By Kerry Drager
When photographing in the great outdoors, lighting can be just as important as the composition.
On a recent trip to Carson City, Nevada, I was out at sunrise and found beauty in an old fallen tree. But a thin layer of clouds on the horizon continually changed the "look" of the scene as the sun went in and out of the clouds. The wider view of the bottom photo shows the total overcast light - making the log appear fairly "flat", since it had little inherent color. But then the soft low-angled sunlight came out and warmed up the log, as shown in the big close-up image.
I also framed a tight composition, with just enough of the surrounding grasses to provide context. At the same time, the camera position made a difference too. For example, I chose a camera angle that created a strong diagonal line, with the log "moving" from lower left to upper right in the frame. To my eye, that diagonal aspect is far more visually dynamic than if the log were placed perfectly parallel to the picture's borders.
Tech specs for close-up image: f/22 @ 1/15th second; 105mm Nikkor micro lens; tripod
Thanks, Kerry Drager