I just returned from a short vacation in Vancouver (unrelated to SIGGRAPH, also happening there now) and took a few snapshots, mostly of boats or totem poles. Another batch of photos from MOA, also with many totem poles, is still to come. But here's one that has neither:

Jun Ren, Freezing Water #7, Vanier Park, Vancouver, Canada

Obviously, I don't understand the rules of photographic composition. By any rational standard, the tree should not be at the center. It's not the subject, it attracts too much attention to itself there, and centering typically makes the image very static. But when I cropped the shot (mostly to put it into this panoramic aspect ratio) the tree insisted that that's where it had to be. I don't understand why. Also, the small bush on the right, that seems like a distraction, is necessary. I had another version of this image from a slightly different perspective that eliminated the bush, and it didn't work as well. Again, I can't explain why.

Some other Vancouver stuff I enjoyed but didn't photograph: visiting artists' studios, sampling artisinal sake, and learning about summer tree-planting jobs from another sake taster, on Granville Island (do it on a weekday); Shakespeare in the park (The Tempest, but they're also showing Midsummer Night's Dream if you haven't already seen that one more times than you can count); sushi at Miku (across the street from my hotel) and bubble tea next door (we have plenty of that at home but this one had even more variety); Douglas Coupland's big art show at the Vancouver Art Gallery (apparently he's not just a famous author); and waffles and berries for breakfast (there are several cafes that specialize in this — the one we chose was on Pender between Nicola and Broughton).



I know close to nothing of how it should be done but I think that due to the visual overlap between the tree and the metal construction the two are perceived as a single object, and as a whole they are not in the center. As for the little bush, well, it looks like the metal tailed tree monster is chasing the little bush monster, so together they form a picture that vaguely reminds of a shot from Totoro.


I like the way you have cropped the picture. I think it would be too unbalanced if it were placed off center. IMHO, good rule-of-thirds pictures have a concentrated focal point near a thirds point, but have a diffuse but interesting subject matter (think sky with clouds) in the other parts of the picture to balance it out. In this picture, that wouldn't work because the other parts are relatively plain. Also, having the lines of the mountains / sculpture leading your eye into the tree from both sides is great to keep your eye wandering within the picture, whereas a crop to either side would have your eye moving straight through the picture and out the other side. Just my take, but hope it helps.

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