Take nothing but pictures
Leave nothing but footprints

Exercise 14: Positioning a point

Objective:
To take four images that show how positioning a point in different parts of the frame, experimentin with how the image is affected by placing the main focus of the image in different places in the frame.

After a long (enforced) break I’m now returning to the course and moving on to the second part of The Art of Photography which begins to deal with ‘Elements of Design’.

The first exercise in this section of TAOP deals with the positioning of points within the frame. I’ve chosen two photographs taken prior to starting this exercise and two new pictures taken specifically for the exercise.

As always, to view a larger version of each shot just click on the image.

Image One – Backlit sprouting leaves

This was a new photograph for this exercise. While probably a little larger than a point I feel this qualifies as the leaves themselves only occupy a relatively small proportion of the frame.

14.1 - Backlit leaves - Shot on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II at ISO500, f/5, 1/250 sec at 300mm

14.1 - Backlit leaves - Shot on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II at ISO500, f/5, 1/250 sec at 300mm

The leaves were positioned in the frame using the ‘classic’ rule of thirds, with another set of leaves in the background rendered out of focus due to the shallow depth of field.

Image Two – Church light

This is a light that hangs in Worcester cathedral. It was taken in Autumn of last year when I was testing the Image Stabilisation of the Canon 70-200 f4 after I switched systems from Sony.

 

14.2 - Church light - Shot on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II at ISO800, f/4.5, 1/25 sec at 189mm

14.2 - Church light - Shot on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II at ISO800, f/4.5, 1/25 sec at 189mm

I positioned the light towards the lower centre edge of the frame.

For me this composition doesn’t work as well with the point of focus for the image at the edge.

Image Three – Glider take off

Another new photo for this exercise. Living in Bicester which has a very active gliding club this was an image I had been thinking about taking for some time anyway.

 

14.3 - Glider take off - Shot on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II at ISO200, f/5.6, 1/2000 sec at 280mm

14.3 - Glider take off - Shot on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II at ISO200, f/5.6, 1/2000 sec at 280mm

The glider is positioned lower left – probably just outside the bounds of the rule of thirds dividers. It was positioned in this way to use the negative space ahead of the glider as the space into which the glider would be flying as it was winched to flying height.

Image Four – Backlit poppy

This is a relatively old picture. Backlit poppies are one of my favourite images – the delicacy of the petals is demonstrated so well this way.

 

14.4 - Backlit poppy - Shot on a Sony DSLR-A900 at ISO200, f/6.3, 1/2000 sec at 160mm

14.4 - Backlit poppy - Shot on a Sony DSLR-A900 at ISO200, f/6.3, 1/2000 sec at 160mm

Again, this is a ‘rule of thirds’ composition. By positioning the poppy in the upper right of a vertically framed picture we show the from of the plant (tall stem) and follow the arc of the stem and angle of the flower head.

Conclusions drawn from this exercise

The positioning of the main subject/point of focus when it is a relatively small element of the image is very important. The use of negative space, consideration of the shape and flow of elements and the position of other complementary elements in the picture can make a significant difference to the final outcome.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, March 12th, 2011 at 09:40 and is filed under 03. Elements of Design, 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.
  • nix.shepherd

    Dominic, nice to see you back with us. Hope you don’t have to take any more enforced breaks or otherwise.