Photography forum: The Basics of Good Composition

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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Dec 13, 2014 10:48 AM CST
Thanks Shelia,
I have a few different (free) editing programs that work well enough for me, for now--but I look forward to your information on editing in future installments.

Thumb of 2014-12-13/dirtdorphins/6b6205 Thumb of 2014-12-13/dirtdorphins/208cd0

and I also have better pictures of the catmint, sans long grass, (and the rose and the phlox) so I wasn't looking to "save" this one for any particular reason--
I was just sharing unedited examples of less than stellar photos to help demonstrate the blue light thing--because I do keep all of my photos--the good, bad, and ugly. I can't necessarily find whatever I'm looking for very easily--but if you ever need a bad example of something, chances are I've got one or several Hilarious!
Name: Sheila Caldon
Aiken, SC (Zone 7b)
Dragonflies Bookworm Hybridizer Garden Photography Daylilies Butterflies
Region: South Carolina Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Pollen collector Birds Lilies
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SheilaC
Dec 13, 2014 11:35 AM CST
That's funny! Well, you can just chime in when you want to! Big Grin

Thanks!
Beauty pleases, not only the eyes, but the heart as well. ~~Sheila
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
Plant Database Moderator Region: California Cottage Gardener Roses Irises Clematis
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Calif_Sue
Dec 13, 2014 1:01 PM CST

Plants Admin

Ahh, composition and lighting, great informative posts!! Thumbs up
I try real hard to be conscious of my composition, always work on being aware of the background and lighting is always tricky for me. I love overcast days as it prevents the heavy shadows and glare of course but too early, yes, as mentioned, the images turn out too dull, flat, and off color and needs more tweaking. I avoid full 11:00-2:00 bright sun if it can be helped but sometimes I am at a nursery or public garden and it's the only chance I get for photos. I just work at crouching as close as I can to blooms and for the most part, it helps to avoid extreme washouts.
This I took around 1:30 PM but there was a light layer of scattered clouds and I waited until I got the sun diffused a bit before I went ahead and lined up my shot. So many others ended up with too much light and heavy shadows, for those I ended up cropping in close to the iris beards or folds of petals.

Thumb of 2014-12-13/Calif_Sue/5a5ed6

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Name: Sheila Caldon
Aiken, SC (Zone 7b)
Dragonflies Bookworm Hybridizer Garden Photography Daylilies Butterflies
Region: South Carolina Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Pollen collector Birds Lilies
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SheilaC
Dec 13, 2014 4:18 PM CST
That's a great shot, Sue! I've admired a lot of your photos along the way! I like how the colors are balanced out too. It looks like you consciously set the main subject closer to the first third, or, I guess you could have cropped it that way. Either way, good choice! Thumbs up

Beauty pleases, not only the eyes, but the heart as well. ~~Sheila
[Last edited by SheilaC - Dec 13, 2014 5:16 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #748932 (4)
Name: Sheila Caldon
Aiken, SC (Zone 7b)
Dragonflies Bookworm Hybridizer Garden Photography Daylilies Butterflies
Region: South Carolina Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Pollen collector Birds Lilies
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SheilaC
Dec 13, 2014 4:39 PM CST
Vickie, for some reason I thought you were shooting with a point and shoot, but, now I don't see where you said that or not. You can control the amount of background blur (the depth of field) by changing the aperture setting (the F-stop). The larger the aperture, the more blur you'll get. Such as F5.6 as opposed to F11. That will give you what's called a "shallow depth of field." The higher the F-stop number, the smaller the aperture. The smaller aperture, the fuller the depth of field.

It helps me to remember it this way---lower/smaller number---low/smaller depth of field, higher/bigger number---bigger/wider depth of field.

Hope that helps!
Beauty pleases, not only the eyes, but the heart as well. ~~Sheila
[Last edited by SheilaC - Dec 13, 2014 5:11 PM (+)]
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Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Dec 14, 2014 7:38 AM CST
Nice shot, Sue. I like the way the iris in the background plays up to the iris in the foreground. I can see why you framed the pic this way. And the way the shadows and light kind of dance around the folds of the iris is nice too.

Thanks, Sheila. Until a month ago, or so, I had two cameras that I could use manual settings (Canon Powershot S650 and Canon S5 IS). I bought a Canon T3i recently to replace the S5 because it was giving me lens errors. I've always played around with the aperture and shutter speed, but certainly don't understand all the details of getting a good photograph. The f-stop is one of those things that has always seemed backwards to me! With my new camera, especially because I also now have an extra lens (and shelled out all that money!), I want to experiment more with all that it can do. That is why I appreciate what you are doing here in this thread. I have a lot to learn Smiling
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Sheila Caldon
Aiken, SC (Zone 7b)
Dragonflies Bookworm Hybridizer Garden Photography Daylilies Butterflies
Region: South Carolina Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Pollen collector Birds Lilies
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SheilaC
Dec 14, 2014 10:35 AM CST
Hi Vickie,

I posted another section last night on a separate thread under the same heading about the "Exposure Triangle." I didn't want to run them all together and wanted to make it easier to view them as separate posts, so, I started a new one.

You're absolutely right! It's "the" hardest principle to wrap your mind around to think that a higher number gives you a smaller aperture. You'd think it would be the opposite! If you can mentally visualize the aperture beginning with the smallest number as being "wide open" like a window with the shade all the way up and as you move to a higher number, you're pulling the shade down over the window letting in less light you might better visualize what's going on. It's difficult to grasp at first, but, once you get it, you've got it for life!

Check out the newest thread and let me know if you'd like to pursue it further. If not I'll go ahead and post the next section in about a week.

Thanks!
Beauty pleases, not only the eyes, but the heart as well. ~~Sheila
[Last edited by SheilaC - Dec 14, 2014 11:53 AM (+)]
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Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
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Catmint20906
Aug 2, 2015 6:10 PM CST
great thread! I didn't know that dawn was the best time to capture blues--very interesting! Hurray! Thumbs up
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso

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