Wednesday, May 18, 2016

It's Golden!

by Dotti




It’s happened to me countless times and I imagine you’ve had the same thing happen: photographer’s block.

In spite of all the lovely spring flowers blooming in my yard and our little town, including my own columbine that would make any garden center drool, I’ve found myself in a photography funk. How many pictures do you really need of columbine, or tulips, or daffodils – well – you get the “picture”.

Then last week, while reading the weekly newsletter from Digital School Photography, I found this post. It was when I got to subtopic number four and the paragraph about “golden triangle” that bells began to ring. Now I’d heard of this composition tool before but I’d never employed it however this article explained it so well that I was motivated to try it.

If you’re like me, you see the whole world in “rule of thirds”, even when there’s no camera in your hands. So what is golden triangle? Here’s an illustration to show you the concept, the idea being to place your subject in one of the triangles. You’ll have to imagine a line dissecting your frame diagonally and then two smaller triangles formed by a line place at right angles.



Lately our weather has not been photography friendly, so I culled recent archives for photos I might use to illustrate this. Since all my photos were composed with that subconscious rule of thirds grid in my head, it was challenging, but I found a few, thanks to a lot of negative space. Here’s the first one I worked with, showing the placement of the flower in the bottom triangle. In some ways it’s not too different than rule of thirds but I did find that it was more dynamic than the original rule of thirds photo, also shown below.




While researching more about this topic, I found another great post that made the concept even clearer to me.  Here are two more examples from my archives which I cropped using the golden triangle idea, literally using a ruler on my computer display to create the diagonal line so I could visualize the triangles as I cropped.





I did make an attempt in between rain showers to take some new pictures with the golden triangle as my guide and I will tell you, it really takes some concentration. The old rule of thirds kept creeping into my mind’s eye, especially since all the focus points on my camera are based on that concept. However, I did find that by using the far left or far right focus point, I had more success. If I had it to do over again, I would frame this dogwood further to the right hand edge of the photo.

The golden triangle isn’t going to work all the time and I dare say I’ll still use the rule of thirds most of the time. However, for the next week or so at least, I think I’ll use this composition concept with all my photos as a way to train my eye to see things a different way. Particularly since I think this would be a great tool for architectural photography. So next time I’m traveling, I’d like to have this in my bag of tricks.  As shown in the DPS post, it can also be used for dramatic portraits.

So why not join me in this challenge? Let’s teach ourselves some new tricks, flex our creative muscles and add some variety to our photographs, as well as learning new ways to "see" our photos before we shoot.

PS – This is not to be confused with “golden spiral”. That’s a post for another day!

12 comments:

terriporter said...

Well, I must confess that I have not heard of the golden triangle but I'm fascinated! Will definitely be reading the DSP article. But your post has reminded me that whenever I'm in a photography slump, one thing that is sure to bring me out of it is to try something new -- a new composition tool, like this one; a new focusing technique; a new type of lighting, etc. I think we tend to get a little complacent when we've been practicing the art of photography for a long time and it loses it's punch, as do our photos sometimes. When we have to think and work at it, it becomes much more interesting, if at times frustrating! But out of that frustration comes growth and that is always a good thing.

Beverly said...

Hi Dotti! I Absolutely Love this post! Why? (1) Because it is new information I've never heard or read before today, and (2) it draws me in just looking at the first template. The straight grid of thirds seems so stiff and doesn't let me compose a photo as easily as I see the other one doing....the golden rule is more flexible in my mind. So, Thank you so much for sharing this technique today! I'm super excited, as Terri says, a new thing will motivate us. I love learning new things about photography. This one is priceless!! Thanks so much! xx

Beverly said...

"golden triangle" :)

kybarb said...

Yes, thanks for the info Dotti! I like the look of the golden triangle and will keep it in mind next time I'm editing or composing a shot. Love this blog and all of you who work hard to come up with posts every day!

kelly said...

Dotti I just love this! What a cool way to look at composition! It's similar to rule of thirds, but with a little more wiggle room. :) Can't wait to try this out!

Susan said...

Such an interesting topic, Dotti! I've never heard of this until now and going to try it out. I was in the same (same ole same ole) slump until a lizard snapped me out of it lol! I was taking (another) photo of a flower when along came a lizard...I called her the Green Eyed Lady lol. Anyway, this golden triangle should put a whole new spin on things! Thanks for sharing, and as always your photos are gorgeous!

Kelly Kardos said...

I've never heard of this triangle. I'm filing it away! That tulip is GORGEOUS!!!!!

Jeanne said...

Such a great new ( to me at least) concept Dotti, and your examples are gorgeous. Maybe it is time to go out and explore some new little country town to get back your groove. Thanks so much for sharing this great idea

AFishGirl said...

Fabulous, Dotti! Who knew! The bokeh is dreamy. I'm inspired, very inspired. Will definitely give this a whirl, getting my ruler ready as we speak...

Roxi Hardegree said...

I think this is fabulous for flowers. And I believe In Lightroom it is an optional grid overlay when you crop along with the spiral. (And I think I'll change mine to that for a bit. ) thanks for bringing our attention to new things.

Liz said...

I too live by the Rule of Thirds. However I had never heard of the Golden Triangle rule. I must check out my archives and see if I have any shots that could fit this rule in my 100's waiting to be posted! Thanks for sharing this, Dotti!

stamper2 said...

What a great post Dotti. I too struggle with trying to find new ways to of taking photos of my flowers. I have less time in the Spring months, and yet so much catches my eye, that I want to capture. I think this idea will be fun to try!! Thanks for sharing!!

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