Combining compositional elements…

Since I first started in photography I have felt that strong compositional elements are the key to a good image. One needs the technical prowess to get a technically sound photograph: sharp where it needs to be, proper exposure, etc. An abundance of images today are technically very sound, but oftentimes lack impact.

Many years ago I was inspired by one of Eric Kruszewski’s photographs, Field of Dreams, which won the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. The photograph of kids playing baseball in the streets was captured in Cuba and taken from a low angle. Eric framed the hitter between the legs of another player which, combined with the low angle, provided a stunning amount of impact.

Since viewing that image I have been on a quest to apply my own interpretation of this technique, which has been quite challenging. I wanted the impact that the technique provided combined with the color, culture, and emotion of people in far-off lands that is my passion.

I was in Kenya in January of this year to shoot wildlife. Of course I was enamored just as much with the people of the local villages. While shooting the locals singing and dancing at a Samburu village I found that the lower my body got the more impactful the resulting image became. It accentuated the colors they wore by pinning them on a clean blue slate of sky as opposed to the cluttered background of other people, trees, and the fence line.

The others being framed between the dancer’s feet provided the ultimate bonus. Another personal favorite of mine, Belly Shots, shows that low angles and blue skies work quite well together. This time the ground was a little less clean than the city square in Turkey. The results, though, were worth getting a bit dusty and dirty for!

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