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Archive 2012 · Composition experiment
  
 
ben egbert
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Composition experiment


Need some help and advice. You saw this scene a few weeks back and gave me some ideas about different composition. I happened to be in the area this morning and did an experiment. Please excuse the poor light and time of day and season. This is only about composition. This place has potential next spring.

Previous post.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1143315/0

I started way back with a 14mm lens so I could get a large view of the area I am working with and get some idea about what is subject and where the horizontal line is for vertical centeredness. I assumed either the treeline or the reflection centerline is the horizontal center. The vertical line is harder to guess and I would like your advice on this. One question I always have is how critics choose what is subject and what is the horizon. IE, what they mean when they say centered?

So the first image is a large view with the subject and my choice of where the ROT applies marked. I understand, it does not need to be at ROT, but you have to have a starting place.

The next two images show some potential crops and where the ROT fits.

Then I took a real shot. I soon found that there is only one place to stand and get the reflection. Too far back and it merges with the bank. Left or right merges it with weeds. Too low also merges it with the bank. I found 2 feet high and as close to the water as I could get was best.

I also found that any tilt really leans the trees. So I leveled the camera and took this.

A pano type crop gives a ROT as shown. This is pretty close to my previous shot, but lower to the ground. And with more room for crop because it was at 14 rather than 17mm.

Notice that standing back is not very useful for this exercise. The pond and reflection which are a critical part of the image is lost.

I tried a vertical crop but it needs to be nearly square (ugh) to get enough pond, mountain and reflection included.





large view marked up







crop1 for ROT more sky







crop 2, for ROT, more foreground







My best effort cropped for ROT as shown




Sep 12, 2012 at 06:59 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Composition experiment


And here is an unmarked and uncropped version to play with. Minor raw corrections.







Sep 12, 2012 at 07:00 PM
silvawispa
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Composition experiment


I think you've thought your way through to a good result.
The only thing I want to see in it is an unbroken lake border on the left.
The break in that strip of greenery disturbs the sense of complete tranquility.
Does that make sense?



Sep 12, 2012 at 07:53 PM
sadja
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Composition experiment


Guess I must be stupid today. What is ROT?


Sep 12, 2012 at 08:05 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Composition experiment


silvawispa wrote:
I think you've thought your way through to a good result.
The only thing I want to see in it is an unbroken lake border on the left.
The break in that strip of greenery disturbs the sense of complete tranquility.
Does that make sense?



It does and I have tried to avoid it on several trips, but it is just in the wrong place. I also wish for less weeds in the water. I am hoping with spring and high water this scene will improve. I am going to need to be there at sunset when a good sunset occurs and a reflection to get a great image.

This is an 80 mile drive. Left home at 4:30 to get to a nearby waterfall for sunrise but there was just a trickle of water left so I came here to do this experiment. I actually beat the sun, but it is the wrong time of day.



Sep 12, 2012 at 08:17 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Composition experiment


sadja wrote:
Guess I must be stupid today. What is ROT?


Rule Of Thirds. Don't feel bad, the other day I had trouble with SOOC, Straight Out Of Camera. One gets tired writing all these common things out.

I wonder if ROT is in MIL-STD-12, the military spec for abbreviations? Mil Specs have probably been replaced by ISO since my day.



Sep 12, 2012 at 08:20 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Composition experiment


Ben,

Diggin' the analytical Mil-spec breakdown on ROT ... which BTW does a nice job of showing the 'breakdown" @ the relativity involved @ ROT as to how its ardent usage doesn't necessarily produce anything better than you would by your own gut vision @ visceral .. but let's not rehash such matters @ comp rules vs. comp tools.

BTW ... Mil-spec is alive & well.

Understanding your vision @ reflection, and props to the prep/effort you're willing to go for this shot ... what is the prospect of gaining some height for your shooting vantage point?

