Note the diagonal line in this picture
The Diagonal Line
by Brad Herndon
While seemingly insignificant, inserting a diagonal line in your pictures will really perk up the images. For instance, a child posing with their pole and first fish will be cute, but rather boring if the child is holding the pole straight up and down. Have the child cradle the fishing pole diagonally in the crook of their arm and that same picture will jump off of the page. Similarly, placing a diagonal line in a farm scene adds eye appeal to the image. The diagonal line could be a fence row, field edge, a lane, or some other part of the scene. Study every angle of every image you take. It does make a difference.
Consider the American flag being raised at Iwo Jima during World War II. This is one of the most famous pictures in American history, and a diagonal line played a big part in it. The first flag raised that day was smaller and the soldiers were posing with the flag in a straight upright position. Later on in the day a larger flag was found and the shot was again taken, this time by a different photographer. In this case the sharp photographer had the flag placed in a diagonal position, in the process of being raised. This placement created a feeling of action and excitement and literally made the picture what it is today.
This is a nice diagonal family pose
A good way for a young family to work a strong diagonal line into their family pictures is to place dad on the end (he is usually tallest), then mom (she is usually the second tallest), and then the kids in descending height. This makes a neat looking diagonal line and makes the picture pleasing to the eye.
Note the diagonal use in this shot
Using Diagonal Lines With A Hunter
If you, a family member, or a friend harvests a nice deer or turkey, be sure to put the action of a diagonal line into the picture. When posing with a deer or turkey, make sure the gun is at that all important diagonal angle. If you are photographing a friend hunting, make sure his gun or bow is at an angle.
We use angles frequently in the hunter setups we do. A hunter drawing a bow and holding it level is rather boring. Conversely having him aim the bow and angling it downward gives the picture implied action. This gives the viewer the impression he is up high. Actually, he could be standing on level ground when the picture is taken.
One of my first good butterfly picture
Diagonal Lines In Wildlife Photography
I was very happy when I captured my first good butterfly pictures, such as the one on this page. Still, they didn’t look quite as exciting as some other butterfly pictures I was seeing in magazines. Then another photographer tipped me off to putting the butterfly in the picture at an angle, which implied it was about ready to take off. This angle gives the shot action and excitement. You will see the difference it makes in the two butterfly pictures included with this article.
This diagonal line makes this picture exciting
Since I received the valuable tip many years ago I have tried to put exciting diagonal lines into my pictures of wildlife, whether it is insects, birds, deer, elk, or some other animal.
Several years ago there was a great wildlife photographer named Tom Edwards. I could almost always identify his pictures before reading the credit line because he was the master at catching deer heading uphill. Of course this put a nice diagonal line in the deer’s back and just made it come alive.
Guess what made this picture interesting?
Putting Action And Excitement In Our Lives
Jesus Christ was an exciting guy while he was on this earth. He could walk on water, heal the blind, lepers, and deaf mutes, restore weathered hands, and much more. Jesus could do it by touching people, or he could do it by simply saying words at a distance. He also had control over nature, such as controlling storms, and he could multiply food. I might also mention he was resurrected from the dead after lying in a tomb for a few days. This shouldn’t be surprising, of course, since Jesus was God in the flesh, and therefore all powerful.
Many years ago when I studied this all out and became convinced Jesus was who he said he was, life became more exciting, and joyful, because of His Holy Spirit within me. Whether you are a Christian, or are not a Christian, I want to state at this point that becoming a Christian doesn’t guarantee we won’t make a few more mistakes, or get a little lazy along the way.
Matthew Henry, the great theologian whose writings still sell so well today despite the fact he died in 1714, states it very well in one of his books: We mistake, if we think to monopolize the comforts and benefits of the gospel to ourselves.
What Matthew Henry was saying was that as a Christian we know we’re going to heaven, but if we aren’t careful we can get so lazy we hoard the gospel within our own life. Therefore we may end up never making much of an effort to tell others of the saving grace of Jesus.
