It’s good to experiment with your photos because that’s how you improve your chances of snapping an unusual, striking image. Just like these three readers.
From a different angle
He always carries his camera bag with him, says Petri Steyn of Krugersdorp.
“I was on my way from Pretoria to Krugersdorp when a thunderstorm passed in front of me. The sun broke through the clouds and reflected off the wet road. There were roadworks in the left lane where I pulled over to capture the beautiful scene. I squatted next to the rear tyre and snapped four frames. Some were with and some without a car in the right lane. I prefer the low angle because it’s unusual. I also like to play around with the third lines to help with the composition.”
Petri’s photo is a perfect example of a beautiful photo that you have to think about to figure out why it’s so striking. It’s slightly abstract but you do recognise the sun. The rest of the elements on the photo are not instantly recognisable – the photo, therefore, leans more towards the artistic side. Because you instinctively notice the lightest part on a photo first, your eye immediately knows where to look. This photo has a definite focal point. Beneath that is the next shape you’ll recognise – the outlines of a car driving past. Then your gaze moves and you see the rest of the detail in the photo. The car’s rim and body far left doesn’t even take up quarter of the photo but it’s so clear it forms the anchor for the space in the rest of the photo. Then the wet roads draws your focus – you can almost feel it. The sun shines from the back and you can see the texture of the road clearly. Your eye jumps back to the passing car and you can’t help but appreciate the photo again. This is outstanding.
Canon EOS 600D; Canon EF-S18-55 mm-f3,5-5,6 lens on 18 mm; 1/250 of a second; f14; ISO 400
Like cats in the Kalahari
It doesn’t matter what’s in front of Harald Spiwak of Pretoria’s lens. His finger is always on the button.
“This was one morning early in the Kalahari when we stopped for a quick coffee and rusk while the sun was coming up. It was cool and my friend Rudi Kriedemann joked that we should turn our bodies towards the sun for some heat – almost like meerkats. It was the perfect opportunity for a photo. When I look at it now it has a comical element and it’s a reminder of all the places we’ve visited with our friends over the past two decades.”
“What’s happening here?” is your first reaction when you see the photo. And it’s exactly why you have a second look at it. It draws your attention and you glance at it again. You wonder why the people are standing so still in the veld – like islands, with no interaction between them. And then you see the pattern: Everyone is standing with their back to you, looking in the same direction, and everyone’s hands bent downwards, which makes you think of meerkats, as Harald explains. The photo remains strange, but before you know it you’re looking at it again.
Nikon D200; Sigma 18-200 mm f3,5-6,3 lens on 18 mm; 1/2 500 of a second; f3,5; ISO 100