Tag Archives: rule of thirds

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rule of Thirds

One of the things I love about photography is playing around with composition…either while I am shooting or in the editing process.  The Daily Post this week focused their challenge on the rule of thirds…so I think I will piggyback this challenge with theirs.

You’ve probably seen more seagull photos from me than you ever wanted lately.  And I’ve been playing around with different angles and compositional elements.  Here’s an unedited one of a seagull standing on the rocks in the surf.


And this one is also unedited…on a gray day I captured this seagull in flight, in the upper lefthand third of the frame.


And it’s not always seagulls that capture my attention.  This pelican pair flew overhead, cruising the shoreline…they are almost in the bottom third of the frame.

IMG_4373And this egret was wading in the koi pond at Balboa Park…I especially love the colors and the way its mouth is open in this shot.


This was a favorite from the other day, taken with my iPhone…walking across the Target parking lot my eye was drawn to the gathering storm clouds in the sky…and the birds perched in this bare tree.

birds in a tree

And just to prove that all my photos don’t include birds, here is a shot of a monarch caterpillar munching its way toward creating a chrysalis.  This shrub was full of caterpillars…and people were delighting in pointing out the crawlers.  We also saw a bright green chrysalis and a few butterflies too.


So, for this week, let’s play along with the Daily Post challenge and work on shots that follow the rule of thirds.  (For more information about the rule of thirds, look here)  You can frame your shots as you take them or play around with the composition in the editing process.

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!)

I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #ruleofthirds for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

So play around with composition this week and see how the rule of thirds impacts your photos.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rule of Thirds

Enjoy taking photos? Love to share them with others? Welcome to this week’s photo challenge! (I post a new challenge every week…check in each week and join the fun!)

Taking and posting a photo every day is the perfect opportunity for me to not only pay attention to interesting things in the world, but also to  work on my skills as a photographer and to improve my craft.  There’s lots of factors that influence the outcome of a photo including lighting, angles, backgrounds…and composition.  One photography technique that I find helpful is the rule of thirds. (Here’s a short video that explains the technique.)  Here are a few examples that I think follow the rule of thirds.

When I headed out to work this morning, this dandelion along the curb near my house shouted for my attention.  (Yeah, I know, dandelions are becoming a obsession for me!) I actually took a couple of shots, but I like this one where the dandelion sits along the right third of the photo with my neighbor’s house along the upper horizon.


Last week I was out in my backyard with my macro lens investigating the new growth.  I noticed this shrub budding and moved in close.  Both the lighting and the green of the bud lay along the lines of thirds, creating an interesting composition.

leaf bud-thirds

This odd rusty pipe-like structure at the beach attracted my attention.  I shot it from different angles and perspectives, but like this image the best.


And a few weeks ago I was down at Mission Bay watching my nephew’s crew team rowing.  I like the way the light lays in the left hand upper third of the photo.  I think one of the reasons I enjoy playing with the rule of thirds is because it offers so many options…and produces interesting results.


So this week’s photo challenge is to play around with composition using the rule of thirds.  Try one image a few different ways and then post the image you like best.  Or sort through some photos you’ve taken recently and see if you can find one that fits the rule of thirds.  Any subject you find interesting will work for this week’s challenge.  Post either the photo alone or along with writing inspired by the photo. I also invite you to use others’ photos as inspiration for your own writing and photography. I often use another photographer’s image as “mentor text” for my own photography, trying to capture some element in my own way.

I like to share my images and writing on social media…and I invite you to share yours widely too. (You might consider Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+) Use the hashtag #ruleofthirds and include @nwpianthology to make it easy for us to find and enjoy. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @kd0602. I’d love to follow you if you share your handle.

You can also share your photos and writing by linking to this blog post or sharing in the comment section below. Have fun playing with the rule of thirds–I can’t wait to see your compositions!



The Rule of Thirds

I woke up this morning thinking about where I wanted to go today to take some photos.  I wanted to stay close to home…and I didn’t want to head to the beach since I take a lot of beach shots.  I finally decided to head up near a golf course not too far from home, thinking about some greenhouses I pass every day and never take the time for a close look.

For February’s #sdawpphotovoices, we are playing with photography techniques and spending a week on each of four different aspects of those techniques.

I headed out this morning specifically thinking about the rule of thirds–the technique of placing the focal element of the photo off to the side rather than centering it in the frame of the lens. This is a technique I do pay attention to, and sometimes it creates spectacular shots.  I notice that when I move the focal point off the center, I also allow something else interesting into the shot.


In the case of this watertower, it also allowed the beautiful flowering trees and the mottled clouds to enter the stage.  In some cases, moving into the thirds also works to simplify the scene and allows the viewer to see what you are looking at and not everything your lens might otherwise see.

windmill on golfcourse

As I was thinking about the rule of thirds in photography, I was also thinking about the value of applying that rule to instruction.  Sometimes the best approach to learning is coming at it from the side, letting context take center stage.

We saw evidence of this at the end of last week when we asked students to reflect on the service learning project we’ve been working on.  While we did revisit the importance of some kind of introduction and conclusion to a piece of writing, as students wrote about something they were not only intimately familiar with but also something that they were engaged and invested in, the writing flowed.  And we even had that wonderful experience of having students beg for more writing time!

Sometimes you barely notice the rule of thirds being applied.  You might remember that I mentioned greenhouses at the beginning of this post.  The area where I live used to be covered with flower fields and greenhouses.  Development has pushed much of the agriculture out of our area, fields and greenhouses now replaced by million dollar (or more) homes.  As I explored this morning, I captured some shots of one of the remaining operations–surrounded by a suburban housing development and across the street from the golf course.

Greenhouses with bird of paradise

In this case my focal point was the bird of paradise in the foreground.  The greenhouses and the sky serve as a beautiful backdrop.  I was wishing for the sides of the greenhouse to open. There are many days when I drive by and notice the plastic walls open, offering a peek at the colorful flowers within.

And finally, it’s sometimes the simplest of things that makes for a beautiful photo.  This tree and fence and clouds taken from the back of the golf course seemed a perfect candidate for a black and white application.  I think the white fence and the white clouds create the kind of contrast that is needed with black and white.

Black and White from behind

I had a lot of fun playing with the rule of thirds and exploring the local community.  It’s interesting to drive down side streets and behind the places I see so often only from my car window as I commute to and from work.  I’m thinking that a month focused on photographic technique may offer me many new ways to play…right here, close to home.