Firstly, I’d like to share this montage of what is primarily close-up
work from photographer Adam Jones. The more you peruse the nine images
within the border of the poster, the more visual delight it will
provide. Breathtaking work!!!
I’ve heard the term “drama queen” for much of my life. It describes a
female who makes too much of something simple. That term used that way
is the definition of sexist. I have met just as many, perhaps more
drama kings in my life.
I have been known to embrace a bit of drama in my photography,
especially when the drama is “about the light” so to speak. High
contrast light, which dramatically (as in drama) separates the lights
and darks, can be a friend or an enemy. Of course low contrast light
can fill both needs as well.
Flowers are certainly a subject that works well with soft and simple
light. Less about the drama, more about the flower.
This Geranium was in fairly even light, with relatively even color
tones. The image is gentle and delicate just like the subject.
Notice that depth of field was at a minimum. The lead blossom is the
only thing that is rendered sharp and in focus. This photo flatters
the subject despite the fact that it is not dramatic.
This next “super close-up” is soft and gentle and also has only a few
centimeters sharp and in focus. Gentility can be nice even though it lacks drama.
Then nature provided some natural spotlight on the same group of flowers, and
A little drama can be nice.
These Asters were catching the morning light perfectly. At least is
was perfect for a drama king.
Winter is a season full of drama. At these latitudes here in
Wisconsin, the sun passes far to our south during the winter months.
It is never above our heads. That “earth skimming” in winter, can mean
some dramatic light all day. On cloudless days it can produce some
dramatic affects. The next three images were made several years ago
across the street from my house.
With these first two images the sun is at an angle to the tree (s)
that allowed the white snow to “pop” out from the sky and/or the lake.
I intentionally kept my exposure a bit low. I did so as to use the sun’s low
angle to my advantage to create a little drama. Many would suggest too
much drama, but that’s all a matter of opinion.
This next image was made a little later, and the angle is slightly
different. I opened up the lens enough to allow for more
Insects, including caterpillars (larvae), can be used for drama’s sake
just as well as flowers. This Polythemus Moth caterpillar presented
itself to me as a bright object, with a dark background. I accepted
its invitation and photographed it. If memory serves, the exposure
was garnered from the caterpillar itself, and I then opened up the
lens or slowed down the shutter, the amount I felt necessary.
Straight up sunrises/sunsets are always pretty dramatic. Even when
they appear somewhat gentle and serene like this first image, the
intense color makes them sort of “serenely dramatic“.
When the actual sun appears in your picture, and you are fortunate
enough to have a classic land form for a silhouette, drama will ensue.
I am guessing that I pointed my meter in the area above the actual sun
for my exposure. That prevents the overly dramatic (even for me)
occurrence of an image of a bright sun, with a barely visible red sky.
This way, the sun is bright, and the sky is very red and very visible.
Bird portraits are certainly not dramatic in and of themselves. I did
find this Clarke’s Nutcracker (in Colorado) to be a pretty dramatic
character, but a portrait is a portrait. Or is it?
This is the same bird in both photos although it is in a different locale.
I love the pose in the first picture but the background is somewhat
busy, Busy, does not necessarily mean dramatic.
When a species was new to me, I would always make the picture no
Dramatic (cluttered) backgrounds often do not make for dramatic
pictures, just busy ones.
With this second image, I was able to render the background a simple
wash of dark green. The background, was much farther away from the
subject in this picture. This image is simpler, yet more dramatic. It
is a moment in the life of a wild bird, not a moment in the life of a
wild bird and its habitat. Those pictures are important too, but I
always preferred my drama to be in the eyes of living creatures. The
subject advances forward away from the confusing background, instead
of meshing with it. Less confusion, and more drama.
There is too much drama in the world today. That does not mean that
artistic drama is not both valid and valuable. Knowing when and when
not to be dramatic, is much of what life is about.
Long live the drama kings and queens. At least, among those who know
how to use it with value.