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M.J. Jordi traveled southwest from his home in Barcelona, down the coast of the Balearic Sea to the rice farms of southern Catalonia. There, in a quiet marsh, as the sun began to set, he watched, waited and captured an elegantly composed moment. An excellent example of less being more and visual weight; his “Flamenco al delta” was an easy choice for Yahoo! Travel Photo of The Week.
The tall, poised, flamingo, counterbalanced by a much smaller bird, creates a tension reminiscent of the Spanish dance of the same name. Indeed, some of the movements of Flamenco dancers are said to mimic those of the flamingo. In the photo, El Flamingo has a little dance partner, possibly a night heron, standing with a coyly turned shoulder, reflecting the dramatic tension between two Flamenco dancers at the beginning of their performance.
One of the tenets of photographic composition is balance. As we look at a well-balanced composition our eye never gets arrested by just one element, it moves freely from one to the other, but always returning to our main subject; in this case, the tall, pink bird. Because the little bird is just the right distance away, it balances the big bird, just as a small person can lift and balance a larger person on a seesaw. This is a good example of the use of visual weight in composing..
We get no real distraction from the background, either; it’s mostly an out of focus tapestry of two colors. There’s that nit-picky little white dot just beyond the tip of the flamingo’s black beak; it could easily be removed…or left as reminder that Mother Nature, just like us, isn’t always perfect.
Alabama-based Michael Clemmer has been a photojournalist/travel photographer, landscape and golf course photographer for over four decades. Once a Senior Travel Photographer for Southern Living Magazine, he has also worked as an assignment photographer for the National Geographic Society and his photographs have been used in fine publications around the world. He currently specializes in golf landscape photography — visit his web site at michaelclemmer.com