Picture This!
Rule Of Thirds

Our Picture This! assignment this month was the Rule of Thirds, a compositional guideline that relies on balance and “weighting” of subjects within the frame that follows a general tripartite pattern. That’s not to say that images made with this “rule” in mind need strictly follow it, as shown in the images here. But it is a starting point for compositional considerations, one that has stood the test of time. If you want to get a sense of how readers balanced their frames overlay an imaginary grid as you look at the images.

Great Salt Lake
Anita Romero caught the ethereal light and color of the locale, plus used a fence to impose a Rule of Thirds composition on what otherwise would be a 50/50 split. She photographed with a Canon Digital Rebel XT and a 28-135mm lens with an exposure of f/16 at 1⁄400 sec at ISO 100.
© 2010, Anita Romero, All Rights Reserved

Building Demolition
This complex composition by David Pilarczyk breaks the visual space up in thirds with a dominant vertical to join the component parts. He worked with a Nikon D40 and an AF-S Nikkor 55-200mm lens and an exposure of f/5.6 at 1⁄200 sec at ISO 400.
© 2010, David Pilarczyk, All Rights Reserved

Patmos, Greece
The top-most arch in the frame relieves the composition of a blank sky, and keeps the viewer moving in and through the frame. Eugene Simmons made this shot with an Olympus E-410 and an exposure of f/7.1 at 1⁄125 sec.
© 2010, Eugene Simmons, All Rights Reserved

Japanese Friendship Garden
Putting a main subject off-center and then balancing with reinforcing shapes is a less obvious but very attractive use of our rule. John M. Barra made this shot in Phoenix, Arizona, with a Canon EOS 40D and a Canon EF 24-105mm lens. Exposure at ISO 200 was f/8 at 1⁄350 sec.
© 2010, John M. Barra, All Rights Reserved

Zabriskie Point
The colors and shades of this Death Valley scene are reinforced by placement of the various tones, all counterbalanced by the lone photographer in the lower left third of the frame. Craig Gallet made this shot with a Canon EOS Rebel T1i and a Sigma 70-300mm lens. Exposure was f/5.6 at 1⁄400 sec.
© 2010, Craig Gallet, All Rights Reserved

Pond Weed
What might have been a plain shot turned into a study in line and form, thanks to the intersecting cloud reflections and unifying plants that sit in the right third of the image. Jeff Stephens made this shot with a Nikon D2X and a Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Exposure was f/4.5 at 1⁄80 sec.
© 2010, Jeff Stephens, All Rights Reserved

Ground, sky, and the pleasing intrusion of a bare tree make for a peaceful composition that has both balance and charm. Mary-Jo Bennett made this photo in West Virginia with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with an exposure of f/11 at 1⁄15 sec.
© 2010, Mary-Jo Bennett, All Rights Reserved

Chair And Wall
Bruce Kushner made this elegant shot from simple elements, all balanced within the frame. Exposure with a Nikon D300 and a Nikkor 70-300mm lens was f/8 at 1⁄40 sec at ISO 500.
© 2010, Bruce Kushner, All Rights Reserved

Michael Pucci made this three-shot HDR of the Sangiacomo vineyard in Sonoma, California, with a Nikon D80 and a Nikkor 18-135mm lens.
© 2010, Michael Pucci, All Rights Reserved

German River Town
This classic Rule of Thirds composition has all the restfulness of the locale. Chuck Daverio photographed with a Nikon D300 and a Tamron 28-300mm lens with an exposure of f/8 at 1⁄2000 sec at ISO 1600.
© 2010, Chuck Daverio, All Rights Reserved

Sarah Szabo took the Rule of Thirds another step in this photo of her daughter by using a truncated oval and reflections that skewed the various forms, all while placing her daughter in the left third on the vertical plane. She photographed with a Sony
Cyber-shot DSC-H1 and an exposure of f/3.5 at 1⁄60 sec.
© 2010, Sarah Szabo, All Rights Reserved

Tuba Valves
This still life of a complex instrument abstracts the various forms it contains, balancing circular, vertical, and horizontal shapes and directions. Mitch Cox made this shot with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi and a Tamron 18-250mm lens with an exposure of f/14 at 15 seconds.
© 2010, Mitch Cox, All Rights Reserved