Ma ke the most of sym­me­try

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

What ’s the Big Idea?

Sym­me­try is when you can di­vide an im­age in two and get a mir­ror im­age on ei­ther side of the line. Na­ture is good at cre­at­ing sym­me­try – one ob­vi­ous ex­am­ple is a re­flec­tion in a lake. The di­vid­ing line be­tween the two halves is called the ‘line of sym­me­try’. We are nat­u­rally fas­ci­nated with sym­met­ri­cal pat­terns, and a pho­to­graph of a sym­met­ri­cal lo­ca­tion, with equal el­e­ments on ei­ther side, draws the viewer in to ex­plore the scene in more depth.

You can have ver­ti­cal and hor­i­zon­tal sym­me­try within a frame, and some­times both in one im­age.

What ’s the Key?

It is easy to find sym­me­try in ar­chi­tec­ture, but you may have to search for it in na­ture. Re­flec­tions are the ob­vi­ous ex­am­ple, but there are many other nat­u­ral ex­am­ples, such as this im­age of a starfish in the surf. I po­si­tioned the starfish in the cen­tre of the frame and watched as the wave hit it. I didn’t imag­ine the im­age that I ended up with when I slowed the shut­ter speed down from 1/200 sec to 1/80 sec in or­der to get a lit­tle move­ment in the wave. It cre­ated a per­fect foamy en­ve­lope, but you can still see the starfish un­der­neath. The pho­to­graph is ver­ti­cally sym­met­ri­cal if you draw a line from the top to the bot­tom through mid­dle of the starfish.

The key to cre­at­ing sym­me­try is to make sure you po­si­tion the sub­ject in the cen­tre of the frame, with any el­e­ments placed ex­actly the same dis­tance apart from each other.

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