Glenveagh Composition Options

This article discusses Glenveagh Castle composition options. A few different subjects and scenes at Glenveagh Castle were selected to illustrate how ‘working a scene’ can produce a range of different compositions.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Our first set of Glenveagh Castle composition options deal with a park bench with an interesting group of branches behind it.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 6.7-13 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 11.5 mm, efov 31 mm, f/8, 1/160, ISO-400

Our first sample image is a wider angle perspective of the park bench and the branches behind it. This is a typical composition we often use when we want to put photographic elements into context.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 6.7-13 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 13 mm, efov 35 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-400

The photograph above makes the bench the hero of the composition and uses the branches to add background interest. Our eye is initially drawn to the bench… then quickly moves to the interest in the background.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @10.7 mm, efov 29 mm, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO-160

Our final image in this set completely eliminates the bench, focusing on the shapes of the branches instead. Personal taste and the objective of the photographer come into play when assessing various compositions. On a personal basis I prefer the second image.

Our next set of Glenveagh composition options investigates composition approaches used with a solarium.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 6.7-13 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 6.7 mm, efov 18 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-400

The sample image above was captured from the hallway leading to the solarium. The stucco walls on each side help to frame the solarium as well as give it a feeling of more depth.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 6.7-13 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 6.7 mm, efov 18 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-400

Captured from inside the solarium, the photograph above communicates a feeling of “you have arrived”.  The hand railing touches the centre cluster of planters, creating a leading line for the composition. Where our first image created a feeling of more depth, this one accentuates width.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 6.7-13 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 6.7 mm, efov 18 mm, f/8, 1/400, ISO-400

Switching from a landscape orientation to a portrait orientation immediately creates a feeling of height. There is a much more wide open feeling. In comparison, the first two images in this set feel more claustrophobic. In terms of showcasing the solarium’s structure this third image does the best job.

Our final selection of photographs of Glenveagh composition options incorporate a small, green cottage in various ways.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @10 mm, efov 27 mm, f/8, 1/320, ISO-400

In our first composition the green cottage appears almost as an afterthought. It is so far off in the distance and off to one side, that it is unclear whether it represents our destination or not.  When shooting video productions this type of perspective is often used to establish a scene, and to put subsequent video clips in an overall context.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @10 mm, efov 27 mm, f/8, 1/320, ISO-400

As seen in an earlier comparison, shifting between portrait and landscape orientations creates a very different feeling. In this case the landscape orientation draws us closer to the green cottage visually as the length of the walkway is not accentuated as much. We now have a sense that the cottage is our destination.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 30 mm, efov 81 mm, f/8, 1/320, ISO-400

A number of elements in the photograph above focus our eye down to the green cottage. Using a longer focal length helps to compress the various elements and bring them closer to each other visually. Having the cottage clearly visible behind the tree also helps to pull it forward towards us.

We can also see that the top of the tree was deliberately cropped off. This creates an image bleed which forces a viewer’s eye downward towards the green cottage. The light roof on the cottage also creates contrast and some visual relief from all of the green shrubs and trees. This acts as a strong, visual pull. Even though there are a lot of elements in the composition, our eye is strongly directed at the cottage.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @19 mm, efov 51.3 mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-400

The plant in the bottom left corner anchors the composition. It then helps a reader’s eye follow the sidewalk to the green cottage. Perhaps not the most creative composition, but it does have decent eye flow and focus.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @17 mm, efov 46 mm, f/11, 1/80, ISO-400

In the photograph above the green cottage serves as a framing element for the statue in the foreground. We hardly even notice the cottage or any of its details. This image is all about the statue, not the cottage. Notice the ‘V’ shape created by the urn in the top left, the ball on which the statue is sitting, and the tree trunk that enters from the top right. This visual shape draws eye flow to the statue, and tends to hold it there.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 18 mm, efov 35 mm, f/5.6, 1/500, ISO-400

Our last sample image of the green cottage incorporates a very strong corner element that acts as a partial reveal. Its jagged shape makes it somewhat ineffective as a partial reveal. One of the leaves does reach into the composition and superimposes on the cottage. This helps create a leading line of sorts. Overall, not the most effective composition. It would have been better executed if the corner element would not have touched the cottage and confused things visually.

If I had to pick an image that creates the best overall ambience for the green cottage, my vote would go to third image in this last selection. I find it friendly, inviting, and immediate.

As illustrated by these Glenveagh composition options, when ‘working a scene’ remember to change your physical position. Adjust the focal length of the lens you are using. Flex between portrait and landscape orientations during your experimentation.

Technical Note:
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.

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