|Maybe you'll see me . . . maybe you won't. This nude hiker is rarely seen, even in the wilds. But I'm harmless (LOL).|
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
|Once promoted as clean, wholesome with no|
adult-oriented content is now a sham
Monday, October 11, 2010
Like a story . . . a collection of words and sentences strung together in some coherent form . . . a photographic image is a collection of visual elements that convey what your eyes see. It is the balance and composition of your image that determines the first impression viewers have of your photos. Good composition draws your viewers eyes (and attention) to certain parts of the image. Balance assures that the viewer's attention is not drawn away by extraneous details.
Centrally placed subjects tend to focus a viewer's attention on the middle of the image. Unfortunately, once a viewer's attention is on the middle, it usually remains there. As a result, a picture of this type will tend to feel flat and static to the viewer. However, with just a subtle shift of the focal point toward one of the intersections defined by the Rule of Thirds (discussed below), you can strengthen your image and cause the viewer's eye to move more freely around the image.
|Good composition places the important elements off-center|
"Rules" of composition are based on ratios almost always seen in nature. Leonardo da Vinci recognized these ratios as did Michelangelo . . . and both applied them in their awe-inspiring works of art. This same symmetry and ratio is what makes the human form pleasing to the eye (look at the statue of David and ask yourself why it draws you). Artists and photographers have instinctively applied and extended these ratios to their works with great viewer satisfaction since ancient times.
|Rule of Thirds|
|Rule of Diagonals|
Diverging and Leading Diagonals
Diverging Diagonals imply inclusion: The tilt of the subject along with
the lines of the boulders frame the river beyond, including them
with the main subject
Leading Diagonals: In this image, the subject (set back) is implied to be moving
across the snowfield by the diagonal line of footprints leading back to the viewer.
Lines of Perspective and Converging Diagonals
|Lines of Perspective|
In this image the main subject's head (me, of course) is right at the intersection of two Golden Section lines (described in the next section). These intersections, derived from the Golden Section ratio, assure attention from the viewer. There is a slight twist of the torso and shoulders in the direction I am traveling. I wanted to impart somewhat of a journey on ahead in pleasing surroundings. Converging diagonals toward the open space of the sky give perspective and an implication of 'that's where I'm going'. The diagonals come from the lines of the path edges and flow naturally to the far distance. Tall trees in the upper portion of the image frame the sky of the horizon and the route beyond.
The Golden Section
"A mathematical proportion where the ratio between a small section and a larger section is equal to the ratio between the larger section and both sections put together, approximately 1.6180339887..."
The Golden Section (or Golden Mean) is the basis of the Rule of Thirds . . . the later being a simplification and easier to implement. The intersection points for the Golden Section are 3/8s in and 3/8s up and down in the image. I'll leave it up to you how to figure out the sweet spots when you're out on the field trying to compose an image. Suffice it to say, the resulting grid looks as it does in the image below. Points where lines intersect automatically draw attention . . . in this case, directly to the image of myself.
|The Golden Section|
Actually, the compositional elements of this image are complex. Common sense tells us the nude hiker in the center must be the main subject (and that was the intention when I took the picture). Serendipity at work. There are some diagonals (the footpath and the darkness-bracketing line of the small tree) that enclose and direct attention. There is also the stark contrast between flash-lit foreground and absolute darkness that further tell us who (or what) the main subject should be. Yet our attention is not fully on the nude hiker. It strays somewhat uneasily to the darkness. Why? Spend a little time just looking at the image. Where do your eyes unconsciously go? I'm willing to bet it's that lone tall plant sticking up into the darkness on the left. And then your eyes search for meaning and latch onto the unusual . . . the set of what looks likes eyes out there.
This is a good example of the power of the Golden Section rule to grab and hold our attention. The plant is right smack dab on the intersection of two of those lines. Anything at those nexus points is going to grab the viewer's attention and this is what is happening here.
|The Golden Triangle|
|Constructing the Golden Triangle|
|.... from the Golden Section|
One of the things I try to do when composing an image, is to try to provide scale for the viewer to get an idea from the limited field of view in a photographic image . . . what the eyes are seeing. An image is two-dimensional, yet what is being experienced is a three-dimensional panorama. We must provide cues to the majestic scale of the forests and mountains to truly capture them. The best way is to include yourself in the image not only to vet that participation but to also to give the viewer scale and enhance a 3D effect.
|My presence gives scale and depth to the trees|
on this low knoll overlooking Deception Creek
Another way to give the viewer an idea of the scale of the scenery is to use atmospheric cues such as fog.
