This picture uses the rule of thirds
Composition Is Important The Rule Of Thirds
by Brad Herndon
Good composition makes for eye-catching photographs, regardless of whether you are using a film or digital camera, or whether the camera is a high dollar single lens reflex interchangeable lens camera or a point and shoot camera.
One of the first rules of composition to follow is the rule of thirds. Most photographers starting out have a tendency to place all of their subjects in the center of the picture. While there are a few times you can do this, as a rule center placement of your subjects should be avoided. Here is a simple illustration of how the rule of thirds works.
See this same picture below for example
Take a piece of paper and use two lines to divide it into three equal parts on the horizontal plane. Next use two lines to divide it into three equal parts on the vertical plane. Once this is done, you will have four intersection points where these horizontal and vertical lines cross each other. This is called the rule of thirds. In a picture the human eye will naturally go to these four places formed by the rule of thirds intersection points. This means if you are taking a landscape picture and an old barn is interesting, place this barn in one of the rule of thirds intersection points. The viewer’s eye will then go to this point of interest.
This rule holds for landscapes, animals, birds, signs, people, butterflies, or any other subject you are photographing. For example, if you are photographing your child up close, you can place their eyes in the rule of thirds. Also, when photographing landscapes, the horizon should be placed along the rule of thirds lines. A horizontal landscape shot, for example, should have either two thirds ground and one third sky showing, or one third ground and two thirds sky showing. If you master this simple rule of thirds composition you will see your pictures get noticeably better
place your subject in an intersection point
You can always learn something by studying every picture that you can, whether it’s in an art gallery, in a book, or in a magazine. In the following days pay attention to every picture you look at and see if you can see the rule of thirds being used in several of the pictures you view.
The Turkey's Eye is the Intersection
When composing a picture using the rule of thirds, think of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the great three in one. This is the most important rule of thirds you will ever learn. God the Father has always been, and will always be. He created this beautiful earth, and he created each of us. We, however, were much better at doing the wrong things in life than the right things, so God had a plan from the beginning to save us from ourselves (Genesis 3:15).
That is why Jesus came down to this earth, to save us from our sins. He lived a perfect life to show us how life should be lived, and the Bible is filled with wonderful instructions from Jesus. Finally, he suffered and died on a cross, a sacrificial death—just for us. Then, to give us an idea of how powerful he was, he arose from the dead, a thrilling resurrection to show us that we too will be raised from the dead, and that we can spend eternity in heaven with him if we only believe.
Do you believe you will see a beautiful picture just around the next bend in the road? You should. Do you believe you will see the Creator in heaven? You should, for history confirms Jesus truly lived, died, and arose again while on this earth.
Finally, just like the powerful love we know exists, if we believe Jesus is our Savior, he gives us the Holy Spirit to indwell in our lives. Nope, we can’t see the Holy Spirit. But yes, we can feel the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a guide to us, to help us along life’s way. This doesn’t mean life will be perfect. We’ll still stub our toe, tires will still go flat, and we may even drop our favorite camera on a concrete sidewalk. But God will always be with us, guiding us and directing us in the way that only he desires. This is recorded in Deuteronomy 31:8 in the Bible. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
May God’s blessings be with you until we meet again next Thursday, and may you use the rule of thirds both in your photography, and in your spiritual life.
This is called a hunter setup. 1990s
How We Got Started In Photography
by Brad Herndon
We have many people ask us how to get started in outdoor photography since it seems like such a fun way to make a living. Therefore, before I get into the teaching aspect of photography I want to share how my wife Carol and I got our start, and how we progressed to where we are today.
First of all, neither of our families had any background in photography. In addition, both of our families would have ranked at the lower end of the income scale. Actually, my family never owned a camera all the years I was at home. After Carol and I got married we finally purchased a cheap camera and took 20 or 30 pictures per year. This is the way our picture taking remained until 1984, the year we decided to make a special trip to the Olympics in Los Angeles and then on to Alaska.
