Simon Lewis

AOP Part One


Balance1-01 Balance2 Balance3
Balance4 Balance5
The last image (left) again below as there is more than one area of balance that can be found.
A collection of my images showing how the balance works in each one.

Positioning the Horizon

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A sequence of 5 images showing the horizon in varying positions within the frame.
The five images above combine the same elements in the frame. In each case the position of the horizon has been varied ranging from virtually no sky (1st image) to mostly sky (last image). Because the composition varies in each image, so does the mood and impression.

In the first image, one has a balanced sense of the fishing boat floating on the ocean. the image is good but still. The second image provides more depth to the boat and provides a better relationship between the boat and sky. As such I find this a more harmonious image than the first. I find the third image a little ‘wishy-washy’ i.e. with the horizon falling almost on the centre-line of the image there is no sense of drama or tension.

Although there is only a slight difference between the third and fourth images, I think image 4 shows a far better balance between the boat and sky. This is my favourite image.

In the last image, the fishing boat is too dominant and does not have enough water around it. This overloads the portion of the image seem below the horizon.


It was a useful exercise to go back over my photographic files to see which images could be ‘recycled’ by cropping. In each case I’ve chosen photographs that had been ‘passed over’ before now. Cropping has given them a new lease of life...

Flowers Scott
This exercise asked me to look at a collection of my previous images to see how they could be changed or even improved by cropping. The main image works well with a narrow letterbox crop. The boy in blue balances well with the rocky outcrop while the strong line of the horizon is emphasised by the narrow crop.

The repeating flowers are photographed in isolation. There is no bowl, vase or container to hold them. As such I realised that normal framing conventions need not apply. here I have gone for a symmetrical square which highlights the symmetry of the flowers themselves.

Vertical & Horizontal Frames

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I found it quite easy to compose vertically as well as horizontally in this exercise - as I hope you’ll see from the selection of images on this page. In several cases, the vertical framing really helps the composition, for example with the pink boots. Here the additional height of the frame allows room to present the background statue in a more balanced fashion than the horizontal version allows. In other images, such as the signpost above, a horizontal framing gives the image more context and meaning than the vertical version.

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Cook books: 2.5s f13. Both versions work well. I like the breadth of the landscape but the ‘clutter’ of the portraitDSC_1649 - Version 2 DSC_1650 - Version 2
Pink boots: 1/100s f5. Overall the portrait version works better for me, but somehow the landscape version creates a more informal involvement by the statue. Difficult to choose...

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Bridge: 1/100s f10. I chose this location because as being deliberately hard to frame. The span shows off well in the landscape version, but the height is emphasised in the portrait.

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Into the canopy: 1/40s f9. Both versions work well here, but the portrait image benefits from really giving a sense of perspective to the tall trees.
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Lock abstract: 1/100s f18. An abstract that does not quite work in a vertical format.

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Buster at the gate: 1/50s f5. Buster really needs the looking out space in the landscape version. (It wouldn’t hurt to see what he’s looking at either!)

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Swan: 1/200s f5.6. I quite like the length of the swan’s neck emphasised in the portrait image.

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Commonwood House: 1/160 f7.1. A shame this Elizabethan building is now a block of flats. The breadth of the building and lack of foreground lends itself to the landscape version.

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Sunlight on leaves: 1/160 f5.6.

Overall, vertical framing can really help a composition.

Focal Lengths & Different Viewpoints

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1: 170mm 2: 18mm 3: 18mm 4: 70mm
An interesting exercise that shows how perspective changes with focal length. The telephoto (170mm) image of Jordan is ‘flatter’ and somewhat ‘broader’ than the wide-angle version. This is particularly noticeable in the shoulders where Jordan looks ‘meatier’ in the telephoto version, yet somewhat ‘weedier’ in the 18mm image. The background is thrown out of focus more in the telephoto image. What is particularly interesting is how there appears to be more detail in the wideangle image - yet that detail is distorted somewhat by the wide-angle perspective. So in the images of Jordan, we get a better feel of Jordan as a person in the wide angle image (because we can see more of him and because we are physically closer to him. However the wider perspective not only distorts his image, it also distorts his physique and also his character.

To see how this effect translates into objects rather than people, I shot the second two images, deliberately using an object with a lot of depth. The long arm of the trailer is made significantly shorter in the 70mm version than in the 18mm. Scale is flattened significantly to the extent that boat in the 70mm image appears to have no depth at all. Conversely, in the 18mm image you can almost feel the elevated boat towering above you.