Exercise 1.4 – Frame

This is, essentially, an exercise in poor composition (or at least of semi-random framing). We are asked to compose an image in one-ninth of the viewfinder and ignore the other eight-ninths at taking stage. This was difficult for the first few shots as there is a tendency to automatically compose with the entire viewfinder, but I was able to do it with a little practice and without resorting to masking-off sections of viewfinder.

On reviewing the images, I have the following comments that apply to a significant subset (although not the same subset for each comment). These are illustrated with examples below.

All images were taken with a Canon G1-X, set to fully-auto mode so the only camera function under my direct control was the focal length. These images have been resized by a Lightroom export to 1000 pixels on the longest side but are otherwise unmodified. None have been cropped.

The photographs were taken in a single session. The subject matter is a derelict village hall, awaiting demolition prior to redevelopment of the site, and its immediate environs.


Because I was composing normally, but only in one-ninth of the viewfinder, I was using a much shorter focal length than usual and wide-angle distortions are apparent, particularly when I was composing in one of the corner divisions (e.g. the daffodils and blue sign in the top left corner above)


Where I was composing in the upper part of the viewfinder, the ‘extra parts’ of the image were of mainly featureless pavings which read as negative space and can be ignored. However, composing in the lower part of the viewfinder introduces more visual clutter.


Unexpected ‘extra’ image elements, cut off by the frame edge, can introduce awkward shapes, such as the front of the car in the image above.


The occasional happy accident can occur, such as the leading lines from bottom-centre and centre-right, which help us to discover and focus on the daffodils at the top-left of the image above.

I have selected six images that are reasonably well-composed (the small piece of car is unfortunate) and work as a set to describe the subject.


The upper pair describe the building overall, two blocks, one of traditional brickwork and a prefabricated timber extension. The middle row shows building details, partly walls and partly windows of the two blocks and we see that the older brickwork has worn rather better than the newer block. The lower row deals with the surrounding pavings and I have tried to mirror the yellow tape around the guard rail with the colour of the daffodils.

In the top row, the eye is taken in a horizontal line along the kerb (the signpost and telegraph pole act as ‘stoppers’ to the left) to the basin wastes in the top-right image which leads it down into the centre row (reinforced by the two vertical white lines.

In the centre-right image, the vertical lines of the brick pier relate to the right edge of the overall frame and the perspective of the horizontal brick courses lead the eye to the left and the window. The left-hand image picks up the window motif and has a vertical emphasis to keep the eye within the set.

The bottom-left image picks up the timber cladding and both images have leading lines (angled manhole cover and the paving lines previously noted) pulling the eye back into the centre of the panel.

2 thoughts on “Exercise 1.4 – Frame

  1. Hi Chas.

    I’ve been checking out other people’s work on this exercise, before I start on it myself, and have found yours to be very instructive. There seem to have been a number of ways of interpreting it, and yours makes the most sense to me. Also, call me odd, but I really like the small piece of car that’s intruding into your 4th image. It adds a certain random reality to the shot. Nice work 🙂




    • Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m not sure about ‘instructive’ but it was around the time of this exercise that I decided to stop being frustrated about ambiguities or lack of clarity in the course notes and take it as licence to interpret things my way. Very ‘free-ing’



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s