PF Photography Thread


by _Mayday_
Tags: photography
Andre
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#991
Mar8-11, 11:20 AM
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Ah so it's not only my limited command of the language.

But another factor is, that if one is told/taught/indoctrinated that the rule of thirds is the ultimate in aesthetic composition, maybe one may tend to dislike compositions that do not follow the rule.

So I have a test/poll in mind to be given both to artists/photographers and complete lay people at the other side to see if they have different opinions in practice about the aesthetics of compositions that do and do not follow the rule of thirds
Andy Resnick
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#992
Mar8-11, 01:29 PM
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Quote Quote by Andre View Post
So I have a test/poll in mind to be given both to artists/photographers and complete lay people at the other side to see if they have different opinions in practice about the aesthetics of compositions that do and do not follow the rule of thirds
That seems tricky- how can you eliminate your own bias in selecting images? But I understand what you mean.
Andre
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#993
Mar8-11, 01:34 PM
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No I won't need to do that. I will just create a bunch of crops of a few images with different properties and ask to judge which is the best and the worst.
Andy Resnick
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#994
Mar8-11, 07:03 PM
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That's what I was thinking of as well.

But I think the real issue is the whole idea of a 'rule' in the context of art. Consider music- the idea of playing a certain time signature, like 4/4. Switching time signatures (to 3/4, for example) may sound good or bad depending on what else is going on. If performed deliberately, it can sound very pleasing. Or, it can make everything degenerate into arhythmic noise.... which could *also* be deliberate!

So for me, the 'rule of thirds' is more like a 'rule of thumb'- a good place to start, but definitely not the end.
fuzzyfelt
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#995
Mar9-11, 08:37 AM
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Quote Quote by Andy Resnick View Post
Aesthetics can't be written as a rule. There is no universal standard of beauty.

The 'rule of thirds' is a guideline that produces images that appear to be well-balanced to the eye. There are many design guidelines: horizontal lines appear tranquil, diagonal lines produce a sense of motion and action.

http://www.yangsquare.com/wp-content...etropolis2.jpg

Pay attention to the composition- the figures divide the frame into thirds, but there also a diagonal line connecting the line of sight between Rotwang and the robot- and more, that line runs parallel to the line of Rotwang's arm (and his hair). The inverted Pentagram behind Rotwang also introduces a compositional element- like a perverted halo.

The sum total is to produce an image that tells a story. Even without knowing anything about the movie, you can invent a story that relates the two figures.
I think people, generally, unless they haven’t held a camera before, or have really no idea what they like, tend to have some ability with composition. I think this is at least the standard of photographs shown at this forum. But, if not, then maybe the rule of thirds would help where there would otherwise be no structure to speak of.

As the rule of thirds is about one aspect of many aspects of composition, it is usually required to work with other aspects, and they with each other, etc. The paper I linked to attempted to isolate it and some other aspects, and didn’t go on to test the impact of more aspects. But as other aspects affect the success of composition, it would seem worth mentioning these when discussing composition.

I believe quite a number of photographers here seemingly consider many aspects of composition and seemingly show a familiarity with different ways these may be successfully used, beyond a more basic natural ability. With their understanding they are probably in a good position to judge whether or not rules in general, and rules about particular aspects of composition work for them in combination with other aspects, or not.

Andy explained how the rule of thirds worked for him. He explained his views and shared a small critique of a linked photo. There could be other aspects of composition in the photo that could have helped or masked the effects of the rule of thirds, but he was able to offer a reasonable explanation of how he finds it successful. I agree, I think it is successful and believe there are many things working well together.

But for those who are looking to improve on natural ability, concentrating on one aspect of composition could skew a natural feel, and without regard for other areas of composition, impact detrimentally on success. To my (possibly tainted) eye, such photos are amongst the least successful serious photos I believe I’ve seen as the whole of the composition together may not work. This was why I wondered if there was a reason why that rule was noteworthy, and also why it was linked to elsewhere regarding compositional advice, aside from the word of blogs, as, for me, it doesn’t seem to work very well without other considerations. I think Andy has offered a reasonable explanation for why he would use it, although, I still don’t believe it is good basic advice without taking other factors of composition into account.

I think in such cases it would be more successful to start with the consideration of various areas of composition and how they work together and can impact success. Then, broader rules could be considered with an understanding of how they can be used while retaining a feel for over-all compositional success. Then concerns about varied placement can be explored if desired.
Andre
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#996
Mar9-11, 09:08 AM
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Well, if unbiased people don't have a natural tendency to prefer rule of thirds compositions, one may wonder about it's basic validity

I shot this earlier this afternoon, and cropped it until if felt good for me.

As a result I see that the eye is roughly on the centerline and the center of gravity of the body looks closer to the centerline than the rule of thirds would prescribe.



Details: used small jpg have to process the CR2 for posterformat print. Furthermore, flash used EX430II camera in manual mode Shutter 1/100. Lens 70-300mm at 135mm F 5.0 (full open) ISO 200. It was inside a barn hence the limited light.
Andy Resnick
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#997
Mar9-11, 11:25 AM
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This discussion has been very timely- a cable station (AMC) has been playing all of Sergio Leone's "Spaghetti Westerns"- Fistful of Dollars; The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly; High Plains Drifter; etc.

