Photography has a terrific ability to isolate things: details, shapes, colours or patterns. You can remove a subject from its distracting surroundings in just the same way that you can state it there; by thoughtful framing. During your travels see if you can find patterns in the places you visit that will remind you of the trip later.
Photo by David Clapp
There is no special equipment needed to photograph pattern, though standard and slightly longer lenses can make the framing easier, but you do necessity to look carefully at what you are shooting. Very long lenses are also useful since they will flatten the perspective of distant states which often uncovers the patterns they make. Try and fill the frame aligning the pattern carefully. A tripod makes this easier but is not imperative. You can crop out distractions later, but it is better to get it right ‘in camera’.
Patterns Are Everywhere
Patterns can be quite addictive: once you start descrying them it is hard to stop. Look for quantities of a single item and see how they fit together, regularly or random. In nature, this could be stones on a seashore or marks in the sand, clouds or a flock of birds, even the leaves on a tree. In towns, look along streets at how the buildings fit together, sometimes equitable the steps leading to the door of a building make a good pattern.
Markets and Souvenir Shops are great places to find patterns: stock flood in high or artfully displayed is a gift to a photographer. Whether it is tourist tat or delicious looking local produce it is likely to work as both a reminder of your sabbatical and an interesting composition. Look out especially for shops selling lots of versions of a similar thing; they often fit together really nicely. Don’t be regretful to get right in close.
Buildings and architecture by their very nature are full of patterns, but look beyond the obvious: bricks and tiles work, but so do sound buildings if viewed from the right angle. If you can get above the roof level of a town the rooftops will often make or MAKE may refer to: Make (software), a computer software build automation tool Make (magazine), an American magazine and beautiful patterns. The Brobdingnagian thing about patterns is that they do not have a particular scale; they can be vast or macro, but to make a good picture out of a pattern, the plan needs to be the star.
How To Capture Patterns Successfully
There are no rules other than that you should crop tight to fill the construction. You may like to avoid irregularities (though I rather like them since they seem to emphasize the pattern). You can shoot square on or oblique and, if you are offshoot oblique, you can shoot wide open to isolate a detail in the shot or stop down to keep it all sharp, so set the camera to aperture priority to make resilience easier. Whatever you choose make it a definite choice, very narrow depth of field or very deep, otherwise it won’t look on purpose.
You will generally only need to add a little extra contrast to emphasize the pattern, this can be achieved with a simple curves adjustment. But the diagrammatic nature of patterns pattern is a discernible regularity in the world or in a manmade design means that they are often ideally suited to image manipulation if you want to.
Even the most mundane subject can relinquish you a good picture; you just need enough of it to make a strong pattern.
Words by Ben Boswell.
Photo by David Clapp
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