Conventions and Salons

I am just back from Westport and the Photographic Society of New Zealand’s Southern Regional Convention which was brilliantly run by the Buller Camera Club.

As part of the convention a salon was organised by the New Brighton Photographic Club and I was lucky enough to have 6 of my images accepted into the salon along with winning the champion portrait print. I thought it would be good to share those images over the next few days.

Today’s image was accepted in the Open category, the lovely Sarah Sonal with makeup and hair by Suzanna Alex Naylor.

High Speed

Fun this evening at the Kaiapoi Photographic Club with pooping balloons and stopping the motion with flash.



Help Savannah Walk

Last night I was out taking photographs with the Kaiapoi Photographic Club at a charity event for Savannah born at 27 weeks and who now has spastic diplegia cerebal palsy. Funds were being raised to send her to the US for an operation. It was a fun evening and very successful with about $7000 raised. We were thoroughly entertained by Tim Shadbolt and Gary McCormick followed by lovely singing from Sharon Russell and a great burlesque performance from Ivy Lee & the Polesque Team.

I spent most of my time running a ‘Photo Booth’ and thanks to Tim Shadbolt and Gary McCormick for their patience having their photographs taken with so many people. I thought I could at least share some of the images of the burlesque team who were all lovely and great fun. Thanks to everyone involved last night and good luck to little Savannah when she heads to the US for her operation 🙂

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Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Terrace Station

We had an interesting trip today with the Kaiapoi Photographic Club to Terrace Station, a beautiful preserved homestead with woodshed and other farm buildings. The gardens are lovely as well! We arrived to blue skies and bright sun but the clouds came over as we ate lunch which made photography a little easier. There was far too much to see and photographic for a single trip and the hoe stead is well worth a visit on one of its open days through the year.

These images are from the Woolshed.

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Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Portrait Session

We had the first meeting of the year tonight at my photographic club, a portrait tutorial session with models and (mainly) natural light. I spent most of the time trying to help people and to keep the models awake – it is very hard to get people to talk to the models and engage with them, and that makes such a difference to the images. Still not a bad evening and I managed to get a few shots in as well. It did mean that I didn’t get any more processing done from my weekend trip. Maybe tomorrow…

2013 02 11 Portraits 9




Visual Design Part II – More Lines

Last Monday I gave my talk on visual design at my local camera club, it seemed to go very well. I managed to sound almost sane and we had a good discussion afterwards covering both visual design and composition. This week I want to continue from where I left off last time, with some more types of lines, specifically diagonal and curved lines.

Diagonal Lines

Diagonal lines have more energy than either horizontal or vertical lines and can be used to move the eye quickly through an image, the angle of the line and whether it is angled top to bottom or bottom to top affect how dynamic the line is. Lines angled up are generally more positive than those running down. Of course this depends on the viewer normally reading from left to right and top to bottom. 


This is still quite a calm image, the lines are not steeply angled.

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The angles here help make the image more dynamic.

HongKong_2010-05-13_15-53-20_DSC_2014_©RichardLaing(2010) Curve



Curves are more gentle and restful than straight diagonal lines. They lead the eye more slowly through an image and are often found in nature, a winding river would be a good example but also roads and paths can provide good curves to lead the eye through an image.





Implied Lines

Not all the lines in an image need to be real. The eye is very good at connecting points to make lines and when a person or animal is in the image the subject’s direction of view can make a strong line. We automatically look at eyes in an image and want to see where those eyes are looking. This is one reason that is usually a good idea to make sure that there is room in the direction the subject is looking. This avoid a the viewer from being drawn straight out of the image.

Cat in the grass

Visual Design – Lines

In my last post I talked about the PSNZ judging seminar that I attended. I have since been asked to give a presentation to the club on some of what we learnt and I thought this would also make a series of blog posts. In particular I thought I would work through the elements of visual design. There are plenty of texts which cover this and I have read several including Michael Freeman’s “The Photographers Eye”, “Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography” by Brenda Tharp and “Photographically Speaking” by David duChemin, all of which I would thoroughly recommend. 

The elements I am going to look at are:

  • Lines
  • Shapes – triangles, squares, circles
  • Textures
  • Perspective
  • Light

In reality light is probably the most important of all these but perhaps the hardest to explain – you really need to see the light!

For today I can going to look at lines, lines can be calm and peaceful or strong and powerful depending on their type and direction.

Horizontal Lines

Horizontal lines imply stability, and calm. The most obvious example would be the horizon, present in so many landscape images.



Sunset Beach

Calm horizontals, changes in hue or saturation can create lines.

Vertical Lines

Vertical lines are more dynamic, and possess more energy. Someone standing feels more energetic than someone lying down. True vertical lines are not that common in nature but trees, flowers, waterfalls and cliffs are examples or vertical (or near vertical) lines. Vertical lines can lead you into (or through) an image.


Verticals can lead you through an image.

That’s all for this week, I still need to finish my presentation, I’ll look at oblique and curved lines next time.