September 13, 2011

Alpine Climbers, Midi-Plan Traverse, France

Photograph by Tommy Harris, My Shot

This Month in Photo of the Day: Your Photos With Tips From Photographer Catherine Karnow

When I was a novice photographer, I learned from my mentor that a successful composition should lead your eye around the frame in a graceful curve. So it is with this remarkable landscape of swirling clouds, sun, and mountains. The contrast between the soft, gentle, snowy slopes and the sharp, jagged black peaks makes me feel both seduced and afraid, which is surely how a mountain climber must feel.

We first notice the three climbers. Tiny, they show us just how towering these peaks are. They are like the all-important first notes to a grand and bold symphony. We then follow the climbers' tracks, which trace the same elegant shape of the snowy ridge. The eye then climbs up toward the middle peak at dead center top, then finally to the upper left of the frame. That movement is key to the success of the composition.

Photo Tip: Compose so that your eye moves gracefully around the frame, taking in all the elements in a harmonious way.

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