I'm on board with the given parameters have physical optical properties the greatly control / limit your options @ reflection ... i.e. moving back won't work. But, those parameters that invoke inviolable LAWS (not rules) of physics are there within the vertical capabilities of yourself. Could it be possible to shoot from a higher perspective (especially with the shift feature of your TS-E), farther back to accommodate both the reflection other aspects of your comp.

I realize that this is not like walking across the yard to get to your subject ... and that the concept of a ladder might seem odd. But, it sounds like you've exhausted your comp options in the realm of horizontal, in the range of your height. Expanding the vertical realm (and extending your options) might be worth consideration.

I don't carry a ladder to very many places ... but I do raise my camera by using my tripod as an "extension pole". By holding my tripod vertical with legs fully extended, I can get my camera in the air to about 10"-12'+ above the ground, depending on which tripod I'm holding over my head. I hold the tripod vertical for balance & repeatability ... making adjustments via my ball head for angle of view.

Whether you can achieve the change in perspective via overhead tripod, ladder ... or other creatively "out of the box" method of choice ... but you might consider exploring some additional vertical perspective if you are being "boxed in" by the LAWS of physics.



Sep 12, 2012 at 09:09 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Composition experiment


Hi Rusty. I started with a standing height tripod and that makes it hard to get a ROT if my point is the right one. It also makes the foreground grass less distinct which is part of the charm of this at 100% (although not at web size).

As I noted pointing up/down especially at these UWA causes severe tree lean as you can see in the first shot. This is not a TSE lens, my widest TSE is 17 which would not give enough width for this crop. I could stitch it however. I think I mostly need width as the TSE would certainly allow some vertical centering adjustment. But the problem is, the best way to stitch a TSE is via the shift function which produces near seamless stitches. And If I use the shift for moving down, I lose it for side to side pano shifting.

I guess I need to ask this, if I get higher, (assuming a level camera), I lose foreground and gain sky. But it is probably not that simple. I might be able to get further back and still keep the reflection. I would certainly need a ladder. These lenses are really hard to focus and compose so you need your eye right in the viewfinder or LCD.

My next camera is going to have some sort of remote viewing system. I can hook my laptop to this one, but it is super slow, super grainy and the focus hysteresis is terrible.

As far as effort. This is what I do. I find places and return to them until I get a keeper. I find that more satisfying than photoshoping my way into one.

So I have to ask, do you agree with how I defined subject and center? Does my version work? Knowing what centering means to others is the first step in a solution.



Sep 12, 2012 at 09:34 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Composition experiment


Rusty's comments made me wonder what the old 17 mm image would look like cropped.

So here is the image from the previous post. This is a 17TSE shot from standing level with no shift. I cropped it to get the exact same place in the image at the upper left thirds intersection. By the way, I do this in ACR using the crop tool with grid enabled. I just adjust the crop until I see the interesction where I want it.

This cuts off too much sky and left side of pond. I could get the sky back with shift and camera height. But not sure how I could get back the left side.









17mm cropped to put ROT as marked.




Sep 12, 2012 at 10:01 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Composition experiment


Kick ROT to the curb ... it is screwing you up trying to incorporate it as a formulaic process.

Essentially you have taken the center point of a wider framing and stuck it at an ROT intersection point. That would make as much sense as taking a symmetrically framed portrait of a person, then cropping and moving so their nose (center of face) was now at the ROT intersection point.

Simple ... decide on what your message / point is ... the compose it to showcase it. ROT works well for some images to help "decenter" the subject so it doesn't look "static", but it isn't the LAW of composition.

The egret below is very nearly centered ... what would happen if I moved it to one of the ROT intersection points, just so it would be at ROT?











Sep 12, 2012 at 10:56 PM
 

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ben egbert
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Composition experiment


Hi Rusty. The tree gives it asymmetry as well as the horizon. In fact, I bet the tree intersects the water edge nearly at the ROT.

