on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

The Power of Transitions

Part I

Alister Benn

Alister and Juanli Sun run Available Light Images Ltd, which specialises in experiential learning using diverse environments to focus on the creativity and unique vision of their participants. When not running trips in Tibet, the Silk Road, SW China, Iceland, Spain and Scotland, the couple live quietly on the Isle of Skye. Facebook

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We’re all in a constant state of transition; moving through time, one breath to the next, one place to another, day after day. The anticipated pleasure of arrival is a measure of how much we’re looking forward to our next destination. We pursue leads of interest, following threads of experience, striving forward with hope, optimism and energy. As in life, transitions are one of the most important tools in photography, and in this article, I want to look at what they are, their origin and types. In Part II, I will go on to explore how our perception of images, how we relate to them and the messages they are sending are controlled by what I call Attention Gradients and the Awareness Fulcrum.

What are Transitions?

Simply, a transition is a change from one thing to another, and in landscape photography, the eye of the viewer will follow these transitions. The creator of the image should be mindful of these movements and the aesthetic differences between areas of interest within the frame. Everything that is confined by the four walls of an image is relevant and there to be seen: You cannot place a sticker with “don’t look here!” over an area you don’t want people to notice. What you can do though is use two powerful alternatives to achieve the same thing, in a less obvious way, and we’ll see later in Part II that Luminosity and Contrast are our most powerful allies.

The effective use of transitions can lead to greater feelings of engagement, satisfaction and interest. Furthermore, they can enhance movement, energy, resolution and intent. I’d be hard pushed to think of anything in Landscape Photography more important than transitions.  

In Black and White photography we have only Luminosity and Contrast. The first term, luminosity, really deals with how Light or Dark something is and refers to both global and local variance

Types of Transitions

In Black and White photography we have only Luminosity and Contrast. The first term, luminosity, really deals with how Light or Dark something is and refers to both global and local variance. I prefer the word Luminosity over the more mundane Brightness, as it is simply more Illuminating. In an onomatopoeic sense, it feels joyful, and in the emotional spectrum of photographic communication, luminosity is our catalyst of interest.



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