Enliven Your Nature and Still-Life Photography by Taking Advantage of Natural Patterns

Pattern_photography_ideas_nature_Aspen0004aMark Hamblin would make a terrific conspiracy theorist. The guy sees patterns everywhere.

What’s worse, he wants you to see them too! Hamblin believes that finding and capturing natural patterns can enhance your compositional skills in photography. So strap yourself in as we take you through [this] precisely patterned piece, posted on Digital Camera World, exploring the ways in which your photographic range can be extended through the appropriation of “found patterns” in your photography.

Pattern_photography_ideas_nature_Melancholy-Thistle0011Hamblin’s five words of advice are as follows:

Keep your eyes open.
Don’t be so focused on an agenda that you miss the serendipities of visual form that may be right in front of you. Illustrating this principle, he features a shot of rocks and pebbles on a beach, a shot that he almost missed because he was looking to capture a more “big picture” photograph.

Restore order.
Behind and within the apparent chaos often proffered by nature is an essential order. Find it, frame it, shoot it. Identifying the structure that gives coherent identity tPattern_photography_ideas_nature_MHA_22103ao a chunk of experienced reality can result in really satisfying photography. Nature delights in drawing her own home-grown zentangles.

Look for symmetry.
“Pattern” does not necessarily entail symmetry, but there will be a symmetrical balance, at some level, in every pattern, however seemingly uneven. Find the balances and allow them to furnish your shots with a visual center of gravity.

Focus selectively.Star Moss - close-up detail covered with raindrops.
You might assume that sharp focus will be the order of the day when seeking to capture order. It ain’t necessarily so, according to Hamblin. Depending on the pattern you are looking to capture, a shallow depth of field may actually serve your purpose in capturing the deeper structure of the shot.

Use bold colors.
Remember, line isn’t the only component of pattern. Hamblin’s cutaway view of a red cabbage is stunning, not alone because of thePattern_photography_ideas_nature_Red-Cabbage0001 labyrinthine movement of the boundary between layers, but because of the contrast in colo[u]rs. Shades and tinctures are very much a part of pattern.

Patterning your thinking according to these five insights regarding the use of patterns in photography, will afford you many opportunities to capture interesting shots that you might otherwise have let slip away.