Composition is complex. It’s not that the simple rules — like the Rule of Thirds — are so tough to grasp. It’s that the learning curve from first applying rules to then breaking rules is one chocolate mess of subjectivity. It’s true with writing, with photography, and with any artistic endeavor. What agitates my eye or my ear may be sweet Armagnac to yours.
(Low serotonin warning, as evidenced by one chocolate and one liquor metaphor in the same paragraph.)
One compositional rule I like is the frame within a frame. It’s a matter of finding the lines and confines to showcase your subject. The photos below are a loose interpretation of that rule.
Hugh and I were in Alameda, dodging a near ice storm . . . by California standards, that is. There are times we’re lying face up in the dirt, looking for that elusive angle on an otherwise mundane subject. This day, we were ill-equipped for winter in our spring togs, but we had our cameras. And by god we were going to use them. My fingers were so rigid from the cold, I had to slap my shutter with the flat of my hand. Now I know what it’s like to have paws.
In a brief, blue-sky reprieve, we saw these stacks, bearing the weight of wine (barrels).
And then . . . true photographic potential arrived: a skittish tabby who couldn’t help but frame herself in the natural geometry of the landscape.
On the topic of composition — technically, my photo of the running cat doesn’t have enough space in the direction she’s moving. She’s almost nose to the edge. When I first off-loaded the shot, I was disappointed by the framing. I thought I’d given her more breathing room when I snapped the photo. Hugh suggested he liked her placement — that her position showed her imminent departure from my frame. And, evoked a Snagglepuss catch phrase: “Exit, Stage Left.”
So, I ran with that. An homage to Snagglepuss in the last shot.
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