Week 20 – Horizontal Line

The Challenge for Week 20 of my 52 Week Landscape Composition Photo Challenge is Horizontal Line. What I realized when I did some research on Horizontal Line in Landscape Photography is that we use horizontal lines in our photography more than we (at least I) realize. There’s most likely at least 1 implied horizontal line in most landscape photographs – the horizon. Other than horizon, there are other examples of horizontal lines – fallen trees, waves, oceans, sleeping people, etc. All these subjects somehow show a sense of stability, rest, and timelessness.

Horizontal lines tend to indicate a sense of homeostasis (lack of change). Horizontal lines can be used when you want to impart a sentiment of timelessness or lack of change to an image. The horizon is stable, dependable and immovable, and for these reasons, horizons become the ultimate example of horizontal line. Horizontal lines are also relaxing and quiet.

When I thought about horizontal lines, I knew I’ll head to the beach and use the horizon as the horizontal line as well as use waves as horizontal lines. When the opportunity to go to Capitola Wharf presented itself, I knew I had the chance to use the Wharf as another horizontal line.

So, after taking several shots from different locations using Wharf in the Foreground, I decided to move to a location where I put the Wharf horizontally across the frame. I see multiple horizontal lines in play in this photo – waves in the foreground, wharf, horizon, and the mountains in the background. I thought this would make a good example of Horizontal Line for this week’s challenge.

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Week 14 – At least 2 Comp Techniques

The Challenge for Week 14 of my 52 Week Landscape Photography Composition Challenge is to use at least 2 comp techniques. One of the primary reasons I embarked on this 52 Week Photo Challenge is to add Compositional Techniques to my shooting arsenal. Pun, of course, intended 🙂

My Landscape Photography has significantly increased over the course of last year and a half. However. many of my photos use the same set of Compositional Techniques – the rule of third, leading line, and in some cases framing. I try to use balance & symmetry where I can but most (if not all) my photos will use the rule of thirds in one way or the other. I try to have a good Foreground, Middle-ground, and Background on all my Landscape Photos but it doesn’t work out all the time.

I try to use what I am comfortable with, in terms of comp techniques. My goal with this 52 week challenge is to make sure I learn many more comp techniques so they become second nature and I have a wide array of techniques I can use in my photos.

For this week’s Challenge, I took this Sunset scene at Alviso Marina. I saw how the Sun Rays formed a leading line. I saw a driftwood lying on the shore and I lined it up with the Sun ray to extend the leading line. That’s the first comp technique used here. The second is Rule of Thirds; actually, that is used in multiple ways – 1) horizon is on the third 2) Sun is on one of the points 3) Leading lines are on one of the vertical lines as well.

The Sun may actually be in the ‘golden’ spot. which would satisfy the golden ratio comp technique as well. But I don’t know enough about that technique to say for sure. Still ways to go before I get to Golden Rule.

Week 12 – Sense of Scale

The 12th Challenge in my 52 Week Landscape Composition Photo Challenge is Sense of Scale. The first thing that popped into my head when thinking about Sense of Scale is to shoot a vast Landscape like Yosemite and put myself in the frame to truly showcase a Sense of Scale.

It’s a simple but effective technique to bring dimensionality to your photos. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a person in front of a grand landscape. It can be a car, trees, rock, or any prop which allows viewers to make a connection between what’s in the foreground and the surrounding environment to get a true sense of scale.

I was looking for a grand landscape where I could do this. The opportunity didn’t quite present itself. However, I saw another opportunity to this during one of my Photo outing in the wee hours of the morning to shoot the Milky Way.

This may not showcase a sense of scale like a person standing in front of a vast landscape would but think about the real sense of scale here. It is said that our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is so big that even at the speed of light, it would take 100,000 years to travel across it. All the starts you see in the night sky, including our own Sun, are just a portion of the residents of the Milky Way Galaxy. There are millions of stars that are too faint to be seen. That’s just our Milky Way Galaxy. Beyond our own galaxy, there’s a vast expanse of other galaxies. More and more galaxies are being discovered. It is said that there are billions of galaxies. It is said that light from some of these galaxies set out billions of years ago. Meaning, the light we see today actually originated long before there was any life on Earth.

