Category Archives: 07 Frame shapes and sizes

Exercise Vertical and Horizontal Frames

The brief:

Photograph the same scene twice. Take 20 photographs as vertical – they could be street scenes, or landscapes, but fit everything you shoot into a vertical frame. Layout the processed results…Continue the project with the next 20 shots, by shooting a horizontal version of every vertical composition that you just made.

In order to make good use of my time I shot my vertical and horizontal images straight after each other. That way I could ensure that the scenario was as identical as possible.

Figure 01 - Vertical

Figure 01 – Vertical – Lonsdale Quay

Figure 02 - Horizontal

Figure 02 – Horizontal – Lonsdale Quay

Both orientations work well in figures 01 and 02. The vertical format in figure 01 provides a more intimate interpretation than figure 02, which shows the subjects in context of their surroundings.

Figure 03 - Vertical

Figure 03 – Vertical – Shipbuilders Yard

Figure 04 - Horizontal

Figure 04 – Horizontal – Shipbuilders Yard

For the Shipbuilders Yard images in figures 03 and 04, the horizontal format works best as the crane and offices in the background provide more balance to the image.

Figure 05 - Vertical - Beatty Street

Figure 05 – Vertical – Beatty Street

Figure 06 - Horizontal - Beatty Street

Figure 06 – Horizontal – Beatty Street

This is my favourite street mural in Vancouver. It runs the length of the city block and depicts various famous people who helped shape the city, from Captain Vancouver who discovered the place, to Jimi Hendrix, the guitar player to David Suzuki, the environmentalist. While the deeper perspective of the convergent lines in the vertical format (figure 05) creates a tunnel-like effect between the wall and trees, I also like the horizontal format (figure 06) where more detail is seen on the wall and less attention is given to the sidewalk.

Figure 07 - Vertical - Gate to Chinatown

Figure 07 – Vertical – Gate to Chinatown

Figure 08 - Horizontal - Gate to Chinatown

Figure 08 – Horizontal – Gate to Chinatown

The preferable position to take these images would have been in the middle of the road in front of the big arch, but I was not prepared to risk that so I opted instead to stand in the bus lane as a compromise. In the Gate to Chinatown images (figures 07 and 08), the vertical format works better than the horizontal as the brown building on frame left in figure 08 draws the attention away from the gate.

Figure 09 - Chinese Arches - Vertical

Figure 09 – Chinese Arches – Vertical

Figure 10 - Chinese Arches - Horizontal

Figure 10 – Chinese Arches – Horizontal

Figure 9 and 10 are of the details of the underside of the arches above. They are more abstract in nature. Both images have their merits. Figure 10 has the frame full of the details, while there is a little more perspective in Figure 9 with the sky showing and details on the pillars. Figure 9 also has more diagonal lines which tend to keep the eye busy on the image a tad longer than Figure 10.

 

Figure 11 - Alley in Chinatown - Vertical

Figure 11 – Alley in Chinatown – Vertical

Figure 12 - Alley in Chinatown - Horizontal

Figure 12 – Alley in Chinatown – Horizontal

Of the two images of the Alley in Chinatown, I definitely prefer figure 12. The image is more balanced and there is more detail visible on the walls. The wider perspective of the converging lines of the alley provide a greater depth in figure 12 than in figure 11.

Figure 13 - Portrait of Rumbi - Vertical

Figure 13 – Portrait of Rumbi – Vertical

Figure 14 - Portrait of Rumbi - Horizontal

Figure 14 – Portrait of Rumbi – Horizontal

Figure 13 provides a more intimate moment with the viewer than figure 14. The green newpaper vending box and car in figure 14 are a little distracting, although they are sufficiently blurred that the subject is separated from the background. I prefer the short lighting on the face in figure 13 as it adds more definition to her cheekbones than the butterfly lighting in figure 14.

Figure 15 - Squamish Nation Welcome Figure at Ambleside Beach - Vertical

Figure 15 – Squamish Nation Welcome Figure at Ambleside Beach – Vertical

Figure 16 - Squamish Nation Welcome Figure at Ambleside Beach - Horizontal

Figure 16 – Squamish Nation Welcome Figure at Ambleside Beach – Horizontal

Figure 16 provides more context than figure 15 and although the rocky foreground still dominates the scene it is softened by the diagonal slope to the left of the frame. The foreground also look better without the log which is in the foreground in figure 15.

Figure 17 - West Vancouver - Vertical

Figure 17 – West Vancouver – Vertical

Figure 18 - West Vancouver - Horizontal

Figure 18 – West Vancouver – Horizontal

Both images (figure 17 and 18) work quite well. My preference would be towards figure 18 as I prefer the wider angle and the full view of the mountains in the background.