I have benefited immensely from our discussion- I can see, much more clearly than before, how Sergio was able to make such compelling imagery, and his ability to direct my eye as the camera pans.

A good example- near the end of "For A Few Dollars More", there's a standoff scene- for a minute or so the film just cuts between extreme close-ups of the two men's sweaty, grungy, faces. Then a drop of something (sweat?) comes into the frame, and the camera tilts up a fraction- just enough to tell that it's not sweat, but a *tear*. Sergio was able to hold together that scene- no dialog, no movement, nothing- then get me to focus on that small drop: the only movement in the scene. And in addition, have that drop be *significant* to the storyline- the bad guy is revealed to be not such a bad guy, after all. Genius.
Andre
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#998
Mar9-11, 11:51 AM
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Nice Andy,maybe we can do some more exploration of aestetic techniques.

Meanwhile I did some cropping, that could be a question of the poll, what is the worst and what is the best compostion?

Andy Resnick
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#999
Mar9-11, 11:59 AM
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Quote Quote by Andre View Post
Nice Andy,maybe we can do some more exploration of aestetic techniques.

Meanwhile I did some cropping, that could be a question of the poll, what is the worst and what is the best compostion?
Personally, I like two- the 'inside crop' and 'intuitive crop'- because on both, my eye is naturally drawn out from the beak into the rest of the photo, and so I become curious- what's there? What is the bird trying to get?

Also, the 'intuitive crop' centers the eye of the bird- what did you center in the 'centered'?

Just my (untutored) opinion....
turbo
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#1000
Mar9-11, 11:59 AM
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When shooting a bird or mammal, I try to leave extra frame-space in the image in the direction that they are looking, aside from the thirds-rule. It helps establish a sense of "flow" in a static image.

Having spent many years shooting film and composing with the viewfinder, I catch myself doing that with the DSLRS and the pocket-cam. You can easily lose a great shot by doing that, and I have to discipline myself to "shoot wide and crop-to-suit".
Andre
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#1001
Mar9-11, 12:11 PM
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I agree Turbo, the same for me. Have to redo all the butterflies and allow for cropping space

Andy, the (estimated) optical center of gravity of the bird is centered in the "centered" crop, the lighter spot.

Personally I would chose the intuitive crop, the one third is just too unbalanced for me. But I have the impression that the rule of thirds would only work when there is more than one subject, or when the subject is shaped more complex
Jonathan Scott
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#1002
Mar9-11, 12:56 PM
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Quote Quote by Andre View Post
I agree Turbo, the same for me. Have to redo all the butterflies and allow for cropping space

Andy, the (estimated) optical center of gravity of the bird is centered in the "centered" crop, the lighter spot.

Personally I would chose the intuitive crop, the one third is just too unbalanced for me. But I have the impression that the rule of thirds would only work when there is more than one subject, or when the subject is shaped more complex
I'd go for something in between the "intuitive" and "centered" crops, as I feel that the tail of the bird is uncomfortably close to the edge of the frame in the "intuitive" one. I agree that having more space in front is good, but I'd like a little space behind too.
turbo
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#1003
Mar9-11, 01:24 PM
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Quote Quote by Jonathan Scott View Post
I'd go for something in between the "intuitive" and "centered" crops, as I feel that the tail of the bird is uncomfortably close to the edge of the frame in the "intuitive" one. I agree that having more space in front is good, but I'd like a little space behind too.
Personally, I'd favor the "centered" version and drag out the right-hand side of the frame a bit to leave more space there.
Andre
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#1004
Mar9-11, 01:33 PM
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I see your point Jonathan, however imo the body shape of the bird looks sufficiently free from the edge, arguably. Anyway with that suggestion, maybe we do a cropping exercise, everybody posting his/her own preference.

Here is the orginal small JPG direct from the camera, crop as you like and reduce to maybe 25%.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21940023/IMG_1352.JPG
turbo
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#1005
Mar9-11, 01:51 PM
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Here you go.



The bird's eye is still about on the center-line, the right-most third of the frame is "blank" except for the beak, and the diagonal line of the birds' posture lends a little dynamic. Edit: I would like just a little more background at the top of the image, but it wasn't in the original. Still, it would make the composition a little more ideal for me if I could have 5% or so more background at the top.
Jonathan Scott
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#1006
Mar9-11, 03:43 PM
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I'm happy with turbo's version.
Andre
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#1007
Mar9-11, 04:14 PM
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Thanks,

As I infer from the paper, the test persons preference peaked at an offset of 42/58%

I used the "optical center of gravity" like this:



Turbo put it on 43% and I used 39% whereas the rule of thirds would demand 33%.

I have to say that my choice was also influenced by my desire to get close to a common rectangular frame ratio, which I did not specify before.
Andy Resnick
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#1008
Mar9-11, 08:54 PM
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Here's what I came up with:



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