Damon Williams  

Fern by Damon Williams

July 2021 - Fern

About the Image(s)

Fuji X-T3
80mm prime
ISO 80
Manual flash (1/16 I think).
Some cropping, spot removal, and a bit of exposure.

I have these ferns all over my place and we all know that they're pretty emblematic of the golden ratio spiral. Plus, I really liked the way the leaves were unfurling in sequence as you went down the frond, and I wanted to catch that somehow. I like the green/gold analogous colors too.

With this possible exception, I don't think I've intentionally composed an image with the golden ratio spiral in mind. I've seen a lot of images where folks claim that they have, and they show an overlay where stuff lines up...kind of, but I never have. So, here's a first, sort of. It's still a rule of thirds example.

5 comments posted

Jane Pittenger   Jane Pittenger
Wonderful colors, good sharp focus, nice light, diagonal line, subject coming out of the corner, and gorgeous bokehed green background. I imagine you fit the spiral over it but to my eye the edge of the is a tiny bit too tight to the corner of the frame making it feel a bit cramped. Giving it a tad more breathing room is my only suggestion   Posted: 07/10/2021 15:54:02
Damon Williams   Damon Williams
Uh, I don't know if fitting the spiral really means that it has to absorb the entire frame, in order to fit that convention, but your point is still well-taken. I was kind of driven to this particular composition because I really liked the way the leaves were unfurling in succession and wanted to capture that. I suppose I could crop in from the right, and might try that.

On a slightly different note, that of cramping, I constantly battle the conflicting urges to fill the frame, and provide space. I think this may be another example of that.   Posted: 07/11/2021 13:02:10

Jane Pittenger   Jane Pittenger
I would add canvas bottom and right   Posted: 07/11/2021 14:28:01

John Meiers   John Meiers
I think it looks great! nice bokeh in the background. the main area of the subject is nice and sharp. If I had one like that it would go into next year's family calendar.   Posted: 07/12/2021 10:37:45
Damon Williams   Damon Williams
My gosh John, that's an incredible compliment. Thank you very much.

So, what are your thoughts on the composition, and the amount of space surrounding the subject? Do you feel more room around the central spiral would improve it?

And I have an admission: I really wish that the stem coming in from the upper left, had more curve to it. Actually, when I was shooting this, I took many shots of many fronds, and my very favorite ones had this cool reverse curve as the stem came into the frame. I really liked that. A challenge to capturing that though was the fact that not only does the stem curve on the same plane as the spiral, but it curves above and below that plane, which really plays hell with trying to get everything in the DoF, and positioned in the frame correctly. Getting the combination of a) correct spiral position in the frame b) proper reverse curve c) proper stem exiting in the corner d) proper unfurling of the fronds e) proper background f) super sharp focus g) proper focus and DoF, all while handling this on a breezy day (and thus a moving target), made for some challenging shooting. Given all the parameters I was trying to achieve, this one came out to have the highest overall competency. If I had unlimited time and unlimited patience (and more skill maybe) and could control the environment more, I think I'd work really hard achieve a more curvy stem.
  Posted: 07/12/2021 11:21:14


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