Fitting the frame to the subject

For this exercise I was able to use one of the subjects I had previously noted as a possibility so good advice to keep a note of “possibles”; without reading ahead in the coursework you never know what scenes/subjects you will need.  In the event my subject, the At-Bristol Planetarium, posed a challenge as regards fitting the frame tightly despite adopting a variety of shooting positions, with some embarrassment as there were several bus loads of children in the vicinity on a school outing!

DSC_5278 - 1/100 sec at f16, ISO 200, 24mm

DSC_5278 – 1/100 sec at f16, ISO 200, 24mm

For the baseline shot I opted for landscape format which shows something of the setting; not particularly inspiring apart from the sphere itself with the reflections and shows its size relative to people.  My aim was to make it the dominant feature in the scene but, as per the requirement, little time was taken in composing the shot.

DSC_5279 - 1/80 sec at f16, ISO 200, 31mm

DSC_5279 – 1/80 sec at f16, ISO 200, 31mm


As I alluded to above, for me following the brief for this shot was something of a challenge ( a sphere into a rectangle!), but it was self inflicted.  Whether I have met the brief is, I guess, open to debate. For me the question being asked here is whether the subject in itself is interesting enough to fill the entire image.  The result is a bit of a curates egg;  I find the space left around the sphere distracting but the construction and reflections do provide interest.  Probably waiting for “that moment” to catch some interesting reflections would enhance the image.

DSC_5282 - 1/40 sec at f16, ISO 200, 70mm

DSC_5282 – 1/40 sec at f16, ISO 200, 70mm




The next shot, close in so no edges are visible, just part of it.  What is the purpose of this view? I took a number of shots as I contemplated the question.  I chose to go for the reflective property of the sphere and thought the image of the photographer taking the picture conveyed something of the nature of the subject.  On reflection I wonder whether a shot of the entrance with people climbing the steps to get in would say more about the subject i.e. it is not only a big reflective surface but it has a further purpose.

DSC_5343 - 1/100 sec at f16, ISO 200, 24mm

DSC_5343 – 1/100 sec at f16, ISO 200, 24mm

For the final shot I decided to move well away from the subject, in fact the other side of the harbour.  I felt this was the best way to really stress the surroundings as here we have a somewhat futuristic subject that sits in a city landscape of eclectic architecture.  However, I wrangled with the expanse of sky and water.  In this shot the sphere still draws my eye even though it occupies only a small part of the frame as it is so different from its surroundings.  Despite this I think the surroundings also draw attention as there is such variety contained therein.

In comparing these shots with the examples given I seem to be at odds with the composition of the final photograph in that my proportion differs considerably.  However, since the brief calls for the subject to fill just a quarter of the frame or less  my shot meets the criteria and, I would argue, stresses the subject’s surroundings.

Looking for alternative possibilities I cropped the final photograph 3 ways.  My thinking was to reduce the sky and water space, particularly the sky which I think is real empty space, but retaining enough of the water to set the scene of the harbour.

DSC_5343-2  1/100 sec at f16, ISO 320, 24mm

DSC_5343-2 1/100 sec at f16, ISO 320, 24mm

For the first crop I decided to try a square (ish) format, not a format I have favoured in the past.  The subject is placed in its immediate surroundings and the variety of buildings is depicted.  There still remains too much sky for my liking and I don’t think there is enough of the harbour to give a true sense of the setting.

DSC_5343-3  1/100 sec at f16, ISO 320, 24mm

DSC_5343-3 1/100 sec at f16, ISO 320, 24mm




For the second alternative I returned to a more traditional landscape format concentrating on reducing the sky and water but increasing the urban landscape content to give more of a sense of the overall area the subject is positioned in.  for me this works better than the previous crop but I feel there is not enough of the harbour showing.

DSC_5343-4My final crop builds on the previous one.  Here we have a good reduction of the dead sky space but a good impression of the overall scene the subject is set in.  This is my preferred result.


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