Monday, September 8, 2008

Stephen: Break This Rule!

Since the rule of thirds is largely about not putting lines, edges, and primary subjects in the dead center of the photograph, and was supposed to do just that, I decided to invent and follow a rule of halves. My camera's viewfinder has guides along both center lines, so lining thing up was not difficult. Making them not look dumb was harder.

This assignment was very open-ended. I could shoot anything I wanted in any way I wanted, as long as I centered things. At first, I thought architecture would provide good subjects, but as I mentioned in my previous post, my first set didn't turn out well. This is the one surviving photo from that set, after significant editing.

If you every get a great idea for a photo that involves creating shadows and lining things up in a complicated way, I have some advice: Don't. Setting up and shooting this photo took way too much time and effort. Unless you have a dedicated studio with the right equipment (and preferably an assistant), studio work is very difficult. It would have been way easier to fake this with the GIMP, and it probably would have looked better. I know the horizontal edge is not at the half-way point, but I tried it that way and it looked dumb. The mental line between the peach (that's a peach, by the way) and its shadow is at the center, so quit your whining.

I took the next five photos yesterday evening at Big Spring Park. The birds are really tame and not at all shy, so they made better subjects than a lot of people I know. The third photo doesn't follow my rule of halves as well as I would like, but the geese were lined up like that for only an instant. I used my clipping-correction method on the fourth picture to remove a cyan tinge from the sky.

As always, comments are appreciated.


Sarah Robins said...

I love this experiment! Composition is everything. Notice the things that start happening when you break the rule of thirds and follow the rule of halves. Things become abstracted and stylized and less comfortable, less "lifestyle." The peach photo almost starts looking cubist; the row of geese along the pond starts splitting the photo in half like a zipper to unzip, the single goose's neck creates tension because it is the only thing not symmetrical and breaks the otherwise undisturbed plane.

Really great! I'm glad I found y'all's blog!

Sarah Robins said...

ok guys, come on. you've GOT to update this blog! post! post! post!

stephen, i did the second layer of your painting yesterday. colors are more true. i'm working with glazes, so colors will be built up through tinted layers. maybe i'll post another pic.