In this photo I flagrantly violate the "rule of thirds" by placing the rising balloon dead center in the view. Does it work?

I Am So Small by Hans Brakob
  • Camera: Canon EOS 60D
  • Aperture: f/7.1
  • Exposure: 1/320 sec.
  • Focal Length: 135 mm
  • ISO Speed: 100
  • Taken: 8:33 AM on Jan 30

I Am So Small by Hans Brakob

"The wilderness is vast, and I'm so terribly small." A distant balloon silently rises above ranks of misty mountains in the Superstition Wilderness on a quiet morning.

c u

It works for me having the balloon centered in the vast sky to illustrate the quote. My thoughts are that the balloon and ridges are a little fuzzy (did you use a tripod and sharpen for web?) and wish that the balloon was a little larger so it is more easily recognized.

No, couldn't use a tripod as I was on a back-country hike. I sharpened best I could post-camera, and with only a 135mm lens, I couldn't "get closer".

I'm going to go a completely different direction here, Hans, and probably not the direction you want to hear. First, to answer your question of "Does it work?", my answer would be no, certainly not in its present form. But it isn't because the balloon is dead center in the image, it's because the balloon is in the image, period. The balloon is way too small to have any impact as a primary element in the image, and its blur only adds insult to injury. To be honest, when my eyes first scanned the image, I actually thought that the balloon was the worst spot of sensor dust I've ever seen in a photo. Not exactly the first impression you were going for, I'm sure. Speaking of the balloon's blur, there's really no justifiable reason for it to be there. Your shutter speed of 1/320 second was adequate for both the focal length of 135mm and for a slow-moving object such as a balloon. That means that the only reason left for the blur to be there is camera shake. You need to work on good camera holding technique primarily, and secondarily consider the use of image stabilized lenses for your Canon.

But fear not. I feel there is a decent image to be extracted from this photo. I find the interesting aspect of this photo to be the layered hills, in various shades of blue and green. The blur is still present here, but much less objectionable. You could make the case that the soft focus is an intentional purple haze effect. "Is it tomorrow, or just the end of time?" I would crop the photo to about its bottom third, resulting in the loss of the balloon (buh-bye) and leaving you with a quite lovely panorama of the layered hillsides. Remember, don't be afraid to crop for content. Just because a photo came out the camera with so many pixels, doesn't mean that all those pixels are sacred and that some can't be sacrificed for the good if the final image.

I hope this gives you another interpretation and approach to your image, Hans. Now 'Scuse me, while I kiss the sky.


Thanks, Russ. Actually the lens IS image stabilized, but I'm a 73-year-old codger a few miles into a 13 mile hike at that point, so......

The image still "talks to me" about the lonely intrepid soul in his balloon over that wilderness, but your comments certainly make a lot of sense. Maybe it's a case of me having a stubborn ownership of my concept.

Meanwhile, I'm going to go back and crop to make a fake panorama...... I think I'll also like that image.

Thanks again. I'm a rank amateur, and your patient evaluation IS valuable to me.

Russ, here is a version based on your cropping suggestion. I plagiarized your quote in my tag line.

Thanks for your insight.

Would Jimi sing a song?

Hans, I just saw this thread after commenting on this photo in your profile. I agree with Russ. The pano crop is more effective without the balloon. Personally, I would leave in a little more sky, but I like the photo better sans cactus.

Ditto. More sky necessary and a bit less earth to enhance this photo. Too much sky in original.