Camera Club Trip and Composition, July 27th

27 July 2012

A week has already flown by since a wonderful trip with the Southland Photographic Society. Around 20 of us spent Friday through Sunday based at Gunns Camp in the majestic Hollyford Valley. Established by Murray Gunn, this collection of wooden classic kiwi huts has become it’s own quirky tourist icon. Since I last visited a new kitchen come lounge room has been built and this was an ideal meeting and focal point for our activities.
A wonderful museum, shop and amusing gates and signposts still remain and are worth seeing for those with an interest in New Zealand history or a sense of humour!

Graham Dainty led activities from the photographic perspective and gave us a particular focus on composition. This was a great choice as it is at the heart of what we do.
He talked about shapes, watching the edges of a frame, rules of thirds, golden points, but for me the most interesting concept was to ask the question “what would this look like if I were to sketch this image?” In other words what is the underlying design or shape of the composition. How can I simplify? What shapes are involved? if I had an empty frame how am I going to fill it. This analogy is helpful as a cluttered room can look as good as a minimalist one, it’s a matter of good taste and probably thought and attention to detail. The same is interesting for photographers. As I reflect on my own experience I note that it is easy to be caught up with the excitement of exquisite light, grandeur of stunning landscapes or the thrill of iconic locations and how it is easy to want to push the shutter, capture the moment and to forget about composition. So I  you have a mental reminder I am less concerned about recording a location but more interested in producing unique and personal images. And so the subject may be less Milford Sound but rather an interesting shaped branch or less Gunns Camp but rather a pump on an upturned barrel with shade behind isolating it from it’s background, or a simple rock in Fiordland River.