Left to my own devices

Here’s 20 photos… in a slideshow… on my blog.

No big deal.

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Of these pictures, five represent compositional concepts in photography such as symmetry, the rule of thirds, framing, and so on.  A list and description of these creative devices may be found here. Coincidentally, these five are my favorites of the twenty.

Ghost garage is a sunny, apocalyptic kind of picture, the kind that can only be found by bumming around in the back-hills of Wyoming.  Fortunately, I know certain middles-of-nowhere pretty well, and I hardly even trespassed for these photos!  No one was home anyway, and the property is surrounded by public land, so I started snapping.  Several creative devices might be drawn from the photo, such as thirds lines, depth, size establishment, and decent vectoring (if I do say so).  Given these standards of composition, I chose it to represent balancing elements because the subjects of the photo provide a counterpoint to one another.  Other elements combine to create a compositionally sound photo, but without the balance between the garage and the truck, dead space takes over.  If I could re-shoot the photo, I would position myself differently to disconnect the inverted vehicle in the background from the truck in the foreground.  Half a step to the left and forward, I think.

Nearby natural gas fields provided more interesting sights, and I spent about twenty minutes positioning myself for this shot, simply called Gas Fields. Depth of field is certainly the dominant device here as gas wellpads diminish into the distance, but thirds lines and repetition are evident to some degree.  I like this shot because it reflects the dissonance between man and nature, but also our dependence upon natural resources.  Roads can be seen zigging through the foreground, and unblemished cliffs peer across the scene.

Back in Laramie, I went hunting for lines on campus.  I think people misunderstood when they asked what I was doing.

Eventually I found the most peculiar art installation in the south lawn off of Ivinson.  I’d heard about it because it had ruffled some feathers in the community: it can only be described as a black hole made of coal and the cores of pine trees, all radiating out from the center, forming an intriguing spiral pattern of carbon black and lumber brown in the dewy grass.  I chose this particular photo, cheekily named This mortal coal, because its perspective uses leading lines to draw the eye toward the center of the sculpture, which then dives down into the earth.  The vivid green of the adjacent lawn provides a contrast to the grayscale, industrial tones of the art piece.

Time was running out, so I began to experiment at home.  I dusted off the old turntable, threw on a record (yes, the vinyl kind), and ended up with some cool results.  This photo, named Needle on the record, uses reflective symmetry to some effect, drawing the eye to the hand and stylus, which are in focus, and then blurs peripherally.  Taken with 400 ISO film, the graininess of the film serves to blur the shot even more, and it might almost fall apart if it weren’t placed along thirds lines.  This tactic shifts the subject off-center, which contributes to the reality and mystery of the photo.  Had I centered myself in full-focus and framed properly, the photo would be rather dull.

Finally, Speaker hugger features my home speaker from an unusual angle, using shallow depth of field to draw focus to the smaller cone in the foreground, which clues the viewer in on the blurry 12″ woofer below.

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