Third Thursday Challenge: February

Tunnel Reflections

Photography is a two-dimensional medium, which attempts to re-create a three-dimensional world.

My “go-to” compositional style is the fill-the-frame, straight-on view – there’s something about the neat geometry of this approach that appeals to me – with everything lining up within the frame. But because of this, many of my images lack perceived depth – depth that encourages the viewer to “enter” the photograph and explore.

So, this month’s challenge was to compose with depth in mind – to purposefully use leading lines and forced perspective to create that sense of three dimensions.

(And yes, apparently I am continuing last month’s black and white challenge as well.)

This was a tough one for me – taking me out of my usual compositional style. It’s not that I never shoot this way – I just have to consciously think about it. About finding ways to avoid the “easy” flat shot.

In his book, Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision, David du Chemin has this to say about visual depth:

“It pulls the viewer into the image and invites the eye to walk around a little, to explore the space. It adds the illusion and feel of the third dimension and creates an image that beckons viewers to spend some time. It adds complexity and texture. If you want your images to give the viewer a greater sense of being there, creating depth is important.”

So, here I am – compositionally challenged – inviting you to explore the depths with me.

(And – stop the presses! – I do get extra points for including a real, live, moving human being in the shot below!)

Please consider joining in – the  link will be open through the end of the month. I look forward to your challenge topics. If you are curious as to what the the Third Thursday Challenge is all about or you want to pick up the button code, you can find out the details here.

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Posted on February 21, 2013, in Third Thursday Challenge and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Brenda, these are fabulous! Each of your images here do exactly what you had as your goal, as each of them invite me to look around and wonder where those lines, where that person will go. Love the black and white treatment, too.

    • Deb – thanks so much for your encouraging words. It’s always a little scary to try something new, to move away from the tried-and-true that we know works. For some reason, I really struggle with this type of composition – so this was a good challenge for me. I’m glad these images invited you in to explore the space.

  2. Good, cold morning!!! Never ever have I been the FIRST to post on ANYTHING…..I guess it is because you took a photo with a human in it! Always a first time for everything! You definitely accomplished your purpose to create a GREAT sense of depth, distance and being able to internally visualize what lies beyond! Great work. I also think this type of photography lends itself beautifully to Black and White. Following in your footsteps, is going to be my next thing to create better black and white images.
    You know I don’t think I remembered that this post is up for an extended period of time….had I known 1. I would have made it to bed earlier! JK 2. I could have worked harder/longer on the processing of painted textures. It is just another skill to master or at least improve upon. However, I smile thinking that you might be tempted to put floral textures around your architectural photos !!!!! You did a great write up with your submission. smiles: sharon

    • Sharon – well, points to you for being the first to link-up! And yes, you always have until the end of the month to post your challenge but somebody has to be first! I will be heading off shortly to check out the links – thank you so much for participating, for staying up late, for challenging yourself – and therefore, challenging the rest of us.

      Thank you for your kind words on my own challenge. There is always something more for each of us to learn. Hmmm – later I may try that floral textures idea 🙂

  3. You certainly accomplished your goal.! These are stunning. And, yes I want to walk into the photos and look around! The reflections in the first one are amazing! For some reason I keep returning to the last one. I just want to jump into this photo, run around those columns, and play in the shadows!!

    • Cathy – welcome to my depths 🙂 I’m glad you feel like you can enter these shots – if so, I did accomplish my goal. You are welcome to run around those columns – but since this is the Federal Courthouse, perhaps we should do it only on the weekends – I’m always afraid I’ll be told to “cease and desist” by an overzealous security guard, so I only take my closeups when it is closed.

  4. I love this series, Brenda! And definite bonus points for you for includiing people. You are really stretching here with these depth images. I do love the element of mystery in the second one, my fave.
    You are my role model!

    • Gina – this is the brand-new skywalk at the local community college. Initially, I stood there, patiently waiting for the people to pass so that I could get an empty shot – my norm – but then I really pulled out all the stops and included a lone walker. I actually shocked myself – especially by liking the end result. I suppose I’m going to have to bite the bullet one day and take on the people challenge 🙂

  5. Wow, you’ve done it again. Seems like any challenge you give to yourself, comes out a winner. I bet you sat in the front row and raised your hand for every question. I sat in the 2nd row, because the further I sat toward the back of the room the less I paid attention and the more I goofed off with those around me.
    Well, I’m on a tangent here. I like all of these images. Yay on the person. totally adds to that fascinating image. the curved line moves and the movement of the individual provides a cool inference. I like all the images here-and the starkness of the black and white. The thoughts from the book are interesting to ponder. I think I tend to put that depth in images more oft than not, but I’ll have to glance over my “stuff” and see. I don’t know where you find all these wonderful books. My library is so slim on offerings, but it is small town. I have been in to Portland however and didn’t find much more. Do you look in the 700’s or is there another place with more artistic/philosophical thoughts?
    Thank you hostes. BTW…I’m 3 for 3. : )

    • Susan – you do realize that I only show you the “good” results, right? And yes, I certainly did sit in the front row and raise my hand at every question – you’ve got me pegged. And I never mind your tangents.

