Take nothing but pictures
Leave nothing but footprints

Exercise 11: Balance

Objective:
To take six existing photographs, decide and explain how the balance works for each picture.

Apart from one image none of the photographs have been cropped and are shown as taken – as much as possible attempting to get the balance right in the camera.

For each of the picture groups below click on the pictures to see the larger pictures.

Image One

This picture of the ceiling Southwark Cathedral was taken during one of my (many) trips to Borough Market in London. You have to pay a small fee to take pictures in the cathedral, but it’s worth it.

In terms of balance I could have looked at this image in many ways as the picture is almost completely symetrical. For the purposes of this exercise I have highlighted just one interpretation.

11.1a: Looking up at the ceiling of Southwark Cathedral

11.1a: Looking up at the ceiling of Southwark Cathedral

11.1b: Looking up at the ceiling of Southwark Cathedral (overlay)

11.1b: Looking up at the ceiling of Southwark Cathedral (overlay)

11.1c: Looking up at the ceiling of Southwark Cathedral (balance analysis)

11.1c: Looking up at the ceiling of Southwark Cathedral (balance analysis)

Image Two

This image was taken at Stowe Landscape Gardens in Buckinghamshire. It’s a beautiful place to walk around and photograph with many buildings and follies that make interesting subjects.

11.2a: Stowe Landscape Gardens

11.2a: Stowe Landscape Gardens

11.2b: Stowe Landscape Gardens (overlay)

11.2b: Stowe Landscape Gardens (overlay)

11.2c: Stowe Landscape Gardens (balance analysis)

11.2c: Stowe Landscape Gardens (balance analysis)

Image Three

This was taken at the Coloured Canyon on my holiday to the Sinai Peninsual in Egypt over Xmas/New Year 2009. In this image the balancing aspects of the picture overlap each other.

11.3a: Inside the Coloured Canyon in Egypt

11.3a: Inside the Coloured Canyon in Egypt

11.3b: Inside the Coloured Canyon in Egypt (overlay)

11.3b: Inside the Coloured Canyon in Egypt (overlay)

11.3c: Inside the Coloured Canyon in Egypt (balance analysis)

11.3c: Inside the Coloured Canyon in Egypt (balance analysis)

Image Four

The London Eye is one of my favourite photographic subjects – particularly at night. This shot was taken from the Hungerford footbridge across the River Thames looking West toward the London Eye and Houses of Parliament.

When composing the shot I was specifically looking for a way to balance the dominance of the London Eye when it occupies the full height of the frame.

11.4a: The London Eye and Houses of Parliament

11.4a: The London Eye and Houses of Parliament

11.4b: The London Eye and Houses of Parliament (overlay)

11.4b: The London Eye and Houses of Parliament (overlay)

11.4c: The London Eye and Houses of Parliament (balance analysis)

11.4c: The London Eye and Houses of Parliament (balance analysis)

Image Five

This picture is a relatively old one, taken while on holiday on the Greek island of Paxos (which if you’re looking for a great quiet getaway is a fantastic place to stay).

This image is a good example of how reading a picture is very subjective. For me the balance is between the boat in the foreground and the sky while others have commented (when asked) that the boat is balanced by the outcrop of land behind the boat.

11.5a: Motor boat in a bay in Paxos

11.5a: Motor boat in a bay in Paxos

11.5b: Motor boat in a bay in Paxos (overlay)

11.5b: Motor boat in a bay in Paxos (overlay)

11.5c: Motor boat in a bay in Paxos (balance analysis)

11.5c: Motor boat in a bay in Paxos (balance analysis)

Image Six

This picture was taken while driving down a country road in Shropshire a couple of years ago and was a bit of a grab shot. It took a little post processing which I’ll be detailing a series of upcoming posts, but for the purposes of this exercise I’m concentrating only on the balance of the picture.

Like the last image this is another shot where balance is subjective. Again for me the balance to the tree on the left of the frame is the sky while for others (when asked) it is the field of newly growing crop in the lower right of the frame.

11.6a: Shropshire landscape with The Wrekin in the background

11.6a: Shropshire landscape with The Wrekin in the background

11.6b: Shropshire landscape with The Wrekin in the background (overlay)

11.6b: Shropshire landscape with The Wrekin in the background (overlay)

11.6c: Shropshire landscape with The Wrekin in the background (balance analysis)

11.6c: Shropshire landscape with The Wrekin in the background (balance analysis)

Conclusion drawn from this exercise

Getting the balance right in a photograph can have a significant impact on how the picture is ‘read’ by the viewer. In general the more balanced the picture, the better it is received.

That notwithstanding, rules can be broken. For example, Image one above the picture is perfectly symmetrical and doesn’t follow the ‘rule of thirds’ yet is a very pleasing picture.

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 6th, 2010 at 06:17 and is filed under 02. The Frame, OCA Learning Log, TAOP Exercises, The Art of Photography. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.