Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fill the Frame

Horses and peacocks, can you think of two animals so different from one another? The differences are many, but from a photographer's perspective, the two can be approached very much the same way.

I recently photographed horses living on a ranch where rescued animals come to recover. They were surrounded by the messiness of a stable and a cluttered ranch environment. Case in point, I was enjoying the playful interaction of two horses displaying affection for one another and wanted to capture the moment. It proved to be difficult not only because the horses constantly moved, but because of the surroundings. Mostly, the oddly shaped heads of the horses made it difficult to compose an image. Trying to overcome these things, I zoomed in to fill as much of the frame with their heads as possible.

After spending a short time with the horses, I realized that I was most attracted to the eyes and how the mane fell on the forehead. Because of the awkward shape of the horse's head, I decided to zoom way in and fill the frame entirely with the horse's profile and focus on the eye. Sometimes, the horse moved its head a certain way that I could zoom out and include its torso, such as this one.

Recently, I visited a city garden where several peacocks live freely. Buildings and various natural objects interfered with the background when I zoomed out to capture the entire peacock displaying its feathers. As with the horse, the peacock is beautiful from a distance. But, to isolate it from its surroundings, you have to zoom in on a piece of the bird to fill the frame.

Zooming in is an intimate way to capture certain animals. It allows you to highlight specific characteristics, such as the eyes or feather details. 

When capturing a well known animal, go beyond the obvious and look more closely at the details. Fill the frame with the subject and don't be afraid to experiment with various compositions.

Observe your subject and give it your best shot.