Melbourne Southbank

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Comments (14)

Rafal Ociepka on April 1, 2008

Ian, your photos are becoming better and better! Congratulations!


Ian Stehbens on April 2, 2008

Dear Rafal, you are very complimentary! Thankyou.

This one is simply a case of sit the camera on a post or wall and let it do the rest! I know the rules of photographic composition such as the rule of thirds, but I like to challenge the rule when I can. Here in the overall picture the bridge sits in the centre - but there is another framed picture within the picture, and the bridge then complies with the rule of thirds.

I have noticed that the artists in our network for whom photography is a side hobby, tend to use centering in their composition constructs much more than those of us who a primarily photographers.

What do you make of all this? Does it make any sense to you?

Thanks again for your affirmation.


Majlend Bramo on April 2, 2008

Really a great night shot,


Ian Stehbens on April 2, 2008

Thanks indeed, Majlend. I am enjoying my night landscape photography for GE.


Rafal Ociepka on April 2, 2008

Ian, when I see a beautiful photo, I don't care about any photographics rules! It doesn't matter, that the rules are preserved or has been broken, most important thing is that, the photo can make you happy ;-)

(sorry for my poor English)

By the way, there is a new photo of my hometown in my gallery.

Kind regards!

Tom Lussier Photogra… on April 2, 2008

I like this capture Ian, rule of thirds or not. It works. I agree that most photographers(amateur) are just trying to record their travels and they either don't know or don't care about "rules" for doing so. That's the way it will always be and rightfully so. And that is not to say they can't or shouldn't improve by following "guidelines" but the interest is probably not there. And that's fine.

Rafal is right on the money about rules and breaking them. I've broken the rules many times and have been equally dissappointed and pleasantly surprised. You never know what you'll get when you step outside the box.Just a couple of great quotes related to the subject:

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -Albert Einstein

"If you follow all of the rules, you’ll miss all of the fun." - Katherin Hepburn

"In art, all who have done something other than their predecessors have merited the epithet of revolutionary; and it is they alone who are masters." — Paul Gauguin

Regards, Tom

Marilyn Whiteley on April 2, 2008

I'm going to jump in here with a naive question: Do people actually think about the "rule of thirds" or any other rule, for that matter, when they are composing an image? I look at the scene, zoom in and out, move around, and take the picture when it "feels right." Is that scandalous?

Afterwards I look at my pictures, see what worked better and what not so well, and try to figure out why. (I do the same thing with photos on Panoramio: it's pleasant, and I rationalize that it's honing my skills!) But at the moment of receiving the image I haven't consciously placed that centre of interest or that S-curve or that horizon according to any rule. So I repeat my question: Do people really compose according to rule? And should I?


Craig Ward on April 3, 2008

I think the word rules is wrong,more a loose guideline maybe,i am aware of the various guide lines and technique of composition,when shooting.But if you stick to rigidly to the rules you end up with a lot of the same images, i agree with tomlight post. Marilyn ,yes people do compose to the thirds rule,still and motion pictures,you should do what come naturally for you,i believe some people naturally with out thinking, compose or construct the image and falls into the known guides ,this may be you,Cheers Craig :)

Ian Stehbens on April 3, 2008

Dear Marilyn and Tom, Craig, Rafal,

I am enjoying this new conversation, for it certainly enriches my Panoramio experience to have conversations about our craft.

For me creativity is a dominant factor, but as our craft is about communicating then there are clearly principles that will enhance the message and determine the audience.

Marilyn, I thought you might be our instructor more than our inquisitor. I wonder what one sees when I look at your/Marilyn's more successful images. Let's see.

Golden Frog near Kaieteur Falls: rule of thirds perfectly used in construction and gives a deserving subject real impact! #1!!! Photo

Idaho Relic: rule of thirds deliberately determining a very successful and appealing image.

Dune with dead tree: as for Golden Frog..

Church at Ora: the summit of the dome pulls the eye and therefore creates the visual harmony and there is no competition between the colors and the construction.

Sossusvlei after the flood: thirds.

There are others that use special variations such as Victoria Falls with rainbow and the Yucatan Wall. In these, the image is partitioned, then within the inset frame some wonderful composition has been achieved.

Then there are the topical grabs, like the Free Sex Advisor in Mumbai for which the centred tree isn't a problem, because this is a fun subject.

I love your photography Marilyn and you surely are not scandalous in the least. If you are not consciously doing it, you certainly know how to read a landscape and feel right.

Morning at the Totem Pole (internal frame with third/third inside) and Wilson Arch (centred shot with third on horizontal axis holding focus on the strongest lit area).....and you continue to create and communicate through great images.

Yes you should keep doing it, for we love your fine work. But never lose your passion, your love or your creativity or any of your various photographic voices.

I hope this is encouraging and affirming, Marilyn. I have enjoyed reviewing some of your work from another viewpoint.

Thanks guys for putting up with me.


Marilyn Whiteley on April 3, 2008

Thank you, Craig and Ian, for welcoming me into the conversation through your responses. Craig, I would agree that "guidelines" is a better word.

Ian, I am grateful if somewhat overwhelmed that you took the time to offer that analysis and write so generously. It suggests for me what I have observed in other people's pictures: photographs "that work" can often be explained on the basis of the "guidelines." I hope that I have absorbed some of these guidelines so that I am unconsciously influenced by them when I am "doing what comes naturally," but I am very rarely conscious of them. I am too involved with my subject when I look through the viewfinder (rarely at the screen) to think about guidelines. Perhaps my reaction to--or interaction with--the subject brings us back to the "contemplative photography" that we have discussed earlier, Ian.

Now, to raise a related issue, and to get back to Ian's fine nighttime photograph: I think that one of the reasons this photo works (never mind the rule of thirds) is the interplay of diagonals in it. They might be called "implied diagonals." (Or "inferred diagonals." This is one case in which either word would be all right. My mother was and English teacher, and I was taught to know the difference!)

The lights in the building at the left and its reflection set up a diagonal pattern that is continued in the most prominent portion of the bridge and its reflection so that there is something of a > across the image, and that gives it strength and unity.

I don't know of any simple "rules" or even "guidelines" about diagonals though I don't doubt that in "Advanced Photographic Composition" there are some. I think the situation is too complex for easy "rules," but in ever so many Panoramio photographs that I have attempted to analyze, it was a dynamic interaction of diagonal lines that gave them their power.

I would welcome--but do not require!-- your thoughts on any of this. Thanks again for sharing.


©junebug on April 7, 2008

Great night shot with beautiful reflections, Ian! Cheers, Anne

Ian Stehbens on April 7, 2008

I am very pleased that you like it Anne. Thanks.

I can still wander around on a warm evening at 22C at 10pm, taking night reflections on the river, while you are enjoying the spring, with the last of the snow gone I trust. It is great to see my European friends posting crocuses and other spring blossoms...and colourful butterflies as well.

Kind regards,


Alfred Schaffer on April 13, 2008

Stunning nightshot! Very good colours and reflections!

greetings Alfred

Ian Stehbens on April 13, 2008

Thanks Alfred. I enjoyed my night out!

Kind regards, Ian

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on April 1, 2008
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    by Ian Stehbens