Here’s what Nasa says about the size of our Milky Way Galaxy: “How Big is the Milky Way? Imagine that our entire Solar System were the size of a quarter. The Sun is now a microscopic speck of dust, as are its nine planets, whose orbits are represented by the flat disc of the coin. How far away is the nearest star to our sun? In our model, Proxima Centauri (and any planets that might be around it) would be another quarter, two soccer fields away. This is the typical separation of stars in our part of the galaxy.” Credit: Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STSCI/NASA); US Mint

Think about that for a minute! To me, there is no better example of Sense of Scale than this photo of me looking at the Milky Way. It may not look like much but what you are seeing is only part of our Milky Way, which is one of billions of Galaxies in our vast and awesome Universe. Our Solar System is just a speck in the Milky Way Galaxy; earth is even smaller speck. Think about how we (humans) compare to the vastness of the Milky Way Galaxy and the Universe.

 

Week 6 – Zoomed In

The Challenge for this week was to zoom-in on the primary subject and eliminate everything else. When you think about Landscape photography, what immediately comes to mind is the wide sweeping landscape. One of the first things you need as a Landscape Photographer is a wide angle lens; the wider the better.

Most of my Landscape photos are wide sweeping scenes. I have noticed that going wide (or ultra-wide) sometimes distracts the viewer. I remember shooting Sunset from Asilomar Beach and I love the scene that was unfolding in front of me. It was a gorgeous Sunset and there were lot of rocks in the foreground. I took a lot of shots and felt I had some keepers. When I reviewed the photos to pick the ones I wanted to post process, I didn’t really like a lot of photos from this series. Why? The scene ended up being too confusing; too distracting. Way too many rocks in the foreground; no clear focus point; no leading line; no symmetry; no balance.

Got me thinking that no matter how beautiful a scene may me, it is up to the Photographer to focus on the right things and tell a compelling story. That’s where the different compositional techniques come in. With a wide landscape, you have to pay careful attention to where you place different elements of the scene.

One of the compositional techniques used masterfully by some of the world’s best Landscape Photographers is to zoom-in. The goal is to put the primary subject the sole focus of the image and eliminate everything else from the frame. Ansel Adams did this very well. His shot titled “Moon and Half Dome” is a great example.

When I was in Yosemite recently, I decided to try the zoom-in technique. I was shooting a reflection of Half Dome with my wide-angle lens – the 10-18mm. I loved how those shots turned out. I wrote about one of those shots – Snowy Reflections! I didn’t have my camera bag with me so didn’t have the option to go beyond 18mm. When my friend walked in with his camera bag, I borrowed his 24-105mm lens. This lens is considered a good walk around lens as it covers a wide range.

On my 7D, which has a 1.6x crop factor, this lens essentially becomes 38-168mm. I zoomed in to get  close up shot of Half Dome. I tried a couple of different frames and liked this particular frame. I convered to B&W as the contrast between snow and dark shadows of the Half Dome came out clearly.

Week 5 – Reflection

The Challenge for Week 5 of the 52 Week Landscape Composition Photo Challenge is Reflection. I love reflections; especially those that occur in nature such as waterscapes. For some reason, I am drawn to reflections and love capturing them. To me finding reflections in nature is like a scavenger hunt; I try to seek out as many reflective surfaces as possible – lakes, ponds, water puddles, windows, mirrors, and on and on.

In my mind, the keys to photographing reflections is to achieve an acceptable amount of clarity in the reflection so both the main subject and its reflection are super clear. I often move around to find the perfect reflection. I try to get a clean reflection of my main subject and nothing else. This brings in symmetry as well. In some cases, I find a small rock or driftwood, or tree bark, or something in the foreground to offset that symmetry. But in most cases, my goal is to capture a mirror reflection.

