Friday, 9 November 2012

Sky Light

Nikon D800  F/8  1/640s  ISO-400  PrAP  EV 0  34mm
A simple discussion of a single point can sometimes be more satisfying, and certainly quicker, than trying to cover every creative and technical aspect of a given shot which I sometimes end up trying to do.

To prove the point, this post is going to be simplicity itself. Which of the two shots here do you prefer, and why?

You should know that these shots are both straight out of the box with no post-processing whatsoever, as you can probably tell. Because it's not needed for what I'm going to talk about today.

The sky and overall exposure is slightly different in the two shots (I increased it a touch for the second shot) but again that's not the topic here.

The topic is all about angles. I don't know if you've decided which one you prefer, and I'm not sure I have either, but there is something I like better about the second shot. Angles are defined by the edges of the shot, and it's good, as you're framing your pictures before snapping, to decide what sort of angles you want.

Nikon D800  F/8  1/400s  ISO-400  PrAP  EV +0.7  34mm
If I'm making an 'angly' shot, I generally want my angles to be quite precise and deliberate. In one of these shots all of the edges within the frame are at nice angles but in the other one of the edges is not far off being parallel with the top of the picture frame. If it had been exactly parallel it might have bothered me less, but in this case the darker shape in the first picture is neither here nor there. Which is why I prefer the second shot, which is also a bit better exposed (lighter).

It's important with skylines taken at zappy angles to look at the edge of the roofs and the sky to see what the angles are doing and whether you like it. A good way to do this is to consider the 'negative space' of the sky as a shape in its own right. Then you can easily see if any lines are getting dangerously close to (but not quite) parallel to the edges.

Of course, in the end it's a matter of taste as much as anything, but the more graphic a picture becomes, with clear geometric shapes forming important elements in the composition, the more important it is to take them into account and play with them. You might easily prefer the 'negative space' of the sky coming in from the top right as in the first picture, and find its position more aesthetically pleasing, and I quite like it too. Just saying.


* Sab Will runs Photo and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...

© 2012 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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