I look forward to the day when basic rules of composition come naturally, but until then I will continue to waste a lot of time and materials creating visual fields that are uncomfortable, underwhelming and just... wrong, somehow.
Take this photo I took a couple of weeks ago. (Please!) Why do I insist on hacking up the space with a dead-centre subject? I literally can't see the forest for the trees here. It takes this special kind of inability to reduce this giant 500-year-old living Sitka spruce to just another stump.
Meanwhile, Mr. I Don't Take The Photos managed to capture all the scale and detail in one take, and was clearly not fixated on including the whole trunk in the view-finder.
Scale can be critical in an art practice. It's everything to Ontario photographer and artist Edward Burtynsky, who captured China's massive scale in Manufactured Landscapes (Burtynsky talks about the Canadian landscape inspired him, in this Ted Talk.)
I have to remind myself that scale is not about size, but size differential. This 20-year old table-top spruce bonsai "developed" by a German bonsai master (below) possesses its own tiny might. But here again I'm a little lost. Would including the hand of the grower (stunter?) emphasize the scale or reduce the potency of the image?
Or scribbling 18" instead of 18' on the back of napkin that resulted in an underwhelming Stonehenge prop: