Friday, October 01, 2004

What is this?

What this is, is a photo with no particular subject, but lots of repeated pattern. Such images can be very interesting or very boring.

Abstract Composition of Repeating Patterns

I trust this photo is on the interesting side. Geologically it is! The photo is of amorphous silica/carbonate, the same sort of mineral as your teeth, deposited on a pile or rocks beside a geothermal well. The white coating has formed from dripping condensate, water droplets, from the steam escaping at high pressure. The mechanism for the intricate pattern is not fully understood, but may relate to droplets and puddles forming. Then evaporating to form a rim at the edge of the droplet. The red colour is iron oxides in the silica forming a jasper-like coating in the depressions. Ok thats the geology.

Why might this photo be pictorially interesting?

More precisely, how have I tried to maKe it more interesting?.

The answer is taking care in composition. In this case I did that it as took the photo. You can always change composition a little with cropping afterwards also. If you consider it as an abstract. Firstly there are really only three colours the white, the red/brown and the mid-tone greys of the shadows. Normally your eyes firstly seeks out the strongest contrast. In this case the red to white and this is strongest on the rocks closest to the camera, they are at the top of the picture. Secondly there are two dominant textures, The bigger rounded rock stapes and the more delicate and intricate cells of the silica coating.The bigger unblocken areas of these intricate pattern are more likely to be attctive to your eye, The eye will examine them first.because they are more interesting. So in this image I hope your eye is doing a bit of traveling around and finding interesting bits,the strong colour contrast in colour on the rocks at the top, the big area of silica cell coating pattern on the broad rock just below it, the greys of the shoadow being more boring are holding your eye in the central parts of the photo. Your eye is scanning around the image and telling your brain this is interesting! Well I hope that is what is happening!

Did I do all this analysis as I was framing the photo? Well no and yet kind of. If you half squint as you look at the LCD screen it degrades the detail in the image and enhances the contrast, which lets you "see" only the things your eyes,and hopefully other's eyes, might find most interesting. Moving the camera around while you squint might sound strange but I think you'll be surprised how it improves the way you compose your picture. By the way the squinting method doesn't work for me through the view finder only on the LCD screen or looking directly at the scene.
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