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Crescent Moon and Lone Oak

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 26 November 2009 in Landscape & Rural.


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Sometimes a simple juxtaposition of elements can lead to a satisfying image. I spotted this crescent moon while on a early-morning drive through the Diablo Hills east of Hollister, California, and knew I needed something for it to visually connect with. I began scouring the hillside ridges for a suitable subject, and came upon this lone oak sitting as if were a sentinel atop this ridgeline.

Fortunately, there were some cirrus clouds hanging around; they served to provide a splash of warm color prior to sunrise allowing my image to come together.

I did not adhere to the standard rule-of-thirds positioning with the hillside as I did not want it to visually dominate the scene. I did however place both the moon and the tree in strong positions relative to the intersection of the imaginary thirds-grid. The crescent moon has its own weight, and I did not want to overpower it by adding more of the silhouetted hillside than I felt necessary. I played with various crops and settled on this one because of the visual tension provided by the dominance of the sky. The implied diagonal line created by the position of the moon and the tree also resulted in some visual movement.

Think of rules in photography more as guidelines, then break them every so often. This can create visual excitement that will draw and hold your viewer's attention.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 3/10 second F/16.0 ISO 200 70 mm

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