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Great Longroute 2009-09-13 8:22

Hello William,

now it's my turn to ask you whether you studied photography theory and the art of composition! (:-).
I don't know if you had a precise idea before clicking the shutter or it was just a matter of chance, but this one seems taken out from a photography manual.
The graphic effect of the repeated pattern of the benches and steps (curving too) is enough to appeal the eye but that young lady going down is a real and ideal "punctum".

Best compliments,

Old 09-19-2009, 03:02 AM
BilboCA BilboCA is offline
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Default To Longroute: Art of composition

Hi Donato,

I've been away for the past week and so am just now having some time to (begin to) get caught up on TE.

This one I did shoot deliberately. I recognized the potential in the low sun angle, the repeated pattern of the benches, and the straight lines shifting to curves. And I also had the idea already of the punctum, having been taught that by my daughter shortly before this photo was shot.

I've not studied composition formally, but I do spend a lot of time professionally thinking about all aspects of presentation. Mostly that is technical material either in lectures or in my writings. There are important visual aspects in how one represents data visually to study a system or to illustrate a point. I find there are surprisingly strong synergies between learning to see clearly photographically and learning to see clearly scientifically.

Through TE, I'm discovering that my understanding of composition combines some good intuition with some serious blind spots. In this photo, I probably put the punctum in a less than ideal spot. I have a good intuitive feel for how to make the flow of the lines work in this image, but my intuition is almost completely lacking about where to position this woman in the frame to best effect.

Recognizing one's strengths and limitations and seeking to improve both is fun and rewarding. A remarkable feature of TE is the potential to learn rapidly through community feedback. I've learned more in the past few months about photography than I probably learned in the previous few years. As an educator, I find myself thinking about whether there are features of this kind of community that could be replicated for other applications.

- William
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Old 09-19-2009, 08:36 PM
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Longroute Longroute is offline
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Default Re: To Longroute: Art of composition

Well said!
It's really a pleasure to read your comments/explanations, etc, and I only regret that my mastering of English is not enough to enable myself to answer in a appropriate way to your observations.
What you say about TE being a useful tool for learning is true and I could experience it myself once I found kind, intelligent, willing and available commenters. Unfortuntely they are rare and too many people are incapable of a real assessment of a picture...

To come to the position of the lady, I think you know there are some "rules" like that of the thirds (see:
Having seen so many good pictures here in Te which didn't respect this rule, I'm prone to think that the position of a focal point may depends upon what kind of message you want to convey. For instance: one might say that the lady in your photo had to be a little higher in the same lane or stair, (rule of the third) so that she gives the idea of descending - implied in the longer distance below than above. But looking at the position she has in your photo (nearly at the center) one may think that your idea was to communicate the sense of solitude implied in the sight of a large space around her - or like she was lost in that immense space, or even that she may be there just to give with her small size the idea of how wide and empty the stadium was.

"There are important visual aspects in how one represents data visually to study a system or to illustrate a point. I find there are surprisingly strong synergies between learning to see clearly photographically and learning to see clearly scientifically."

I find this observation very interesting. Of course all that depends on the neurological functioning of our brains, what attracts our attention in a image must follow the same pattern than what is needed in a class to be able to illustrate a point clearly... even if it may be not so easy to find how!

Comunication has always been something hard to master for me...
and I think maybe that is due to the culture in which I've been brought up in which it was not considered important HOW an idea or concept was comunicated but where it was taken for granted that the pupil HAD to understand the importance of learning that thing...

If you have some practical examples of how photography can help you in teaching just let me know... 'cos I'm a teacher too, even if of a very peculiar subject...

enough for tonight! (:-)

Thanks for your meaningful answer,
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:44 PM
BilboCA BilboCA is offline
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Default Re: To Longroute: Art of composition

Hi, Donato,

First, let me say that your mastery of English is excellent, especially for someone who is not a native speaker. I find that clarity of thought is much more important than precision of expression in communicating. Your posts, your critiques, and your discussions consistently demonstrate sparklingly clear thought!

I wanted to share a few more thoughts about the synergies I experience between photography and my work as a scholar. In both of these cases (and in many other endeavors, too), there are important roles for intuitive creativity and for disciplined technical skill. In photography, part of the challenge is seeing clearly the scene one seeks to capture, the other part of the challenge is mastering the use of the camera and postprocessing software to translate that creative vision into a reality. Outstanding photography combines that creative genius with technical mastery of the medium.

To make important contributions in scholarship, one needs to understand the intellectual space one is studying in a creative, fresh way. Achieving a fresh perspective is necessary but not sufficient. One also needs to master the means of analyzing the system and communicating the findings.

In both of these systems, photography and scholarship, there are roles for what Edison termed as "inspiration" and "perspiration."

Broadly, my field of scholarship is the relationship between mankind' technology and nature. I approach this subject from a grounding in physical sciences and engineering. To the extent that I am making valuable contributions, they come through a combination of seeing things that others don't recognize, having the skill and discipline to assemble and synthesize evidence to test those ideas, and then being able to communicate the results.

I find parallels in my efforts to "see clearly" glimpses of reality through my camera and my efforts to "see clearly" the subject of my scientific studies. In both, I rely heavily on instinct and intuition; ideas often come to me suddenly especially at times when I ease up a bit after pushing hard.

I don't want to make too much of the parallels. One point of divergence results from asymmetry. Given today's technology, it is relatively easy to become a good amateur photographer. Becoming a good amateur scholar is another matter altogether!

- William
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