On Knowing When Less Is More

By | 2012-07-10T15:35:30+00:00 Jul 10th, 2012|

Initially, I was going back and forth as to whether this image was a display of minimalism and, after a few minutes, I decided that it actually wasn’t. I thought, well, there is just a hint of a dirt road and some corn fields taking up about 1/10 of the frame. But, what I decided was that this was a better example of when less is more rather than minimalism. Perhaps, if the sky was blank blue and without any clouds, it would have more of an air of minimalism.

In any case, I wanted to share this shot because I do feel it conveys an important lesson about how giving your viewer less than what is available can actually help spur their imagination. I have versions of this image where the framing included less of the sky and more of the road, but I felt that this particular composition was most effective for several reasons:

1. It allowed me to showcase more of the beautiful sky, clouds, and anticrepuscular rays.
2. It gave a much stronger color contrast between the greens, yellows and blues.
3. It provided an instantly recognizable foreground anchor with the over-brightened dirt road
4. I just found it to be more visually appealing :)

So, when you’re out shooting, or even during post processing, always consider whether you can compose or crop more effectively to add drama to your shot. It’s a really great practice to get used to.

In terms of processing
This is a seven exposure tone-mapped HDR image completed wholly in Photomatix. I actually preferred the look of the tone-mapping for this shot from Photomatix rather than from Lightroom 4.1. Go figure.

Stylization was done in Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software. I applied Magic Sunset to the sky only and masked it off of the foreground. For the corn field, I applied Green Enhancer and a tiny bit of Thermopylae. For the road, I added some Golden Hour Enhancer and Vecchio. I also globally added Tonal Contrast and Rich Glow.

Final touches were achieved in Lightroom 4.1.

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14 Comments

  1. Tom Bielecki July 10, 2012 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Are these anticrepuscular rays?

  2. Brian Matiash July 10, 2012 at 9:37 am - Reply

    +Tom Bielecki Actually, you may be right! Very good call – edited the post to reflect accordingly. Cheers!

  3. shruti kapoor July 10, 2012 at 9:38 am - Reply

    wow amazing

  4. Brian Knapp July 10, 2012 at 9:39 am - Reply

    Hehe … you said anticrepuscular

  5. Sandra Parlow July 10, 2012 at 9:45 am - Reply

    big skies baby!  you know I love me some big sky!!!! 

    nice shot Brian!!

  6. Tom Bielecki July 10, 2012 at 9:50 am - Reply

    It's one of those weird wikipedia pages that I haven't seemed to forget about. Also on that list: birefringence, skeuomorph, and pareidolia!

  7. Richard Swayze July 10, 2012 at 9:58 am - Reply

    I love compositions like this in wide open country. It gives a nice sense of the immensity of the sky that you feel in a place like that

  8. Brad Sloan July 10, 2012 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Epic. Not joking. For reals.

  9. Stuart Lussi July 10, 2012 at 10:33 am - Reply

    Very nice

  10. Suji baji July 10, 2012 at 10:39 am - Reply

    wonderful nature pic.

  11. Magnus Fohlman July 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    I actually can't decide wether I like this shot or not. The dirt road really annoys me, and draws my attention to it constantly. My eyes are trapped!

    But when I think of it, the sole reason of the dirt road may be just that, to make the viewer stop for a moment and go crazy over that road…

  12. Akansha Saxena July 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    nice :)

  13. Matt Gordon July 10, 2012 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    I think I agree with +Magnus Fohlman. There is so little foreground that my eyes aren't certain what to do.  But I also agree with others, that the sky feels huge, which certainly adds to the shot.

    Neither wrong nor right.  Either way, a thought provoking image to say the least.

  14. Bob Gala July 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Nailed it here ………beautiful work

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