Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 13: Dynamic Tension

I think this is my least inspiring photography challenge result to date. I'd like to blame the challenge itself. I felt the description given for dynamic tension was vague and not particularly helpful. I couldn't find any better description--or any other description whosoever--anywhere else on the Internet.

In the hour I had today while the kids were at gymnastics, I went in search of dynamic tension--or at least diagonal lines going in opposite directions. I found this restored wagon for sale in a nearby parking lot and thought its wheels would do the trick.

close up of spokes of a wagon wheel

For contrast, here is a less dynamically tense close-up of the same thing.

red, yellow, and black wagon with Bristol painted on the side

I feel less tense already.

I would feel better, however, with something more serene. Here's another shot I took during the same hour when I wasn't trying to achieve the elusive dynamic tension.


Much better.

Tomorrow's challenge is light painting. Expert Photography, the creator of this 30-Day Challenge, draws a distinction between light painting and light graffiti (although both are types of light painting). Be sure to read both the instructions for light painting as well as those for the day 26 light graffiti challenge to see the distinction Expert Photography draws between the two. You can see some great examples of both types of light painting at Digital Photography School's 25 Spectacular Light Painting Images.

You will need a camera you can set for a long exposure, so an iPhone will not work for this project. You will also need a dark place, a flashlight, and a tripod or surface on which to set your camera during the long exposure. It looks like I'm headed back to the basement for this one.

This one should be interesting. Wish me luck.


  1. What you needed was a wagon wheel coffee table. Now that would have created some dynamic tension.

    1. This might just be my favorite comment ever. Precisely.

    2. Glad I could help the ball club. Please let me know if I fixed no-reply. Thanks!

  2. It always strikes me as laughable how often the Expert Photography guy uses a very ordinary and uninspired photo to illustrate how good he is at putting a particular compositional principle to use. Most of the time, they look more like cautionary tales! This was most in evidence in the 'dynamic tension' page, where his photograph of Greece looked as though his camera had gone off accidentally. I think your wagon wheel shot is better than any of his 'dynamic tension' photos.

    1. Thank you (although faint praise under the circumstances). I looked for better tutorials and examples for this one and couldn't find any. I'm beginning to think he made up this principle. Don't even try to read his description for light painting. You will be both confused and chuckling.