During my recent visit to Yosemite National Park, I shot this reflection of Three Brothers. I have been to this particular location a couple of times before. The first few times I went to Yosemite last year, I was not able to find a good location to shoot the Three Brothers. During one of my visits to Yosemite with Sowmya and her mom, I was on the lookout for a location to shoot the Three Brothers. Not only that, I knew that there is a location in the Valley where you can get a good reflection of the Brothers.

While driving around, Sowmya found a pullout that she thought would be a good spot to park our car and walk off-trail to see if we can find a spot to shoot the Three Brothers. We got lucky. This spot was not too far away from where we parked our car. I was very happy to get the reflection of Three Brothers. Actually, that morning, almost all of my shots were reflections – El Capitan, Half Dome, Three Brothers, Tenaya Peak, Stately Pleasure Dome, and Cathedral Rocks.

During my recent visit to Yosemite, we went to this location again to get the reflection of the Three Brothers. I converted it to B&W as the contrast seemed to work very well. The water was pretty still. I was able to get this shot hand-held and still get a sharp focus on both the main subject and the reflection.

Week 3 – Panorama

One location that I have been meaning to go for a long time was the Sierra Open Preserve. I have been there long time back with a couple of friends but I didn’t have my camera with me nor was I into Landscape Photography during that time. Ever since I got into Landscape Photography, this has been one of those spots that within striking distance but I never got an opportunity to go. Without traffic, it’s about 20 minutes from home.

Finally, we decided to head to Sierra Open Preserve as the conditions for Sunset was predicted to be good. When we got there, we started walking one of the trails to get to this lone tree atop a hill. The hike was pretty easy. When we got there, the wide sweeping views of green rolling hills were definitely worth the trip.

I remembered that Panorama was one of the challenges on this 52 Week Landscape Composition Photo Challenge. The landscape in front of me was calling for a Panorama. I had my tripod with me but decided to do hand-held as it gave me more freedom to be in a spot that was difficult to setup my tripod.

I took 7 shots in portrait orientation trying to cover as much landscape as I could. When I came back home and merged the first 7 shots, I realized that the setting Sun that I included in the first 2 shots was actually distracting. I did process that 7 shot Pano but decided not use that shot. I had a 2nd set of 7 shots but this time I decided to skip the first 2 and go with a 5 shot Pano. Even with 5 shots, I had to crop a bit to avoid distractions.

This is a 5 shot blend of the photos that I took hand-help and merged in Lightroom.

 

52 Week Landscape Composition Photo Challenge

Overview: This is my version of a 52 Week Photo Challenge solely focused on Landscape Photography; specifically, learning and improving Landscape Compositional Techniques.

Goal: Go out and shoot photos using specific Compositional Techniques so I can tell a compelling story with my photos

Ground Rules:

