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mingleefu


Apr 22, 2004, 12:17 PM
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the Rule of thirds...
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Okay.. so the rule of thirds.
I'm no photog pro, so this is just something that is rattling around in my head.

What is it with photo comments that suggest adhering to the rule of thirds so strictly? I mean, I understand that it's basically somewhere good to start framing the shot, but isn't it just a rule of thumb?

Of all the silly rules that climbers here seem to like to break and argue about, I'm really blown away by the concrete mindset to stick to this rule with such devotion. People are Debating whether or not to follow the volunteer closure on Devils Tower but noone seems to blink at the strict standard for photography.

This is not a complaint about the DT thread. Nor is it a refute of the rule of thirds. But for instance...
Karl Baba's photo of Annapurna has elicited multiple suggestions to crop it such-and-such a way. My opinion aside, for all the sanctity that climbers give to the ethic of an FA as the style choice of the party, it's really amazing how quick people are to tell others how to take their pictures.

To bring this in, so it isn't entirely a rant (and yet mostly so)--
In the wide world of photography, how often do the pros *really* stick to the rule of thirds? like, a guesstimate percentage.. 75% ? 90??

I will comment that I like the way that Annapurna shot was framed. I think Karl has done a great job of capturing the majesty of the mountian and gives it "the attention that it deserves" (as one critic suggests it doesn't). At the same time the inclusion of such a massive expanse of sky diminishes the relative size of the mountain, suggesting that there are still Greater things out there than moutain tops.
My sentiment on the picture is what leads me to reject the prima facie requisite for adhering to the rule of thirds.

Am I nuts?


brianthew


Apr 22, 2004, 12:30 PM
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I'm not much of a photog myself, but as one in a creative trade (musician), here's my take on rules such as the rule of thirds.

They're guidelines, meant to guide the artist in the direction that will most likely lead them to a good final product.

However, it is the final product that matters. The impressions it gives to the audience are what matters. If the results are good, if the results impress upon the audience what the author meant to say, then nothing really matters but that.

Strict adherence to rules can produce quality results. Not sticking to the rules can produce quality results as well, at a higher risk of producing garbage.

In the Annapurna image, it all has to do with what the photog wanted to say. The two interpretations you mentioned are both good ones, but it's up to the artist to choose which is his message. Perhaps focusing on the mountain wasn't the idea, and if this is the case, the framing is perfect.

Strict following of rules is not what makes art great!

Just two cents from me.


ropeburn


Apr 22, 2004, 12:32 PM
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I'm by no means a good photographer. I see a little "rule of thirds" coming through vertically in Karl’s picture of Annapurna. ( I think the shot is great. ) I'd say that strictly adhering to the rule of thirds is a bad idea. Conversely, never using the concept is poor as well. It's all about varity.


petsfed


Apr 22, 2004, 12:38 PM
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The only people who hold to the rule of thirds are those who don't yet have a good artistic eye. Think about how the image will guide the viewer's eye. And if you want a very unsettling, confrontational picture, put your subject dead center.


Partner tim


Apr 22, 2004, 12:58 PM
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Rules were made to be broken. Sometimes the rule of thirds is helpful, sometimes not. A good photographer will know from experience (eg. taking lots of other shots and evaluating what resulted in a good picture) whether or not to pay any attention to the 'rule'. Lousy photographers routinely invoke these sacred 'rules' in order to criticize others' work, but rarely come up with anything worth critiquing on their own.

If you want to know whose criticism to listen to, take a look at their pictures, and if they are producing the sort of images that you aspire to, then you ought to pay attention to their input. Otherwise, it's best just to pursue your muse and ignore them.


qwert


Apr 23, 2004, 3:58 AM
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The rule of thirds has to do with the golden cut, a rule that is found everywhere in nature or stuff like maths.
for example the human body: get nude, stand in front of a mirror and look in what proportions you body is divided. There are many thirds and centers, wich you could easily find in the works of classic painters, since the rule of thirds is somehow a natural thing.
most people apply it, without nowing it (for example myself :lol: . My best rated photo is best rated since it follows the rule of thirds, but i in no way *applied* it. )

