What is "the Eye"?

My posts have been…worse than infrequent, for which I apologize. My work assignment has kept me from doing a lot of new photography, I get bored going through my old stuff, and I’ve been feeling ‘under-inspired’ as of late.

A friend gave me an idea when he complimented me on a photo, saying he wish he had my ‘eye’. This prompted a response that this can be learned and developed, which then led me to the idea of this blog posting.

Just what is that ‘eye’ that photographers speak of? Well, it can be many things. For this post, I’d like to boil it down to composition, and some simple concepts.

First of all, lets look at the Rule of Thirds, and this image. Wikipedia gives us this definition: The rule of thirds is a compositional rule of thumb in visual arts such as painting, photography and design.[1] The rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.While this image isn’t one of my favorites, it’s essentially covered by this rule. The egret is in the middle of the frame vertically speaking, but it’s in the left third of the frame horizontally. It’s generally a good idea to leave space in the frame in the direction that your subject is looking, in this case, the bird, looking to the right.

Generally speaking also, in a nature/landscape type photo, you want to have a good foreground element. Something that conveys depth, or that will lead your eye to the main subject. Taking a photo of a mountain range is a great example of most complaints I hear, i.e. “I can’t do them justice”. Well, the mountain range is spectacular but… what is in front of it? Give it context by a strong or even ANY foreground element and you get a sense of depth and grandeur in the case of that mountain range. A decent example is this: http://www.bokehimages.com/Landscapes/New-Zealand-2009/10319617_3h4L8#713449288_TajDA

The beach rocks and the shape of the water leads the eye to the sharp peaks in the distance. I’ve sort of broken that rule of thirds here, because the peak is centered. It works compositionally due to the foreground elements. I believe there were some distracting elements to the right and left, which forced the centering. You have to know the rules before you can break them, as the man said.

Next post will be some other subjects that will hopefully help you make your images ‘pop’ a bit more.

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