  • There is no specific start date for this challenge. However, challenges are ordered in the form of complexity. So, going in order may be helpful.
  • Have to take new Photos for this Challenge. Can’t use Photos from the past.
  • Tackle 1 Photo Challenge per week or try multiple Challenges. But the goal is to learn each Compositional Technique well enough that it becomes second nature.
Week Challenge Challenge Parameters
Week 1 Rule of Thirds We start this Landscape Photo Challenge with one of the most used Compositional Techniques and something that works extremely well – the Rule of Thirds. Go out and shoot your favorite scene using the Rule of Thirds as the Primary Compositional Technique.
Week 2 Leading Lines Lead your viewer through your scene by using Leading Lines as your Primary Compositional Technique for this week.
Week 3 Panorama This is a great opportunity to explore panorama stitching and create a wide sweeping landscape. Capture multiple images and stitch together rather than using an ultra-wide angle lens for this challenge.
Week 4 Framing your Subject Another classic compositional tool is to frame the subject within the frame of the image. Look for natural frames so you can ‘frame’ your subject this week.
Week 5 Reflection For this week’s challenge, go find a perfect reflection. How can you use Reflection to convey your story?
Week 6 Zoomed in Put your telephoto lens to use this week. Instead of shooting a wide sweeping landscape, try to zoom-in on your subject today and eliminate everything else from your frame.
Week 7 Long Exposure The goal for this week is to slow down your shutter speed, significantly. Go for an exposure longer than 30 seconds. Time to use the bulb mode on your camera. Try a waterscape or even a busy landmark to see the magic happen.
Week 8 B&W Look for a scene with great contrast that will make a great black and white. Use Mr. Ansel Adams as your inspiration for this week.
Week 9 Simplify The goal for this week is to simplify. Simplify the scene to make your primary subject stand out.
Week 10 Movement How do you show movement in a 2D medium? That’s the goal for this week. The goal is to showcase movement in your landscape.
Week 11 Texture By cleverly using textures you can bring a tactile dimension to your photographs and make they come alive; become three dimensional. When light hits your subject at interesting angles, all the textures come into play. Experiment with different angles and use texture as this week’s primary compositional technique.
Week 12 Sense of Scale Bring dimensionality into your photo. One way to achieve this is to include compositional elements that provide a sense of scale in the picture. Use objects of known size so the viewer can make a connection between them and the surrounding environment and get a true sense of scale.
Week 13 Geometry Rectangles, Circles, Triangles, Polygons, Arches, Parallel & Converging Lines, etc. It doesn’t matter what Geometric shape you use, the goal is to make the geometric shape the primary focus of your photo this week. Can you combine multiple geometric shapes in a photo?
Week 14 At least 2 Comp Techniques Shoot your favorite scene but use at least 2 Compositional Techniques.
Week 15 Symmetry Often considered one of the hardest compositions to pull off, Symmetry. Challenge yourself this week by shooting a symmetrical landscape.
Week 16 Foreground The goal for this week is to shoot a scene where you showcase a strong foreground element.
Week 17 Left to Right There is theory that says we ‘read’ an image from left to right in the same way we would read text. For this reason, it is suggested that any motion portrayed in a photograph should flow from left to right. So try to capture a scene where there is story that goes from left to right.
Week 18 Urbanscape The goal this week is to shoot an urbanscape/cityscape.
Week 19 Center the Subject One of the key composition guidelines is that we not center our subjects unless doing so enhances the subject or benefits the composition. There are many situations, however, when centering your subject is appropriate and necessary. So, for this week’s challenge, put your main subject in the center.
Week 20 Horizontal Line Horizontal lines tend to indicate a sense of homeostasis (lack of change). Horizontal lines can be used when you want to impart a sentiment of timelessness or lack of change to an image.
Week 21 Extreme Subject Placement For this week’s challenge, try to place your main subject in what would be considered ‘extreme placement’; far left, far right, top corner, bottom corner; it doesn’t matter. Try extreme placement.
Week 22 Balance Balance is the compositional technique of giving each area in a scene equal visual weight. You can achieve balance using color, tone, or juxtaposed subjects. Whatever technique you use, the goal is to show a clear sense of balance.
Week 23 Complimenting Colors Time to get familiar with the color wheel. Search for Photography Color wheel as it’s different. Shoot a scene with complimenting colors.
Week 24 Contrasting Colors Last week you shot a scene with complimenting colors. This week, do the opposite. Shoot a scene with contrasting colors.
Week 25 Get Low Time to look at the world from a different angle. Shoot a landscape from a low point of view.
Week 26 Get High Everything looks different when you are high. Find a high perspective to shoot this landscape. Drone, Helicopter, Tall Building, Hilltop; it doesn’t matter. Get High.
Week 27 Fast Shutter Speed This week’s challenge is to shoot a scene with a fast shutter speed. At least 1/500 or higher.
Week 28 Deep DOF The goal for this week is to get everything in your photo to be super sharp; from the foreground to the middleground to all the way in the background.
Week 29 Shallow DOF Last week’s goal was Deep or Large DOF. This week try the opposite. Shoot a scene and showcase Shallow DOF.
Week 30 Diagonal Line Diagonal lines can convey a sense of action or make an image more dynamic. For this  week’s challenge, use Diagonal Lines to make your image look more dynamic.
Week 31 Cropping Although our goal is to capture every shot perfectly, it doesn’t always happen. Cropping can help you get to the right composition even if you didn’t shoot it that way. This week, take a photo of your favorite scene and crop it in different ways to see which crop you like the best.
