Looking for Order in the Chaos

15th May 2014
Ideally all landscapes would consist of perfect light and simple compositions that grab the viewers eye. All nicely flowing. And as frustrated as I get when not finding these I also understand that sometimes these shots aren't easily got. Many factors need to come together. Added to that, many of the obvious Island shots have been taken before. Shooting the same old stuff that eveybody takes doesn't do anything for me. So, if you can't find what you are after you have to go looking elsewhere. One area that always provides a challenge is woodland.

We are blessed on the Island with some excellent wooded glens and an array of footpaths that lead through wooded areas. Having a stream or river running though the shot certainly aids depth and gives that bonus of foreground, midground and background that are the standard for many landscapes. Here you have order in your shot. It's when you are primarily just faced with midground that it becomes more difficult to see the composition. All that's visible through the view finder is a mass of content. The flow is difficult to find. There in lies the challenge. Finding order in the chaos.

I wasn't going to shoot any Bluebell shots this year. Primarily as I'm trying to minimalise my style. But, as I wasn't getting anything I was happy to have an early morning venture to Ballaglass. I've taken many shots of the Bells here over the years. A favourite being last year's shot of the cottage -


But this has a good focal point in the cottage.

In publications you'll see nice ordered rows of trees surrounded by a mass of blue - at Ballaglass you don't get that. You can do the close ups and the shots with a shafts of light through the trees, but when just shooting the midground trying to find a compositon is often difficult. After a while of wandering I settled on the following. Not a composition I've taken before. What I like about this is the way the path has worked as a sweep - taking the viewer across the shot and then into the distance with the near stump working as an anchor point. A shot full of bits, but the composition flows.

At the same time as the Blue Bells the wild garlic is out in flower and smelling as wonderful as ever. (Although put your wellies on and roll up your trousers - or you'll be smelling the same for the rest of the day!). This next shot contains both blue bells and garlic flowers. Here the composition works with the bands of blue and white flowers and also the overhanging branches framing the shot - keeping it all contained.

Containing the content of the shot is important. As a result there's little or no sky shown in these images. As is the case with the next image - this time with just Wild Garlic. A favourite spot of mine and one I often shoot in overcast conditions as the garlic leaves can be far too reflective - even when using a polarizer. But, the sunlight on this occasion was to my advantage. The patches of light act as little stepping stones through the shot.

And don't forget to look closer. Here, the tiny little pathway breaks the shot and gives it balance.

So, it doesn't all have to be wonderful vistas and simplistic landscapes......not that it'll stop me from trying! But it's nice to have a back up.

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