Finding order in chaos

Dan Jurak, praire, wheat, summer, landscape, colour, storm, Alberta, Travel Alberta, rural, farm, agriculture, crops

One of the most difficult things for new photographers is knowing where to point the camera.

That might sound a bit crazy since you seemingly point the camera to where you are looking but it isn’t as simple as that.

When we look at a landscape our brain quickly decides what to include and what to discard. We concentrate on that which interests us ignoring all the other little things that add clutter to your prized image. Your camera doesn’t have a brain to selectively exclude all the distractions that we see in the final image. It slavishly see and records all.

If you are in the mountains or in the prairies, if you are anywhere outside there is chaos. The landscape isn’t assembled in an orderly fashion at least not one that always lends itself to picture taking. I have never understood the “art” photographers who have made careers of photographing landscape clutter. Looking at one of those pictures all I see is clutter. All I see is a disorganized collection of trees, water, clouds and grasses. Those photographs don’t work for me because there is no “order” to them.

What do I mean by order? Without sounding too much like an art professor because I’m sure not one, your photograph needs a central area of interest and it needs a way to draw your eye into it.

Imagine if you will for a moment that the curving lines of wheat in the foreground was NOT curving but instead ran in straight lines left to right. The image would be one more of chaos than order. Your eye would be drawn left to right or vice versa leading it out of the frame.

For reasons that I truly do not understand our eyes are drawn into the lightest parts of a picture. Know that and make it another tool in your quiver to use when framing and then processing images. The four corners of this prairie scene were ever so slightly darkened in an effort to keep the eye inside the frame and leading it towards the bright horizon.

Is it the bright horizon or wheat or clouds that are the focus of the image? The idea is to draw the eye into the scene and then move it around the frame in an orderly fashion.

Order is your friend in the world of landscape photography.

Happy shooting,



~ by Dan Jurak on January 8, 2015.

9 Responses to “Finding order in chaos”

  1. Very good point. When I shoot, I have a general tendency to forget this way of thinking and just photograph “chaos”. If you can be cognizant of this simple concept in the field, your images will certainly show significant differences immediately. I read one of your posts from a few years back talking about always looking for diagonal lines and when I stared to look for this myself I starTed to really like my results.

  2. Nick, it’s good to hear that you are looking for leading lines and being happier with the results.

    It seems that the more you do that (looking for leading lines) the quicker it will become second nature and you will recognize them without consciously looking for them.

    Thank you for visiting and commenting,

  3. Wonderful! Love the pic.

  4. Thank you Books.

    Thank you for visiting and commenting, it is appreciated,

  5. Well said, and photographed. A good lesson , and simple but we are complicated beings and forget-well, I do. It is best that I ask myself what is it that I am looking at and where are the leading lines? I like what you said about “drawing the eye into the scene then move it around the frame in an orderly fashion.”

  6. Thank you Jane. I never think of the rules of composition that I learned in photo school because after many times of doing so it becomes almost instinctive but it all does make sense. But of course rules are made to be broken. 🙂

  7. Absolutely beautiful. ♡♡

  8. Thank you Tinley.

    Thank you for visiting and commenting,

  9. No problem. Hope to see more from you. You are very thoughtful ♡

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