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« Setting up your camera to get the best photographs Part I | Main | Photographing Christmas Lights »

Using pattern to create interesting images

I'm a real believer in studying the commonplace and seeing the extraordinary in our normal surroundings.  


 This is a great example.  I was walking through an outdoor museum, and saw this detail of an old radiator from a Model T Ford.  What drew me to photograph this is that hidden within what appeared to be a perfectly repeating pattern where some wonderful nuggets.


First, though the image appears to be monochromatic, there are some wonderful subtle colors in the copper tubing.  And beyond that, the seemingly perfect rows of identical fins are broken up by bent units that have a seashell quality that invite a closer look.


Here's another example.  Walking a little further, I saw this doorway on an old, worn building.  Certainly the vibrant color caught my eye.  And the strong geometric shapes from the iron gate added a wonderful repeating pattern.

But what else was going to make this a make this a image worth shooting?  What about the touch of color in the wood wall on the right and how it created tension with the dominant green of the door?  Or the small piece of white wire hanging off the door lock just out of site at the top left of the image?  Using the white wire adds new curving shapes to a straight line world, and showing just a small amount of it balances the yellow wood on the right.


Finally, patterns can lead your eye to an element of the photograph you want the viewer to look at.  Just look at this picture of the front of an old truck.

 So when you are out shooting, look for patterns that can add a strong graphic image and still give you opportunities to incorporate unexpected and delightful elements.


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