Creating Compelling Photographs: A quick study in composition and post-processing

Mary's version at White Sands
Peter's version at White Sands

For this week’s mini-midweek post, I thought it would be interesting to look how Peter and I interpreted the same scene differently.  We often stand side-by-side when we photograph, looking at the same subject in the same situation in the same light, are are always amazed how different we see things and how we process them.

A couple of weekends ago we made a quick trip to White Sands.  Both of us stopped in this spot and remarked at the ripples in the sand (it was hard to find an area that wasn’t covered with footprints).  We came home, both selected this scene to process – and ended up with very different results.  We both independently decided to process it as a black and white.

We rarely agree, but this time we both like my image better (and I’m not just saying that because I wrote this post).

Adding more sky helps to balance the composition, and the clouds contrast with the ripples to add more interest.  I think more importantly, I have more “shape” to the light.  I chose to leave the dark shadow on the left which adds contrast.  I also prefer toned images, rather than straight black and white – mine is toned with Selinium and I think it makes the image more dynamic.

Whose do you prefer?

One Comment

  1. Mark McDermott

    It is always amazing to me how subtle differences in cropping can make such a huge difference – a subject for an entire book in itself. In addition to everything else, Mary’s composition of including slightly more sky and slightly less foreground is a better composition, I think.

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