Jesus recognized the danger of us getting lazy in our faith, and gets our attention when we read in Revelation 3:16 what he says to the church at Laodicea. So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Lukewarm can mean lacking ardor, enthusiasm or conviction. It also can mean being moderate, mild, unemotional, halfhearted, hesitant, indecisive, uncertain, uncommitted, unresponsive, indifferent, apathetic, nonchalant and lackadaisical.
I don’t want any of those words to describe my photographic efforts, and definitely not my spiritual life--or yours. Certainly by reading all of the great devotional material found on this Web site each of us will be encouraged, loved, and lifted up, and thereby we can avoid this lukewarm pitfall.
Use the diagonal line with instects
So until we meet again in our next photography lesson, work hard at putting action and excitement into your pictures by using diagonal lines. Also, work hard at recognizing the fact that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. By allowing his Holy Spirit to work within you, your life will become more active, joyful, and exciting. This will be a beautiful picture for others to behold.
Smile! Look for the positive each day
The Power Of Circles
by Brad Herndon
One morning several years ago I got out of bed, washed up and sat down at the table for breakfast. My head was throbbing and in general I didn’t feel very well. Carol fixed me some toast, buttered it and placed the toast and a jar of her homemade blackberry jelly in front of me.
I slowly removed the lid from the jelly jar and just happened to notice the inside of the lid. Immediately a smile came upon my face and I got up and obtained my camera. The picture I captured that morning you will find with this story, and I still use it as an example of seeing the positive in every day we are granted upon this earth.
As you look at this image, you will notice I did not place the lid within the rule of thirds intersection points as I usually do. Instead, I positioned the lid so it was exactly in the center of the image, which is normally a definite no, no. The reason I put the lid in this location was because a circle is such a strong compositional form that it will literally pull the human eye to the center of the circle.
The Circle Power at Work
While circles don’t occur often, you should be on the lookout for them since they make for remarkable pictures. A dew covered spider web with the lines running to a center circle creates a breathtaking picture. Fishbowls, people formed in a circle, and wheels are a few other examples of circle composition you should be on the lookout for.
Drop a rock into the water and as the ripples form around the drop point you will also notice the power of a circle. The same goes for the center of a round flower and a round spiral staircase seen from below or above. Likewise, unusually things like the seed pod head of a dandelion form a circle.
Coca-Cola Uses Circle Power
Coca-Cola used a round sign to draw attention to their product as shown here in this picture.
This Water Hole Forms a Circle
Even a little round hole of water becomes interesting when it is filled with cows. Obviously there are an amazing number of factors that come into play in photography, and the use of a circle in your pictures is one of them.
A Semi-Circle Like This Also Works
The Intriguing Semicircle
A semicircle is one half of a circle, and while at first glance it doesn’t seem like it would be useful in composition, this certainly isn’t the case. Consider the picture of the big white oak tree silhouetted against an evening sky. The clouds above form a semicircle, and by placing the tree in the bottom center, which is near the center of the semicircle, a powerful image is formed. While it doesn’t seem plausible at first, the semicircle is such a big part of a circle it exhibits much of the same drawing power that the circle does
The Rainbow Reminds Us of God's Love
Consider a rainbow, for example. Everyone loves to see a beautiful rainbow. It’s a semicircle, or so most people think. Actually, all rainbows are circles; the ones we see standing on the earth just happen to stop at the ground. Go up in an airplane, however, and you can actually see rainbows in full circle, a rather impressive sight to behold. Oftentimes people are surprised to learn rainbows are circles. Moreover, they shouldn’t be if they are careful readers of the Bible. Read below what Revelation Chapter 4, verse 3 has to say about a rainbow.
And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.
Despite the fact it was written many years ago, well before the airplane, in the Bible God describes perfectly how a rainbow is round.
And there is much more meaning to the rainbow besides its beauty. It’s actually a covenant God made with us that He will never again destroy those on earth with a great flood. In fact, the rainbow is a striking image He created to catch our eye, and to remind us time after time of the great love He has for us.
