Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday shootout: Texture

Member Voice for April 29 - Textures
Think fabrics, exteriors of buildings, tree bark, there are many possibilities.
Look at a close-up photo of a weathered old barn board and you almost wince at the imagined pain of catching a sharp splinter. Our memories of how things feel are so ingrained in our consciousness that the mere sight of them brings a vivid sensation of touch. By exploiting textures you can bring a tactile dimension to your photographs.

Surface textures become most apparent when they are illuminated from an oblique light source. Angled light catches the shape and imperfections of an object's surface and creates a pattern of highlight and shadow to produce visual texture. The quality of the light is also important. Bold and large textures, such as the bark of a tree or the rough surface of the door detail, are best revealed by strong, direct sidelight. Smooth, more finely detailed textures, such as that of satin, would be erased by powerful light and are revealed best by gentler, oblique light.

Framing is important, too, especially when you want to give texture a leading role. By moving in close to an old, weathered face, either physically or with a long lens, you focus the viewer's attention on the wrinkles and crevices. When the texture is part of a broader scene, as in the surfaces of a coarse and barren desert, it's often better to back off and show its expanse. Sometimes you can dramatize texture by comparing different surfaces within a scene: an elderly potter's gnarled hands turning a vessel of wet, silken clay. In revealing such contrasts, it's important to move in close and exclude everything that doesn't enhance the tactile qualities of your image.

(info from

Do we need our hands to touch the texture?
When I was young, I was taught the story of how some blind people went to touch an elephant and each had a different concept of how an elephant looked like.

I went close-up to a herd of elephants in the Singapore zoo. Not close enough to touch it.


EG CameraGirl said...

Love the texture on the elephant, Ann!

DawnTreader said...

I like that elephant sculpture, that I can almost feel against the palm of my hand just by looking at it.

Ginny Hartzler said...

I remember that elephant story! I love your textures, especially all the elephant things.

Shifan said...

I like the 1st picture most.

Gattina said...

I love elephants ! Unfortunately they are a little too big to keep one in my house as a pet !

diane b said...

I love texture to look at and to touch.

Jama said...

I love all your familiar photos. The zoo is my most favorite place to be and it's quiet near my place.I've been there countless time when the kids were much younger and at least once a year now that they are grownup.

Pauline said...

Love the first shot, Ann, with the elephant domineering the other textures.

Unknown said...

Hi Ann! I like the contrast of textures between the first shot and the second of the elephants.