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Saturday, July 10, 2004

"It definitely looked much better than this picture!"

If you are in the process of learning photography like me, it is quite possible that in past, you have taken pictures of excellent locations and settings, but once in print or on screen, the scene does not look that gorgeous or amazing! So what goes wrong in-between? In my opinion most of the time it is simply poor composition.

Take a look at this picture of the buildings near Crooked Street, San Francisco.

  • Subject of the picture - the buildings on crooked street - stands out. The sibject immediately grabs the viewer's attention.
  • The picture is very symmetric. View is nicely divided between ground, building and the sky.
  • All the emphasis is on the buildings. The angle of the camera and the inclusion of the slope of the street emphasizes the height of the building and its unusual location. There are no other distractions.

Obviously, this is one of my favorite shots! A very big part of why this picture looks good is because the way it has been framed.

But I have not been this lucky always. Take a look at this shot taken just a few feet away pointing towards the Alcatraz.

This picture was taken standing in the middle of the road and obviously there was a sense of urgency while taking the picture. I was trying to capture the Cable Car in the background of the sky in this shot. But I ended up getting a lot of other distracting items around it.

Well, not to worry as I have taken the picture in "Large" + "SuperFine" format :-). I can just get rid of whatever I don't like by cropping, without making big compromises in size and quality of the picture. And that's what I did.

  • The Cable Car stands out.
  • The picture is symmetric.
  • Only distraction now is the Alcatraz, but I guess there is no way around it now.

Hmm... I'm so glad I got a 5MP camera and not a 3MP as I had planned at first !

Capturing this world in the bounds of a frame does need some special care. From what I have learned so far, it's just a matter of practice, patience, attention to details and little bit of cropping :-). So take your time and frame your picture properly. And if you are not sure, just zoom out and take a large fine quality picture, you can alway crop it later.

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