We tend to shoot the land­scape on a grand scale, but if you take a closer look you’ll find fas­ci­nat­ing pat­terns shaped by Mother Na­ture

Digital Photograper - - Techniques -

Pat­terns abound in na­ture, on both a large and small scale. Even your own mod­est gar­den can be a source of suc­cess­ful im­ages, from car­pets of fallen leaves – at their most colour­ful dur­ing au­tumn – to the in­tri­cate pat­tern of veins in back­lit leaves or beds of colour­ful flow­ers. Fungi makes fas­ci­nat­ing pat­terns, as does tree bark, lichen-cov­ered stones and fur cones. You can also cre­ate strong pat­tern shots of trees by us­ing a tele­zoom lens to com­press per­spec­tive so the trunks are crowded to­gether.

If you’re on the coast, look for nat­u­ral pat­terns in rocks eroded by the ac­tion of the seas, peb­bles on beaches, rip­ples in sand, re­flec­tions on the wa­ter and pat­terns left by out­flow streams that flow across the beach – beaches in the High­lands of Scot­land are ideal for this as the peaty wa­ter cre­ates amaz­ing pat­terns as it trick­les across the sandy bays. The great thing about shoot­ing pat­terns is that you’re not re­ally de­pen­dent on a par­tic­u­lar type of light. Dull, over­cast days can be ideal be­cause the low con­trast light adds uni­for­mity to ev­ery­thing – there are no deep shadows or bright high­lights, so where a pat­tern ex­ists, it will be re­vealed clearly. Calm weather is a bonus near wa­ter as re­flec­tions can make the pat­tern twice as strong – think of a bridge or build­ings re­flect­ing in still wa­ter.

Stronger light can also work. Low light glanc­ing over a sandy beach or desert dune dur­ing the morn­ing or evening will re­veal an in­tri­cate pat­tern of del­i­cate rip­ples that you wouldn’t see in softer light or when the sun’s over­head. Shadows them­selves can also make a pat­tern more ob­vi­ous by pro­vid­ing tonal sep­a­ra­tion be­tween the el­e­ments that form it, or ac­tu­ally be­come the pat­tern them­selves – low sun shin­ing through rows of trees, for ex­am­ple, cre­ates fan­tas­tic pat­terns.

Ex­per­i­ment with dif­fer­ent cam­era an­gles to make the most of nat­u­ral pat­terns. Of­ten the best view­point will be ob­vi­ous, but there are times when you need to move around the sub­ject and ex­plore it from dif­fer­ent po­si­tions be­fore you shoot. A tri­pod can be use­ful here, keep­ing the cam­era steady and mak­ing pre­cise com­po­si­tion eas­ier.

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