I knew we would need a good camera to capture these special moments and after much research I settled on a Nikon FE SLR camera, a 50mm lens and an 80-200mm lens. I also did a small amount of reading about photography but essentially I was clueless as to what made a good picture. I was full of desire though, and so I blazed away during our two month long trip, tallying up what was to me an amazing number of images, over 500 in all. Some of them were pretty good, so I became somewhat hooked on the picture taking bug.
Taken in 1987, this picture still sells
A Job Change
Like many people, I had my share of jobs when I was teenager. Between the ages of 22 and 37, however, my brother Bill and I were partners in two different businesses and did well in them. Our last business was declining due to a change in people’s purchasing desires, so my brother and I sold out our business in the early 1980s in order to pursue other interests.
I grew up hunting, fishing, and gathering nature’s bounties and simply loved the outdoors. Carol had my same interests and spent as much time outside as I did. Therefore we tried to figure out some way we might make our living by spending time in nature and came up with the idea of wildlife photography. The year was 1985 when our daughter JoLinda went to college, so we purchased Carol a Nikon F3 camera and her own 80-200mm lens and we were good to go. We still didn’t have a clue as to what made a quality image.
Knowing that turkey hunting was the fastest growing shooting sport at that time and there were few wild turkey pictures available, we decided to specialize in wild turkey photography. Interestingly, we learned to photograph on wild turkey, mastering composition, exposure, and capturing action along the way. To test the quality of our images, in 1987 we sent several wild turkey pictures to Turkey Call magazine. Editor Gene Smith purchased five of them for $25 each and one made the cover! We were ecstatic!
The result of two weeks of work. 1987
An Important Meeting
With this taste of success we started marketing our images to various publishing companies, and various other manufacturers, and sales continued to climb. Then one year we attended the National Wild Turkey Federation meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana and while walking down the aisle a young fellow came up to us and said, “You’re Brad Herndon.”
“Yes, I am,” I replied, being somewhat surprised. “Come on over to our booth,” the guy replied, “I want you to meet Bill Jordan, and we want to send you a couple sets of camouflage clothes.”
It turned out the young fellow was David Blanton, and Bill Jordan was the founder of Realtree Camouflage. David had seen our wild turkey pictures and really liked them. He knew if we had their clothes we were likely to photograph hunters in them and market the images to magazines. David was correct, of course and this was the beginning of a special friendship that continues to this day.
A couple of years later Dodd Clifton, Realtree’s Marketing Director, called me and asked if we wanted to try photographing their clothes for national ads, particularly their effectiveness shots. I had no idea what he needed, but I agreed to give it a try. So we would go out and photograph people, evaluate the pictures and send them to Mr. Dodd. He would mark up the pictures in red—bleed on them—and show me what needed corrected. Although he couldn’t use the pictures, he still paid us and let us try again.
One day Mr. Dodd said, “You’ve got it!” I’ll tell anyone, and often do, that Realtree, Bill Jordan, David Blanton, and especially Dodd Clifton are responsible for the success we have today. This is true because Mr. Dodd had the gift of correcting our work without hurting our feelings or discouraging us--and this enabled us to improve our skills to a higher level. He is our hero!
A high percentage of Realtree’s national ads over the past several years have been our pictures. Our images have also adorned the covers of Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops catalogs, and the covers of nearly every major hunting magazine on the market.
Thousands of other images have appeared in various other venues, such as books, advertisements and Internet usage.
Success Didn’t Come Easy
I will be the first to tell you that being successful in outdoor photography didn’t come easy. Things were very lean at first, and looking at bad pictures day after day was a truly humbling experience. And it took years of study to master some methods of photography since information was scarce back then. Fortunately, numerous people helped us along the way, and that is why we will be passing on to you what we have learned over the past twenty some years.
Our photography journey became successful for many reasons, such as hard work, enthusiasm, honesty, and a never quit attitude. The primary reason it turned out so well is because others, such as those previously mentioned folks at Realtree, saw potential in us that we couldn’t see in ourselves.
