Rice Paddy: A Study In Composition

This black and white image of a rice paddy in Bali, Indonesia draws attention to the compositional elements of the scene, particularly line, texture and contrast.

This beautiful, black and white photo of a rice paddy in Bali, Indonesia is also a study in composition.

By concentrating on composition, which I think is particularly important when making black and white photos, we begin to move the scene out of its reality towards abstraction.

I believe that approach is the key to the success of this photo of rice paddy near Ubud.

Where To Go In Bali

As far as where to go in Bali the most popular places that tourists visit include the following:

  • Ubud for art, culture and yoga

  • Seminyak for beaches, food, nightlife and surfing

  • Canggu for beaches, surfing and yoga

  • Nusa Dua for family fun, beaches and golfing

  • Amed for diving and snorkelling

  • Munduk for hiking, scenery, nature and waterfalls

Bali is a fantastic place to slow down and enjoy some of the simple pleasures in life. Sun, food and beautiful scenery, you’ll find it all in Bali.

The Balinese people are extremely friendly and go about life in a very calm, relaxed and caring manner.

Despite the spectacular landscape and rich culture it’s my view that it’s the Balinese people that are the island’s most valuable asset.

In fact I regard the people of Bali as a treasure and it’s in Ubud where I’ve made my best Balinese friends.

Bali is a popular place for Aussie tourists, many returning year after year.

From this part of the world Bali is relatively close, very safe and well accustomed to the needs of the average Aussie tourist.

I had never been to Bali and still have no intention of visiting the beaches and night spots frequented by many tourists.

But I'd long been interested in Ubud, the artistic heart of the country, situated up in the hills.

It was to Ubud where I fled for the final stages of my recovery from a severe stomach problem I'd picked up in Kolkata, India.

Photographing the Rice Paddy in Bali

The photo at the rice paddy in Bali at the top of this post relies on strong composition, where the eye follows the rows of planted rice from the front through to the back of the image.

The fact that the lines begin to curve, a little like a wave, from the middle of the image adds interest and subtle energy to the image.

Rice Paddy Fields And Composition

So the composition within the photo of rice paddy fields is based upon line, repetition and symmetry, with a nice organic element added in.

And isn’t that exactly what we find in nature.

Think of the highly structured, ornamental garden and how it’s been fashioned around the notion of order.

Nature knows no such constrains. In the forest life is more simple. Things simply grow and find their own way, upwards towards the sun.

I think it’s the organic element within this image of the rice paddy that is at the heart of its success.

As those well-ordered, straight lines bend they take on more of a gentle, organic form as they progresses on their own journey through the image.

How A Rice Paddy Becomes art

By removing color from the original RAW file the elements of composition (i.e., line, repetition and symmetry) in this image are further strengthened.

Photographing under low light, at day’s end, has enabled the rice husks to glow against the darker, moist earth into which they've been planted.

So, yes, this photo is a close up view of a rice paddy. But I'd like to think it's a little more than that.

Rice Paddy Art | Reality and Abstraction

How is it that a photo of a simple rice paddy can become rice paddy art?

Composition is the device by which this image begins to move away from a straight, realistic representation towards abstraction.

And in between the two extremes of reality and abstraction is where you’ll find suggestion, which is a very interesting place for a creative being to explore.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru