September 2017 Storytellers Blog Circle / by Andrea Moffatt

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This post is one of several in a monthly educational blog circle made up of storytelling photographers and Offset artists. After you read how I shot my storytelling image for the month, click to the next artist at the bottom of my post and follow the circle the whole way around. Enjoy!

My image for this month is brought to you by the first wave of autumn leaves. Here on our tree-lined street, once they start to fall we have to rake pretty much once a week to keep from being buried alive. On the other hand, we only have to mow the grass about once a month in the summer due to the meager amount of sun that passes through our giant oaks. It makes all the fall yard work a little easier to stomach! That and, we're training the littles. They did 5 yards by themselves this weekend! 

three children raking the front yard

In the above shot, my goal was to capture all three rakers in a balanced frame that also used contrasty light well. You can see there is a long tree shadow that splits the frame. My son is standing right in the middle of the shadow in this shot, but the strong evening light is reflecting off of that patch of grass in front of him, resulting in his bright face. This is the shot I chose, but it's not perfect. My son's rake (middle) slightly intersects with the neighbor girl (right). Let me show you the iterations of this image that I rejected in favor of the above image.


two children raking front yard

In my first attempt, I used the tree to split the frame, the light was perfect, and I even had mirroring. However- I only had 2 kids and I wanted all 3. So it was back to the drawing board!

three kids raking the yard

I almost chose this frame as the final image because it's as close as I got to my original intent: to have all three kids in the light. But I don't like how the two boys on the left are so close to each other and the middle rake is in shadow. The image does not feel balanced enough.

two boys and girl raking the yard

Better balance, but way too much intersection between the two kids on the left. 

three kids raking autumn leaves

I like the varied directions of diagonal lines made by the rakes in this shot. I don't like that there is no breathing room between the edge of the frame and the third child's rake. (Also, more intersection!)

children doing yard work

The third child is dividing the middle rake almost directly in half. A division this dramatic is the first and last thing our eyes study as we try to make sense of it. 

None of these images are perfect, unfortunately. They are works in progress... like a yard freshly raked (by two 6 year olds and a 7 year old)! 

Keep the learning going by clicking to the next talented storyteller in our lineup: Nicole Sanchez Photography