Saturday, February 19, 2011


Today, I plan to talk a little about composition and link up to The Kat Eye View of the World and her challenge regarding, The Rule of Thirds.  Kat wrote an excellent description of the compositional "Rule of Thirds", which you can read here.  The Rule of Thirds is commonly used by photographers.  My college training was as a painter.  When painting landscapes, we worked with slightly different space divisions.  First of all, we divided our canvases in half - both vertically and horizontally, marking with pencil or charcoal.  These divisions were reminders of places NOT to place prominent features - horizon line, center of interest, etc.  Next, we divided each half in half again (now our canvas had a grid work of 16 squares or rectangles marked on it).  Ignoring the half way division lines, we had a grid that was similar to the Rule of Thirds - the space divisions being only slightly different.  This painters' approach to dividing space is a bit more dynamic than the Rule of Thirds, but also presents more of a challenge when seeking a balanced composition.  Either way, the basic idea is to divide your space into visually interesting, unequal elements, and place your focal point(s)in a strategic spot(s).  There are other elements that come strongly into play, such as value, color, and color intensity, which can dramatically alter your linear arrangement.  But these are topics for another day.....

In my photo, Pine Row, the foreground pine on the left-hand side, falls on and to the right of a vertical third division.  The next tree, off to the right, falls on the other third line.  This composition also includes a dramatic diagonal line (pine row), strong linear perspective, and bold value contrasts.  My vision or objective was to capture a composition that would marry well with the brilliant, bold sunlit day and show off the grandness of these tall trees.  Hopefully, mission accomplished!

For me, the interesting difference between painting/art quilting and photography is, as a painter and quilt designer I can move rocks, trees, even mountains:), to achieve the composition I desire, while as a photographer I have to move and position myself to try to get that "perfect composition".  But regardless of the art-making medium, the same rules and art concepts apply, just the "game" and strategies may differ.


  1. Oh, fabulous post! I am so intrigued by the differences of composition in other mediums, thank you for the detail you wrote here! I love this image, the multiple vertical lines from the trees and snow really caught my eye and the rule of thirds works really well here. Thanks so much for linking in to Exploring with a Camera! I'm so glad you have joined in. :)

  2. How interesting! I know nothing about any photography concepts, so you are opening my eyes. So glad you're doing this Anna!

  3. I loved learning more about the concepts in painting - and your photo is gorgeous.

  4. Great post! Loved reading this. The picture is so pretty!

    Have a happy Monday xx

  5. a stunning image ~ perfect composition, anna!
    your writing today is most interesting and informative ...
    i began my creative journey in oils and sketching ...
    and then my path took me to a profession in graphic design
    and now photography and other mediums ...
    all along, learning how to create so that
    whatever we are looking at naturally
    feels right and is comfortable to the eye
    so as to keep focus on the desired subject
    and not distract from it ... : )
    we don't really realize the 'formulas' that actually
    happen behind the scenes and you have described it
    perfectly here ~ thanks so much for sharing!

  6. pretty photo. i love the snow stuck to the trees.

  7. i marvel at the differing shadows in this image .. so bright against the snow and sky

  8. What a wonderful winter scene and image. Love your chosen point-of-focus!

  9. In a way like the difference between a prime and a zoom lens :-)