Shooting Challenge #4 Results: The Rule of Thirds

By Martin Snelling on at

The last Shooting Challenge was all about the 'Rule of Thirds', and you rose to the challenge and submitted some absolutely stunning images, so thanks for taking the time to capture the world around you.

Picking the winner for this challenge was particularly hard given the quality and number of the images submitted. Let me be clear; because of the fab prize on offer and number of entries, I had to be super-strict on the rules (I can be an evil bastard at times, but rules is rules and all that). This meant filenames being correct; images being under 3MB, and the shooting date (based on EXIF data) was within the shooting challenge period. So, if your images didn't comply with the rules, then they were not shortlisted.

The shortlisted images were then viewed with a 'rule of thirds' overlay to ensure the subject matter fell within the lines. Any that were not within the lines were discounted. Some additional cropping to some of the images would have made a world of difference, and the final outcome MAY have been very different.

The final selection was then judged on their subject matter, composition, colour, shooting technique/method and overall WOW factor.

So, this week's winner is a slightly tipsy Ian Gordon and his stunning image of a manky old tractor tyre. Well done, Ian -- you've won yourself a Sony WX100 camera (worth £209) and 32GB USB stick (worth £39) from the people at Sony Pictures UK, who are celebrating Total Recall hitting UK cinemas from August the 29th.

Ian submitted a number of different images, all of which were absolutely amazing and would make an excellent set of framed prints, but many of them didn't meet the requirements and so were dismissed.

Here's how Ian captured his image:

I realised a few days before I took it that the only way I'd get a shot of a sunset in my home town with the water reflecting would be to wade out at low tide and shoot North-West. It'd need to be a night that was going to yield a decent sunset, the tide was fully out and it was warm enough that I wouldn't mind standing in 3 inches of sea water for an hour. I was pretty shocked and gutted in equal measure when, a couple of days later, all three conditions suddenly looked right and then to realise that I'd left my tripod at work. Not all was lost, I had an old one with a broken leg that would work as long as I didn't need to adjust it too much.


So this was a challenging shoot. I was in 3 inches of water, about half a mile off shore looking for something to put in the foreground - I found a tractor tyre - I couldn't put anything down and the leg of my tripod kept falling off. I'd also had 3 Leffe Blondes and that stuff is dynamite.


Tripod + remote control + ND (8) filter + ND graduated filter. Aperture totally shut as much as possible and a remote control operating the shutter which was open for around 23s.


There was enough water to reflect the sunset, but not enough to create any movement apart from the deeper section in the foreground.


This was on the hottest day of the year, man those colours!


I couldn't decide between this and the other tractor tyre shot I sent in. I like the composition of this better, the tyre and horizon lining up with the thirds lines better and I like the water in the centre of the tractor tyre letting you know what it is.

Well done Ian; you've captured a cracker! Also, I must give honourable mentions to Nick Acott and Rory McMeekin for coming close runners-up.


[caption id="attachment_98036" align="aligncenter" width="599" caption="Nick Acott"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_98038" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Rory McMeekin"][/caption]

Also, Adam Douglas, Jake Gibson, Jason Finesilver, Michael Toye and Luis Cruz for their images.

[caption id="attachment_98043" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Adam Douglas"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_98044" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Jason Gibson"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_98045" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Jason Finesilver"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_98046" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Michael Toye"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_98047" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Luis Cruz"][/caption]

Click Here to view all the entries

I'll have another shooting challenge for you next week, so get those cameras ready!

Martin Snelling is a Hampshire-based man about town who works in the videogame industry. A keen photographer, Martin shoots on film and digital; he blogs here, and tweets here.