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The prompt for this week was Centered Composition. I realized while looking through my Lightroom catalog that I don’t shoot centered compositions very often at all. I almost always follow the “Rule” of thirds, placing the subject off center in the frame. {I say “Rule” of thirds because a lot of photography rules are a lot like the Pirate Code—more like guidelines, really.} Since centered composition can be used to emphasize form, among other things, I finally settled on photographing this shell. It was handy, it sits still, and it doesn’t whine. It’s a lightning whelk from Captiva Island, our yearly getaway to the beach. I love the pattern and colors and thought a centered composition might help emphasize them.

Because I was shooting so close to the shell, I stopped down to f/7.1 to try to keep the whole end of the shell in focus. Obviously, that didn’t quite work, but I was losing light fast, so I went with what I had.

Macro Whelk

There were some amazing shots in our group this week, and they really made me rethink centered composition. I will definitely be looking out for opportunities to use centering for a stronger image in the future. In fact, last night we spent the evening outside, soaking in the beautiful spring weather (and good thing too, by this morning it was cold and raining), and I took my camera with me. Our inside/outside cat was pretty excited to have us outside to play with him, and I snapped this shot of him. I love how the centered composition emphasizes his eyes and the symmetry of his face.

Bandit the green-eyed kitty

{Settings for shell image: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70 2.8L , ISO 1600 | f7.1 | 1/60
Camera was sitting on the table to reduce camera shake at such a low shutter
Even at 1/125, I have a little blur from camera shake in the cat image because
I was trying to snap the picture before he moved,
and didn’t have time to brace my arms.}


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  1. Nancy says:

    What a gorgeous cat and you’ve captured him wonderfully. He reminds me a little bit of ours, perhaps part Maine Coon?

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you, Nancy! He is a neighborhood mutt – one of a litter from a stray cat – but I am pretty sure he is part Maine Coon. Our other cat is half Maine Coon, & he resembles her a lot.

  2. I think the depth of field in the shell photo is interesting. What beautiful green eyes your cat has! I was at a homeschool conference last weekend too! VaHomeschoolers 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Thank you Michele! This was my first HS conference – it was overwhelming! So much information & so exhausting, but I’m really glad I went. I’ve been struggling a little lately, & I felt like the conference really gave me the boost I needed.

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