Monday, September 7, 2015

A LESSON IN COMPOSITION

It has been some time now since I posted in B&W, so I thought I would share this image that has been sitting in the 'waiting room' for several months now. Made back in May when we experienced all of the Spring flooding, the image has been patiently biding its time in a folder.

I found this pump jack, or iron horse as some call it, situated not far off of a county road close to my home. As you can see in the image, the jack is isolated on a small mound of earth surrounded by flood waters. Based on its condition, I am guessing that either it was shut down to prevent electrical damage to the control panel, or it succumbed to the flooding and shorted out. Regardless, the jack made an interesting subject isolated near the small lake you can see in the background.

I originally shared a vertical color version, with the jack seen from the other side, back in May. From experience I knew the contrasting moody skies would make for a good black and white conversion, so I saved the landscape orientation for this one. As can be seen, there is a great deal of detail evident in the scene, from the drowned weeds and grasses in the foreground, the pump jack and its immediate environs, the surrounding countryside and lake in the middle ground, and finally the great swirling clouds of stormy weather of the sky, all coming together to create a balanced landscape.

The only thing out of sync here is that the jack is looking off to the near right edge of the frame in the image. Ideally, one would place it on the left looking into and across the scene, but there were some trees in the scene off to the right that I did not want in the image that would detract from the jack itself. This forced me to move the jack to the right to keep the trees out of the composition. We are often times confronted with situations like this where we must make compromises in composition in order to achieve our the vision we have for the image.

In my mind, despite its one flaw (or is it really a flaw?), the composition works. All of the elements combine to make a pleasing photograph that looks great hanging on the wall, especially if you work in the petroleum industry, or happen to be a former oil field hand, or maybe you are just an aficionado of this sort of 'Americana'.

Even the ordinary everyday things we pass by on our way to work, or when out running errands have potential as photographic subjects. So don't overlook them. Take the time to stop and make a few exposures whenever you cross paths with them. Most often, you will be rewarded.


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