Open and Closed Composition: Assignment Discussion

A few months ago, I started the Mastering Composition series of articles. The goal of these articles was not only to give some useful composition tips for beginners, but to also engage our readers with small assignments. The assignment given to you in the first article of the series has already been addressed in the recent discussion. In this short article, we will address the assignment given in the “Open and Closed Composition” piece.

Turret Arch through North Window

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Check your Composition with Lightroom

As I was working on the “Composition in Photography: Assignment Discussion” article and upcoming Lightroom Crop Tool article last night, I came across a feature in Lightroom that I had not previously used. I love it when that happens. Realizing that the software tool I enjoy using and find to be very versatile is actually even more functional than I thought, is pure joy. In this article, I will teach you how to quickly check your composition in Lightroom against known rules and guidelines, such as the Golden Ratio or the Rule of Thirds (and, yes, these are indeed two separate things), by overlaying the image with them.

Golden Spiral Guide Overlay

How Does It Work?

Basically, Lightroom allows you to overlay any image with several different guidelines, called Crop Grid Overlays. To do that, select the image you want to check against one of the available guidelines and engage Crop Tool, which is found right below the Histogram. Alternatively, you can hit the “R” key on your keyboard. Once the tool has been engaged, notice that the selected image is already overlaid with the default Rule of Thirds Grid Overlay. Hit “O” on your keyboard to toggle between all 7 available Grid Overlays. Use “Shift + O” (Windows PC) to rotate the guidelines. You can further customize the behavior of the Overlays (or Guides) by selecting the Crop tool to enable the settings in the Tools->Tool Overlay and Crop Guide Overlay menus.

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Composition in Photography: Assignment Discussion

A few months ago, I started working on our “Mastering Composition” series articles. The idea behind them was to cover all the basics of composition in photography (and, consequently, visual arts in general) starting with some extremely simple concepts, and also provide assignments for beginner photographers to make the educational process fun and engaging. With some luck and effort from our side, the project would gain momentum and we’d be able to not only touch more advanced composition rules / theories and discuss specific examples sent in by our readers (eventually), but also organize a few online and offline workshops along the way. Unfortunately, after writing just two articles, I had to put the project on a bit of a hold. Even worse, I did not assess the assignment results for a very long time. This assignment discussion is long overdue and it is about time I fixed my mistake! In this article, I will discuss the task and the answers provided by our readers under the first article of the series.

The Assignment

Before we begin, let me just remind you what the assignment was. I asked you to name basic varieties of composition you were familiar with. I also wanted you to list just one variety and try not to repeat types that have already been named by someone else – to make the assignment more interesting. The following image was provided as a hint for one of the more basic compositions types:

Street Photography in Vilnius_2

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Fujifilm Camera and Lens Savings

Nikon is not the only one feeling generous lately. Fujifilm also has some savings for those looking to purchase a new lens or even a camera, and they are, arguably, more impressive than those offered by Nikon. For example, the extremely popular XF 27mm f/2.8 pancake lens is currently selling for less than half its original price. Other rebates include the X-E1 (body only or kitted with the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R OIS lens, it offers the most impressive savings), X-Pro1 and the lower-end bodies, and almost all primes lenses along with the Fujinon XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R OIS zoom lens.

Fujifilm Lens Savings

Fujinon Lens Rebates

Let’s start with the lens savings:

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New Nikon Lens Rebates – Up to $400 Off

You are going to like this. Each time Nikon did a rebates program for its lenses, one had to buy a DSLR body first to take advantage of the savings. It has really been a while, but not this time. The savings range from a welcome $20 for the AF-S 50mm f/1.8G lens all the way to frankly impressive $400 for the likes of AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G VR. More than that, there are a total of 15 lenses that are part of the rebates program. The offer expires on the 1st of March.

Told you you’d like this!

Nikon Lens Rebates

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Latest Sony A7/A7r Rebates

Sony is joining the rebates party with its own “Buy Together and Save” program at B&H. These lens savings are valid when purchased alongside either one of their popular full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Sony A7 and A7r and in all cases are $200 off the price of each of the four available lenses.

Latest Sony A7 and A7r Rebates

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Sigma Lens Abbreviations

Sigma lenses have been getting more and more popular in recent years thanks to some truly professional-grade optics (like the 35mm f/1.4 HSM Art, for example). As every other manufacturer, however, they use different designations for various bits of technology incorporated into the lenses. In this article, I will go through the most important Sigma lens abbreviations you might come across. Thankfully, there are not that many of them despite the fact Sigma has a broad lens line-up, so there’s not all that much to remember.

Sigma Lens Abbreviations

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Fuji X-T1 vs X-E2

Since the newest camera in Fujifilm’s lineup, the X-T1, has already been compared in terms of specifications to the flagship X-Pro1 model, it seems only fair to finish this marathon of comparisons by seeing how it measures up against a model positioned slightly lower in the range. That is, of course, the Fujifilm X-E2 – arguably the best camera overall in the Fujifilm’s range, at least until X-T1 showed up. Naturally, the X-T1, being newer, packs the latest technology, but the X-E2 isn’t exactly old and, considering that $300 price difference, is a serious rival for the higher-end model.

Fuji X-T1 vs X-E2

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Hasselblad HV Announcement

I was wrong – Hasselblad seems to be determined to continue its partnership with Sony in ways we find somewhat…questionable. They have recently announced their third rebranded Sony camera, the Hasselblad HV. This time it is not based on Sony’s mirrorless system, however, but is built around their flagship DSLR/SLT camera, the A99. As with Hasselblad Lunar, which we failed to understand, the changes are purely cosmetic – the sensor and all other internal bits are exactly the same between the two. And, as with Lunar, the new HV carries a premium price tag of, wait for it, around $11,500 for the camera body with the Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. Interested?

Hasselblad HV_Front

Overview and Key Specifications

Let’s now forget about the price for a little bit and run through the official specs derived from Sony’s website. At the heart of the camera there is a 24.3 megapixel full-frame sensor courtesy of Sony. It is exactly the same as in the SLT-A99, Sony A7 and the RX1, and very similar to that found in the Nikon D600/D610 cameras. This sensor is among the best full-frame units in the industry, so high image quality is a given with the new Hasselblad HV. What is important to mention is that, much like the rest of Sony’s current SLT camera range, the HV is not actually a DSLR. Instead of a traditional DSLR mirror mechanism from manufacturers such as Nikon and Canon, the camera features a translucent mirror (also known as pellicle mirror). Which means part of the light coming through the lens is reflected towards the phase-detect AF module, but the bigger part goes straight through towards the sensor whilst the mirror remains static during exposure. This also means there is no optical viewfinder – an EVF is used instead. The OLED EVF is, no doubt, one of the best units in the industry and is as sharp as you would hope it to be with 2,360k dots. The magnification is 0.71x, so it is not as big as newest EVF cameras, such as the Fujifilm X-T1, but still pretty impressive in its own right.

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Fuji X-T1 vs X-Pro1

Fuji’s latest cameras have been so good, they rival each other almost as much as other systems. And as we saw in our X-Pro1 vs X-E2 comparison, the oldest current model in the X-mount compact camera system, the X-Pro1, already struggled against its lower-end sibling. In this article, we will compare it against the newest member in Fuji’s line-up of mirrorless cameras, the weather-resistant, DSLR-style Fujifilm X-T1.

Fuji X-T1 vs X-Pro1

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