Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to look at it more closely. Get out and take a hike, go fishing or canoeing, or simply stretch out on a blanket under a summer sky...and take your camera along. We'll talk about combining outdoor activities with photography. We'll look at everything from improving your understanding of the basics to more advanced techniques including things like how to see photographically and capturing the light. We'll explore the night sky, location shoots, using off camera speedlights along with nature and landscape. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.

The Pilot

The Pilot
The Pilot

Friday, September 21, 2012

Symphonic Melody...What is it and how do you use it?

I suppose the first time I really began to like orchestra music was many years ago when I was still in junior high school. I remember listening to a collection of music on the radio played by a station that took a specific piece of work or a collection of works from a single composer and played them back to back to back. The music I listened to was from the soundtrack 'Lawrence of Arabia' composed by Maurice Jarre. What captured my imagination was how all of the works from the soundtrack, although different, followed the same pattern...the same overall musical theme throughout the entire score. Never before had I grasp the significance of that technique in a musical score. Little did I realize then that one day that same concept would play a significant role in my photography. You may wonder how could musical theory from a soundtrack score have any effect on photography...glad you asked.

For lack of a better term, some years ago I coined the phrase Symphonic Melody as it relates to how all the elements in a photograph work together.  This includes the use of color...or more specifically, the effective use of a color theme in your composition. Think about the best images you've ever seen...what stood out about them? I would bet it was these two things...how everything in the image looked like it was suppose to be there, and that the image carried with it an overall color theme across the entire composition. Everything contained within the composition worked toward telling the story...but one thing that most people tend to overlook is how the color(s) in the image also work to define the story. This color theme is what defines the essence of Symphonic Melody.

It doesn't mean everything carries the same color value all the way through...although, that actually can be an effective technique...what it does mean is that all the colors work to enhance the elements within the composition. There can be a wide variety of color values...but what prevails is that the composition is defined not just by the things that are in it...but how color was used to generate that eye appeal...or that comfortable feel of completeness in the image.

Sometimes, the overall image does carry one basic color standard throughout the composition. Then what breaks it up...what stirs the senses is that one element that stands apart....that causes your focus to shift...it is what adds interest and maybe even a little shock value to the theme. It is this shock that captures the imagination. All effective photographs use this to some degree.  There has to be something there that is different from the rest of the theme, familiar yet demonstrated in such a way that what is there is not what you would normally see visually...It must also be related to the overall story, so that the interest level is raised high enough that the viewer wants to use their mind to piece together that one imperfection to make the image...well perfect.

Think about this concept the next time you are in nature and attempting to capture something unique.  By building your composition based it's Symphonic Melody...you might be surprised at just how powerful that technique can be.

Keith

1 comment:

joy said...

wonderful! I didn't think that before. thanks for sharing:)