Exercise: Curves

Exercise Curves

Recently I became the proud new owner of a Canon E0S 60D and have been learning how to use the camera to its full advantage. That is why some of the photos are taken on my Pentax k200D as well as my Canon.

For this exercise I had to take four photos that used curves to emphasise movement and direction. Firsly I studied some images on the web that used curves to create these senses. I was blown away by some of the images. It’s incredible how much drama or movement curves can bring to an image.


When I was in Scotland we visited some gardens and while I was standing outside in the café area admiring the view I noticed this plant. It curved beautifully and naturally. I framed the photo so the curve bends across the photo accentuating the graceful and elegance of it. I would have liked there to be a point that the plant points to, but then I realised the plant does take you on a journey. Each leaf is a focal point which is reiterated throughout the whole picture, which I hope, creates an aesthetic image.


I started thinking about the different varieties of curves in life and I thought of the man made ones. Curves feature a lot in architecture and serve to create beautiful stunning pieces like some of these incredible creations. http://www.pinterest.com/mikevout/amazing-curves-architecture/
I especially love this one http://www.pinterest.com/pin/242420392413501144/ There is something about the curve that creates an elegant homely feel coupled with the warmth of the nature and culture.

Inspired by this I visited an old town in Scotland called Gatehouse of Fleet and found a small area of gardens. I stood back and used my widest lens setting to include as much of the architecture as I could. The sky was white and I hadn’t had my camera long enough how to change the exposure, as the controls are a lot different to my Pentax. I quite like this photo though, there are a lot of elements though the eye is drawn to the curve because of the white sky. The arch also circles the garden creating a natural frame, a contrast of manmade elements and nature. The bushes are directly underneath the man made arch to reiterate the curves.


I decided to take a different approach to curves and went to some local gardens, intending to find a floral subject. However I spotted this Stag Head tree in the car park and took several photos of it. I used the shape that the leaves created, to create the curves. The background twigs also serve a purpose; the sweeping and curving forms create direction, leading the eye to the focal point. I shot the photo with the sun behind the leaves so the delicate veins could shine through. I like how the bright orange of the leaves is a contrast to the more muted colours in the background.


I experimented with my macro lens on the silk rose. The undulating and curving lines were perfect for this exercise. The problems with macro lenses are the exposure and the limited depth of field. With this in mind I set the ISO at 3200 and used natural window light to balance the exposure. The wide aperture creates a softer image and the blurred petals lead the eye round in a circular motion until it reaches the center of the rose, the focal point.

This was a great exercise which I really enjoyed, I wanted to take different photos representing curves and although some may be stereotypical images I feel I took some that were a little different. From now on I will be searching for these ways to introduce movement and direction into my images, instead of just relying on straight lines. This course is fantastic, every day I am learning so much and the projects and exercises are helping so much to improve and enhance the way I see things in photography.

At the beginning of this exercise I intended to take a photo where the curves showed movement, at the time I was thinking of perhaps a moving vehicle but I decided to take a different approach. At first the rose and nature photos don’t seem to show movement but as the eye follows along the curve you are taken on a journey. The difference is, it’s a metaphorical one as opposed to a physical one. Next is the Using Lines in Composition project which I am looking forward to starting.


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