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Author Topic: Golden Ratio  (Read 7111 times)

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WarrenPrice

« on: August 02, 2011, 10:22 »
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I've had several rejections at Dreamstime (undeserved, of course) for composition.  There is a reference to the "Golden Ratio" which in my nearly 50 years of photography I never really heard of and just ignored the references.  Then, I got curious.  I have always considered photography (like most sciences) to have a base in mathematics.  But, this is beyond my High School Math.  Can someone explain it in simple terms?

http://www.advancedphotography.net/golden-ratio-golden-ratio-photography-composition/

Especially that Spiral Part.

I think it is similar to the rule of thirds and that I do subconsciously adhere to composition rules.  Just wondering if the old dog is missing out on a new trick.   :P


rubyroo

« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2011, 10:28 »
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It's actually a very old trick:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio

But don't ask me to explain it - I've tried a few times to grasp this over the years, but haven't managed it yet.

« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2011, 10:31 »
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The Golden Ration has been redefined by Getty several times; most recently 85% for them 15% for me.

« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2011, 10:36 »
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I have read about this before.  There are lots of things in nature that seem to have a mathematical pattern to them, including all the parts of the human body.  People use the golden ratio for trading the stock market but I was never convinced that it works.

It's quite difficult to apply this to photos, I think some photographers are just gifted, like Cartier Bresson.  He just seems to be a master of composition but I'm not sure how deliberately he manipulated everything to fit where it looks best.

Here's a bit about one of his photos.

http://fotogenetic.dearingfilm.com/golden_rectangle_2.html
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 10:39 by sharpshot »

WarrenPrice

« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2011, 10:47 »
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Thanks, Sharpshot.  Excellent reference.

rubyroo

« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2011, 11:38 »
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Yes indeed.  Thanks Sharpshot - that finally clarified things a little more for me too!   :)

RacePhoto

« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2011, 20:37 »
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The Golden Ration has been redefined by Getty several times; most recently 85% for them 15% for me.

There's the 4th version of the same theory?

Remember, the golden ratio itself doesnt make a photograph beautiful, it only add to the composition by creating a level of interest.

Yes all the "rules" are the same in essence and all have the same meaning in general, whether it's the rule of thirds, golden triangle, logarithmic spiral or something else someone will call it in ten years.

And then there's that other rule. Learn the basics, learn the foundations and then break them. :)

Some days a horizontal bisector can help make a point. Sometimes the subject goes right in the center... Everything isn't perfect beauty and balance and divided into thirds!

That whole blah blah, woof woof of never cropping is either some BS history or someone edited after the fact. Look at Cartier-Bresson photos on the web, and the proportions, they are not all perfect and identical. How's that? If they were all full frame they would all be the same proportions and they aren't.

Just like Ansel Adams with his 8x10 on a donkey, hiking through the mountains, the myth becomes bigger with time. Nothing wrong with what they did, it was perfection. The quibble is with what revisionist historians and writers try to market as fact by embellishing the truth. That whole in camera thing? Well Adams himself said the darkroom was as important as the original image and often made a veariety of versions of his prints. He was quite the experimental artists with processing.

He made thousands of photographs with Polaroid products. The Hasselblad was his camera from the 60s until he died.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2011, 20:57 »
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Speaking of rules, Race, the one I most often adhere to was preached to my by my mentor at the Stars & Stripes newspaper:

One bike is riding; two bikes is racing, three or more is a race.  

Of course, I break that one very often too.

Another thing to add to the Henri Cartier-Bresson anology ... his camera was manual focus, manual exposure, manual ASA/DIN setting and he still managed to find that "sweet spot."   :P

And, I look for the diagonals;  Straight lines are static; diagonals show action.   ;D
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 21:01 by WarrenPrice »

jbarber873

« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2011, 21:36 »
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    The best rule I ever learned was from a photographer I assisted years ago. It was very simple-" big things in the back, small things in the front." That was more or less the extent of my formal training. ;D

RacePhoto

« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2011, 22:24 »
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Speaking of rules, Race, the one I most often adhere to was preached to my by my mentor at the Stars & Stripes newspaper:

One bike is riding; two bikes is racing, three or more is a race.  

Of course, I break that one very often too.

Another thing to add to the Henri Cartier-Bresson anology ... his camera was manual focus, manual exposure, manual ASA/DIN setting and he still managed to find that "sweet spot."   :P

And, I look for the diagonals;  Straight lines are static; diagonals show action.   ;D

And I bet he knew that one stop open was the same as one shutter speed faster without a wheel or doing math. Still can't believe that IS posted a wheel and makes it sound so complicated. Talk about learning the basics? ISO wasn't really an issue, you shot what you had loaded or carried two cameras. ;) Two variables, one lens, you control the light and image with those two settings. Less is more sometimes!

