Thursday, March 19, 2009


I call this "Second day of Spring Break and bored already!" (ha ha)
I took this shot of Trevor and his friend on Tuesday at the pond. Don't they look bored silly? It's just a candid shot but it is a good example about composition and how I've changed my shooting habits.

The night we studied composition, I wrote 4 pages of notes. Great great stuff but there is no way I will memorize and implement it all right now. So I've been focusing on just two or three for now, practicing them, and getting proficient at them. Then I'll add another 2 or 3.

Here is just one of many things I learned in Fundamentals I, it's something simple, and it can help anyone get a little better. It's called The Rule Of Thirds.

No, not like THAT.....ewwwww. (Although What The Duck rules!)

It's a generally known photography principle....I just didn't generally know it before the class;) Before taking the course, I would have taken something more like this:
The subject center frame and the bridge centered vertically. Not bad. A bit boring maybe.

But if you will divide your viewfinder or LCD display into thirds like this:The four points where lines intersect is where you generally want to have your "center of interest". Tom called them "power points".

Vertical subjects (buildings, towers, trees, standing people, etc) should ideally line up with a vertical third mark, like DJ and his reflection in the water in this picture.

Horizontal subjects (horizons, horizontal lines, etc) should be lined up with a horizontal third like the bridge in this picture.

Do you have to do this every time? No. There are all kinds of exceptions that I haven't learned yet. I'm just a beginner, like most people who read this little blog. So try this the next time you are taking shots. It'll take some practice to get it right, but I think you'll find your candid shots looking a little more "photograph" than "snapshot".

Footnote: For those of you worried I might go off the deep end after my camera broke last night and had to get shipped off for repair, don't worry. I'll make do with my old point and shoot for a few weeks. This was just after tonight's sunset shot with a Kodak P850 in manual mode set at f-3.6, 1/640, iso-100.


  1. WOW! That sunset is AMAZING! WOW! Chris I seriously love this. WOW!!!

    I also adore that picture of those two, ... although I didn't understand half the stuff you mentioned. LOL


  2. Wow - those cancer-cluster poles have never looked more beautiful. I love sunsets and you've succeeded in making something horrifyingly un-pretty into a work of art.

  3. That was really interesting! I love photgraphy but am way too in need of instant graitification to take a class and actually learn the right way to take a pic!! lol Too bad I cant just hire you to come around behind me and show me what to shoot and why : ) Or I could just sign my ass up for a class

    Great shots of your son.

  4. Thanks for sharing the Rule of Thirds tip. It's a great reminder because I know of it but always forget to apply it!

  5. Chris! Thanks so much for your comments on my photos! I really, really appreciate it coming from you, whose photos are AWE inspiring! And..that info on the rule of thirds is appreciated too! Great photos here! Lisa

  6. Oh wow! I am learning from you. keep it up and with details.
    And YOU was right the first was the best...but it is all about edits. You should see some of the work!!
    But that natural shot at its best is the only one that should be nailed that one guy! I love it!

  7. I think I may just learn something coming to these parts and photographer I am not!
    Sorry to read below that your camera took a nose dive off the garbage can without anyone around. I can only imagine the sick feeling!

  8. I learned about the rule of thirds while camera shopping with my kid. I saw the guides in a view screen and asked "What the heck is up with these lines?" The Kid had taken a film class and was very pleased to be able to teach his old Ma a thing or two. It does make a big difference.

    Thanks for stopping by so often and for your encouraging words. By the way, if you click the photo in the upper left it goes to another blog with more photos, in case you're interested.

  9. awesome online tutorial!!! Thanks for passing on what you learn!!

  10. Chris, you should try a design class, it will really help you see photography in a different light! I took the semester off, but I have been going to school since 2005 and by taking several design classes and a drawing class, it helped my photography skills to a level that I never realized. I still feel that there is so much more that I need to learn with photography and each day brings a new experience for my skills. I love your images....keep shooting!

  11. These photos are awsome. I always forget about the rule of thirds...many times I do it without even thinking, and other times I do more "snapshot" rather than Photograph. Your sunset pic is Amazing! and I had to laugh at the title of the pic of the boys on the bridge..too funny.

  12. Great picture and a great title. Forgive me for not throwing you back on my blog roll! I'm terribly lazy! I will do so shortly, however.