Sunday, October 16, 2016

Postcards from Maine: Shooting the Somesville Scene

One the road through Somesville, there's an iconic spot that is usually busy with photographers:

The focal point is the graceful footbridge, of course, but the rest of the composition is important, too. Taking photos is a bit tricky — partly because you need to keep the other photographers out of the frame. And then there are tourists, who like to walk over the footbridge, lingering on it while their friends take their picture. Tourists like to wear baggy shorts and message tees so they are rarely picturesque enough to complete with the scenery. So, patience is necessary.

While you wait for the people to all go away, you might be tempted to try some different shots of the bridge, and so on.

As you can see, just showing the bridge, the stream, and the trees is not so hot. From that angle, it looks like a construction crane went all bendy and fell over. 

It's better to stick with the tried-and-true. So, first, you have to find a spot to stand so the cute little white building (the town selectmen used to meet there; now it's exhibition space) fits into your photo. And you might as well include one or more of the colorful planters that conveniently line the wall along the road. 

In the photo above, I managed to get the house, the bridge, a planter, and the orange and gold trees across the stream — with no people or camera tripods. But this photo could be better; it's full of scenic elements but it also strikes me as something of a cluttered mess.

It would help to show more of the stream under the bridge to give the footbridge a purpose. But you won't want to get too close to the water because it's murky and full of rotting plant matter.

In the photo above, that head of ornamental kale is the star of the show as the planter takes over the foreground, covering a lot of the bridge. Most of the cute white building is gone, too. Let's try one more shot, and aim for more sky while we're at it. A brilliant sky is an important element of this scene, contributing to its vibrance and mood. 

In this vertical shot, the sky opens up the photo and makes it more legible. It also balances the water and places the bridge in the center of the composition:

There could be more of the planter and the colorful trees, but I like the diagonal angles and depth of this one. If you look closely you'll see parked cars and maybe a bent head in the upper left corner. You can't win 'em all . . especially when you're using an iPhone 6 and your training was an adult-ed course back in high school. Thank you for your patience!


  1. Geez, the colors are fabulous! I attended a 'how to photograph animals' class at the local low-cost spay/neuter clinic, and they broke up the group into 'good' cameras, point-and-shoot camera, and cell phones. Personally, I think you have to have an 'eye', which obviously you do and I don't, but I'll keep snapping away anyhow!


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