Good point, everything manual, rangefinder, and still got fine pictures. Cartier-Bresson did insist that his prints included the film edge beyond the image. Problem is what someone else may have done since then. But interesting position that he felt that in camera composition was so important. Also a professionally trained artist before he took up photography, it helps.

If I could find a big sensor digital camera with nothing but manual settings, through the lens meter, I'd be very happy. All those electronics and computer things are not always helpful or necessary. Some day, someone will make the pocket full frame camera for me? (I doubt it, as everyone wants switches and electronics, not a basic tool)

One of my favorites for the next camera is a Canon G-12. Not DSLR but controllable. 1/1.7 sensor. And by the way, someone finally got it. The G-11 and 12 reduced the resolution from 14 to 10MP. The pictures are better quality. I'm not so sure I want the in camera HDR? FPS rate of 4 something? WOW! In a bridge camera?

« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2011, 01:38 »
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...Another thing to add to the Henri Cartier-Bresson anology ... his camera was manual focus, manual exposure, manual ASA/DIN setting and he still managed to find that "sweet spot."   :P
I think his brain must of been fully automatic :)  I started with a Zenith with a hand held light meter and had just about mastered complete manual before buying an auto exposure camera.  The light meter was almost redundant with film but slides were less tolerant.  I still like using manual but I like shutter and aperture priority.  Don't need anything else.  If a manufacturer made something simple like the Canon AE-1, I would definitely want one.

« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2011, 01:58 »
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oh man... play with this!  I've always been crap at maths, but changing the numbers into shapes opens up a whole new universe.  It's freaky.

Make a grid - huge as you can.

Put 1 box (square) there, and then another one next to it

You'll get a a rectangle made of two squares.  

Make that rectangle into a square by making its short side as long as its long side. Your new box is made of 4 squares (2 by 2)

Put the new box on top of your rectangle.

Together they'll make a rectangle made of 6 boxes (your original 2 and the new box you made)

Make that rectangle into a square by making its short side as long as its long side. Your new box is made of 9 squares (3 by 3)

Put your new box next to your old rectangle (your original 2 and the new box you made)

Together they'll make a rectangle made of 15 boxes

Make that rectangle into a square by making its short side as long as its long side etc (5 by 5)

Put that on top

Repeat repeat

You'll notice that your first box has a length of 1, your second box a length of 1, your third a length of 2, your fourth a length of 3, your fifth a length of 5

1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34 etc etc etc (the fibonacci sequence where you take the two preceding numbers and add them together)

If you keep arranging the new boxes that you've made from the old rectangles in a spiral direction you'll get a giant grid in which, if you wanted, you could trace the perfect spiral.  (google it to get the plan)

From this grid you can also make a golden ruler. The human face is divided according to the golden ruler.

I think the rule of thirds is a corruption of the golden ruler - which would have the middle third narrower than the other two.


Anyway - stop when you start calculating rabbit populations because it went too far for me and it was a long struggle back. I get why mathematicians get so excited now....

« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2011, 02:06 »
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My theory why we like the  the rule of thirds/golden rule in photography is that the human eyes are placed at the intersections of the rule. We don't look at the nose, which would be the centre.  It doesn't make much sense for us to prefer diffferent positions in landscapes, only faces.  The only explanation would be that from unconsciously seeing these patterns everywhere in nature we find them harmonious and natural.

It's even more natural to break the rules tho : )

lthn

    This user is banned.
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2011, 03:58 »
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that 1.6..... is pretty unusable. The correct way to describe this is the a+b/a=1+b/a. This is the original classic rule of composition, that rule of thje thirds recited by photographers is hoax invention by unadeucated wannabe photog-educator-experts (the kind you find on SS forums) for even more uneducated amateur photogs. What confuses most ppl is that this rule is used (and supposed to be used) recursively, especially in classic art pieces.

« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2011, 00:15 »
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that rule of thje thirds recited by photographers is hoax invention by unadeucated wannabe photog-educator-experts (the kind you find on SS forums) for even more uneducated amateur photogs. What confuses most ppl is that this rule is used (and supposed to be used) recursively, especially in classic art pieces.

Rather than a hoax, I think it's an approximation of the golden rule.

