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Rule of Thirds

I nearly started a fire staging this shot. I’ll tell you how in a moment, but first let me share my photo.

3rds (1 of 1)

I snapped this photo for this week’s Daily Post Photo challenge.

“This week, compose your subject off-center, obeying the Rule of Thirds.”

For people (like me) who wanted to take this challenge a bit further, The Daily Post article suggested experimenting with camera settings to try and create a bokeh background. I love bokeh, so I was game.

Normally, I don’t have much trouble creating the bokeh effect when I set my aperture to the lowest number possible, but my light wasn’t cooperating today. I needed to be a little extra creative if I was going to get my sparkly background. Well, I got creative, alright…

If you’re not concerned about burning your house down, go ahead and try this. If you’d like your house to remain standing, don’t do the following.

  • Set a scorching hot lamp behind your subject, and leave it on for a very long time while you fiddle around doing other things.
  • When you’re ready to start taking photos, toss a piece of sheer fabric with glitter on it over the lampshade. There’s no need to take the time to carefully avoid the bulb, because the metal on the shade also gets hot enough to scorch the fabric.
  • When you smell smoke, don’t panic. You’ve still got time to snap a couple dozen more shots before anything really bad happens.

In case anyone out there didn’t pick up on the sarcasm above. DON’T TRY THIS!  It did get me okay(ish) bokeh, but even if I had gotten fantastic bokeh it wouldn’t have been worth burning the house down for. I was lucky. You may not be.


I’m submitting this posts to Lucile’s Photo 101 Rehab  an an example of what not to do to achieve the bokeh effect. If you haven’t visited clinic yet, head on over. While you’re there, why not submit a photo or two?

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30 thoughts on “Rule of Thirds

    • I’m glad too. The the fire extinguisher was in the next room. So, it wouldn’t have been that bad. lol

      This time opening the aperature all the way didn’t give me bokeh. 😦 That’s why I resorted to this foolishness. Stormy day. Bad light. 😦 Next time I will wait better natural light.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yikes! Glad it didnt get any more out of hand! The things we do for photography.. Have you tried increasing the distance between your subject and the background? If the wide aperture didnt work, this might in addition to that 🙂

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    • It was about 4′ from the background (the wall). I was standing on a stepladder against the opposite wall about about 10′-12 feet away zooming in on it. The surface the vases were sitting on was about a foot from a window. I tried using the window as a background at first. It didn’t work, probably because I couldn’t get enough distance behind the vases. I also tried reflecting light from the window onto the wall with a mirror. That didn’t work. None of the stuff in my usual bag of tricks was working for this. 😦 I did get a really nice moody dramatic shot of it at a high ISO. I actually like that shot better, but I used this one because the challenge asked for bokeh.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. Haha, I don’t do this type of thing often. Believe it or not, I was aware of the risk, and I was careful that the fabric was stretched taut over the shade, and not touching the bulb. Yet, it still scorched it! So, I won’t do that again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Amy, I really like the simple palette of this photo – especially the deep red against the gray. Fire story: I have a vintage Gibson acoustic guitar now in need of serious repair after spending too much time in close proximity to a 1500W halogen light. Well, at least the photos turned out really well – 4×5 transparency and black & white images.

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    • Thanks!

      Eeek! I hope your guitar can be saved. 😦

      Halogen lights give off a wonderful glow, but man, they are dangerous. I know someone who has halogen pot lights in her kitchen. Someone left one of her cupboard doors open and the light burnt it.

      A few days ago, I moved the lamp from this photo to the foyer. I can feel the heat coming off the thing every time I go up and down the stairs. It’s not halogen (it’s a three-way incandescent with a large screw in base) but it gets way too hot. I’m really going to have to look for another type of bulb that fits the socket before I end up burning something for real.

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