The Dogwood Photography Challenge – Week 2

Week 2 of the Dogwood photography challenge was focused on a compositional element. This week it was to take a photo using the rule of thirds to show motion. 

I have challenged myself to only use photos taken for the challenge during the week of the challenge and not go back through my old photos.

Here is a shot I took of my OTTB (off the track thoroughbred), Oliver. It was a bit rainy this week!

Black horse running through field with a tree

So, what even is the rule of thirds? Good question! Photographers divide their photos into 3 equal sections horizontally and also vertically. That gives 4 intersection points. If you position your subject in one of those intersection points it gives you a more dynamic image. Here is a screen shot of my image during cropping. You can see that I placed an intersection point toward the lower hind of Oliver. I debated about exactly what I wanted at that point and I wanted to draw the eye to the power of the horse. The original framing would have been fine, but I wanted a slight change in the cropping.


There is debate on where the rule of thirds comes from, but many in the photography world think it is a simplified version of the Golden Ratio.  Think of taking a rectangle and cutting off the end to make a square, then cutting that rectangle to make a square and so on. Draw an arcing line from the corner of the beginning square through the next square until you finish at the last. You can see the Golden Ratio in classical art and in nature (think spiral seashells). Here is the same photo with the Golden Ratio arc overlay. 

There is also a component of composition that gives a subject room to move. The photo would feel awkward if I had space behind Oliver, but no space in front of him. So, it’s important to follow the rule of thirds, but you should also know which intersecting point gives you the best photo.

Here is a shot that I took several years ago that has continued to be a favorite. You can clearly see that I set the rocks along the left hand vertical dividing line. This photo also has a few other elements in it, but the rule of thirds is the overriding one.

close up of three rocks in sand

Here is a little eye candy from the rest of the photo shoot I did with my horse. His registered name is Quite Spectacular. I think he was well named. But, then again, I might be biased. 

This week see if you notice the rule of thirds in action (look at art, logos, architecture, etc.).

Black thoroughbred trotting in front of fence
Black thoroughbred running in front of fence
Black thoroughbred trotting in front of fence
Black thoroughbred running in field
Black thoroughbred running in field
Black thoroughbred running in front of fence

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