Exercise 1.4 Frame

Exercise 1.4 Frame

The final exercise of this project makes use of the viewfinder grid display of a digital
camera. This function projects a grid onto the viewfinder screen to help align vertical
and horizontal lines, such as the horizon or the edge of a building, with the edge of
the frame. If your camera doesn’t have a grid display, imagine a simple division of the
viewfinder into four sections.

Take a good number of shots, composing each shot within a single section of the
viewfinder grid. Don’t bother about the rest of the frame! Use any combination of
grid section, subject and viewpoint you choose.
When you review the shots, evaluate the whole frame, not just the part you’ve
composed. Take the same approach you used to evaluate the point and line
exercises: examine the relationship of elements to the frame. Composition is part of
form and formal analysis will be a useful skill for your exercises and assignments as
you progress through the course.

‘Formalism: prioritisation of concern with form rather than content. Focus on composition
and the material nature of any specific medium’. (Wells, 2009, p.347)

Select six or eight images that you feel work individually as compositions and also
together as a set. If you have software for making contact sheets you might like
to present them as a single composite image. Add the images to your learning log
together with technical information such as camera settings, and one or two lines
containing your thoughts and observations.


Wells, L. (ed.) (2009) Photography: A Critical Introduction (4th edition). Abingdon:


Exercise 1.4 Frame

Rutland Water

Once again, the weather was overcast and the light very poor.  This doesn’t seem to have been too much of a problem though, as while the tones in these images may be flat and muted, I find this actually adds to the mood.



View 1500 x 1000

Technical Info

Canon EOS 1300D  |  f/5.6   |  1/160 sec   |   ISO 100   |   Focal Length 18mm


In such an organic setting, there is a lack of any leading lines, or indeed much in the way of lines running parallel or perpendicular to the frame, besides the horizon.

Further, I don’t really think you could call the concrete block a ‘point’ but it does have the effect of drawing your eye.

While shooting, I composed the bottom left part of the grid, with the block sitting on the right of that section.

It’s effect on the whole image, though, is to exert some kind of gravitational pull, dragging your attention down and to the left.

I find image as a whole, like all of those in this set, dreamlike. This may be as much to do with the light as it is with the subject matter and the composition.

The trees seem alive, and by that I mean more alive that you would expect a tree to be. They seem to be waving, and laughing… almost threatening. And then what’s going on with that concrete block? It’s like some modern day standing stone. In a thousand years, will archeologists and historians ponder over its purpose, as they do with Stonehenge?



View 1500 x 1000

Technical Info

Canon EOS 1300D  |  f/6.3   |  1/160 sec   |   ISO 100   |   Focal Length 30mm


Again, I composed the bottom left corner, having a nice arrangement of roots and trunks.

The edge of the lake leads the eye to the middle ground, giving a sense of depth, while the horizon again runs parallel/perpendicular to the frame, adding a sense of structure.

I find the tree roots and their proximity to the frame draw the eye, almost like the tree sucks you in, then draws you up through the branches and out through the few remaining leaves. Is this photography or biology?

There is a point, a white object on the bank in the background. I don’t find it draws my eye too much, which is good, as I see it more as an imperfection than a point of interest.




View 1500 x 1000

Technical Info

Canon EOS 1300D  |  f/5   |  1/80 sec   |   ISO 100   |   Focal Length 34mm


I composed the post and tree trunk in the upper middle section of the grid.

The lake on the left forms a leading line, but the line I find stronger is more implied, than present. Running from the middle right, up and towards the centre, just left of the post, there is a line where the tree roots break free of the soil. This draws my eye, dragging me in, towards the tree.

There are a lot of lines running parallel/perpendicular to the frame, and somehow, they seem to create a sense of order or structure within the image, in all of the organic chaos.

How this image makes me feel, is somewhat unsettled. The roots remind me of The Evil Dead… and somehow, The Walking Dead. It’s that mindless clutching, grasping anything, trying to survive.



View 1500 x 1000

Technical Info

Canon EOS 1300D  |  f/5.6   |  1/125 sec   |   ISO 100   |   Focal Length 30mm


The trunk and roots were composed in the top left.

The lake edge creates a leading line, drawing you into the middle distance, maybe towards the roots and trunk in the shadows. But then those roots in the near ground seem not to pull you in, but to be reaching out of the frame, towards you.

There seems to be a theme here. It’s quite unsettling.



View 1500 x 1000

Technical Info

Canon EOS 1300D  |  f/5.6   |  1/125 sec   |   ISO 100   |   Focal Length 30mm


I composed the chain, in the centre section of the grid.

No prizes for spotting the leading line.

It’s not so much leading your eye to the lake, as dragging you in against your will.  While the edge of the lake, running parallel to the top of the frame acts as a separator. You are here, but you’re going ‘there’.

I love the organic nature of this. There’s dried, rotting matter on everything, like the rocks and chain are alive… in an undead kind of way.



View 1500 x 1000

Technical Info

Canon EOS 1300D  |  f/7.1   |  1/250 sec   |   ISO 100   |   Focal Length 21mm


The lighter end of the fallen post seems to act as a point, standing out somewhat from the other objects. There’s another point, on the extreme right edge of the frame, almost falling out of the frame, in fact. I rather wish it wasn’t there, as it speaks of human activity, and breaks the ‘abandoned’ spell.

There are no really obvious ‘solid’ leading lines, though there is a line in the clouds, a blown out section where the sky shone through the gaps. It speaks of depth and distance.

The line of the horizon, running parallel with the top of the frame, is interesting. The lake and the sky being similar shades and colours, the thin line of the horizon seems almost abstract, as if we don’t really reach earth until we get to the shore.

And what a shore it is. Desolate. Abandoned. A lonely place. Things happened here, but maybe a long time ago.



This exercise has surprised me greatly.

I used to think I knew how to compose an interesting photograph. I now believe I was wrong.

When doing this exercise, it seemed an alien and completely wrong way to go about things. It went against everything I thought I knew about composing an image. And then I came to look at the shots I’d taken, on my computer.

They looked like photos taken by someone else. Definitely not me.

I liked them.

I still like them.

Something about confining the photograph I had in mind into a small section of the frame, and leaving everything else to chance… with lots of random ‘stuff’, or empty space. It adds gravity and weight to the areas that have been composed. It draws the eye. It seems, somehow, powerful.



Author: Photos Things and Stuff

Study Log for Expressing Your Vision module, for BA (Hons) Photography Degree with OCA

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