Week 19 – Center the Subject

The challenge for Week 19 of my 52 week Landscape Composition Photo Challenge is to center the subject. Anyone that has read a book or read an article or watched any tutorials on Photography Composition knows that one of the first things ‘rules’ of Photography is to ‘never’ place your subject in the center. One of the first ‘rules’ of composition that you’ll find in any Photography Book is the Rule of Thirds.

The Rule of Thirds have worked extremely well for a very long time. The masters of art have successfully used the Rule of Thirds effectively. And, the Rule of Thirds works wonders in Landscape Photography. But, should the Rule of Thirds be used in every single photo you take? Are there times where you place your subject in the middle of the frame? Of course, there are.

For example, anytime you are taking reflection, where symmetry is key, one of the things you have to do is put the horizon in the middle. Not doing so will actually make the photo look out of whack. The bottom half of the image mirrors the top, creating symmetry which makes the photo pleasing.

We have heard this before. Rules are meant to be broken. However, you need to know the rule well enough to know when to break the rules. Not centering your subject is generally a good idea unless centering your subject will actually enhance the subject, make it easy to convey your key message, and improve the overall composition. Reflection is one perfect example where putting the subject and the horizon in the center makes sense. There are many other. It is up to us a Photographers to decide what makes in a particular situation.

For this week’s challenge, I took this reflection of Walton Lighthouse during Sunrise. I have shot Walton Lighthouse from multiple angles. I have shot reflection of Walton Lighthouse from different angles as well. This particular shot, I purposefully decided to put the Lighthouse and the Horizon in the center of the frame. The reflection naturally called for centering the subject and horizon but I did try multiple comps and this is what appealed to me the most.

Advertisements

Walton’s Fire!

Location: Walton Lighthouse, Santa Cruz
Time: Sunrise
EXIF: Canon EOS 7D | EF-S10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM | 10mm | f/8.0 | 1/100s | ISO 100

Another trip to Walton Lighthouse for Sunrise. This time with Sowmya. So, Escaype forecasted slightly higher than medium potential for Santa Cruz but it was expected to be colorful. So, Sowmya and I decided to head to Walton Lighthouse to catch the Sunrise.

We woke up early in the morning and headed out in less than 10 minutes. The drive was pretty smooth; no traffic at all. Of course, at 5:00 AM you don’t expect that such traffic but with road closures and construction on HWY 17, we didn’t know what to expect. We got there about 30 minutes before Sunrise. The colors already started to show up.

It was high tide so no possibility of getting to the beach like last time. Sowmya and I tried to take a couple of shots with the curve of rocks and pathway leading to the Lighthouse. It was basically just the two of us. For some reason, Walton Lighthouse was empty that morning. Anyways, we started moving close to the Lighthouse and I see reflection of the Lighthouse on the pathway.

I immediately setup up my tripod and put the Lighthouse right smack in the middle of the frame with the reflection. I started firing away and the clouds started lighting up. It was simply superb. One of the best sunrises I have seen at Walton Lighthouse. Sowmya moved around a bit and was asking me to come there to check out her comp. But I didn’t want to change my comp. I was happy with it and kept shooting. After seeing Sowmya’s shot, I definitely should have moved. It was a very good perspective. I am glad she got it.

Right when the colors were disappearing, one of the Photographers that is part of Escaype showed up. He was shooting from Seabright beach. I could have done that as well. His comp was pretty good. If I go to Walton for sunrise again, that’s what I’ll do.

In terms of processing, I really didn’t have to do a whole lot. The colors were simply superb. I just enhanced it a bit and cleaned up some dust spots.

Walton’s Reflection!

Location: Walton Lighthouse, Santa Cruz
Time: Sunrise
EXIF: Canon EOS 7D | EF-S10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM | 13mm | f/16 | 2s | ISO 100

I have been to Walton Lighthouse multiple times. As a matter of fact, I met the core Photography buddies when I was at Walton one week early last year. For the first time, I tried my hand at light painting. I was then added as part of a Whatsapp Photography group, which started with just 4 or 5 Photographers. It has since group to close to two dozen Photographers. Meeting the core group that day was awesome. My photography, honestly, has grown leaps and bounds shooting with the core group. I have been to so many new places, tried so many new things. We challenge each other, learn from each other, and have fun together.

Coming back to the story behind this shot now. As I said, I have been to Walton Lighthouse several times. But this time when I visited for Sunrise, it was low tide. I have never seen Walton Lighthouse where the beach was visible on the left side of the Lighthouse. The moment I saw this, I knew I had to get down to the beach. Once I saw the reflection, I knew the type of shot I wanted to get.

So, I went down to the beach. Even though it was low-tide, waves were still coming where I was standing. And, as usual, I got drenched. I seriously need to figure out a way to stay dry. Every trip to the beach, I come back with wet pants, socks, and shoes. Anyways, once I got a bit wet, I decided to not worry about getting wet. I was moving around to get full reflection of the Lighthouse. I have not seen that comp before and I wanted to see if I could get it. I had to be quick as the reflection was only visible partially. Every once in a while, a big wave would come in and hide the reflection.

I took several shots; at least a dozen or more from the beach. I knew looking at the Camera LCD that I had some full reflections. The question was whether the shots were sharp, in-focus, and something that I could use.

This particular shot is a blend of 3 shots (HDR). Basically, I bracketed 3 shots with same focal length and aperture but different shutter speeds. The idea is to combine several photos of the same scene but shot at different exposures to create an image with a High Dynamic Range. I used Lightroom to combine the 3 images and then processed using my usual Workflow.