The Power of Three


The Power of Three Sides   

Greetings to you all on this lovely Spring day. My hope is that it will enlighten, enliven and invigorate you to get out into nature and use the creativity within. For those of you who do not live in Cape Town and have different seasons, I am most dreadfully sorry. 

I have found that the best way of learning photography, as in all things in life, is to speak and write about it. Some might assume that this is a little arrogant and presumptive, but I assure you, it is not. This is where the difference between teaching and coaching comes in. To be another’s teacher assumes that I have more knowledge than you; coaching, on the other hand, is sharing what knowledge I do have with you in the hopes that you, or someone, will benefit in some way. I have always preferred the philosophy behind coaching and do believe that shared learning is a far more effective way to grow. Please feel free to make comments below, as long as they are constructive in spirit.

Here are some of my thoughts on using the power of triangles in your photography: 


When composing an image, it helps to be conscious of the shapes that go to make it up, shapes such as triangles and circles, rectangles and the like. This will enable you to be more careful when you frame the image, adjusting the angle of view, focal length, and vantage point.

Triangles are important shapes in composition because they bring with them a sense of solidity. Have a look at the following images and their descriptions to understand the power that triangles bring to your work.

Triangle of Ascent 

This image was taken from a very low vantage point to emphasise the height of the statue of Jan Smuts in Adderley Street in Cape Town, South Africa. There is a clear triangular shape here on the right-hand side, culminating in the head of the statue. Jan Smuts might be perceived as one of the white colonisers in the country and the lovely irony is that his statue is being used here as a jungle gym by kids from different backgrounds.

ISO 800     24mm    f / 5,0    1/2500 sec

Triangle in Motion 

A young girl crosses the road during a cycle race in Cape Town, South Africa.

This triangular shape incorporates both movement and tension. Shaped like the sail of a yacht, it shows a lovely flow of movement to the left and yet, because the image is frozen in time, the right-hand corner of the triangle seems as if it is pinned down, allowing for the graceful curve of the girl’s back. 

ISO 1000   400mm   f / 5,6    1/800 sec

Implied Triangle 

This photo was taken at the World of Birds in Hout Bay, Cape Town. We all know that owls turn their heads at an alarming rate and no less this owl. Because of that, I was only able to capture one of her eyes. Yet there was something about this one-eyed bird that intrigued me – perhaps it was that our brains will try to complete what the camera cannot. This, in fact, adds to the interest of the image and we can still form a triangle, even if the second element is missing. 

ISO 1000   400mm   f / 5,6    1/800 sec

Moving Triangle

Here’s another example of a moving triangle. Rather than always photographing kids from the front, try to get behind them and call their attention as you do. I deliberately left head room here to make a feature of the over-sized hat and also to include the rather lovely bokeh and busy colours in the background. 

ISO 1000    260mm    f / 5,6 .   1/2000


 Sandwich Triangles

This landscape image was taken in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. It is made up of several triangles all sandwiched together in wedge-like shapes all meeting at a vanishing point on the horizon. The triangles seem to balance each other out somehow like wooden wedges in a child’s play box.

ISO 100   24mm   f / 16   1/4 sec

For those of you who would like to take part in a weekly photographic challenge, this week’s theme is on the subject of TRIANGLES. Load your image HERE and you will receive a free critique, no strings attached. PS: You can use any camera, live anywhere in the world and just be starting in photography.

Best Wishes for the week,


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