Project 13: the golden section


Task: Choose images that use the golden section rule. Does the balance of the composition look attractive? Sketch to indicate how.

I used a telephoto lens to zoom in (110mm) and concentrate on the joust. It was on a slight slope and so the middle bar rises slightly from the left to right. Before the knights approached each other I tried to position the camera so that the vertical posts divided the frame. I waited for the impact of the lance on one of the knights. With a bit of luck I manged to press the shutter just at the point of impact. It was a bright sunny day so the shutter speed was fast, set at 1/350. When I divided the image into thirds I was surprised and very pleased to see that the lance splintered at a golden section. This was partly luck, but maybe my eye for a photograph has tuned me in to looking for composing images by thinking of design elements.

When I took this photo of an owl I had intended for it to be in the golden section. Whilst the above image shows that the intersecting thirds do cross on the owl I think the point of interest would be the owl’s beak and eyes, so the image would be even more interesting if the golden section was there. Meanwhile the man’s head fills the middle vertical third. This would be better balanced if his head was slightly to the left with the dividing vertical line splitting it in half.

The green and white striped house is the interesting subject in this photograph, standing out against the neutral colours of the surrounding houses. When I took the photograph I intended to position it on the golden section and the above diagram shows I have achieved this. The builders in the bottom right part of the image add interest and the row of chimneys running horizontally across the image are contained in the middle third.

This hawk follows what I had intended to achieve with the owl image above. The golden section is right on the bird’s beak. Key parts of the hawk are balanced in each third. It’s talons are in the centre and the bird’s tail is in the left-hand third. The body position of the hawk also creates a diagonal line which the viewer’s eyes move along, from the tail in the bottom left-hand corner to the head in the top right corner. Your eyes rest on this point since it’s in the golden section and there is no visual tension.

The tram has been nicely positioned on the right-hand vertical third and on two golden intersections. However I think the light on the lower third of the tram should be at the golden section, because it is a more prominent feature than the number.

Spiderman’s eye is the distinctive feature in this image. I feel that there is a lot of balance. He is positioned on the left-hand third dividing line whilst his hand is on the right hand line. If his hand was raised slightly it would be positioned on a golden section, making the image balanced harmoniously.

From doing this project I have been pleased that in some of my images I have been able to position key elements of a subject on a golden section. I’ve also discovered that eyes are regularly needed to be positioned at this point to make an image aesthetically pleasing.

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