ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Clarification to Last Post: Cropping Photos/Composition

One of the topics I discussed in my last post on photography, about was cropping photos to get a better composition. Unfortunately the link I provided to my blog post of June 3, 2012, where I showed examples of this, did not work. I have corrected it so it works now, and you can access it at the link just mentioned. But I have also just come across this example.

Here is a photograph of end-of-season Hosta foliage, taken outside the retirement residence where my father lives. They are beautifully back-lit in the late-afternoon sun. I didn't spend a lot of time photographing that day, but just shot a few quick pictures.

It was only much later, when I was reviewing all my photos of end-of-season hostas, that I noticed the wonderful composition right in the middle of the photo. I've outlined it with black marker below.

I cropped away the rest of the photo to bring this composition closer. Because the photo was crisp and clear (taken at a high resolution and in good lighting, with a steady hand), I was able to retain a fair bit of clarity in the cropped section.  I felt this composition had a lot of movement. Your eye comes in at the upper left, moves on a diagonal to the lower right leaf, curls up the tip of that leaf to the leaf in the middle, and then over to the background green leaf on the right. Almost a bit of an S composition. I also loved the dramatic hi-lights and shadows. Contrast is a  BIG attraction to me, and I've spent the last seven years studying value. The hosta leaf has been the perfect subject to conduct this study on. I never tire of them. 

Here is the final piece, hanging at the show in Houston, with its First-Place Ribbon. Thanks to Susan Brubaker Knapp for the photograph. When I first made the green leaf on the upper right side, I felt the contrast was too strong, but I continued to build the piece and assessed it when all the leaves were in place. Now I don't find it too strong. The lesson? Exaggerate!!! You will also notice that the focus is entirely on the major leaves, with all the leaves and stalks in the background eliminated. I am started to appreciate the concept of simplicity. 

In my next blog post I'll share some of the recent opportunities that have come my way, what I'm working on, and why I've been relatively quiet the last few months.

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