Exercise: Vertical and horizontal frames

This next exercise is generally an exercise in ?habit breaking? and to get me to think about using a vertical format as well as horizontal.  It requires taking 20 vertically framed shots and then 20 horizontally framed shots of the same subject.

Overall this doesn?t feel like an exercise I?ve gained much from – again as it?s something I?ve tended to do anyway; I will typically adapt to the subject.  A clear example is when taking pictures of people – they?re generally taller than they are wide – so if I?m focussing on a person (rather than the person within their surroundings) I?d typically opt for a vertically framed image.  Sports shots of an individual ?in action? tend to therefore end up as vertically framed, while a group of people in action tend towards horizontally framed.

It helps I?ve got vertical controls on my camera?s battery grip too – as I expect without it?s less comfortable and therefore less likely that somebody would opt to shoot a vertically framed shot.

Never-the-less, I?ve completed 20 shots in each format.  I won?t post all 40 here; instead I?ll pick out a couple of highlights which show the comparable merits of framing vertically and horizontally.

This first example shows the strength of vertical framing.

In the vertically-framed image the main element of the image, the discoloured bricks of the wall from the drain hole, clearly stands out from the rest of the image.  The horizontal cement above the alcove where the 9 is sprayed, creates a point of interest and division within the frame.

In the horizontally-framed image these elements take on less significance, there?s too much going on; it wasn?t possible to frame the image in such a way as to keep the same emphasis – details would be missed off or blank space and additional ?distractions? would be added detracting from the overall image.

The next example is one that works best horizontally framed.

The horizontally-framed image captures the looping of the razor-wire, which invokes an image of a roller coaster in the background.  The foreground wire crosses the ?roller coaster? at the intersect of the bottom and left ?third? of the frame and is where my eyes tend to settle on the image, before looping around (my eyes almost ride the roller coaster when I look at this image).

The vertically-framed image is less pleasing, the foreground wire just ?appears? in the image, as though from nowhere, whereas it appeared to have an origin in the horizontally-framed version of the shot.  It loses the sense of ?fun? which the other image invokes.

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