All images © Stan Navratil

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Post # 7 Juxtaposition in forest photography

Juxtaposition in photography means positioning two objects next to each other in the image in order to compare, contrast or link them.

It is an effective compositional element that I use intentionally to set off a train of thought.

Since my goal is portraying the forests in the framework of ecological zones, one component of my juxtapositions must be a tree or its botanical part or a forest stand.

To portray the ecological association and relationships within forests, I look for juxtapositions that tell the story.

(Photo #1) The side-by-side association of this white pine cone and seedling captures the compelling story of the renewal cycle.

White pine cone and white pine seedling
Interior Cedar Hemlock zone, Silver Beach Provincial Park, Shuswap, BC

(Photo #2). The Boletus mushroom and the young western hemlock both depend on mycorrhizae – the association of tree fine roots and fungal hyphae - for their symbiotical existence.

Boletus mirabilis and western hemlock seedling
Interior Cedar-Hemlock zone, Likely, BC

(Photo #3). Seeking and intentionally portraying calypso orchids in juxtaposition with lodgepole pine seedlings and a Douglas-fir cone represents the ecological niche of Interior Douglas-fir zone.

Fairyslipper (Calypso bulbosa), lodgepole pine seedling and Douglas-fir cone.
Interior Douglas-Fir zone, 150 Mile House, BC

Juxtaposition is a common tool in landscape images as well.

The powerful brilliant foreground of flowers coupled with the darker background of trees helps create the feeling of association between plants and trees representative of the ecosystems – lodgepole pine and white spruce parent stand in photo #4 and Englemann spruce stand in photo #5.

Common red paintbrush Castilleja miniata with lodgepole pine and subalpine fir stand.
Montane Spruce zone, Anahim Lake, BC
False solomon's seal, Smilacina racemosa and Englemann spruce.
Subalpine Fir zone, Barkerville, BC

(Photo #6). Using the contrast of complementary colours – opposites on the colour wheel – is demonstrated in the columbine image. Red flowers contrast with the green leaves of cow parsnip. The alder stems in the background enhance the sense of forest environment. 

Red columbine Aquilegia formosa, cow parsnip Heracleum lanatum and stems of mountain alder Alnus incana.
Interior Cedar-Hemlock zone, Alex Fraser Research Forest, Likely, BC

The last photo, #7, is an example of adding a touch of dynamic tension to the image. This was accomplished by using two contrasting elements: colour and shape. The warm yellow and orange set off the cool blue from the opposite side of the colour wheel. The repeated pattern of cones contrasts with the single object shape of the feather.

 Ponderosa pine Pinus ponderosa cones, feather of black-billed magpie Pica hudsonia.
Ponderosa Pine zone, Stemwider Provincial Park, British Columbia