This exercise was more difficult than I anticipated. I think this was due to the fact that I was aware that the images I captured were solely for the purpose of the exercise and that I did not actually like them very much as a consequence.
However, I was also aware of the learning within this exercise as fundamental to my development as a photographer and was therefore very keen to persevere.
I have been using the ‘rule of thirds’ in my photography for a while and understand that the placing of a focal point on one of the intersections of a grid line dividing the image into horizontal and vertical thirds usually produces a more pleasing image.
I had not, until now though, given composition a lot more thought, and had not considered how the eye travels across an image. This new way of thinking about composition and the experience of the viewer will, I hope, impact on my photography.
I attempted this exercise a few times, since I found it quite difficult to find a pleasing outcome in terms of the appeal of the final photographs. In the end I decided to largely ignore this in favour of this as an academic exercise.
I placed my point in a number of positions within the scene so that I could then consider the impact of the different placings.
Here is my first attempt:
I had been experimenting with taking photographs of the view through this motorcycle wheel when I noticed that the piece of white wood by the fence caught my attention. I had deliberately blurred the motorbike itself.
I took only two photographs: one with my point in the centre and one with the point on a ‘rule of thirds’ intersection. I would have taken more but the race was about to start!
However, I decided to include these images in the exercise because I found the outcome rather significant.
I acknowledge here that I moved the camera rather than the point and the images consequently show different angles of view. I also acknowledge that the image is busy and there are potentially a number of possible points. However, to me, the white piece of wood is the most clear point.
When viewing the first image, with the point in the centre, I found that I looked at the point but then at little else within the frame. I have marked a dotted line to illustrate a half-hearted look around the image, first to the cow (possibly because this could be seen as another point), and then downwards towards a bright area of the photograph.
The second image surprised me in its contrast to the first. The point was situated on an intersection of thirds. I am aware that this is generally a more pleasing placement. However, I was surprised at the different viewing experience this presented. My eye travelled naturally much further around the image, taking in a much larger proportion of the photograph.
Given that these images were busy and had different viewpoints, I wanted to attempt the exercise again using a fixed camera angle.
Here is my second attempt:
The first image, with the ball in the centre, was the least interesting and encouraged the least eye movement. I show an upwards movement with a dotted line since this wasn’t an entirely natural response.
The other images show the ball in various locations within the image. They all differ in terms of the response of the viewer, but all show a much more significant viewing experience than does the first image.
One thing I noticed here, and this is due to my choice of subject, is that my eye did not naturally travel outside the frame created by the goal posts. I have created an additional frame, secondary to the image frame.