the scene around the edges, so that you throw the spotlight onto the main area of the subject. The secret with this is to use very minimal light and quite often black and white works best with this technique. One of the above two examples is monochrome, the other could have been but I liked the colours of the pottery in the scene, so chose to leave it alone.

Just one more image that made use of this method, is this one, taken in the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Fitzwilliam window

I also used a bit of a compositional layering technique here, giving the viewer a little hint of what is outside. In fact the architecture of the building opposite the Museum is very similar, so it flows nicely as a composition.

Reflections

Reflections

Rain can be a pain! However waiting it out is a good strategy to follow because more often than not the light can be incredible, especially if the sun does pop out for a brief moment. In this case it didn't and we haven't seen much of it since! However wet pavements look great, especially if there are reflections. They don't have to be mirror images of what is behind them but can throw an extra splash of interest into a photograph!

Taking a good old walk

There is no doubt that city walks can lead to all kinds of unexpected surprises with so many subjects to choose from. I will most certainly be sharing some more with you in the weeks to come, some may be from the archives and there will be new ones too. I am doing some research at the moment for some new explorations. Since I am not planning to travel too far for awhile, I am going to concentrate on local locations. Let's see where I end up next. Hope you've enjoyed my photography composition tips today!