When photographing landscapes or cityscapes our brain tends to quickly eliminate any repeating patterns after a quick glance of patterns.
A hedge, a hay field, a row Aspens, windows in a skyscraper. As long as this pattern is of the same color and goes in the same direction, the brain stores the information and allows you to focus on the main subject – usually something that contrasts the “pattern”.
One way to keep the viewer’s attention on the image is by throwing off the brain by having a repeating pattern that does not make sense. My favorite way of doing this is to photograph reflections of the pattern or to pan the camera in the direction of the energy in the image.
Here, Aspens and a clear blue sky are being reflected off a lake. It was a windy day, so I added a 4-stop ND filter to allow for longer exposure that would neutralize the waves into a “flat” surface.
Although these are “normal” patterns, the eye stops for a moment because the “upside-down” trees. This is not a normal occurrence so the brain needs to process the photo. You have now captured your audience!
And a different angle of the same Aspens:
In this image, I used a small aperture to allow for a 1/30 exposure. The waves were coming from left to right, and I began by panning in the same direction. While turning at the hip at the moment I had a steady motion, I clicked the shutter.
Try something different! Sometimes the results will surprise you!