I understand I don't need to be dead on, or in some cases not even close. But I especially have a problem with horizons because they are very hard to move off center when they are naturally at the center of our vision.

Or in this case, the horizon itself is the mountain/sky and it has always been off center. so where is the center? I said treeline, but it could be the line formed by the reflection and what is reflected. In this case they ar eclose enough to ignore.

See I am not sure what constitutes a center. I had lots of comments last time on this very scene. Aunti filled in some bottom and recropped it much as I have shown here. But I also tried to move the left right orientation as well. But I need people to give me their opinion about what is the subject and where the centers are so I know what has to move. This is true even for a small move.

I was happy with my original version, but I am not unhappy with this either. I can work to make these minor tweaks, but like the man said. I don't know what I don't know.

I am not asking how to make a keeper out of this shot, I am asking how to improve my judgement with respect to what is subject and what is center.





Sep 12, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Composition experiment


I don't understand this exercise at all. First what is the point of marking ROT if there is nothing there to draw our attention? A major center of interest at a thirds position can make a strong comp but you need something major at that position. I also don't understand the logic of circling a chunk of mountain and a lake and naming it as a subject. Your "subject" is not isolated and needs to be what draws our attention. The typical formula for drawing attention would include areas that are bright, highly saturated, more in focus, with higher contrast and the object of converging lines or shapes. You subject does not stand out and putting it in a position of thirds will not make that happen. Sorry if I am not detailed and clear. I am responding with a cellphone.


Sep 13, 2012 at 12:26 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Composition experiment


Hi Jim, I had that idea about a subject and isolation well in hand with birds. But grand vista landscapes usually don't have an isolated subject. This is my problem as well. Yet other people notice centeredness, so I am asking what they are using to define center.

I actually took my old image and added a bunch of canvas and filled it so I could try various crops and get an idea about this. Then I went back to the location and took the group shown today.

This breaks down into two problems. One is the horizon. An ocean is easy, and in normal circumstances will be dead center, you have to work to make it higher or lower. A land scene like this is a bit tougher, but I think a reflection is usually counted at the edge of the reflection.

Left to right is a bit harder for scenes like this. I was going by the mass of the mountain. Center of gravity if you will.





Sep 13, 2012 at 12:40 AM
sbeme
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Composition experiment


I'm with Jim here.
I think the emphasis is too technically oriented. You seem to be oriented to a goal of capturing the entire scene is some optimal way and trying to determine which guidelines are most useful. And while some of the "rules" seem to offer the hope of optimizing images that way, I think Jim is on point. Apart from the gestalt, what are the nodal points of interest to guide the framing, cropping, choice of height/angle at which you shoot?

Scott



Sep 13, 2012 at 12:47 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Composition experiment


Not me Scott. I usually pay no attention to ROT, but have been just about given my walking papers over it.

I just wanted to be a good craftsman, but if composition is part of craftsmanship, I am willing to try to learn. My images are called static, centered. Teach me what it means to not be centered or static.

That's all I am asking here. This is the second part of this. My first post was the one where I attempted to explain how I look at big vista scenes that have no single clear point of interest. So now I am trying to figure out how to make it that way.






Sep 13, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Camperjim
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Composition experiment


Ben, one of the issues you have with composition is leveling the camera. I very rarely point my camera straight ahead from a standing position and almost always avoid bisecting the image with the horizon line. If the sky is something special I might point upwards so the sky is much more than half of the image. That is rare and I often keep the sky to much less than half. A really boring sky might end up as just a sliver. I suspect you are keeping the camera level to control distortion. Sometimes "distortion" can enhance an image by adding emphasis to foreground objects. IMO that is part of the power of a WA lens. If a want to avoid that effect I will often stitch panos so I have a larger sized image and can afford to crop out lots of pixels.



Sep 13, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Camperjim
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Composition experiment


BTW take another look at Rusty's image. The strong horizon line falls at the upper third and the tree and reflection falls at the left third. This gives an overall pleasing feel to the image. Notice also his center of interest at (the bird) is not at a thirds position but is a bit off centered. That also seems to work well.


