Rules of Photography – Composition, Layers

Posted on Jan 20, 2016 in Uncategorized | No Comments

The layers look

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 11.32.33Landscape photographers are especially picky.  They don’t simply plonk their tripods anywhere.  They hunt around for just the right spot.  And it’s not a case of around about here will do, it’s a case of exactly here.

In this image by Edward Burtynsky the subject is a rusting container ship.  But the composition has a few more layers to it than that.  Look at the texture mud in the very foreground, which leads us into the reflection there by chance.  Burtynsky positioned himself to make this an essential part of the composition.   It’s what’s called ‘foreground interest’


Foreground interest offers the viewer a stepping stone into your image and heightens its sense of depth.

Here, without the foreground interest, our eyes would feel too separated from the middle distance and background, and the image would lose its sense of depth. Cover the foreground area with your hand and you’re suddenly stranded, forced to make a visual leap of faith across a murky expanse of water.

When shooting landscapes, it’s easy to fixate on the big vista, but always keep an eye on what’s going on immediately around you.  Often what’s right at your feet holds the key to a crafted composition.


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Ship breaking – Chittagong, Bangladesh, by Edward Burtynsky, 2001

Blesma Photography Group, please post your example of ‘Layers’ into, The Rules of Photography Album, found within the Blesma Photography Facebook Group.  Click here to go directly to the album.

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