Wednesday 25 January 2017

Solitary Compositions and Frozen Improvisations

“Composition has almost always been solitary.”
- Wendy Carlos

“Composition is frozen improvisation.”
- Igor Stravinsky

This week’s blog posting is a visual reflection on the art of photographic composition, with apologies to the composers Wendy Carlos and Igor Stravinsky, whose quotations above refer to musical compositions. However, the more I learn about photographic composition, the more I realize that there are many common elements with musical composition, especially the qualities mentioned above: its solitary nature and its sense of frozen improvisational moments.

This week, in the third of four lessons in my digital photography course at the Art Gallery of Ontario, we learned about the art of composition. Janieta, our excellent instructor, reviewed the styles of a wide variety of famous photographers, gave an overview of the basics of composition, and then sent us off merrily into the galleries to feast our cameras on the treasures.

The basics of composition included consideration of:
• the rule of thirds
• balancing elements/asymmetry
• leading lines
• symmetry and patterns
• viewpoint
• background
• depth of field
• cropping

What follows are photographs I made in response to this week’s theme. As always on my photographic journey, I relished being alone with my camera, even when surrounded by crowds. Wendy Carlos’ words keep resonating for me.

Next week’s theme: studio photography with a model.


Wednesday 18 January 2017

Hanging Up The Bracket...

“The day I’m not improving will be the day I hang up my racket.”
- Venus Williams

With apologies to Venus Williams, my blog posting today starts with adventures in bracketing, as in Automatic Exposure Bracketing, AEB for short. Until yesterday’s session of the photography course I’m currently taking at the Art Gallery of Ontario, I didn’t know such a thing as AEB existed. In fact, when Janieta introduced AEB to the class, I thought she said AED, as in Automatic External Defibrillator. Ah well – I guess my mind needed a jolt, even if my heart didn’t.

And, just like Venus Williams, I continue to improve as a photographer, so I guess neither one of us has to hang up our rackets/brackets.

In addition to AEB, yesterday’s session focused on experimenting: multiple exposures, continuous shooting, contre-jour (photographing into the light), ISO/light sensitivity settings, automatic timers, shutter speeds, and generally having a fine time with my fellow students and my camera in the Galleria Italia at the AGO. Next week’s class is about composition – my eyes and camera are looking forward to more adventures!

Meanwhile, here are some of my unedited photos from yesterday’s class. Enjoy!