Sep 13, 2012 at 01:26 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Composition experiment


Camperjim wrote:
Ben, one of the issues you have with composition is leveling the camera. I very rarely point my camera straight ahead from a standing position and almost always avoid bisecting the image with the horizon line. If the sky is something special I might point upwards so the sky is much more than half of the image. That is rare and I often keep the sky to much less than half. A really boring sky might end up as just a sliver. I suspect you are keeping the camera level to control distortion. Sometimes "distortion" can enhance an image by
...Show more

Look at my first image with the ugly leaning trees. I was only slightly tilted up. With a TSE I can move the horizon, but before I can, I need to know what people are judging to be the center.


Can't I get anyone to answer this?



Sep 13, 2012 at 01:46 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Composition experiment


Camperjim wrote:
BTW take another look at Rusty's image. The strong horizon line falls at the upper third and the tree and reflection falls at the left third. This gives an overall pleasing feel to the image. Notice also his center of interest at (the bird) is not at a thirds position but is a bit off centered. That also seems to work well.


Guess you did not see my reply to Rusty.



Sep 13, 2012 at 01:56 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Composition experiment


In an appeal to the engineer aspect ...

Rules of composition are more like rules of chemistry than they are LAWS of physics. The laws of physics hold true, i.e. vector forces, AI=AR, etc. The rules of chemistry are chocked full of exceptions and grouped according to differing circumstance and classification. Personally, physics was my fav, because of the absolutes involved. Chemistry ... the "bastards" kept changing the rules for every exception that came around the corner.

Rules of composition are full of exception to circumstance, category & classification of utility. Short version, they are NOT formulaic. Rather they are a COMPOSITE (i.e. composition) of elements (like chemistry) that vary in their degree of unity & harmony ... much like O vs. O2 vs. O3 ... one has a "missing element", one is stable, and one is powerful, yet short lived. Deciding on how to construct the elements of composition is a matter of choice, and has cause & effect relationships with how the viewer perceives what is presented.

There is no ideal or correct composition ... as composition is a composite of elements ...i..e leading lines, scale, balance, tonal value, sharpness, contrast, etc. Placement of focal point or nexus is ONLY ONE ELEMENT of composition (i.e. composite/collection of elements).


ROT is to composition as Salt or Pepper are to French Cuisine ... but one ingredient in the overall creation of a sensual delicacy.


ROT is only suggesting a PLACEMENT of a focal point, typically absent of the other elements involved. When you have the plethora of other elements involved and harmoniously interwoven, ROT is a rudimentary effort that can be contradictory to the power of composition with regard to the bevy of other elemental considerations. It strikes me that your innate sense of how to incorporate the additional elements of composition (beyond subject/nexus focal point placement) is being retarded, rescinded and reversed by the concept of ROT being a LAW rather than a RULE ... with the errant/misunderstood attempt to transform a violable RULE into an inviolable LAW.

Just because someone suggests a rule that you should drive between the lines ... ask any motorcycle enthusiast or racer, and you'll quickly find out that their understanding of the laws of physics supersede the rules of the road when aspiring to achieve maximum performance. "Knee draggers" know that staying in the lines of "rules of the road" works well for a "safety factor" for the masses to follow ... yet they also know that to achieve real performance it is their knowledge of counterbalance, thrust and coefficient of friction ... and how to intertwine / incorporate them ... that render the "rules of the road" as folly for those aspiring for peak performance. Natural LAWS, trump man-made RULES ... when you know how to harness them. Otherwise, play it safe following the rules. You seem to be bent on allowing the rules to steer you away from the laws ... thus leading you from peak performance possibilities toward mass mediocrity.



Edited on Sep 13, 2012 at 03:24 AM · View previous versions



Sep 13, 2012 at 02:09 AM
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