An Exercise in Composition 3


We left Taipei by train at 7AM, arriving at the Hualien station at 10:00 and the Farglory hotel 30 minutes later. Once at the hotel, we discovered that we couldn’t check-in until after 3PM. My wife, her sister, and the kids unanimously decided to leave the bags with me and hop the next shuttle bus to Ocean Park, a nearby amusement park.

I unanimously decided to leave the bags with the front desk and head to the lounge area for a latte and light lunch. Two lattes and a sandwich later I looked down at my watch.

12:00. Crap.

Then I looked out the window and noticed a Romanesque marble column topped with a Cupid sculpture. Instinctively, my hand reached into my messenger bag and grabbed my camera. I realized that photographing it would render a static and cliché image, but it was an excuse to get up and maybe exercise my compositional “muscles” a little. Without occasional stretching and exercising, they risked atrophy. Plus, I had three hours to kill and shooting digital is “free”, right? Yes, the quotes are intentional.

So here’s the exercise: Find a static subject and come up with as many different photographic compositions as you can with it. Here’s what I got out of the statue.

Tools: Olympus Digital PEN E-P2, M.Zuiko 17/2.8, M.Zuiko 14-42/3.5-5.6, CV 90/3.5 Lanthar.


Yes, I know I cheated a little with the second-to-last image by using the “pinhole” art filter built-in to the camera, but the composition is different. Due to the bright sky I ended up purposefully overexposing by 2/3 to 1 full stop on all but the first image.

Give it a shot. Remember to pick an immobile subject so that you are forced to vary composition to vary your images. Feel free to link to your results in the comments below and above all, have fun!


About Brian Webb

Brian Q. Webb is a photography enthusiast from Los Angeles, California who spends most of his time in Taipei, Taiwan. He is especially interested in street photography as well as large format portraiture and pinhole photography. He also likes to shoot lifestyle portraiture and occasionally acts as an agent for foreign newspapers wanting event coverage in Taipei. He was also on the staff of deviantArt and is co-founder of PhotoMalaysia, the largest photography community in that country.

  • Ahmadabhamid of PhotoMalaysia

    Love no 1 & 2 but 3&4 looks plain. At first sight I thought you used a DX lens on FX body for No. 3

  • http://www.photojazz.ws Brian

    @Ahmadabhamid Thanks for the comments :-). I completely agree about 1&2…they were my favorites, too. That’s probably why I put them first.

    The third was shot through the in-camera “pinhole” filter, which adds heavy vignetting and a little color saturation. The m4/3 mount is narrow & shallow enough that you can put any lens on it and never get vignetting.

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