Tag Archives: composition

The colour of envy

Green motorbike #1

 I’ve never been one to ride motorbikes, but I think some of the older ones are just beautiful, with their mixture of glossy paint and chrome, and their smooth curves.

I would have liked to spend more time photographing this bike, and actually had my DSLR with me, but the rain wouldn’t let up and I didn’t want to risk getting it wet. Yet another advantage of phone cameras – they are so compact, and so quick to use, that the rain wasn’t even an issue with it!

As it was, I couldn’t spot the owner anywhere, and felt it would have been appropriate to speak with him/her before taking a more elaborate ‘portrait’ of this beauty (if only to be able to share the image with them). So – armed with my trusty phone camera – I settled for taking a couple of quick shots for this blog.

The limitations of this type of camera are obvious, too, in these shots: the highlights are blown, and with no way to alter depth of field,  selective focus was out of the question. However, careful compostion has produced two quite passable images, despite these limitations. Of course, the rain helped, too, by making the colours so much more vivid than they would have been in dry weather!

Green motorbike #2

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Using my mobile phone camera to take photographs for this project has reinforced my belief that the strength of an image lies not so much in the camera used to capture it, but in the ‘vision’ of the photographer.

I’m finding that, although I have very little control over exposure or focal length, and am often shooting blind because I am reliant upon using the lcd screen to compose, I am getting  images that I’m happy with,  and that are comparable to those taken with my (much more versatile) DSLR.

Composition, as always, is paramount.  The ‘rule of thirds’ is a compositional rule of thumb in photography and other visual arts such as painting. The rule states that an image can be divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. The four points formed by the intersections of these lines can be used to align features in the photograph. Proponents of this technique claim that aligning a photograph with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the photo than simply centering the feature would.(Source: Wikipedia)

However, sometimes these rules can be adhered to, to the detriment of the final image.

The two images I’ve included here – taken on my walk along Birrarung Marr on Friday -demonstrate how sometimes breaking the rules can produce a better image.

The image above does not follow the ‘rule of thirds’.  The bridge, which is the main subject, almost bisects the photograph, rather than falling on one of the ‘golden’ or ‘power’ points/lines of the photograph, and yet it works because of the effects of perspective on the bridge.  The bridge leads you into the photograph from the right hand side to the left, and gives a sense of movement to the image.

12102007006-web.jpgThe image to the left, follows the ‘rule of thirds’, with the Eureka Tower falling on the right-hand vertical ‘power’ line, and the bridge falling on the lower-third ‘power’ line, albeit on a bit of an angle.

The composition of this image – although more in line with the ‘rule of thirds’ – is much less pleasing.  The portrait format contributes to the unsatisfying final result, with the curve of the bridge being interrupted by the narrow frame.

Taking ‘arty’ photographs with your mobile phone camera – or with any other camera for that matter – is not everyone’s idea of fun, I know. However, if you – like me – are entranced with image making, you will automatically try to get the best out of any camera in your possession.  Remembering the rules of composition will help make the end result something you want to include in your album – or put on your blog!

Now I’m off to play with my latest ‘toy’, which is both literally and figuratively a toy – my new Holga medium format camera.

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