Geometric Compositions

This article features a selection of geometric compositions that were captured handheld with Nikon 1 gear while on a tour of Italy. As noted in an earlier article, Learning to See More, geometric compositions can pop out when using ‘soft eyes’ technique.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 48 mm, efov 129.6 mm, f/8, 1/15, ISO-400

Ovals and circles always attract my attention when it comes to geometric compositions. Sometimes they can be accentuated by lighting in restaurants and shops.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 32 mm, efov 84.6 mm, f/6.3, 1/320, ISO-400

At other times the geometric shape can be striking with a strong sense of balance. In these instances they can jump out at me, even when surrounded by all kinds of other visual stimuli. The trick is to find just the right shooting angle and focal length to separate the geometric shape.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 48 mm, efov 129.6 mm, f/8, 1/25, ISO-800

Even when surrounded by hundreds of other people in a crowded, public square a strong geometric shapes will catch my eye… like the four shapes that comprise the image above.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 50 mm, efov 135 mm, f/6.3, 1/20, ISO-400

My eye often sees geometric compositions in foliage and flowers, like the partial oval visible in the photograph above. You’ll notice the use of equidistant composition technique in the image.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 39 mm, efov 105.3 mm, f/8, 1/15, ISO-400

Contrast such as the three semi-circles seen in the bike’s wheel above can grab my eye. The overall eye flow can be enhanced further by the inclusion of the gear sprocket and axle nut.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 20 mm, efov 54 mm, f/8, 1/25, ISO-160

A plethora of geometric compositions can be found whenever I’m in and around architecture. Archways, doors, and sometimes windows can utilize circular or oval shapes. Often squares and rectangles provide additional framing and a sense of order. The repeating patterns of iron work always intrigue me.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 87 mm, efov 234.9 mm, f/8, 1/160, ISO-400

I love finding extremely simple, yet powerful, geometric compositions. The buttons on this elevator control attracted me from across the street, compelling me to investigate further.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 34 mm, efov 91.8 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-400

I regularly see the world around me as triangular shapes that intersect or compliment each other. You will clearly see the same compositional approach used in the next image.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 60 mm, efov 162 mm, f/8, 1/13, ISO-160

A strong line that separates two equivalent angle triangles can create a balanced composition.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 100 mm, efov 270 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO-400

Strong triangles can often be used to highlight specific attributes of a photographic subject.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 50 mm, efov 135 mm, f/6.3, 1/60, ISO-400

Or can serve as a comfortable visual element to lead a viewer to more intricate details.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 18 mm, efov 48.6 mm, f/8, 1/100, ISO-400

The bold lines of contrast in the above geometric composition help to define its four strong triangular shapes.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 12 mm, efov 32.4 mm, f/8, 1/15, ISO-400

Using symmetry in a geometric composition can create balance and depth as you can see with the three, green triangles composed of various beach umbrellas.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 11 mm, efov 29.7 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO-800

Sometimes a geometric composition can have a more subtle quality to it. I loved the shape of the water in front of me, as well as the inferred diamond shape in the clouds on the upper right hand side.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 50 mm, efov 135 mm, f/6.3, 1/400, ISO-400

The intersection of a number of strong geometric shapes can cause us to take some time to find the right shooting angle. To my eye the most important element in the image above is the position of the dark, red column. It was also important that the width of the sky that it framed to its right hand side was balanced with the sharp triangle just to the left and down from the dark, red column. These two, small glimpses of sky are key elements that help to create balance in the photograph.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 34 mm, efov 91.8 mm, f/8, 1/50, ISO-1600

I made a mental note of this particular row of plants inside the lobby of one of the shops in Taormina. My wife and I spent some time backtracking our route so I could capture this photograph. There is something about the geometric shapes, colours and lighting that I find restful.

Geometric composition opportunities are all around us. Some will immediately catch our eye… while others can be more subtle.

If you enjoyed the photographs in this article, you may have an interest in further investigating the the imaging potential of the Nikon 1 system in The Little Camera That Could. This eBook is available for purchase and download. It is priced at $9.99 Canadian. Readers interested in purchasing a copy can use the link below.


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Technical Note

Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear and technology as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. All images are displayed as full frame captures without any cropping done to them.

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