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SPOTLIGHT

Another possibility to enhance the importance of the main subject is to look for spot light. The dark areas around you subject take the role of a frame. Obviously metering is a bit more tricky here - using spot or center-weighted is certainly a good idea here.
 
by Michael Wagner

Direct spot light is perfect by selective side light like in the following picture works very well as well.
 

by Detlev Franz

HI-KEY/LOW-KEY

A contrast between an object and its surrounding can either stress the importance with a high contrast or hide it via low contrast..

The following pictures shows bright (colored) objects in front of a dark (colored) background ("Low-Key" environment).
 

by Detlev Franz

Obviously this will also work the other way round as well - just place the quite dark main subject into a quite bright surrounding. Dark object in a "Hi-Key" environment.
 

by Michael Wagner

BACKLIT

Taking advantage of backlit in scenes with semi-transparent objects is quite favourable in many situations. Just take a look at the wings of the bird or the flower below. The shiny effect here provides a pretty interesting contrast to the "solid" body. Further objects that fit very well for this kind of composition are e.g. hairs (portraits!), ice or shells.
This light situation REQUIRES! a lens hood - otherwise your pictures will suffer from extreme flare problems and a significant loss of contrast!

The bird on the following picture receives some midday sunlight so the feathers glow quite beautifully.
 

Photo by Detlev Franz

The next picture is probably a more typical example due to the more common side-light situation.
 

MONOCHROMATIC LIGHT

The following pictures don't show any significant color differences - they're quite "monochromatic". The effect on us is often a bit weird because we don't have any anchors in the image where we could start to analyse it. However, just this "confusion" make monochromatic pictures so interesting because we need a 2nd thought to make sense of the situation.
 
by Horst Schneider

In contrast to the previous picture the following one has a main subject areis quite monochrome - in the first moment we actually have to search the subject here. While the main subject is not obvious from the beginning monochrome pictures are often interesting because you have to spend an additional moment to make sense of the scene.
 


 

MOODS

This section is actually no description of a photographic technique but the key issue of a great nature photo is often just "being there". Many photos cannot be planned. So feel the moods and exploit unusual light situations. One main problem here is that these light moods disappear as fast as they come. Overall it's a good idea to shoot first and ask later - waiting for the perfect moment often results in missing the moment. A few pictures for the trash bin surely doesn't hurt as much as no picture at all so experiment and SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT!

COLORS, COLORS, COLORS!

Image composition is about light and light is about contrast/brightness and colors. It is either a good idea to surpress as many different colors as possible (resulting in monochromatic pictures when going to the extremes) or to make use of color contrasts by looking for complimentary colors - red, green & blue. The more pure the base color the more extreme is the difference (color contrast) making an image interesting. There're various possibilties to increase color saturation and therefore contrast. Polarizers are the most popular option. These filters work pretty good to enhance the blue sky or shiny objects like the sea or other non-metallic object. The effect is maximized at a position 90 degrees of the sun. Often it is a good idea not to go for the max here. Graduated color filters can help as well here and there. There're also various sorts of direct color enhancers like "Redhancer" filter etc. pp. Just make sure that you know what you're doing ...

Anyway, the following picture is a quite typical example for contrasting colors - here red vs blue.
 

The next picture illustrates that we still get a interesting picture with a very limited range of colors. Just this limitation makes a pictures often interesting because it's simply so unusual.
 

by Horst Schneider

You can have a beautiful composition of a great subject but there're actually few things that are more impressive than extremely colorful scenes - such pictures immediately suck all the attention of a viewer. Just make sure that you handle such subjects with case because the effect is usually limited to the initial surprise of the viewer.
 

by Horst Schneider

© Copyright Klaus Schroiff

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