Take nothing but pictures
Leave nothing but footprints

Exercise 12: Positioning the horizon

Objective:
To find a reasonably interesting landscape with an unbroken horizon and to take a series of photographs with the horizon arrange from bottom to top

I was a little restricted with this exercise in getting out to find an interesting landscape because of the weather at the time I had to take the photographs – it was tipping down with rain.

This initial set of photographs were taken from the balcony door of my flat looking out over the town of Ware. While not the most interesting of subjects they do give an interesting perspective of the town and the mix of buildings and fauna.

Because of the poor conditions I have re-visited a previously taken shot (Whipsnade poppies) which I featured in one of my blog posts – cropping to create the same effect. It is a much more interesting landscape and I think also better suits this exercise. These revisited images follow on after this first set.

Set one – Ware

12.1: Horizon positioned very high in the frame

12.2: Horizon positioned high in frame

12.3: Horizon positioned just above the centre of the frame

12.4: Horizon positioned below the centre of the frame

12.5: Horizon positioned very low in the frame

12.6: Horizon positioned very low in the frame

There’s very little interesting that can be said about this set. It could be argued that the shots taken with the horizon higher in the frame are more interesting – but that would be clutching at straws. Had it not been for the fact that I was taking the photographs for this exercise these would not be ‘keepers’ and would be deleted.

Set Two – Whipsnade poppy field

Note: this set contain five rather than six photographs.

12.7: Horizon high in the frame

12.8: Horizon just above centre frame

12.9: Horizon centre frame

12.10: Horizon below centre frame

12.11: Horizon low in frame

This is a much more interesting set. In the crops shown above by far and away the most interesting positions for the horizon are pictures 12.7 and 12.8 – with the bright red of the poppies still in frame. These are a striking part of the composition and while shots 12.9 thru 12.11 are OK landscape shots they do not have the impact of the first two.

Of all the shots I took that day it is a different composition – portrait aspect ratio with the horizon low in the picture that I like the most. This picture has it all for me – a striking foreground with an interesting sky.

As I posted in my earlier blog, when I saw the field I immediately thought ‘primary colours’ and took a number of shots with different combinations. This is my favourite:

Natural primary colours

Conclusion drawn from this exercise

In landscape photography the positioning of the horizon can make the difference between an average shot and a great shot.

Different horizon positions can work equally well, but in the examples shown above (and in my more general experience) it is the overall composition including the horizon position that make the picture.

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 13th, 2010 at 12:30 and is filed under 02. The Frame, OCA Learning Log, TAOP Exercises, The Art of Photography. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.