      You definitely include depth in your images – I’m sure when you look back you will see that this is true. I don’t know why this is such a hard one for me but it is. I just naturally gravitate toward the squared-up, fill-the-frame shot.

      I can highly recommend any of duChemin’s books especially on the topics of the “whys” of photography rather than the “hows” – but I got them all from Amazon, primarily as gifts. Maybe you can find a used version on Amazon? I did find the Bryan Peterson book “Understanding Exposure” at the library which was well worth the read. I also really liked “The Practice of Contemplataive Photography” by Andy Karr and Michael Wood – again an Amazon purchase – but you could check the Portland library.

  6. Well, you did a fabulous job. I really like the idea of challenging yourself to do something you don’t normally do (in any area of life).

    • Kim – thanks! This monthly challenge has been a great boost to my creativity – I am constantly on the look-out for new things to explore and ways to improve my skills.

  7. I’m very proud of you for including the woman in your first image. That wasn’t so bad, was it? Seeing her there added to the perception of depth. I felt like I could follow her into the picture and down the stairs or escalator or whatever. But the next image gave me the shivers! I sometimes have dreams where I’m trying to get through a passageway or up a staircase that gets smaller and smaller til I can’t go any farther, and that’s what I see in that picture. I’m sure Freud would have made much of it.

    I’m hoping to join in this month. I have an idea I shall try to execute today.

    • Lee – yea, me too! Proud, that is! Although my first few shots involved waiting until the walkway was clear of any pesky humans, messing up my shot. And then I decided to give it a try – and I was really surprised when I liked this shot. Sorry to have triggered your Freudian dream – that image is actually in the same skywalk, where the windows get smaller and smaller, along the curve – no humans to deal with in that point-of-view. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for your challenge.

  8. I love how you set a goal and then . . . viola, you meet it! The complex symmetry of the first image especially draws my eye.

    • Lisa – well, there is certainly some failure and struggle behind the voila moment, that’s for sure. That first image is the one that was the start of this depth exploration – I have taken many photos of this building in the past, but this was the first time I looked at it from this particular perspective. What attracted me was that reflected symmetry but it was afterwards that I realized I had also met my depth goal.

  9. Congrats on another successful personal challenge. Each of these images is special, but I’m especially intrigued by the down-and-then-up-again nature of your third pic. It could be a self-portrait (of me, not you!).

    • Wanda – welcome back! So glad to have you participating in the TTC this month. That third image was taken in the skywalk featured in the second image. I have had great fun exploring this walkway – skywalks are one of my favorite architectural structures.

  10. Skin of my teeth as usual…..but I’m here! Not sure my third Thursday challenge has even worked but here’s hoping and I had a go at least! Love the compositional style you’ve used here, very effective and definite extra points for the person!

    • Becs – so glad you joined in and that your challenge was a success 🙂 And thanks for those extra “person” points – I have a long way to go in that regard.

  11. I’m beginning to catch up on visiting blogs.
    I like that first image–with the reflection separated from reality by a diagonal lines ending in the two window. Everything about it is pleasing.
    In the second photo, I’m struck by the large curve outlines in white, and the two largest ceiling lights, which frame the image. Many lines lead us into the image.
    In the third, the juxtaposition of diagonals with horizontal is striking, with the verticals providing unity and grounding.
    The last image is an example of your excellent shadow work. I like that the shadows are not of the objects in the image. Again, very strong diagonal lines.
    I wrote my comments on the images before reading your description. I saw depth in all of them without knowing that is what you were after! Hence, you were successful!!
    I did notice the human in one of the images. I might prefer photo without her, but………….

    • Anita – as always, I greatly appreciate your insightful comments and the time you take to put your reactions into words. The inclusion of a human element was definitely outside my comfort zone. I took quite a few shots of the skywalk empty – which is my inital preference – but wanted to see if I could create an image that pleased me with someone in it. Still not sure about it.

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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