Week 32 Positive/Negative Space Negative space, sometimes referred to as white space, is a concept that’s been used in art, design, architecture, and sculpture for hundreds of years. It’s equally useful in photography, and can be used to turn an average photo into an outstanding one. Put simply, negative space is the area which surrounds the main subject in your photo (the main subject is known as the “positive space”). For this week’s challenge, shoot a scene where you clearly use Negative Space to emphasize the main subject of your photo.
Week 33 Camera Position Photographing from a different viewpoint or camera angle can often add drama and excitement or even bring out an unusual aspect of a subject. This week try changing your viewpoint or camera angle to capture something different.
Week 34 Foreground/Middle/Background Try to capture a scene where the Foreground, Middleground, and Background are clearly separated and showcased.
Week 35 Rule of Space The rule of space relates to the direction the subject(s) in your photo are facing or moving towards. Shoot something to showcase the Rule of Space. Meaning, give your subject room to move.
Week 36 At least 3 Comp Techniques Shoot your favorite scene but use at least 3 Compositional Techniques.
Week 37 Perspective How you shoot a scene determines what kind of story you want to tell and what kind of mood you want viewers to feel when they look at a photo. The power of perspective is beyond the consideration of your photography subjects; it is about the angle of your camera, your proximity to the subjects and what you include in the frame that plays an important role in your final image. For this week’s challenge change your perspective. Shoot the same subject from multiple perspectives; get low, get high, shoot up, shoot down, shoot from the Hip, shoot through another object, frame your subject. Experiment and find a subject that you can shoot from different perspectives. Or, shoot different subjects in different perspectives.
Week 38 Jagged & Irregular Lines Jagged and irregular lines take us one step further on the continuum of emotion and feeling. While diagonals move us into the area of the dynamic, jagged and irregular lines often impart a sense of unease, tension, or fear to the viewer of the image. Shoot a scene where you showcase Jagged and Irregular lines.
Week 39 Juxtaposition Juxtaposition is one of those compositional rules that seems tricky at first but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. Juxtaposition happens when there are two or more elements in a scene that either contrast with each other, or one element contributes towards the other to create an overall theme.
Week 40 Contrast & Tone Tonal contrast is created when light tones and dark tones lie alongside each other. Images with strong tonal contrast tend to work well in both black and white and color. For this week, shoot a scene with strong tonal contrast. Process in both color & Black & White to see which one you like.
Week 41 Golden Triangle You have mastered the Rule of Thirds. Now it is time to experiment with a new Compositional Technique; the Golden Triangle. What is it? Well, you’ll have to do a bit of research. But its pretty straight-forward. I promise.
Week 42 Figure to Ground Another important but often overlooked compositional technique is what’s called ‘Figure to Ground’. Pretty much that means to have a good contrast between your subject and background. That means, have a dark figure against a light background. Or a light subject against a dark background. One way you can create a strong ‘figure-to-ground’ in your photograph is to shoot a silhouette of a subject. Experiment this week and create a strong figure to ground image this week.
Week 43 Colorful Shoot a landscape that packs as much color as you can find into the scene.
Week 44 HDR HDR is the technique of combining several photos of the same scene but shot at different exposures to create an image with a High Dynamic Range. Shoot your favorite scene but bracket your shots and create a HRD image.
Week 45 Pattern Get inspired by the rhythm that patterns bring to your images.
Week 46 Distractions The goal for this week is pretty simple. Avoid distractions! Eliminate anything that is not necessary in the image or doesn’t add to your story. Practice the art of subtraction. Keep only things that are absolutely necessary.
Week 47 Rule of Odds The rule of odds states that images are more visually appealing when there is an odd number of subjects. This week try shooting something where there are odd number of subjects.
Week 48 Form Line, shape, and form are three building blocks to add depth and interest to your photos. The goal is to try to bring the 3rd dimension to your photo. Use sidelight; Use reflection; go close to the subject and use wide angle lens. Regardless of the technique, the goal this week is to show form.
Week 49 At least 4 Comp Techniques Shoot your favorite scene but use at least 4 Compositional Techniques.
Week 50 Golden Ratio/Rule The Golden Ratio has been used as a powerful composition tool for centuries. The reason for this is simple, the Golden Ratio allows for a composition that is perfectly balanced from a viewer’s perspective, creating a photograph that is most pleasing to the human eye. We naturally prefer to look at an image that is balanced and harmonized, and the Golden Ratio provides this. It’s time for you to use the Golden Ration in your Photography.
Week 51 Focus Stacking Focus stacking is similar in principle to HDR. However, with focus stacking, images are captured with different focus points, and later combined in Photoshop, to create an image with more DOF than would be possible with a single exposure. For this week’s challenge, experiment with Focus Stacking to create an image where everything (or almost everything) is in sharp focus.
Week 52 Break the Rule Congrats! Hope you learned a thing or two by participating in this 52 week Landscape Composition Challenge. More importantly, hope you had fun. Now that you know the rules, it’s time to break em’. For your final challenge, break one or more of the ‘rules’ to put your artistic signature. As Ansel Adams said: “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”
Special Thanks to Dogwood Photography for letting me use his 52 Week Challenge series as an inspiration to come up with my 52 Week Landscape Composition Photo Challenge. You can find his challenges at:
2016 – https://dogwood.photography/52weekchallenge.html
2017 – https://dogwood.photography/52weekchallenge2017.html

