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Red Island Iceberg

Near Red Island, Scorsby Sound, Greenland.
Phase One A-Series with 23mm lens, 1/350 second @ f8, ISO 50


Should you have the main subject in the middle of your photograph? I don't have a problem with the subject in the middle because sometimes that's the best place for it. However, if it stops you automatically putting all of your subjects in the centre, merely because the autofocus points are there, then at least it has you thinking.


What about placing your subject along the centre line. In a horizontal frame, we probably wouldn't think twice about putting the horizon in the middle, so is there a problem with this composition with the two 'centres of interest' vertically aligned, creating an imaginary vertical line right down the centre?



The iceberg is obviously one centre of interest; the second is the gap in the brash ice. We had been circling this iceberg for half an hour because it looked like it was about to crumble - and sure enough, a huge section did collapse in front of our eyes! What you see in this photograph is the remaining ice floating away from the point of impact - and creating a wonderful foreground.


Equally interesting to my eye are the bright red cliffs in the background. Although partially hidden by the iceberg, the splash of red creates some intrigue, I hope, because these mountains could easily be situated in Central Australia, not in remote and icy Greenland!


But back to the composition. The two centres of interest create a visual roadway for the viewer's eye to travel, backwards and forwards. Some people would argue that a diagonal line is more dynamic than a vertical one, but I feel there is already enough movement in the scattering of ice all around the foreground. The strong vertical acts as a balance.


Perhaps equally important are the edges of the photograph, in that the composition is contained and there aren't important elements cutting through the frame's edge and distracting the eye. In addition to positioning the elements within the frame, choosing what to include and exclude from the frame is equally important.


If you're interested in a photography workshop to Iceland and Greenland, there's one happening next August/September. Full details on the Better Photography website!


Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses

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