Other parts of my life are like that as well. I still make lots of personal mistakes along the path of life, but there is one who looks at my work, evaluates it, and sees unrealized potential in me. And those black mistakes I make that I can never make right, he corrects in red, turning them pure white by his atoning sacrifice on Calvary’s Cross. Yes, Carol and I have heroes here on earth, but Jesus Christ is our real hero!
Because of this, when we’re out photographing this incredible earth we see His hand in each part of His astonishingly beautiful creation, and we feel His presence within us. And that is why we know we are without excuse if we don’t believe.
Copyright Brad Herndon
female blue-winged teal
The Hidden Gift
by Brad Herndon
Don Pacey lived in northern Ohio during the 1980s. He was a construction manager and on the side he loved to grow apples and sell them at his roadside stand in the fall. He built his own apple crates from basswood and this is where an amazing story begins.
Don’s son worked at a local factory and a fellow worker there did wood carving. Don’s son became interested in carving and his wood carving friend told him he would give him some lessons if he supplied the wood. Well, basswood is a good carving wood so Don’s son asked if he could have some of his dad’s basswood to use. Don agreed with one stipulation: he would supply all the basswood his son needed if his friend would also give him a lesson or two.
So Don supplied the basswood for some time, but no lessons were ever given. Still, Don became interested in wood carving and one day he sat down, took his pocket knife and a piece of basswood and carved out a mallard duck. The result of his efforts were, in Don’s words, “Not bad.” Actually, the work was so good Don realized he had discovered a hidden gift—at the age of 59!
Don quickly researched all available materials about wood carving, purchased the proper carving tools, and was soon winning wood carving contests. In a competition where wood carving is sometimes passed down for generations, from one family member to another, this self-taught carver went on to finish as high as ninth in the world in wood carving! His work became much in demand and was sold all over the world. Don also gave lessons to people in all walks of life, from the very rich to the not-so-rich, for he wanted to pass on the wonderful gift that he possessed.
I had the privilege of becoming Don Pacey’s friend when he moved to the rolling hills of southern Indiana and I dubbed him The Master Carver. When I would call him The Master Carver, this sweet Christian man would simply point his hand upward and say, “I know who The Master Carver is.”
male blue-winged teal
Discovering Your Gift
Everyone has gifts, all given to them by God. Don was a master carver, some people are incredible cooks, others may have the gift of speaking, and still others have the gifts of giving, patience or teaching. But we all have gifts, and as Don Pacey’s life points out, we may have some gifts yet undiscovered. Perhaps, for some of you, it may be photography. The only way to see if you possess this gift is to try photography and see how it turns out.
Keep in mind, though, that you must apply yourself. In the beginning, Don said his work was, “Not bad.” To become world-class, however, he had to apply himself, studying and working for several years to become one of the best wood carvers ever. And so it is with photography. At first, your work may be, “Not bad.” With effort and direction, perhaps your work may become outstanding. That is our hope, for good teachers always want their students to become better than they themselves are. There is, we want to note, one other very important aspect of becoming an outstanding photographer that you must have.......
Don Pacey started carving at 59!
Like exercising, sometimes the hardest part of photography is getting out the door. In this first discussion of Creative Photography Carol and I want to inspire you, to encourage you to give photography an honest effort, and to realize that stunning subjects are as close as your own home, and your own back yard.
During this series, we will share with you eye catching shots taken within our own simple back yard, and this is the place to hone your skills before venturing off to faraway places.
And in closing, while trying to discover your own special gifts that have been given to you, always remember the most important gift you can ever receive—the gift of salvation.
Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Copyright 2010 Brad Herndon
Brad and Carol Herndon
Brad and Carol Herndon live in a small cabin nestled in beautiful Browstown, In. Brad and Carol have the unique ability to see the world through the lens of a camera! They take this wonderful gift and use it to bring those who view thier work closer to the Creator, Almighty God, who has created all things seen and unseen!