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PATTERN

Creating your pictures around repeating elements or patterns provides picture unity and structure. Pattern repetition creates rhythm that the eyes enjoy following (fig. 5-15). When lines, shapes, and colors within a picture occur in an orderly way (as in wallpaper), they create patterns that often enhance the attractiveness of photographs. Pattern, like texture, is found almost everywhere. It can be used as the primary subject but is most often used as a subordinate element to enhance composition. When pattern is used as a supporting element, it must be used carefully so it does not confuse or overwhelm the viewer. Pictures that are purely pattern are seldom used, because they tend to be monotonous. Patterns should be used to strengthen and add interest to your subject.

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Shape is the most common and powerful pattern element. Repeated lines, tone, and color can also provide unity to your composition and combinations of these create interesting pictures. Triangles, squares, and circles are the basic shapes to look for in a pattern. Triangles and squares are usually static but can be placed to create a tension-filled, dynamic effect. Circles and curves are pleasing pattern shapes.

VOLUME

When photographing most subjects, you face the problem of how to symbolize three-dimensional objects in a two-dimensional picture. The solution becomes simple when a distinction is made between the two different ways three-dimensional objects appear: as positive, or occupied space (volume) or as negative, or unoccupied space.

unit placed at the camera, you only symbolize empty or negative space; however, a sense of depth is provided because of increasing darkness toward the back of the shop. Occupied or positive space (the machines) is If you make a picture to show the entire machine front-lighted and appears shadowless and flat. On the shop aboard a repair ship using only one powerful flash other hand, if you use a series of lights along the sides of the machine shop to sidelight the machines, shadows are cast at their sides and occupied or positive space appears three-dimensional; however, since all the machines, both near and far, are now lighted the same, you do not create a sense of depth, and empty or negative space appears flat. For the best picture of the machine shop, you should light the machines in a way that the three-dimensional form is represented, while creating a sense of depth by reducing the intensity of illumination toward the back of the shop.

LIGHTING

Lighting is also an important creative element of composition. By controlling the light and directing it where you want it, you can subdue objects or distracting elements in the scene to give more emphasis to the main point of interest.

For good picture composition, you must develop an awareness of how changes in lighting can affect the appearance of things around you. Light and shadows can be used in composition to create mood, to draw attention to an area, to modify or distort shape, or to bring out form and texture in the subject.

Shadows are a key to apparent form in photographs. Without shadows, the subject records without form, curvature, or texture, appearing flat and lifeless. This does not mean that shadows must be harsh and black to achieve the effects of form, curvature, and texture. They may be soft, yet of sufficient density to show the most delicate roundness and form. Generally, harsh, black shadows are undesirable in a photograph due to the loss of detail in them. From a compositional standpoint, black shadows can be very useful in balancing a scene and directing attention to the point of interest. Harsh shadows can also be excellent for emphasizing texture and form, for creating interesting patterns, and for directing attention to the main point of interest; however, the same elements can also obscure detail and reduce form. When the lighting is harsh, such as on a clear, sunny day, shadows have sharply defined edges and are probably very dark, sometimes to the point that they appear stronger than the primary subject and attract attention to themselves.

TEXTURE

Texture helps to emphasize the features and details in a photograph. By capturing "texture" of objects being photographed, you can create form.

When people observe a soft, furry object or a smooth, shining surface, they have a strong urge to touch it. You can provide much of the pleasure people get from the feel of touching such objects by rendering texture in your pictures. Texture can be used to give realism and character to a picture and may in itself be the subject of a photograph. When texture is used as a subordinate element within the picture, it lends strength to the main idea in the photograph. It usually takes just a little different lighting or a slight change in camera position to improve the rendering of texture in a picture. When an area in a photograph shows rich texture, the textured area usually creates a form or shape; therefore, it should be considered in planning the photograph (fig. 5-16).

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TONE

Tone is probably the most intangible element of composition. Tone may consist of shadings from white-to-gray-to-black, or it may consist of darks against lights with little or no grays. The use of dark areas against light areas is a common method of adding the feeling of a third dimension to a two-dimensional black-and-white picture. The interaction of light against dark shades in varying degrees helps to set the mood of a composition. A picture consisting of dark or somber shades conveys mystery, intrigue, or sadness. When the tones are mostly light and airy, the picture portrays lightness, joy, or airiness.

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Public domain book (NAVY Training course).

  



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