Just a Photo

Singled Out
Singled Out, by Bryan Davidson

I like this photo a lot, but it’s exactly the kind of photo that doesn’t draw attention at thumbnail size on the web.  So here it is at postcard size.  Click on it for monitor-size or wall-size.

Just a note about the “rules” of composition and when to break them blah blah blah.  According to the rules, the four rule-of-thirds points (visualize the intersections on a tic-tac-toe board) are usually a good place to locate subjects within the frame.  In this photo, I followed the rule of thirds with the foreground horizon and the mountains in the background.  Horizontally, I located the tall foreground tree on a “thirds” line, but the true subject of the photo (the dead, brown tree) lies in no-mans land just off-center.  The placement of the large tree on a thirds point leads the eye to an obvious and easily visible focal point which is just close enough to the dead, brown tree so the eye catches that next.  This way, the viewer can think of the dead, brown tree as a discovery rather than having it shoved in his or her eye by placing it dead-center or on a thirds point.  It’s subtle, but it can make the difference between a boring image and a compelling image.  Of course, you may find this one boring anyway.  In that case, you might find it more interesting when you find the hidden bigfoot.  Keep looking…


5 thoughts on “Just a Photo

  1. @bryan:

    I saw it just like you explained it. The first thing I saw was the big tree on the right and then moved around looking for something that was really sticking out. If it were another photographer I would have stopped looking, but I know you’re not a lame guy so I persisted. Still, it’s a little boring like you said, but it works as well. I can appreciate the thought that was put into the cropping/framing of the shot.

    1. On another note: thank you for not hyping the saturation on the dead tree to make it so obvious. That’s why it works as a “where’s the subject?” type of shot. It’s subtle until you see it. That’s a good photograph.

      1. Thanks for your thoughts. The best advice I’ve read (from a source that I can’t remember, unfortunately) is to always ask yourself “what is this picture about?” and make all shooting decisions and post-processing decisions from there. This allows for more creativity than the simple “what is the subject” that is usually mentioned in photo 101 books or websites. The difference is subtle, but important.

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