Real and implied triangles


The task is to produce two sets of triangular compositions, one using ‘real’ triangles and the other making ‘implied’ triangles.  In the ‘real’ category there are to be: a triangular subject; two triangles created by perspective, one with the apex converging to the top of the frame and the other with the apex converging to the bottom of the frame.  For the ‘implied’ category two still life arrangements are required, one with apex at the top and the other with the apex at the bottom and image with three people arranged such that their faces or the lines of their bodies form a triangle.


As usual I turned to Freeman (2007: 84-87) and Prakel (2012: 50-51).  Whilst it appears that the triangle is the both the most common shape due to the requirement for just 3 points, it has the advantage of providing both dynamism and stability depending on the configuration.  Thus it is a ready source of structure.  My reading also threw some light on what had previously for me been a source of irritation when photographing buildings and having to tilt the camera either up or down with the resulting perspective – little did I know the value of this technique!  I found numerous examples of images depicting triangles through a google search, far too numerous to list.



An obvious real triangle forms the basis of the structure of this somewhat unusual footbridge in the Bristol harbour side.  As well as the real triangle I was drawn by the implied triangles.  I was somewhat constrained by the surrounding access as to the viewpoint but, on reflection, it would have been interesting to have explored some slightly different angles and the perspectives generated, especially as I was using a prime lens.

This presented something of a challenge since the tower itself is listing to starboard, so aligning the shot required a degree of care.  When composing the shot I spent a good deal of time trying various degrees of camera tilt to achieve the optimum degree of convergence – not sure if I have achieved it.

I did not find it easy coming up with an image that depicted the inverted triangle.  I looked at a number of subjects and when banging my head on the countertop in frustration just happened to look down at the cupboard handles – my eureka moment!  As with the previous image, it took some time to achieve what I considered the optimum composition to illustrate the principle.


Still-life forming a triangle with apex at the top.  I spent a good deal of time trying to get the lighting right for this one both with and without flash and still managed to get shadow; I wonder whether I should have tried to make use of shadow rather than eliminate it.  I have to admit that I am no fan of still-life photography as I find the arranging of the objects very testing and lighting is always a challenge.  Hence, my preference is for simplicity of both objects and arrangement.

Not actually Tracey Emin but……. Again it was the lighting that proved to be the issue.  I tend to avoid flash whenever I can as I have yet to master this technique so as to avoid making it obvious that I have used it.

A 70 mph wind off the Bristol Channel and three willing(!) volunteers provided the opportunity for an image that represents triangles both through the positioning of faces and bodies.


For me this was quite a frustrating exercise in terms of finding appropriate subjects and determining the optimum viewpoint to best illustrate convergence.  This was somewhat contrary to my initial assessment of this task.  I feel I probably got too wrapped up in trying to find an image that I found pleasing rather than being satisfied with something that met the requirement of the exercise; this is an important observation for me as it has a very real impact on the time to complete the exercises.  I am also still unsure as to what depth of field is best suited to convergence images.  The time of day is also important for taking some of these shots otherwise there is a large dynamic range to content with if shooting tall buildings against the skyline.  Still-life still does nothing for me!  Comparing the colour and B+W images, I think, on balance, the B+W images best illustrate what the exercise is about.

Reference List:

Freeman, M. (2007) The photographer’s eye: composition and design for better digital photos. Lewes: The Ilex Press Limited

Prakel, D. (2012) Basics photography 01: composition. Second edition. Lausanne. AVA Publishing SA


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