The viewer's mind is always intrigued with figuring out what lays just beyond perception. In the image above the fog does a remarkable amount of obscuring the trees in the upper left. Our minds are going to be trying to pierce that veil trying to see through the fog . . . what does lay beyond? Try it. I challenge any reader to not honestly admit that they did not spend any time at all trying to pick out details in the background.
There is also an interplay of hard and soft contrasts in this image with the delineating line a diagonal crossing the image behind the main subject . . . the lone leafless tree in the center. My presence provides the necessary scale and a contrast in color to make this image a keeper.
- There should be a center of interest or focus in the work, to prevent it becoming a pattern in itself;
- The direction followed by the viewer's eye should lead the viewer's gaze around all elements in the work before leading out of the picture;
- The subject should not be facing out of the image;
- A moving subject should have space in front;
- Exact bisections of the picture space should be avoided;
- Small, high contrast, elements have as much impact as larger, duller elements;
- The prominent subject should be off-center, unless a symmetrical or formal composition is desired, and can be balanced by smaller satellite elements
- The horizon line should not divide the image in two equal parts but be positioned to emphasize either the sky or ground; showing more sky if it is of clouds, sun rise/set, and more ground if a landscape
Friday, October 8, 2010
Where Lewis Creek Meets the North Fork and a Delightful Little Park
|Forks of the Sky State Park (in Trust)|
|Across an old wooden bridge|
|On the original cabin site|
|Well-maintained, rock-lined trails and easy river access|
|Onto the floodplain of the North Fork|
This river has a history of flooding wide in its' course . . . and during low water months that leaves lots of room to hike over smooth-water-worn boulders and numerous patches of givable sand to claim as your own personal beach. But most of all . . . despite its' openness, there is a real sense of privacy out there. My meanderings take me from the river's slow summer babbling, over multi-ton boulders worn baby-skin smooth to the forest edges . . . and back. No where in particular . . .
Coming down the middle of the floodplain, I eventually realize that I've come just enough around a ninety-degree bend in the river to be visible to anyone travelling the Index-Galena Road in the distance. The movement of a lone car heading north on that road catches my attention. My valued privacy is now gone.
The campsite I'd mentioned earlier is on a twenty-foot high crumbling bluff just around that bend. I head toward the inside of the bend and spot a very worn trail leading in. Not sure if anyone is using the campsites but they've always been a favorite stopping off point in the past. I've just never approached them from this direction before . . . and I'm still not sure if I can. But we will see. Up the banks, over a few downed trees and into the brush.
|Enough scrambling and trail-making to find a back way into the|
campsite. Back to the open spaces of the river.
|My own, private, wind-screened sandy beach|
|Barefoot in the Park|
Crossing that last footbridge a friendly dog came trotting on up . . . followed a moment later, before I could unsling and search for cover . . . by it's owner, a middle-aged lady seemingly out of place smoking a cigarette and carrying a beer amongst such serenity. She kind of chuckled as she stood aside to let me pass and then we exchanged pleasantries on how nice this place was while her dog let me scratch him behind the ears. All the time she kept on smoking away and sipping beer. No backpack . . . just someone appearing out of nowhere. Weird. If a naked man in the wild bothered her she didn't show any indication . . . which was a good sign and definitely gratifying. Back at my car I continued to wonder where she had come from because there were no cars parked along the road for as far as I could see. It was time to head a half mile down the road to the Lewis Creek trailhead.
Lewis Creek and on up to Heybrook Ridge and the Lookout Tower
|A photo moment approaching the ridge...|
|The Fire Lookout Tower atop Heybrook Ridge|
|The view from the top|
(and the traditional trail below)
|No claustrophobia here|
|The appropriate ending of any hike is, of course,|
a long soak in the hot springs
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
|Standing on the precipice of the roaring Alpen Falls|
Sunday, October 3, 2010
|In search of a lost GeoCache|
And no, I didn't find my lost geocache, but more on that later.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
I do like to hear reports from other people who enjoy being natural in nature so it was a pleasant moment to enjoy reading Shirley's report on a nude hike along Fall Creek near Eugene, Oregon. I was even more plesantly surprised when she gave permission to post her report along with the photos. As Shirley declares in her email . . . the hike make her 'top ten hike list' and I know exactly what she is feeling. I thank you for sharing, Shirley. I, too, love that picture of the morning fog. Rick
Shirley's Fall Creek Nude Hike Report