Wildlife photographer Roger Reynolds discusses the importance of grasping a sound understanding of design and composition when it comes to creating compelling nature pictures in the May issue of Wild Planet Photo magazine titled “The Art of Composition”.
Sigma Imaging UK Ltd. is proud to share an exert of the Roger’s article that appeared in the May issue of Wild Planet Photo Magazine:
This is a widely-used approach to animal and bird photography and, when you have action going on, it can deliver all that you need in an image. If a subject is static however, it helps if you can add design or strong composition to allow the final image to attract the viewer. It is true to say that composition and design are not always top of the nature photographer’s priorities. However, if you can think about how the subject and elements sit within the picture frame, this will always make the image stronger. History has proved that the rules of design and composition can be intrinsic in delivering a truly captivating image.
While photographing three Bohemian Waxwings I spotted the birds feeding and perching. There were about thirty to forty of them in total, perched in both singles and groups. I was drawn to the strong diagonal in the composition and, when I fired the shutter, I was reminded of the phrase ‘pecking order’. Hopefully that conveys to the viewer as well.
In the shot of the Southern House Wren, I studied the behaviour of the bird as it returned with food and realised it always perched close to the nest hole before entering. I searched the woodland and found an old log covered in beautiful grey lichen which I placed close to the nest and waiting to see if the bird would use it. It did not take long before it did and, when it perched to the left of the branch, I knew this was the image I wanted. To the purist, the composition is all wrong, but for me it is a good example of how the colours, textures and position of the lichen and muted background overcome breaking the rule to produce a pleasing result.
We can also use front-on light to create impact, particularly where it is transient. In the image of a Bald Eagle in Snowy Pine, taken with a Sigma 150-600mm Sports lens, I worked myself through deep snow to get into a position where I could frame the image against the trees and the stormy sky. The bird was positioned on the third, balancing it against the snow ladened pine. The light was flitting in and out of the clouds and I waited until it illuminated just the bird and tree emphasising the dark sky behind. Of course, using the rules of composition can greatly add to the impact of your image, however, you cannot be tied to these and with experience a photographer will instinctively know when breaking these rules will produce a stronger image.
CLICK HERE to read the full article on the Wild Planet Photo Magazine website.