May God grant you the days to see another breathtaking rainbow, and may you fully comprehend the depth of His great love as you enjoy its incredible colors.
fall produces great mirror images
by Brad Herndon
Every morning I get up, go to the bathroom, look in the mirror, and say, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall who is the second fairest of them all?” I’m lying. Actually, I look in the mirror and say, “What happened?”
Yes, while mirror images are interesting, sometimes they can be less than flattering, especially in instances where the viewer is of “geezer age”. Which brings me to this week’s subject in our creative photography series, mirror images.
Last week I discussed the rule of thirds and how important it is in creating meaningful pictures. Well, there are times when this rule can be broken. I previously mentioned a circle as being one possibility, which I will discuss next week. For today, however, I want to discuss capturing mirror images, an image usually associated with a calm lake. In mirror image landscapes the bottom of the subject line goes in the middle of the picture, not in the rule of thirds, and as you will see, the results are awesome.
Swabaucher Landing in Wyoming.
The Grand Tetons
Perhaps the most well known mirror images are of the Grand Teton Mountains in Wyoming. The Tetons are strikingly beautiful, but where the images are taken may surprise you. Just north of Jackson Hole a little noticed gravel road takes off the main highway and travels a short distance to a parking area, which is Swabaucher Landing. At this point a small stream has a beaver dam backing the water up for a distance. It doesn’t really look like much—until you are there at first light in the morning.
Then this little pool literally jumps to life because the glory of the Grand Tetons is reflected into the waters of this small, seemingly insignificant reflecting pool. I have attached an image Carol and I captured there several years ago. We didn’t know about the little pool until another photographer gladly shared the location with us.
When looking for mirror images, just about any pool of water can produce them, from potholes, to small ponds, to large lakes. The calmer the water is the better the quality of the reflected image. A little ripple on the water will still work though. Mirror images can be of the surrounding terrain, birds, people boating, fly fishermen, and there are many more opportunities if you watch closely for them. Capture all of them you can, for people truly enjoy seeing a double dose of beauty working together.
A mirror image of two turkeys.
Often Overlooked Mirror Images
If you are photographing birds or animals of the exact same type, watch for a mirror image occurring when you focus on the front bird or animal and the one behind it is blurred out like in a reflection. These pictures are true eye catchers, and people marvel at them because of their uniqueness. I have a few wild turkey pictures of this type, and one is shown with this story.
You can do the same thing if you are photographing a set of twins and dress them exactly the same. You do have some control over this situation so you can produce this type of mirror image easier than you can the ones of birds or animals. If you like to photograph kids, a picture of this type will really impress parents.
Let your light shine before men
The Most Incredible Mirror Image
God is truly a majestic God. His glory is in evidence all around us in His creation, and we photographers work hard at capturing His handiwork. But there is much more to God than the created world. What I am talking about is His character. His character, in fact, is perfect, and astonishingly, He wants us to also be perfect.
In Matthew 5:48, the Bible tells us, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Just think, God wants His light to shine on us and for our lives to be a mirror image of His character. Isn’t that just absolutely incredible? Along about now you’re probably thinking, “But I can’t be perfect.” No, you can’t, and neither can I or anyone else. But with God helping us with His Holy Spirit, we can be much better.
Let’s go back to the mirror images in our pictures. The best ones are when the water is calm. Even then, though, the reflections don’t look quite as good as what the light was reflected from. If the water is rippling there is even more deterioration in the image, but it’s still a thing of beauty.
These pictures are kind of like our lives. We can’t be perfect like God, and if our life is troubled (full of ripples) for sure we won’t come close to reflecting his perfect love. Despite these shortcomings, when people see us working closely together with God, showing love, kindness, joy, generosity, patience, forgiveness, and all of His other wonderful attributes, they will see the most amazing mirror image of all. And, perhaps, the light reflected from God to us will be the means by which someone will be saved.
Until next week, let’s all strive to capture those amazing mirror images, both in our photography, and in our Christian lives.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
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!