Monday, July 18, 2011

A Tribute to Spring

This is a continuation of my "You Inspired Me" photography challenge. You can see the results of these challenges here.

This Week's Challenge:

For this week's challenge, my wife selected this picture as a tribute to spring:

What I liked most about this picture was its use of selective focus, with a strong diagonal composition in the background. Although the depth of field selective focus forces the flowers to be the focal point of the image, the path and grass are still important compositional elements, providing line, direction, and balance. I am excited to try my hand at these compositional ideas, and I am especially excited to get out and take my first shots of all the new life that is appearing everywhere as part of Spring.

I tried a lot of different things for this photo. I wanted to try selective focus through depth of field, and I wanted to find a picture that really represented spring, and I wanted to explore the concept of how the background line guides the focus of the eye to the central element. Three elements: spring, depth of field, and line.

I took pictures of flowers, I took pictures of my new shoots growing in my garden, etc. I believe that I ended up taking more pictures for this project than for any of the ones that came before. I really struggled to find a single picture that embodied both the concepts of spring AND the compositional ideas in the source photograph.

I ended up with this photograph:

The subject (apple blossoms) really is iconic of spring, so it fit that criteria. And the depth of field is shallow, blurring the background, and drawing the eye to the central focus (the foreground flowers). And there is even some lines guiding the eye to the flowers.

However, the background, blurred as it is, is very busy. I tried looking for a better angle, that would allow a more focused composition, and failed. The tree just wasn't cooperating, and I was at the most shallow depth of field I could create with my lens. So I decided to try something a little different. In this case, selective color to compensate for the busy background. This picture is the result. It doesn't exactly follow the compositional elements that originally inspired me, but that is part of the fun of this project. While trying to duplicate an effect, one ends up discovering unique ideas, completely different from the source. Which (after all) was the entire point of this project, to inspire my creativity.

Next week's project is still up for grabs, (I will edit this post to link to the next challenge after it is given). If you have an idea, by all means, email me.