My family (last weekend) stayed for several nights at Maine Huts & Trails’ Flagstaff Lake Hut which is on the northeastern shores of Flagstaff Lake. To the south lie the Bigelow Mountains (whose peaks the Appalachian Trial passes over). It’s a beautiful location where the nightime sounds are consist of owls and plaintive loons, and some of the darkest night skies I’ve seen.
The actual story behing the creation of Flagstaff Lake still leaves a bad taste in many people’s minds—read more at this link.
Despite the history, the hut is situated in a beautiful spot and landscape photography opportunities abound. Our first night there, a short walk down a peninusla, and we were treated to a peaceful sunet with some dramatic light.
I could see, as the sun lowered in the sky, that it was soon going to be behind the clouds and anticipated the rays of light, and deliberately underexposed this image slightly to help preserve highlight detail.
But how should I frame the scene? Conventional wisdom is to not center your subject in the frame (and for some people not to take a photograph of a sunset!); so if you say that the sun & the dark central clouds are the subject, I’ve clearly violated this rule. In many cases, this rule is a good one to follow, since a central subject placement can me very static (i.e. boring). So, is there another framing of this scene that would be better?
Perhaps, but my eye sees this image as well balanced with the heavy blacks at the bottom third of the image and the sky occupying the rest. Furthermore, the dark edges of the clouds form a “v” shaped (or a nearly oblique line rising from left to right). I find the shapes of the mountains make my eye wander naturally from bottom right to bottom left and then up toward the sun and clouds. The sharp contrasts lead my eye around the image naturally, and in a way that seems pleasing to me.
I like this image, and I think the framing works well. I think this image is a good example of when it’s a good idea to ignore the “rule” of avoiding central subject placement.
Technical details: this image was 1/640 sec at f/8.0 70-200mm f/2.8L at 70 mm, ISO 100 -1/3 EV, processed in Adobe Lightroom 3 and converted to B&W using SilverEfex Pro.