Thirds and Birds
One of the golden rules of photography is the rule of thirds. That rule says that for a pleasing photograph you should compose the picture by dividing the scene into nine equal sections with four lines dividing the sections and compositional elements should be placed near to where those lines intersect. There is a lot of specific instructions and jargon that goes along with it but really what you need to know is that you want the important thing to be off-center and about a third of the way through the scene from top or bottom, left or right. The rule of thirds also holds true for bird photography.
Drill down even further in simplicity and for bird and wildlife photography you can think of the rule in terms of giving the subject room to move. lead your birds in flight shots so the subject has plenty of room to fly through the scene. Look at the photo above and you will see the bird flying through the scene and the two additional elements of composition, the mountain peak and the tree, are off in the left and right sections of the photo.
If the subject is stationary, that is easy too just give the extra room in the direction the bird is looking because that is the direction it will most likely move. Looking straight at you? Well, that is the signal to break the rule and go dead center but be warned, many birds don’t photograph well looking straight into the camera. Raptors being that exception.
Of course you really want to compose your photographs to the rule of thirds. That demonstrates a certain level of competence but with the high pixel cameras available it is perfectly acceptable to crop to the rule of thirds. No one will know the difference unless they examine the metadata and if they do that someone is just looking for ways to criticize your work.
As always, thanks for stopping by. See you next week.