Water flowing over a terraced structure. Bethesda, Maryland.

Water flowing over a terraced structure


Water flowing over a terraced structure



Water flowing over a terraced structure

Water flowing over a terraced structure, the Bethesda Metro Station, Bethesda, Maryland.


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Water flowing over a terraced structure

About The Photograph

Photographer’s Statement

For the purpose of this discussion, I would characterize this photograph as a found recorded observation.

In other words, this was an unplanned photograph that I created as a spontaneous response to the visual I was experiencing with my eyes and mind. I was seeing and thinking about what I was seeing which was a fountain that reminded me of a cool, refreshing, waterfall. “.

The Backstory

The Process Of Making The Photograph/Overview of the process of composition.

This photograph was made while walking through the Bethesda Metro station, Bethesda Maryland, on a warm day. 

Seeing and thinking

While experiencing the sight and sound of the fountain I observed myself feeling relaxed in spite of my hurrying to go somewhere. 

Framing and content

I decided to fill the frame of the picture with the pattern of the water as it cascaded down the terraced structure.  In addition, I attempted to keep the framing as horizontal as possible and used one of the lines that formed the horizontal structure as a guide.


As usual, I spot metered to a mid-tonality. In this case, I metered for the brighter areas and left them as mid tones to create a dark tonality.


I focused on one of the horizontal edges of the terraced structure.

Additional compositional considerations

In addition,  to reinforce the psychology of “cool”, I set the white balance on my camera with the intention of shifting the color of the photograph to blue. Also, I used a moderately fast shutter speed to record the motion of the water flowing as static.

The Critique Of The Photograph

Above all, I need to see the final photograph as a result of my process of making the picture. Because when viewed from that perspective I can critique my composition in a useful way.

The Visual

Simply put, a varied pattern with a blue color cast.

The Psychology

Because the photograph consists of both horizontal and vertical structure, this leads to a sense of instability.  Because, while the horizontal structure creates a sense of stability, the vertical structure creates a sense of downward movement.  And yet, due to the fast shutter speed, the static recording of the water creates another experience of stability. 

In addition, the visual separation of the water due to the fast shutter speed creates an inconsistent pattern.  Which, again creates a sense of erratic movement and unstableness. 

Finally, the blue color cast creates a feeling of coolness and calmness.

In short, a very visually conflicted photograph, which in the end, I feel results in a relaxing visual 🙂



Water flowing over a terraced structure

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2 comments on “Water flowing over a terraced structure. Bethesda, Maryland.
  1. Don Wagner jr says:

    A very nice shot Sam. I really like the blue color temperature. It creates an entirely different mood.

    • Thank you, Don. I agree. The intentional color shift to blue is an integral element of the composition.

      That’s one of the things I like about a digital camera. If I was using film, I’d have has to swap out my usual daylight balanced film for a tungsten film (3200K) film to get the shift.

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