Why the 52 Week Landscape Composition Photo Challenge?

There are quite a few Photo Challenges out there. Most of the ‘Challenges’ you find out there will be just a simple list of ideas. There are few that truly push your Photography to the next level. One such Challenge is the famous ’52 Week Photography Challenge’ from Dogwood Photography. There’s actually two versions now – one from 2016 and a new one for 2017. For more information on these challenges, please go to:

2016: https://dogwood.photography/52weekchallenge.html

2017: https://dogwood.photography/52weekchallenge2017.html

I tried the 2016 version of the 52 Week Challenge and I definitely learned a lot. It clearly showed me that I enjoy shooting Landscapes more than anything else. Several years back, I was only interested in Portraits; specifically, Fashion/Glamor. I definitely had a lot of fun and learned quite a lot. Then I moved to Wildlife, which is still a huge passion of mine. Unfortunately, I don’t get to spend as much time Photographic Wildlife as I would like to.

Over the course of last year and half or so, I have primarily focused on Landscape Photography. There is so much to learn. I have barely scratched the surface. One of my primary goals is to not only understand the different compositional techniques but master them so I know when to use certain rules, when to avoid them, and in some cases when to break the rules.

To learn Composition, I watched tutorials, took some Photography classes, read online articles on Composition, and read a dozen or so books. What became clear is that in terms of Compositional Techniques, there isn’t a whole lot. Everything I learned kept coming back to a definitive list of Compositional Techniques.

I can say with confidence that I know what those techniques are but purely from a theoretical stand-point. A book I read in grad school comes to mind. It was called the Knowing Doing Gap by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton. I definitely was in the Knowing Doing Gap when it came to Compositional Techniques. Even though I knew the different Compositional Techniques, when I went out on the field to shoot, I forgot most of them. I wasn’t consciously thinking about the techniques while on a Photo Shoot.

After coming back from my Photo Shoots, I would look at my Photos and think that I could have used a particular Composition Technique. I have said to myself numerous times that next time I am on a shoot, I should remember to visualize and take shots using Compositional Techniques that I already know. But most often, I just shoot. Whatever Compositional Techniques that are ingrained in my mind gets used naturally. The ones that I have to think about never gets executed.

I was looking to see if there was a Photo Challenge that focused primarily on Composition. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one. The two 52 Week Photo Challenges from Dogwood Photography definitely included elements of Composition; actually, to a large extent. But it wasn’t fully focused on Composition.

