Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Island's Big Mountain

Yesterday afternoon I was out shooting landscapes on the island. I am always drawn to our largest mountain, 'Sliabh mhor', or, 'big mountain'. I suppose it is because it lends itself so well to be used as a backdrop to scenic images. In addition, it is a 'good mountain', in the sense that it is big, rocky, and more or less the shape, from many angles, that a child might draw for a mountain. Also, mountain-walking used to be my main passion so I'm biased.
Slievemore is excellent to photograph almost any time of day, and from any direction and distance. These images above show what can be achieved by placing something interesting in the foreground like the small lochan I used here. The white bog-cotton is also helping the foreground to be interesting, and of course the water is a lovely blue. Slievemore mountain is in the background and, though it is quite small in this image in comparison with the image size, its effect is significant. It draws our eye and gives us that sense of 'from here to there' which makes for a successful landscape image. Having been carefully composed so that the mountain is on the skyline and centre our eye is led to it - and it is a natural resting point, we keep being led back to it when we look at the image - everything leads us there.
The other image, again of Slievemore mountain, works in a slightly different way - it uses the Rule of Thirds and Leading Lines.
If you imagine the image frame divided into thirds in both horizontal and vertical lines, anything you place on the intersection of those lines will draw your viewer's eye. It is an aesthetic position, very close to the 'Golden Mean' used by painters.
In addition if you can find some lines like a path or telegraph poles, or even the ridge of a hill that leads towards your subject, it can greatly enhance your image and lead your viewer to your subject. And this is what the track does here in this instance. The converging lines of the track also help give a feeling of distance.
Have a good one.

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