The weekly photo challenge this week was to compose an image using Rule of Thirds. The classic Rule of Thirds Composition says that you divide an image into three, both horizontally and vertically, and place the subject or point of interest on these lines and their intersections. For example not placing the horizon slap bang in the middle, but lower or high to allow the sky or the foreground to naturally flow. The rule also creates balanced and unified images. As compositions go the rule of thirds is easy to achieve and greatly improves any image.
I thought these copters would look great, I got out my macro lens and started framing the shot. The Challenge post said, to get some Bokeh just stop the lens down, this is true but as you stop down you reduce the depth of field and and move the lens away from its sharpest aperture. With a Macro lens the depth of field is already shallow and stopping down to 2.8 would leave a sliver of the copters in focus. Instead I kept my lens at f/8 ( even then the closest edge of the copter drops out of focus ). Knowing that my close distance to my subject and the far distance of background elements would create a soft blurred (bokeh) background. It is not the bokeh caused by spectacle highlights. just a softer bokeh that adds depth and helps frame the image.
In Lightroom I used a cool tone preset and applied selective sharpening and warming to the copters.
Let me know in the comments what you think, or just say hi.
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31 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge; Rule of Thirds (with bokeh for bonus points)”
This is a much better explanation than was given in the original challenge. I wonder how they will describe negative space. 😄
I did find the description in the challenge lacking especially when they were talking about bokeh, but I guess they make it a bit simplistic to encourage everyone to take part. I suppose they may mention framing when it comes to negative space.
I love the halo effect created by the grey area, I bought my first macro lens just a few weeks ago and I was not expecting to get such a shallow depth of field with it. You can create some nice effect but it calls some practice to get it right
Macro lenses are really shallow and get shallower the close you get to the subject. I usally stick around f/8-11 because it is the sharpest are of my lens. I had been using extension tubes before i got my macro lens and was prepared for the shallowness, but I still am practicing getting ready for spring.
Beautiful image and very clear explanation. Thanks, Ben!
Thank you Karen. glad you like the picture.
Great image. Your explanation is so clear.
Thank You Raewyn, I’m glad everything was clear.
Very nice. I love my macro lens but that DOF with it can get touchy sometimes.
I tend to use the dof preview on my camera body to check that I am in focus. Really important when you add extension tubes to the mix as well as a macro lens.
I think you should write the challenges…great explanation! I like the softer bokeh background and how you kept all of the copters in focus.
Well if wordpress ever asked me I would give it a go. I do have versions with a stronger background but it distracts from copters. Keeping them in focus can be fun. I usually shoot a burst of frames and then refocus and shoot again, a slight movement of 1mm can throw the shot out.
What happens if you only took one pic. Can you then make a couple of copies of the pic on separate layers and get the same effect
I have a question. If I only take one photo can I then make several copies on separate layers in Photoshop to achieve the same effect? I could maybe add a High Filter pass set at different strengths in relation to the percentages of each layer then put them on overlay for the blending mode?
Beautiful shallow depth of field, I love using my macro lens (and not just for macro shots), great colour combination and detail.
Thank you Karen, I use my macro lens for a lot of things as well, I love the dof and the sharpness I get. I am always blown away at the small details I can extract with macro work as well.
Too good Ben! Thanks too for your your brilliant commentary .. 😃
My pleasure Julie, I think this maybe my fav image of the month. Now I have to top this image somehow.
Nice tutorial. When you mention selective sharpening, I gather you used either the brush or circular tool. I’d never thought of doing that for sharpening though I do use it for burning and dodging.
Hi, yes i apply selective sharpening using all the local adjustments depending on the image. With this image I used the brush tool because the shape of the copters is quite irregular. This post in the digital darkroom series covers sharpening and selective sharpening if you want to know more. https://aperture64.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/sharpening-lightroom-camera-raw/
Great image, Ben 🙂
Now I understand more about rule of thirds and bokeh. Thanks for your explanation 🙂
My Pleasure Ami, I hope the info will help with your next picture.
great explanation! Love the photo too…same subject matter as mine!!!!
After reading I had to jump over to your blog to see yours, it is so hard to catch all those posts.
I think the subject matter was a great choice for this challenge as they just hang there waiting to be photographed.
It looks like we are participating in the same photo challenge. I’m a sucker for nature and macro photography so I really enjoyed your photo. I never knew what that plant was called. Also, your description is very clear and easy to understand. Looks like I have another blog to follow!
Thank you for sharing,
I am glad you like my post, I think we are doing the same challenge, will be good to check out your other posts.