2023 Photo Challenge, Week 4

January 29, 2023
2 min read
Photograph by Forrest Dylan Bryant

Rosae Crucis

Fujifilm X-T4
21mm | f8 | 1/1000s | ISO 800

Serendipity. I talked about it last week, and here it is again. My dictionary defines it as "the phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for," which is a pretty lifeless way to describe a sublime experience. If I wrote the dictionary (and be glad I don't), I would define it as "a helping hand from the Universe."

This week's photo challenge theme was "Rule of Thirds," a principle of composition which holds that if you divide a frame into a 3x3 grid, and place important elements of your composition on or near those grid lines, there's more visual interest. If your subject lands on a "power point," where the horizontal and vertical grid lines intersect, you create an ideal state of tension that makes even humdrum images far more interesting.

It works—just look around and you'll see the Rule of Thirds in use everywhere, with artistic focal points often landing in a lower or upper quadrant instead of right in the center. And it's versatile. You can use it for almost any subject. But that's the problem. Setting out intending to create a "Rule of Thirds" shot is like saying "I'm gonna go take a picture of… uh… something!" Not very helpful.

So I tried to stay open to everything. I took some generic shots of flowers and things that rigidly adhered to the rule, with the bloom sitting right on one of those power points. And they're fine, I guess. But contrived. Too obvious. Blah.

And then I was passing by the little convent behind the Catholic church in my neighborhood, with the sunlight slanting brightly off the pebbled pavement, and the grass impossibly green after weeks of rain, and there was a tiny conifer cone resting on the sidewalk. I kicked it accidentally, and it came to rest right in the intersection between paving blocks.

In a power point!

And on a cross, no less! Outside a convent!

Serendipity, dude. How could I pass that up?

Okay, so technically, I'm only using half of the Rule of Thirds. The subject is one third of the way up, but not to the side. But that's fine. The whole point of knowing a rule is knowing how to use it, and when to bend it a little.