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Shape, form, and dimension used to define the direction of a spring walk on a trail.

Trails have dimension going up and down hills. How to capture this in an image.
Trails have dimension going up and down hills. How to capture this in an image.
Photo by Bill McCracken

Trail images can evoke many feelings of shape, form, and dimensions to tell a story. This image of the trail going up and over the rise captures the feeling of form in dimension. In photography we are working with a two dimensional image that wants to convey a three-dimensional feeling. Artists have always accomplished this by using perspective and curved lines. In this image the trail curves its way up the rise and disappears.
Capturing this feeling of the trail going up was one function of the composition but including the scale of the trail with the trees was the other. The earth bank on the left helps define the shape of the trail cut in the hillside. The position of the crest of the trail creates the size comparison against the trees in the background needed to establish scale. Notice how the left side of the earth bank continues to disappear over the top of the crest. The result is that the hills shape and scale stand out.
The trail and its horizontal shadows cut into the vertical shape of the trees. The trail has form with the two parallel worn paths merging into one at the base. The base of the trail at the bottom of the image is framed with two small trees on either side. This is the element needed to create the feeling of trees bordering the open trail as it goes up the hill and over.
The image also conveys the time of day with the shadows of light crossing horizontally on the trail. The light creates the feeling of left to right movement. New leaves are in various shades of green and yellow adding the feeling of early morning. Early morning light is always softer and produces true colors. With proper metering there will be no blown out areas of white or black areas with little or no details.
The focus and metering was measured half way up the trail. Once again look for a middle tone area in the image to meter. The result produces an image that requires less color correction and more time to create photos.
The exposure settings for this image are shutter speed 1/15 sec, Exposure program manual, Aperture setting f/11.0, lens is a 70-300mm set at 70mm, metering mode is pattern meter, and the white balance is fine weather.



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