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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Never put the horizon in the middle

Oh why can't I learn to follow the rules? I'm such a law abiding citizen in every other aspect of my life. :)

Actually this is a pretty good rule to follow and I mostly do. It is sort of connected to the rule of thirds. By having your horizon line at either the top or bottom third of the picture you take a lot of the stability out of an image. You don't want stability because it stops the viewer's eye from moving around the frame and looking at everything there.

If you have a really interesting sky you would put the horizon on the bottom third line, if you have a more interesting foreground then you would put the horizon at the top third.

But as you can see here I've got it right in the middle of the picture. Because with reflections it actually looks best to put the horizon in the middle of the picture - that way you can't tell which way is up!

Of course there's not much of a reflection here. This was taken in the Okavango Delta in Botswana from a sitting position in a wooden mokoro (dugout canoe). The reason I put the horizon in the middle was that I wanted to show that this part of the world is half water half blue sky. So when you know why a rule exists you can also think about when it needs to be broken. I promise not to tell the photo police if you don't.

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