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Thread: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    Y'know how we know there should always be a primary point of interest in an image to which our attention is directed. Well .........!

    On my recent holiday/vacation, I was inspired/enthralled by an image I saw hanging in gallery. It was by a wildlife/landscape photographer based in the Aviemore area of Scotland, Neil McIntyre. I haven't seen a copy of the image on his website (but there are lots of very good images on there).

    Anyway, this image is from the same location and features the same trees as in his image. I didn't want to make a copy of his picture, but was inspired to make my picture, based on the same idea. His was in colour and in a panoramic format. Mine is B & W and square. And hoprefully, I've given mine my own stamp.

    So, your thoughts and views are, as always, welcome. Particularly on that point of primary point of interest.

    Reflections on no single point of interest in an image
    40D, 24-70mm f/2.8L @ 57mm. ISO100. 43s@f11

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    Plumcrak's Avatar
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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    There might not be a singular point of interest, but the entire image draws me into it. For me the entire image IS the point of interest. The tonal range, the reflections, the shore line and the trees themselves capture my attention.
    My only distraction is the smaller tree towards the left hand side that is much brighter than the rest.
    Very, very nice image Donald.

    Cheers

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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    Actually the whole image is a point of interest. What you have in (this rather fine) image is a pattern essentially of vertical lines. Patterns are always captivating and demand attention until we've worked them out. A totally regular pattern is interesting up to the point where we figure out what's going on and then it loses interest, make it a little irregular (like these trees) and we're compelled to look at and scan the image to make sense of it. Add to that a natural or found subject and that makes it even more interesting because we can relate to the image on another level. That's my theory anyhow ...
    To enhance the effect I might crop a little off the bottom where the pattern fades into the water which I think gives the image a bottom to top direction leading you into the foliage and strengthens the (theoretical) pattern argument.

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    If you were shooting at an angle then single point would be appropriate. With an image like this the only opportunity for single point would be to focus on the foreground or background.

    Nice image.

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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    my eyes are really drawn into the shoreline and then down into those reflections, and the more I look at the image overall the more I am drawn to the reflections, mesmerizing really . The way they fade onto the ripples in the foreground and look almost like a waterfall if one looks long enough !

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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    Donald, a beautiful and peaceful image.
    I think that there are images with no fixed points of interest that will always work.
    I have a 'personal' tag in my head for them ... Images with what I think of as having "fractured" symmetry.

    For me the image comes together through the symetry elements, specifically the vertical and horizontal reflections across the whole view, with a contrasting general asymetry (the balance between the horizontal zones of tree canopy, tree trunks and the lake), creating a tension in the image which generates the interest.

    I'm probably over analysing, but hopefully you get what I'm tying to describe.

    All that said, an immensly pleasing image to me . James
    Last edited by James G; 20th September 2013 at 10:09 AM.

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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    Did not someone famous say that there are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs? In this case, there is no point of interest in the photograph, it is an interesting photograph. Dawn's analogy to a waterfall below the trees is a good one. However, although any analysis matters not a bit to me, because this image is very good, I am just curious whether the structure of the reflections is totally natural?

    Philip

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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    Quote Originally Posted by MrB View Post
    Did not someone famous say that there are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs?
    It was Ansel Adams, but he was wrong. Some of mine definitely aren't good.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    Yes, Mr Adams had a lovely way of capturing, in words, things that I feel and think about photography. One of my favourites is, "... you either get it or you don't get it, but there's nothing on the back of the print that tells you what you should get."

    Quote Originally Posted by MrB View Post
    I am just curious whether the structure of the reflections is totally natural?
    Not sure I properly understand this question, Philip. You'll have seen from the EXIF info that I printed below the image, that it's a 43 second exposure (it was meant to be 45, but I must have counted wrongly!). That, of course, helped to smooth out any ripples that might have been on the surface of the water. What I forgot to put in the list of info, was the fact that I had the Singh-Ray Vari ND filter on board.

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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    I believe it is a very successful image because it is uncluttered and the point of interest is left to the viewer to develop their own interpretation (not to wonder what the point of it is !) - some may see a pattern, others a water / forest feature, it could just be the contrasts, or James' fractured symmetry etc etc.