When it comes to Landscape Photography, there is so much to learn and master. Composition is one attribute or component of Landscape Photography. In my mind, Composition is a way of guiding your viewer through your image in a specific order. Using the 52 Week Photo Challenge from Dogwood Photography as an inspiration, I decided to create a 52 Week Landscape Composition Photo Challenge. My goal is simple: Go out and shoot photos using specific Compositional Techniques so I can tell a compelling story with my photos. As Ansel Adams said, “There are two people in every picture: The Photographer & the Viewer.” My goal is to learn the Compositional Techniques so I can convey the emotion, the feeling I had when I was taking the Photo.

Ansel Adams also said that “There are no Rules for Good Photographs. There are only Good Photographs.” I completely agree! In order for you to break the rules, you need to know what the rules are. This 52 Week Challenge will help you learn the different Compositional Techniques specific to Landscape Photography.

I created this 52 Week Challenge primarily for me. But, if you feel that you can benefit from this Challenge, go for it. Use it as is or make modifications as you see fit.

Why Focus on Composition?

One of my goals in 2017 is to improve the overall quality of my photos by learning and mastering different aspects of Photography. My Photography has definitely grown leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. However, I have only scratched the surface there is still so much to learn. One of the first things that I want to focus on is Composition. Why Composition?

Composition, by no stretch of imagination, is a new concept. Go back in history and look at some well recognized piece of art – Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, Edvard Munch’s The Scream, Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory, Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, Rembrandt van Rijn’s The Night Watch, you’ll notice strong compositional techniques. Nothing was done or placed in random. Everything single thing was well thought out.

The Masters of Art from the beginning of time to some of the recent Masters of Photography clearly understood the power of Composition. They purposefully arranged different elements in the frame to guide a viewer’s eye seamlessly across the frame. Few topics are more important in art and in photography as Composition. It can make or break your photos.

Once you are familiar with some of the Compositional techniques, you’ll start noticing it all great works of art. As a matter of fact, several books/articles I have read and several tutorials I have watched, all recommend that you look at some of the best pieces of art (some that I have listed above) to learn how the masters have used the different compositional techniques. Most of the techniques are universal. You’ll spot them everywhere.

Composition is one of the first qualities of a photo that catches your viewer’s attention. A photo with great composition is easily identifiable. Viewers are naturally attracted towards photos with solid composition. Your composition has the power, if done right, to create a feeling far greater than a photo that was taken of the same location without any thought to composition. Where and how you place various elements/objects in your frame can significantly impact the viewer’s reaction.

What I have realized is that Composition is not one of those things that you either have or don’t. It can certainly be learned and mastered. Some people have it naturally, others understand and develop compositional techniques easily, and for others it may take deliberate practice and persistence. Bottom-line, Composition is a skill that can be learned and honed through deliberate practice.

Hello, Welcome to my Photography Blog!

My name is Deepak Vedarthan and I am a Management Consultant living in the Bay Area. As a Consultant, I travel quite a bit throughout the US and Canada. Work keeps me quite busy, but I try to find time for my passions/hobbies.

You can find my portfolio at: https://500px.com/deepaksviewfinder

If you like my work, I’d love to hear from you, but more importantly, if you can critique my work, that will help me grow.

As Winston Churchill said, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” So, please feel free to critique my work and help me learn, grow, and get better.

Photography has been my passion for a very long time. I have been Photographing different subjects over the course of last 8 years. I used to do a lot of Portrait Photography – Fashion/Glamor. Over the last 2 years, I have shifted my focus primarily to Landscape Photography. I also enjoy Wildlife Photography quite a bit. I am actively involved in Photography events to network with other professional in the industry and learn the ropes from experts. Through meetups and other events, I have met several Photographers in the Bay Area and have learned from them.

I strongly believe that as important as it is to have the ‘best’ equipment, it still lies in the hands of the Photographer to make the subject stand-out. For this reason, I believe that a Photographer should be artistic, experimental, and break the ‘rules’ where necessary, for stunning results.

As Aristotle once said, “What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.” I learn by doing! I go out and shoot as much as possible; I network with the ‘best-of-the-best’ and learn constantly.