Figure 19 - Water feature - Vertical

Figure 19 – Water feature – Vertical

Figure 20 - Water Feature - Horizontal

Figure 20 – Water Feature – Horizontal

Both images water feature images (figures 19 and 20) work well as the water feature symmetrically balanced simulating the trees surrounding it. I’m inclined to favour the vertical version because I feel the branches framing the top of the image draw one into the image more, while this effect is lost in the horizontal photo.

Figure 21 - Tankers in Harbour - Vertical

Figure 21 – Tankers in Harbour – Vertical

Figure 22 - Tankers in Habour - Horizontal

Figure 22 – Tankers in Habour – Horizontal

Yet another grey day in Vancouver. The horizontal image (figure 22) is definitely a stronger image than figure 21. Too much foreground is showing in figure 21 and the division of the elements in the frame does not work well. Weighty longitudinal elements show better in a horizontal frame.

Figure 23 - Chinese Street Sign - Vertical

Figure 23 – Chinese Street Sign – Vertical

Figure 24 - Chinese Street Sign - Horizontal

Figure 24 – Chinese Street Sign – Horizontal

In the Chinese Street Sign set (figures 23 and 24), the vertical image undoubtedly is the better image. There is more context in the photo and the balance is better.

Figure 25 - Blue Heron - Vertical

Figure 25 – Blue Heron – Vertical

Figure 26 - Blue Heron - Horizontal

Figure 26 – Blue Heron – Horizontal

I think that in the set of the Blue Heron, the vertical orientation of figure 25 emphasizes the bird’s long legs. I also prefer the 200mm focal length which shows more detail of the bird than the 122mm in figure 26.

Figure 27 - Seagull on Perch - Vertical

Figure 27 – Seagull on Perch – Vertical

Figure 28 - Seagull on Perch - Horizontal

Figure 28 – Seagull on Perch – Horizontal

Figure 27 is the better composition of the pair. The dark post and the perch that the seagull is standing on provide a symmetrical balance to the frame and the frame is more solidly weighted by the perch’s supporting pole at the bottom right of the frame. The dark pole in figure 28 just cuts the frame in half and is a distracting element. The horizontal image would work better without this pole.

Figure 29 - Grand Boulevard - Vertical

Figure 29 – Grand Boulevard – Vertical

Figure 30 - Grand Boulevard - Horizontal

Figure 30 – Grand Boulevard – Horizontal

Of the Grand Boulevard pairing (figures 29 and 30) the horizontal version is the stronger image. More details is shown of the park and the various shrubbery provides more interest to the viewer.

Figure 31 - Lonsdale Pier - Vertical

Figure 31 – Lonsdale Pier – Vertical

Figure 32 - Lonsdale Pier - Horizontal

Figure 32 – Lonsdale Pier – Horizontal

Both images (figures 31 and 32) of Lonsdale Pier work equally well. They are symmetrically balanced as I was standing in the centre of the railway tracks and the water on either side of the pier forms perfect right angled triangles to provide further balance. It does seem as if the pier in figure 31 stretches deeper into the image than in figure 32, but this probably just due to lens compression as both photos were taken at 48mm.

Figure 33 - Pleasure Cruiser - Vertical

Figure 33 – Pleasure Cruiser – Vertical

Figure 34 - Pleasure Cruiser - Horizontal

Figure 34 – Pleasure Cruiser – Horizontal

There is too much foreground in the way of water before the gangway and too much sky in figure 33. Figure 34 is stronger as the gangway provides a diagonal leading line into the photo from bottom frame right. There is also more context in the background in figure 34.

Figure 35 - Shipyard Crane - Vertical

Figure 35 – Shipyard Crane – Vertical

Figure 36 - Shipyard Crane - Horizontal

Figure 36 – Shipyard Crane – Horizontal

Because the yellow crane is tall and wide, both formats (figures 35 and 36) work well for this subject. My personal preference would be the horizontal format which shows more of the landing and also shows the little family there providing a sense of scale for this high crane.

Figure 37 - Tanker - Vertical

Figure 37 – Tanker – Vertical

Figure 38 - Tanker - Horizontal

Figure 38 – Tanker – Horizontal

Figure 38 works better than figure 37 due to the lower placement of the subject in the frame and there is not such a great expanse of sky in figure 38. I noticed that I have clipped the left side of figure 37 slightly. I will have to check in the field more carefully so that I can retake on the spot. The background tones and those of the ship’s stern are fairly similar.

Figure 39 - Pilings - Vertical

Figure 39 – Pilings – Vertical

Figure 40 - Pilings - Horizontal

Figure 40 – Pilings – Horizontal

In this final set (figures 39 and 40) the vertical format offers a better perspective due to the vertical nature of the pilings. I would have like to achieve more depth of focus from these two images as my aperture was f5, but possibly the pilings were too close to the background (there was a ship just behind which I have cropped out of figure 39).

This exercise was incredibly time consuming and I feel the purpose would have been equally served with a total of twenty images instead of forty. I was disappointed that I did not get a better mix of genres for this exercise as I would have like. However, I am more aware of taking vertical shots and will make a point of doing so more often.