Can You Shoot Thirteen Views?


I was reading a book recently called “Beyond the Obvious” by Phil McKinney (great book by the way) that challenges people to think about concepts and questions, and then encourages people to look beyond the knee-jerk reactions and responses.  This same mentality exists in the world of photography.  We see a scene, a portrait, or something that catches our eye and our instinct is to capture that “something”.

McKinney illustrates his point in asking the reader to answer the question:

“What is half of 13?”

He then goes on to show that there are many responses to this. The canned answer is always 6.5, and that’s what came to my mind too.  But in going “beyond the obvious”, he shows that if you think about it from the perspective of say, a deck of cards, and 13 cards in a suit.  Since the ten, jack, queen and king all are values of 10, then really, half of thirteen in that scenario is 5.5, not 6.5.  You could also say that half of thirteen is really “thir” with “teen” being the second half!  By illustrating that you can divide either numerically or semantically, entirely different perspectives, thoughts, and answers can be right at the same time!  Once I got on the mental plane of looking at things differently, my own result was that half of 13 could also be 1 or 3 – applying the semantic concept to the number…

That is such a great concept, and one I’ve always tried to help people understand here in many different ways.  The “half of thirteen” way is probably one one the most succinct I’ve ever seen though.  Let’s take that concept now and apply it to photography.  Go get your camera!  Right now…seriously!  Go get your camera, and pick some random object in your room, office, or where ever you happen do be.  I don’t care if it’s your SLR, P&S, or camera phone.

Now what?  Take 13 pictures of that object.  Make each one different!  Change the angle, change the light, change the object itself.  It doesn’t matter what you do, just do 13 different things.  I can guarantee you that at least one of those photos will be something new, unique, and even compelling.  Now, take the most compelling one, and post it here.


To get you started on the right mentality, if you’re not already, here’s my own set of thirteen:

The shots above come from the “Wreck of the Peter Iredale” – on the coast of Astoria, Oregon.  Now, granted, the setting sun, and the unique nature of the composition made my 13 shots a little easier, but there’s now reason you can’t do the same.  Take a speaker and shoot it from as many angles as you can.  Run out of angles?  Try a different tack and change the lighting!  What happens if you pop an on-camera flash?  Try throwing your hand up to act as a barn door of sorts.  There’s no end to potential…it just takes thinking outside the box!

Fill the Frame Versus Rule of Thirds


When taking and making pictures, composing your image in a way that is compelling encompasses many “rules of composition”, including things like filling the frame, the Rule of Thirds, and Golden K, among several others. With virtually any image though, all the rules simply can’t be applied though, so it’s up to you as the photographer to decide which ones are more or less effective in defining your images.

You can help yourself immensely by looking at the works of others to see what appeals to you.  Try various styles to see which one or ones speak to your creative vision.  Here’s a perfect example of an image where both the Rule of Thirds and Filling the Frame cannot be applied:


The grind in Lightroom was hard to see, so I added emphasis to the Rule of Thirds lines to help illustrate that it’s not really adhering to that, nor am I even filling the frame. So, let’s take a look at both options.  First up, the Rule of Thirds:


What’s nice about the Rule of Thirds here is that you are immediately brought into her face, but we still don’t have a lot of detail.  The composition is also a bit cleaned up (notice the plastic cup is now effectively cropped out).  This could be a usable image to show the customer, but let’s take a look when we fill the frame:


When cropping down to this level, we get a nice full view of the person, there’s no distracting objects and really no other place to look.  We know what the subject is, we know where to look, and you can’t help but smile at the result.

Is one more effective than the other?  Maybe…but that’s where personal preference comes into play.  Different photographers will have different takes on how to crop and apply post production here. Which one do you prefer?  Take a look at each after post production without the Lightroom sidebars and see which you like better.

FillFrame RuleofThirds

Now it’s your turn – which composition works better for you, Rule of Thirds or Fill the Frame?

Which rule of composition works better?

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Photography Reflections

Water Reflections

Photography Reflections

After last week’s post where I asked for your thoughts, a number of readers have voted for more articles.  This is great insight, and thanks to everyone who stopped in to vote.  It gave me a lot to consider and reflect on in terms of where the next chapter of this photography blog takes me, you, and us – sort of a photography reflections, if you will.

Part One – To continue or not

Part of the goal there was to see where you wanted me to take the blog, or even if it is worth pursuing further.  As we all know, the time to devote to hobbies is a precious commodity which many of us have in short supply.  This means that in order for me to justify the time spent – whether it’s personal gratification or financial, or even a kind word now and then, at least one if not many of those elements need to be present.

With the supersaturation of blogs, articles, podcasts and content in the photography space, it’s hard to justify from a financial or the support of the online community.  No one comments on blogs anymore it seems – at least, I should say from my perspective that is the case.  Others may command a large audience, but I am definitely not in the top producers of content in terms of “market share”.  Others are better at it, can devote more time to it, and can reap rewards from all of the above three categories.

This means that the only reason I have anymore is personal gratification.  It’s tough to justify continuing to publish content when it seems I am speaking to a silent audience, so I would ask that if you like an article, post, or other topic – please let me know.  I like to see comments, insights, thoughts, and feedback from others.  If you’re so inclined to say thanks – consider buying me a cup of coffee to help with the ongoing cost of maintaining this site.  I have decided not to pursue ad revenue or eBook revenue at this time primarily because the market share/visibility just isn’t there.

These are my mental reflections from over the last seven days.  But in keeping with that themne – I have some photographic reflections to share as well.  This time of year is great for reflection-themed photography because it’s nearly Spring!  Lots of rain means lots of puddles, and the reflections that can come from these environments can really be a lot of fun.  It doesn’t matter whether you are shooting with an SLR, a mirrorless, point-and-shoot, or even your smart phone  – it’s more about creating compelling content.  Case in point – three photos I took last week:

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