April 13, 2017
The Month of April marks the Annual Tulip Festival in Anacortes, Washington. The day was rainy, gloomy and windy. In spite of the weather and the late blooming of the tulips (most of the tulips hadn’t yet opened) crowds of people flocked to the festival. Oddly enough, few of them walked into the fields. That was fortunate for me. It took no time at all to walk beyond where a few brave souls ventured out from the doorways of heated buildings into the first few rows of flowers.
This little guy couldn’t have picked a better color raincoat to wear while tromping between the red tulips.
I shot over sixty photographs from a variety of angles in the tulip fields. Obviously the subject matter is identical. My phone camera enables me to explore the design possibilities offered by the landscape around me. By using the HDR setting on the camera, it also clarifies the importance of controlling the values of my shapes and the overall contrast of values within the design. A composition either sings or falls flat depending on the interaction between shapes and the contrast, or lack of contrast, between shapes. Both the choice of shapes and the value range will alter the mood and message of the composition.
Example #1 – Changing design/composition by varying value contrast
Same photograph. Totally different design/composition as a result of increased value contrast that emphasizes different shapes, especially in the muddy ruts in the lower right corner. One is not better than the other, they simply offer two different visual experiences. Note the accelerated motion in the one on the right as a result of emphasizing the light reflecting in the water filled rut on the left connecting to the sky along the horizon.
Example #2 : Changing design/composition by altering shapes and value contrast
More variations … Where would YOU set up your easel to paint for the next two hours (if it wasn’t raining)?
It’s worth taking ten minutes to explore possibilities with a camera prior to putting brush to canvas.
This is a great exercise to do to prepare for any of the upcoming workshops in Wales. Click here for more information about the three workshops in Wales this October.