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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    I come from the school that believes in a "point of interest", simplicity, and minimalism...but I would add that a fair number of my images fail to meet those self-imposed standards.
    The reflection is what pulls my eye in this image...would crop out the leafy portion of the trees as I feel they don't add anything of value.

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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Not sure I properly understand this question, Philip. You'll have seen from the EXIF info that I printed below the image, that it's a 43 second exposure (it was meant to be 45, but I must have counted wrongly!). That, of course, helped to smooth out any ripples that might have been on the surface of the water. What I forgot to put in the list of info, was the fact that I had the Singh-Ray Vari ND filter on board.
    Thank you, Donald, that explains it. I was enjoying the image itself, and the info. under it didn't register! (That's why I wondered if the effect had been done in PP.) It just shows that, after a long career telling pupils to read questions properly, I have failed dismally to apply that similar principle here - sorry!

    Philip

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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    So, your thoughts and views are, as always, welcome. Particularly on that point of primary point of interest.
    Donald, I'm a bit late, but wanted to chime in with a few quick points.
    1. I love the photo, it is excellent and I find it captivating
    2. There always seem to be times when the "rules" can be broken and the photo works, this being one of those times
    3. You guys with your expensive vari ND filters are starting to make me rather jealous

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    Quote Originally Posted by flyingSquirrel View Post
    Donald, I'm a bit late,
    Never too late, Matt. Thank you for commenting

    Quote Originally Posted by flyingSquirrel View Post
    3. You guys with your expensive vari ND filters ...
    You're right. It was a complete, indulgent extravagance. I suppose we could say that all our camera gear is over-indulgent and excessive when you consider the poverty that exists in the world. I pretend to myself that it is okay because I also use some of my income to support charities.

    It takes a little while to get used to using the Vari-ND, but once you've worked out how to manage it, it is a superb tool.

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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    Essentially a pattern picture with interest and it works Donald. Does anything else matter?

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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    I pretend to myself that it is okay because I also use some of my income to support charities.
    That is quite admirable, and I'm sure makes up for the luxurious photo gear you no doubt own

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    ...all our camera gear is over-indulgent and excessive when you consider the poverty that exists in the world...
    *** Deletes $11,000 lens off wishlist *** ... But seriously, I hope that one day when I go professional, my photos can have a positive impact by being used to promote conservation efforts, awareness of nature issues, etc (cliche, I know, but one can hope). So I see the expensive gear I purchase as an investment not only in my enjoyment, but as a step toward that and other goals

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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    You're right. It was a complete, indulgent extravagance. I suppose we could say that all our camera gear is over-indulgent and excessive when you consider the poverty that exists in the world. I pretend to myself that it is okay because I also use some of my income to support charities.
    On the other hand, if no-one bought such gear, there would be many thousands of people all around the globe who would be cast out of work and, therefore, in much deeper poverty.

    Philip

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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    Donald, there are many factors that go to make a good image and a single point of interest is but one. Michael Freeman explains this in his excellent book "The Photographers Eye' which I can thoroughly recommend to all students of photography of whatever age and level of expertise.
    In your photograph the eye moves from left to right following the pattern or rhythm provided by the trees until it hits the fallen tree, which provides a comforting resting place for the eye and a story to boot.
    Up to your usual standard of course.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    Thanks, Mike. Always welcome you analysis.

    John - You're right. If it's interesting, it works.

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    Re: Reflections on no single point of interest in an image

    My wife is begging me for access to our computer, so I haven't taken the time required to read any responses to Donald's initial post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Y'know how we know there should always be a primary point of interest in an image to which our attention is directed. Well .........!
    Sometimes the primary point of interest is a single object and sometimes it is a group of objects, whether similar or dissimilar. This image -- which is wonderful in ways that I have no immediate time to properly explain -- is an example of many similar objects. My point is that your photo doesn't refute the basic principle, which of course applies to most but not all styles of photography and other visual arts.

    There are two small bright spots about one-fourth of the way down from the top and just barely to the left of center that distract me. Consider getting rid of them.

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