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© Derek Randall 2019 All rights reserved

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The Story Behind The Image: Disturbance

Disturbance © Derek Randall all rights reserved

This article is the last in a series about conveying mood with photography. For those of you who've missed the other posts, you can find the introduction here, more in depth here, and the companion post to this one about the image Stillness here.

Disturbance is obviously a very different kind of image to Stillness. Compositionally it's much more straightforward. We have the foreground reeds, the river, the background of the industrial buildings appearing out of the landscape, and then the sky.

The premise for this image is driven by two complementary elements. First the juxtaposition of the industrial and the natural. Secondly the weather, in which there is the feeling of an impending storm.

In this case the weather drives the image in several ways. The storm gives a colour palate that we associate with foreboding. I further enhanced the stormy feel by using a neutral density filter to allow a long enough exposure to show a swirly movement in the reeds and a streaking in the sky as the clouds move across the frame.

With the weather conditions as they were, I wanted to create a sense that the buildings were a looming presence. Given my composition, I was not relying on telephoto compression to exaggerate the buildings in the background relative to the foreground. What I did was to position my camera low enough that the viewer looks up to the buildings, giving them a position of power in the photo.

Note that I made this image in Winter when the landscape was relatively barren. This composition would be unlikely to be effective on a sunny day with the landscape in full bloom.

An assignment for those looking to practise: Use your camera position (relative to your subject) to alter the mood of your compositions.