Figure and Stairs

By: danitacahill

Feb 27 2013

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Color, composition, Photography, Portrait photography, Seascape, Winter

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Focal Length:70mm
Shutter:1/0 sec

When I saw this bench, I asked my good friend Paty to go ahead of me down the stairs to sit on it so I could take her photo. She was nice enough to comply, even though it was a cold, wet day and she had her hood pulled tight around her ears to keep the cold wind out.

I could have shot a photo of just the bench and the stairs, but I think adding a figure  makes it a much more interesting.photograph. The vibrant pink pulls the eye immediately onto her, but notice how your eye then goes straight to her face?

The human eye is automatically drawn to faces and figures, especially those of other humans.

Personally, I think it’s automatic  for us to scan other humans because we want to make certain they are, indeed, humans. We quickly check for abnormalities or things that may be different from the human faces we are accustomed to. If the faces are different, or extremely attractive or extremely unattractive, our eye lingers there longer. Paty has a good face, a normal face, so after we take a look at her face and see that for ourselves, our eye then travels over the rest of her and on to the stairs to the left and the peek of sandy beach in the foreground.

I purposely offset Paty to one side of the frame. Although I wanted to show enough of the stairs so the viewer can see it is a journey to get down to the beach, I wanted to follow the rule of thirds. This is photography 101, but I’ll touch briefly on it. Strong compositions are often struck by placing the most important part of a photograph into the top or bottom third, or to the third of the frame either to the left or the right of the center third. If you separate a photo into thirds both diagonally and horizontally and then place the most important part of your photograph at converging lines – say a figure, a face or the eyes – the photograph will have a strong composition. Just to clarify, many photos can still have strong composition without following this rule. But it something to think about when framing. If you haven’t experimented with the rule of thirds, I encourage you to do so. Have fun with it!

Back to the Lincoln City, Oregon beach in this shot, I spoke of the coastal writers retreat Paty, Lori and I went on in my last post – push the back button for that. I also spoke of these stairs – 132 of them.

No wonder there is a resting bench at the halfway mark.

Copyright Danita Cahill. All rights reserved.


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