To all ye who want to paint with light ...

I should have started this blog many moons ago as I started experiencing the joys of rediscovering the art of photography. But as the saying goes - it's better late, than never!
So, here I am, in the hopes of recording what I learn as I progress from ignorance to enlightenment; about what my eyes can see that my camera can capture; and, what my mind imagines and my camera paints with its capabilities.

Please feel free to add any comments and share your wisdom (tips or tricks) that you have picked up along the way.

And do check out my How-To and Birding pages as well.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 288 - Odd Numbers in Photography

I had quite a photography disaster this evening!

After not having the energy to leave home to do my shot of the day, I decided that I should keep up the snow theme for the rest of the week.  So, I could take a few shots from the balcony in an effort to keep that up.  The skies looked pink, with the snow clouds and the impending snow showers, and I thought an evening sky on a long exposure would make a great shot.

I was proved wrong, when I couldn't get a single shot to look the way I wanted because of the high winds that kept moving the trees causing a lot of blurred motion.  I thought I could use the blur as the subject, since I couldn't control the elements, but it just didn't work, and the wind kept shaking the camera, besides chilling me to my bones, of course.  So, I gave up and came back indoors.

This leads me to post one of a few images I took a couple of days ago, and to explain what I mean by odd numbers in photography, which you might already know about, but which doesn't stop me from revisiting - the rule of including odd numbers in our images.

We often inadvertently incorporate this rule into our photography.  An odd number always creates a better image than an even number of objects that lead the brain to look for symmetry, which in most cases looks boring.  Additionally, it is said that the more time it takes the brain to process something, the better it is appreciated.

Sometimes three or five don't make a crowd.  However, we need to be careful of not introducing too many numbers as this will ultimately lead to clutter.  Keep it simple and clutter-free, but it's nice to create a little bit of interest and help the eyes travel all over an asymmetrical image, especially if you create a group/cluster of three or five, instead of putting them in a straight line.  Although, mind you, straight lines work better in cases where you want to create leading lines or patterns.  The artistic choice finally lies with you!

When I shot these images, I hadn't realized that I took only a couple of images with the two starlings in the tree, but most of my images had three of them in it.  There was a large flock of these feathered guys, but I was somehow able to isolate and shoot the three close together.  Maybe this was totally accidental, or maybe it was subconsciously executed.  Who's to tell!

To illustrate the case in point, here are three shots.  Do let me know which one(s) you find most interesting.

Three's Not a Crowd


European Starlings

And while this is a rule in composition to use odd numbers, there are always exceptions to this rule and it's always nice to be able to break them creatively.


  1. I love the second photo! I find that sometimes an even number of subjects plus a busier background works wonders - does that make sense? In the second photo your eye is lead around by the main branches that the birds are perched on and the tree trunk balances out the image.

  2. i guess that's the reason why the reasoning "in every rule there's always an exception" exists. You're quite lucky to have these birds around you. I love how their colors pop from the snow!

  3. Now I know the name of these birds - I always see them outside the house, but forget to ask my '' (read - you). Nice shots.

  4. @Kristy: Thanks for the visit. I get what you mean - that's an interesting perspective for sure!

    @Noreen: You should find these birds in your part of the world as well. I guess they're so hyperactive, it's sometimes difficult to spot them, but they make quite a bit of noise.

    @Swati: :) You're too kind! I'm sure you knew these were starlings! And thanks for the honour! ;-)