So it works.
Therefor im trying to read a bit more on this theme, but i dont plan to do every photo in this scheme.

qwert


mheyman


Apr 23, 2004, 5:27 AM
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In reply to:
I think Karl has done a great job of capturing the majesty of the mountian and gives it "the attention that it deserves" (as one critic suggests it doesn't). At the same time the inclusion of such a massive expanse of sky diminishes the relative size of the mountain, suggesting that there are still Greater things out there than moutain tops

Mingleefu - This sounds so much like Karl I wanted to respond before I see this picture. Do you know Karl? (I don't, but I've paid attention to whatever he writes for years.)

quert - Your best-rated photo looks like it follows the rule of thirds to me. (Someone wrote it did not.)

Rule of thirds? It is a good rule in general, especially helpful for beginners. But like all rules of this type they are a guide, not something set in stone.


biff


Apr 23, 2004, 7:46 AM
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I said it didn't follow the rule of thirds, but I was looking at the divide between water and sky, not the rocks location.

There are many factors to consider when looking at what makes a photograph asthetically pleasing. To me, the major feature in Querts photo was the water and sky, so I quickly looked at that to see why that was so obvious. Others were immediatly drawn to the rock, which is perfectly located in the right hand 1/3 of the frame.


hangdoggypound


Apr 23, 2004, 8:20 AM
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In reply to:
Okay.. so the rule of thirds...for all the sanctity that climbers give to the ethic of an FA as the style choice of the party, it's really amazing how quick people are to tell others how to take their pictures...Am I nuts?
You, sir, crack me up (I beg your forgiveness if you are, in fact, not a sir) That is one hell of a point. It makes me think the front page is due for another "what's the big deal about an FA?" thread. I digress. To answer your question in the quote above, you are not nuts. And I believe that the above posts serve as evidence.


temporary-wintertime
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Apr 26, 2004, 6:21 AM
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the 'rule' of thirds is not actually a rule as such- it is to do with the way that the human eye/brain reponds to images, a little like fibonacci numbers equiv.
the rule of thirds allows the phtographer to conciously change the framing/perspective etc. of a photograph with a pretty good idea of what the compositional decision will do to the outcome....you dont think about it when you look at a photo (unless of course you are a photog yourself) but the position of different elements within the frame dramatically change the way the viwer will react to it.... so by using the rule of thirds photographers are given not a rule to stick to, but rather a measure by which they can more effectively portray the intended tone through composition blah blah blah...


theboss


Apr 30, 2004, 2:51 AM
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You can stick to the rule, but the Annapurna shot is a great example of the 1/5 rule for weather photography.
The sky in that pic is sooooooooo nice that it needs a lot of attention, having a mountain as base for the image is a nice-to-have for climbers.


lambchop


Apr 30, 2004, 4:34 AM
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I use the 1/3 rule when I have no other idea of how to make the pic the most striking. Generally speaking, as most of the posts in this topic seem to confirm, it balances the scene out aesthetically.

If you're using digital especially, then take lots of photos from all different frames. One of them is bound to work :)


krillen


Apr 30, 2004, 6:23 AM
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"Rules" of photography aren't in fact rules. They are guidelines for achieving proven and predictable results. Plain and simple.


keithlester
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May 3, 2004, 4:59 AM
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Every body goes on about the rule of thirds, or Golden Mean, to give it its classical name,

1. It aint a rule, as other posters have said, just a trick which works in certain circumstances

2. It aint at the one third point anyway, divide the line at approx the 0.61 to 1 ratio, then the ration of the larger part to the whole line is the same

If the line is x,y,z then xy/yz =yz/xz

(but one third is a reasonable approximation)

3. For shots with impact here's another good "Rule"

Decide what the subject of the photo is to be, ( is it the climber, the route, a couple of crux moves, or the scenery) and FILL the frame with the subject.

4. For shots depicting action, heres another good "Rule"

Capture the action in motion and try to have the motion going into the frame rather than out of it, by leaving enough room in the frame for the viewer to visualise whats happening next.

5. Break all these "Rules" any time you like, they're your pictures, not mine


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