Our October 2019 issue of Outdoor Photographer challenges you to contract your compositions and expand your horizons. In “Subtracting The Universe,” Justin Black suggests thinking like a sculptor when approaching a scene, cutting away the extraneous to arrive at refined, highly-focused photo compositions.

Bruce Dorn wants to inspire you to take on the challenge of teaching the craft. In “Be A Photo Mentor,” he describes his experience working with a young photographer and guiding her throughout the photographic process, from capture to print to building a potential career.

Also in this issue, Josh Miller asks if sensor size really matters. Miller has shot with full-frame, APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras extensively and can speak to the strengths of each. “With all the sensor formats being so good, I wouldn’t actually make sensor size my No. 1 determining factor when choosing to invest in a system,” Miller advises. If you’re mulling a new camera purchase, this article will give you a well-rounded perspective on the options.

On the cover is a melodic, abstract photo of glacier ice by Justin Black. Here’s the story behind the shot.

“Aboard the schooner Rembrandt van Rijn in Greenland’s vast Scoresbysund fjord system, our Visionary Wild expedition group set out to shore in the ship’s Zodiacs for a hike to a position overlooking the Rolige Brae Glacier. On the way, we came across one of the most magnificent icebergs I’ve ever seen, composed almost entirely of ancient deep-glacier ice. The sunlight sparkled, bounced and refracted as it penetrated the various fins, arches, horns and facets around the iceberg’s circumference, and our group went to work. As the boats maneuvered, shutters clicked and exclamations of awe-struck incredulity were heard; the planned hike was entirely forgotten.

“This situation was ideal for the application of subtractive composition. The greatest beauty of the iceberg was not in its full form, nor its position relative to the fjord landscape, but in its details. The ice was a medium for the elegant play of light. My co-instructor Chris Linder and I reminded our guests that compositions would be defined in part by the graphic elements that they included in the frame but, almost more importantly, by excluding picture-wrecking distractions such as exceedingly bright highlights or strongly discordant shapes. We took a cue from the ice—exquisitely sculpted by time, sun and seawater—and were careful in carving out our compositions like visual sculptors.”

–Justin Black

The October 2019 issue is available now in a variety of digital formats including Apple News+ and will be on newsstands beginning Tuesday, October 1.

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