Project: Dividing the frame – Positioning the horizon

Project:  Dividing the frame

Exercise 7: Positioning the horizon

This is Newlands Corner, which is part of the North Downs in Surrey.  There is a steep slope here (well at least for Surrey) which gives a good view of the meeting between horizon and sky.  I took the following before Christmas last year (2010) on a day that had a cold and foggy beginning.  The fog was just beginning to clear.

I decided to visit Newlands Corner again for the current exercise that requires 6 images where the horizon line is arranged in different positions in the frame.  The following photographs were taken at the end of January this year (2011) on a bright day.  I used a 76mm lens at f11 for all 6. It’s taken me quite a while to get to writing this up because I became engrossed in producing the images for Assignment 1.

No. 1

I was attracted towards this view initially because of the people sitting on a bench at the top of the slope.  There is just enough room here between horizon and sky to allow for the people.  A lot of dry grass in the foreground but it is broken up slightly by the shadow from the tree. The slant of the slope also looks quite steep (which it is).

No. 2

Moving the horizon down makes the slope look less steep now.  To me it looks less interesting than no.1 where I liked the effect of the people perched on top of the horizon. I’ve measured it with a ruler and the horizon meets the sky at the 2/3rd point.

No. 3

This seems quite flat to me now and not interesting at all.  The line of the grass is at the halfway point.

No. 4

There is an introduction of more interest from now being able to see the branches of the tree which form a pattern against the blue of the sky. The line of the grass has now moved down to the 1/3rd point.

No. 5

For me, the tree  and the blue sky are now becoming more dominant as a point of interest.

No. 6

All sky and tree now. This could have been quite pleasing if there had been more branches to contrast with the sky.


I think when I was just beginning to use a camera I would have produced an image similar to No. 3 because I remember I always wanted to centre everything in an image. Now it seems the least interesting for this particular scene. I have to confess as well that I don’t think I normally take the horizon into consideration.  I look at a scene decide I like it and then compose the image.  I did that with the view I began with – captured at the end of last year and also with the following when the fog had almost dispersed.

14th March 2011