12 Positioning the horizon

For this exercise I travelled down to Bayside and walked out onto a part of Brighton beach which extends out into the water giving a good view of the city central business district. Positioning myself to also include some closer foreground of houses to the right and the black swans that frequent the bay at this time of year.

Equipment used Nikon full frame camera with a zoom lens set to 65mm. I took 6 photos of the scene, positioning the horizon from high to low in the frame. At the time of taking the images I noted that my preference was for image 5.

Image 1 – With the horizon above the top third of the image the city scape on the horizon looks very compressed, compared to the large amount of water in the mid and lower sections. Which leaves the viewer scanning a lot of blank and un-interesting water.


Image 2 – At the top thirds position the horizon again leaves a large body of water that offers the viewer no substance.


Image 3 – In the middle of the image the horizon cuts the image in half and is not an unpleasant composition but lacks commitment.


Image 4 – At just below the mid way point on the image for the horizon the foreground detail and the sky start to balance a little more.


Image 5 – This was my proffered image at the time of taking the shots and remains so. For this scene I would still note my preferred image as number 5. The reasons being that I find the bottom third placement works best for this image, with the swans and houses make reasonable foreground interest, with the city behind. The remaining 2 thirds made up of the clouds gives some interesting detail, thanks to a few test shots to obtain the right exposure to hold this detail. I would however crop the image to make the composition a little tighter but I might leave that to a later exercise.


Image 6 – With the horizon below the lower third for this image it makes the viewer focus on the cloud detail but cuts across the swans making the picture look poorly thought out and composed.


A few exposure tests resulted in a minor exposure adjustment, helping to hold detail in the clouds. But more accurate positioning in the frame when taking the images would have been possible if I had taken along my tripod. Manual focus would have also been a better option, rather than re-focusing in the horizon each time before talking the next image. A learning for the next similar assignment.


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