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Tuesday, 20 April 2010


“one element within significant shape, and a single background”

The Photographer’s Eye – Michael Freeman

The course text explains that ‘points’ are a fundamental design element. A point should:

  • Be small in the frame
  • Contrast with its surrounding
  • draw your eye to it – focus attention to it

As part of this section, I was asked note some situations where I could make a clear photograph of a point.

  • A small dark subject contrasted against a light background & vice versa. For example an aeroplane in a bright sky or the bright moon in the dark sky
  • Small subject contrasted against plain background.
  • Something distinct within a pattern
  • a point of light on an object. For example, a car headlights lighting up an animals eyes in dark wood

Another part of this section was to look back at past photographs and note those with obvious points. I found a mixture of examples some better than others and have shown them below'.

Although a bit large I think it maintains the criteria and I quite liked the placement of this too. It’s not central and has space to move into within the confines of the frame making it more dynamic. The smoke trail also adds to the implied line, direction, speed and movement away from the closer left sided edge.

Although not the strongest of points, the colourful boat has just enough contrast with the water and dark background. The implied direction comes from the water trail/wake (implied Line?). Subjectively I like the image and it’s dynamic balance, however it could be argued that the boat is very close to the right edge of the frame and therefore no ‘space’ to move into, a danger of just disappearing out of view.

This was taken coming back from Everest Base camp. The dark figure in the foreground contrasts against the grey rocks. This was taken quite a few years ago so I didn’t really have any idea of frames and composition! Having said that the figure (point) is placed off-centre and avoids the static nature of centre framed; The smaller ‘point just off centre left against the white snow are actually 2 people walking towards us. Now that’s some scale! plane shot. This works better as a point than the first plane shot. The dark contrasted against the sky draws the eye to it straight away and the placement within the frame allows space in front with implied direction; there is also an implied line of the blue sky sandwiched between the clouds. Based on rule of thirds idea. point like due to the size, well at least the centre of the flower would. Placement is a bit low to the bottom of the frame too.

You may recognise this was one of my ‘contrast assignment’ images. I like the orange points placement being off centre and the contrast of it drawing the eye to it as well as the spiralling rope leaving the frame.

I shot this a while ago on my 250mm lens. it has been cropped to increase the size of the moon in the frame and move it off centre, the original was with the moon dead centre and smaller (probably a better example of a point but static in composition)

I really enjoy creating light trails and panning shots and the kind of effects I can get, I think this qualifies as a point. Static in composition and technically flawed, but  I think made more dynamic by the horizontal lines and feeling of movement. I think this could be improved with some cropping though and placing the ‘point’ closer to the left side of the frame, or  a sort of panoramic shot.

The Vulcan Bomber. I know there are already aeroplane shots I’ve used, but I couldn’t leave this out… it’s the Vulcan Bomber and a point!!

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