Another element of composition sometimes used in photography is called Framing. Frames come in all sizes, shapes and designs when you go looking for them in stores. I've seen standard horizontal and vertical ones, triangular, circular, ovals and even some heart, keyhole or cloud-shaped picture frames. With a little imagination and some patience, you can find your own framing in nature. Any combination of Rule of Thirds or Leading Lines can be incorporated when you frame a subject or, you may decide to ignore those Rules and just frame the subject Dead Center in the picture frame.
Some wedding photographers actually smear Vaseline Petroleum Jelly around the outer edges of their lens to achieve a dreamlike effect in their compositions. You can bet they make enough profit to pay an assistant to clean the greasy mess up for the rest of the shoot. Myself, I look for the freebies outdoors.
The bird munching on a caterpillar was a tricky hand-held shot. The Japanese White Eye is a pretty skittish bird and I wanted to frame him with the branches. I used Burst Mode and would have preferred backing-off on my zoom lens to show more of the branch overhead. It was a pretty cloudy, dreary day and in a split second both the sun and the bird would be gone. When a hole in the clouds lit up his eye, that's all I had time to concentrate on. He's framed, somewhat; the eye took precedence.
The second photo was another case where there was no time for setting-up a tripod. The rainbow appeared as I was heading north along the west coast of Okinawa. Before the driver could safely stop, more rain and black clouds were drifting our way. A roadside guardrail and Burst Mode saved me again. Without either the fishermen highlighted by the sun, or the rainbow in this scene, it would be a pretty uninteresting photo. Together, they compliment each other.
In your travels, look for frames in nature. Soon you'll start to notice, they're everywhere. It's only a matter of training your mind's eye to recognize them. Me, even without my camera, I'm always composing shots, looking for the perfect light and framing pictures in my mind. Vaseline, I keep that at home. It's for squeaky door hinges and grandkids. Until next time, Happy Shooting!
A wildlife photographer living in Okinawa, Japan, Mike has been published in Apogee Photo Magazine, Boots N all, Brave New Traveler, Go Nomad, Matador Abroad and Trips, The Nihon Sun, Travel Thru History, The Okinawan, Wend Magazine and Photo Guide Japan. He has recently joined the ranks of travel writers, capturing Nature, Festivals, Castles and Cultural shots of the Ryukyu Islands to share with the world. More of his work may be seen at: http://www.mikesryukyugallery.com/