Planets Ahoy!


Photo © Copyright Mike Salway

I like this photo entitled “Planets Ahoy!” by Mike Salway, which was featured as the Astronomy Picture of the Day a few days ago.

There’s a few things I like about the photo. There’s several compositional elements that are well done. The “line” of the pier is a good one. You might even say that there’s an imaginary line from the girl’s finger to Venus, the brightest and highest object in the sky. Read more about this technique in our Photobird Daily article entitled “Look for Lines to Create Visual Interest“.

The Rule of Thirds is prominent in this photo too. The horizon of the water is at the bottom, with the planets on the left side. I didn’t notice this at first, but the girl is directly in the middle of the photo, and it works very well.

In fact, the photo has great balance, if you really consider the objects mentioned above. All of the “action” is in the left side of the photo, with the girl pointing to the planets. But the pier angling to the right, and leading your eyes that way, helps balance everything out. The bonus is that you get to see a larger part of the sky, which is important in this photo because it gives you the impression that you’re on the dock too, looking up at the expansive sky. Cropping the right side of the photo out of the picture wouldn’t have given us the same feeling of “being there”.

If I was shooting this photo, I think I would have instinctively composed the photo with the girl on the right side of the photo, totally disregarding the end of the pier, and I think my photo would not have come out as good as this one. Keeping the girl in the middle of the frame with the planets on the left improves the intimacy of the photo and makes the link between the girl and the planets much stronger, while still giving us the big, huge sky.

I also like the color in the photo, with the dark blue sky above and the red-orange remnants of the sunset below, outlining the mountains. The reflection on the water is a great touch.

Impressive photo.



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