PhotoFriday – ‘Spacious’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Spacious’

This weeks theme got me thinking about what creates a feeling of space in am image? Take these two images of the same Cenote in Mexico for example. Shot at the same time of day with the same gear. The divers are roughly the same size in the image yet its the landscape orientation photo that feels more spacious to me. Please let me know what you think in the comments below?

If you want to see my underwater photos from various places then check out the collection of galleries in my Reef Beasties Gallery. Or my best from 2012 here.

To see all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Spacious’ here.

PS: I’m currently still selling my 60mm/D300 underwater macro set-up. Click here for more details & the full list of equipment for sale or email me at Thanks for supporting my work!

9 thoughts on “PhotoFriday – ‘Spacious’

  1. Fascinating, Suzy, not least because I’m mid-way through research and writing for book 2 about underwater photographic composition. I’m not sure that I grasp the concept of space as you describe it. But I do think that there is a big difference between images 1 & 2. For me, image 2 (portrait) works better. I think that it creates more depth perspective, because I feel that the viewpoint sets me up to look from the cave floor up through to the aperture where the light streams in. This is emphasised by the foreground wreckage, which has a strong front-to-rear and low-to-high perspective. In contrast, the landscape image looks relatively flat (but it is still a good image). There is less to generate a foreground-to-background perspective in the viewer’s mind. There are just fewer overt visual clues. But as I’m learning, aesthetics are also influenced by personal and cultural factors, not just by sensory cues. I’m 30,000 words along a path trying to capture this and so many other aspects of composition. It’s been quite a journey!

  2. I should add that if your intent in the concept of ‘spacious’ was to convey the space around the diver, or the scale of the cave, then the landscape probably just does win. And it shows the full aperture in the cave ceiling, so there is better enclosure of a main graphic element. Still like the portrait, though…

  3. It’s funny you should say that Paul, I was discussing it with my Friend Ed (@digitalgoldfish), a non-diver, on twitter and he didn’t like the portrait one at all and really liked the landscape. It turns out that he was on a laptop where he had to scroll to see all of one but could see the landscape as one complete image. I pointed out to him though that this was a function of intended media since a portrait one would obviously be much better for a magazine cover.

    However for me it’s all about the diver pose affecting the mood. In the landscape one Eleo is looking to the heavens, the huge black cavern all around her creating the space and she directs your attention to the small but all important ceiling opening where you can glimpse the surface, she is angelic and ascending. In the portrait one the diver is looking down and pointing his torch towards the cave, all be-hooded and tech-divery, he is obviously on a cave diving adventure. I find that both make me want to go diving but for different reasons. One for the amazing feeling of being suspended in space and one for adventure! But maybe that’s just me 😉

  4. …However for me it’s all about the diver pose affecting the mood…

    An astute observation. Now I look at that aspect, I agree. You picked up human clues (they typically grab viewers first). I thought the diver in each image distant enough not interrogate the posture, content and implications. Instead, my eye went first to the light: where it was coming from; what it was illuminating and, conditioned by your question, what the implications of the light & dark were on space.

    If you’re bored enough to skim a rather long, technical and yet utterly fascinating article about how the eye roves around a picture, check out this link, which I uncovered in my research for the book:

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