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Saturday, 01 September 2012 23:54

From a Distance

This image is certainly about location and light, but it is also, equally as much, about symbol. When we begin to really understand that every image we create incorporates on some level a complex symbology to which our viewers react, if only on a subconscious level, then we can begin to conscoiusly craft images that evoke those symbols. Here the symbolism of civilization created by the small patch of mown grass contrasts with the symbolism of wild nature as seen in the area beyond the fence, while the fence with its opening symbolizes the demarcation and passage between the two worlds. I wanted to include just enough of the fence on either side of the opening to have it serve as a frame for the opening itself; and I did not want to introduce a large area of mown grass, just enough to carry the idea of its presence. Using a normal-to-short telephoto focal length of 66mm from a distance of about ten feet to the fence gave me a magnification and spatial arrangement not much different from the human eye, although slightly compressed. The very early morning sidelight imparted a warmth and texture to the wild grasses and flowers, and I chose to eliminate the sky completely in order to draw attention to the fog-infused ridges and valleys. An aperture of f/22 maximized my depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 1/5th second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure.     


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  • Comment Link Don McGowan Wednesday, 05 September 2012 10:16 posted by Don McGowan

    Hi Dorsey and Dean. Thanks for your comments. Dorsey, I'm glad the scene resonated so strongly with you for I usually have a very similar reaction when I am there. You're quite right, the energy of the vertical composition gave it a dynamic that the horizontal could not give, adding exactly to that "swept away" feeling. And Dean, my first thought was to include just a sliver of sky in the image; but even that seemed to be too much. I hope things are faring well in Texas.

  • Comment Link Dean Fikar Wednesday, 05 September 2012 09:12 posted by Dean Fikar

    Hi Don, count me as another who really likes the gate metaphor and its placement in the photo. I think excluding the bland sky also works here.

  • Comment Link Dorsey Davis Tuesday, 04 September 2012 23:01 posted by Dorsey Davis

    Don, for me this is one of the more emotionally charged images you have posted recently. I love the vertical composition. The image would not have been nearly as strong oriented as a horizontal. Oh, to be able to leave "civilization" behind and be swept into the miracle of creation.

  • Comment Link Don McGowan Tuesday, 04 September 2012 07:02 posted by Don McGowan

    Hi Margene and Joe. Thanks for joining us. You are so right. We could just sit and listen to the narrative of a first-hand account of a world as it changed. What a story!

  • Comment Link Joe Rone Monday, 03 September 2012 22:24 posted by Joe Rone

    If that fence could talk I would love the story it would tell. Great composition.

  • Comment Link margene odom Monday, 03 September 2012 09:56 posted by margene odom

    As ever, your text is as compelling as your image. Thanks for sharing.

  • Comment Link Don McGowan Sunday, 02 September 2012 21:39 posted by Don McGowan

    Thanks Tammy and Ray. It's good to hear from both of you. Tammy, the opening is, in essence, a frame for the subject - the meadow in the mid-ground; and hopefully, like a well-considered frame should, it does exactly as you suggest. Ray, the sun had been above the horizon for nearly an hour when I took this and there were some low clouds, but the light was losing its warmth, as well as becoming contrasty as a fairly strong back-sidelight. I didn't want the shadows in the foreground to be too deep, so I rendered the image as a medium exposure rather than one that was darker-than-medium, which would have held the warm tones a little more strongly.
    I played with several compositional approaches to the mown grass before deciding on the one you see. In the other compositions there seemed to be too much mown grass which began to detract from the natural-ness of the meadow beyond. Thanks for lending your interpretation. It will help me to understand better how others see in similar situations. I think I have a predilection against "civilization" sometimes. Hope you have a great week as well.

  • Comment Link Ray Foote Sunday, 02 September 2012 15:14 posted by Ray Foote

    Don, a pleasing image to be sure, and one that certainly lets the viewer "travel" through the gate and into a wonderland beyond. At first glance, it looked pretty bright / light to me, but I think I understand why you exposed it that way. I might have missed the "mown grass" had it not been for your text.

    I sure do love the way the endless ridges unfold. Hope you have a great week. THanks for the image. Ray

  • Comment Link Tammy Henry Sunday, 02 September 2012 11:21 posted by Tammy Henry

    Wonderful image. I love how the opening in the fence leads my eyes into the scene. Great composition.

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