And it's not just seen or used recursively

TheSmilingAssassin

    This user is banned.
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2011, 01:58 »
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haha, I'm surprised it was bought up in a rejection notice on a microstock site.  In what context did they use it?

To explain it though, don't worry so much about the math.  When applying it to art... it's not that important.  What's important about it is that using the golden ratio (I know it as the Divine Proportion) makes it more pleasing to the eye because we find it everywhere in nature.  Like fractals... the spiral fractals that you see are a result of the Golden Ratio and they're everywhere in nature.

Applying the actual ratio and mathematics to your artwork (or photography in your case), is pretty simple...  I've drawn it below to make it easier to understand.


 
Take your rectangular canvas (or your viewfinder in your case) and draw a diagnal line from one corner to the other corner (as in the longer dotted line that I've drawn).  Then draw another 'dotted' line from the opposite corner and meet the first dotted line so that it creates a right angle.  Where the two dotted lines meet, draw a vertical line down the page and a horrizontal line across the page.  It's these two last lines that are relevant.  The main focal point of your artwork (or the subjects in your photographs), should be at the intersection or along these lines.

If you want to see this applied to artwork, study da Vinci's work.  

BUT... I still can't believe it was bought up in your rejection notice lol

PS.  Don't actually draw on your viewfinder :)
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 02:03 by pseudonymous »

« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2011, 02:06 »
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The Golden Ration has been redefined by Getty several times; most recently 85% for them 15% for me.

And that's why it's called Golden, because we are their gold.

rubyroo

« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2011, 02:13 »
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Wonderful Pseudonymous.  My brain exploded once from going too heavily into 'high maths', and there are places it just won't go now.  So visuals like this are perfect for me.  Thanks so much.   :)

(Typo edited).
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 02:28 by rubyroo »

« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2011, 03:12 »
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PS.  Don't actually draw on your viewfinder :)

I wish you said that earlier, the ink smudged and now everythings a blur.  ;D

So is 'The Last Supper' a classic example of this? Should I be visualising these lines as often as I can when taking photos? I've always thought that good composition is intuitive, plus I've never been a stick to a formula type of person. Maybe that's why I'm no Yuri.  :)

TheSmilingAssassin

    This user is banned.
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2011, 03:52 »
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Ruby, your welcome :)


PS.  Don't actually draw on your viewfinder :)

I wish you said that earlier, the ink smudged and now everythings a blur.  ;D

So is 'The Last Supper' a classic example of this? Should I be visualising these lines as often as I can when taking photos? I've always thought that good composition is intuitive, plus I've never been a stick to a formula type of person. Maybe that's why I'm no Yuri.  :)

Yuri's no da Vinci ;)

Yeah the table in The Last Supper has been drawn along those lines but da Vinci was a mathemetician and applied mathematics to all his work.  Pollock painted fractals but we don't know if it was intentional or accidental.  The thing is, it's likely that you already apply the golden ratio to some of your photography because, if it's pleasing to the eye to arrange things this way... you may do it subconciously.  But should the golden ratio be used in microstock as a golden rule?  Nah,  that's nuts lol

The golden rule in my books is... if it's composed in a way that it's pleasing to YOUR eye, it's likely to be pleasing to some buyers' eyes.

PS: we'll cover safely removing ink from glass surfaces next week ;D

« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2011, 05:13 »
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PS: we'll cover safely removing ink from glass surfaces next week ;D

Looking forward to that one, thanks.  :D

WarrenPrice

« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2011, 08:48 »
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Thanks, Pseudo.  Good post.  I do believe that most of us who have done this for a while subconsciously adhere to the rules of composition.  That Golden Ratio threw for a bit though.  Your explanation is reassuring.   ;D

And to make it even more unbelievable ... the comment was on food pictures.   :P

« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2011, 16:18 »
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Let's make it simple: the rule of thirds is a simplification of the golden ratio.

TheSmilingAssassin

    This user is banned.
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2011, 23:00 »
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Thanks, Pseudo.  Good post.  I do believe that most of us who have done this for a while subconsciously adhere to the rules of composition.  That Golden Ratio threw for a bit though.  Your explanation is reassuring.   ;D

And to make it even more unbelievable ... the comment was on food pictures.   :P

Food!  You're kidding.  I wish you could show us the image.

I wonder if Chefs use the golden ratio to plate up and make their meals look more appealing. 

RacePhoto

« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2011, 00:24 »
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Let's make it simple: the rule of thirds is a simplification of the golden ratio.

Exactly that simple. It's all the same concept, not precise math and science.


 

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