Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day 17: Unbalanced

After yesterday's balanced composition challenge, today's challenge was to take an unbalanced photo. I further challenged myself to take a balanced and unbalanced photo of the same scene to see the difference.

As a general matter, I like unbalanced photos. Many of my photos have the subject on the far right or far left side, with nothing but air to balance them out.

The sun was still a bit too high when I took these photos; it was only 4:45 p.m. That, however, was when the kids were at piano lessons and I had a few free minutes between my grocery store run and pick-up time. The scene is beautiful, but the photos would have been more so if I could have waited until later in the day.

This little spot of beach is in our piano teacher's neighborhood. After I snapped these photos, I took a few minutes to sit on the bench, start a new book, and breathe. We were all irritable with one another between camp and lessons, and I tried to burn the image and feeling of the quiet and the ocean into my brain. I hoped that, when the kids inevitably were irritable later in the day, I could draw upon the memory and be calm. 

Accepting my own challenge within a challenge, I stepped back and photographed the same scene from a different angle that created a more balanced composition.

In this photo, the bench has moved to the background, so it's not the same view both balanced and unbalanced. Unless a fortuitous bird flew by, there wasn't anything to balance the previous photo--just water. I have to admit that, while the dinghy and the discarded sign in the foreground aren't very interesting subject matter, I think I prefer this photo to the unbalanced one. What do you think?

Tomorrow's challenge is to take a photo using a frame within a frame. Expert Photography's article Use a Frame Within a Frame to add Depth and Context to a Photo explains the concept, and you can see some interesting examples at Gizmodo's 20 Photos of Creative Frames Within Frames.

I'll be spending most of tomorrow preparing for and hosting ten or more nine-year-old boys for a swim party and massive squirt gun fight. I'm not sure where I might find a frame within a frame during that event, and I might need to veg out in front of the TV afterward, so we'll see how it goes.

Did you prefer the balanced or unbalanced photo? If you're participating in the challenge, try to share examples of both and let me know what you thought of each. Hope you can incorporate some photography into your weekend!


  1. It's funny because my first glance at the unbalanced photo felt a little jarring and I couldn't pin point why until I'd read more of your post (I know nothing about photography). It's still a beautiful shot though.

    However I love the row boat in the fore ground, the photo feels softer because of the balance.

    1. Funny how those art people have a point with the whole composition theory. I'm learning too. Thanks for taking a look!