Le Rouge et le Noir

For the last two years I’ve been studying the fundamentals of photography, before I start to shoot out of the box.  Meanwhile I will keep myself “In the box”.

They say photography has rules, but I think that they are more like general guidelines to aid you in taking decent pictures.  If you don’t feel comfortable using them, you can always experiment and break them.

“What I am trying to say is this: Before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box.

We need to learn the basics of our craft. If you understand the traditional craftsmanship, that is—when speaking about photography—the technical aspect of handling the camera, understanding composition, having thorough knowledge about light’s influence on a photo, and being familiar with the visual language of photography; only then do you achieve full freedom to express your intentions with a photograph.

Some believe learning the traditional craftsmanship will limit their artistic voice. However, I do not agree to that perception. As I see it, knowing will only make you freer—as long as you do not let those old rules confine your creativity. It can actually—and most likely will—become a resource for expressing your artistic intent.”

The following images were composed using “The Rule of Thirds” which is a general guideline in traditional photography.  It works this way.  You draw an imaginary grid on your camera’s screen with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines.  Where these lines intersect, is the ideal spot to place your subject.  People normally place them in the center of the screen, which is not a good idea.  The eye will usually look for the sweet spots described above.

This shot was taken at the Pedestrian Street in downtown Panama City, Panama.  As soon as I saw this gracious woman, I knew my day was made.  I love the combination of red and black clothing.  The woman had a beautiful skin, attractive clothes and walked with grace.  I hope you enjoy these shots as much as I did when I pressed the shutter button.  Now and then I still take brief looks at this refined woman who walks like a queen.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

I will say right up front however, that rules are meant to be broken and ignoring this one doesn’t mean your images are necessarily unbalanced or uninteresting. However a wise person once told me that if you intend to break a rule you should always learn it first to make sure your breaking of it is all the more effective!

Photographs taken with a Fuji X-30 mirrorless camera in P-Mode and handheld.  Good Day.


9 thoughts on “Le Rouge et le Noir”

    1. Morning Victor and Barbara:

      All disciplines in order to survive must have some kind of structure of rules or general guidelines. Not having them would lead to chaos.

      Photography is such a vast field, it takes time to learn its basic or traditional guidelines. That’s where I am right now. So much to learn, so little time.



  1. I see you’re reading Otto’s blog, too. He has such good experience, and an interesting way of putting things.

    As so often happens, the rules apply to writing, too. Grammar, spelling, punctuation and vocabulary are the building blocks. Once those are mastered, we can turn them on their head — for specific purposes. It’s fun.

    1. Tell about English rules. They often drive me crazy, specially grammar. But, I agree with you; you need to learn the basic structure of a language, before you start exploring and doing things out of the box.

      Have a great day, Linda.


  2. Hola Omar,
    I like rules. Rules make things easier by making decisions for us.

    Then I see a Salvador Dali painting or an M.C. Escher drawing and am amazed by the creative “juice” that was poured into their art.

    Then I remember Ansel Adams’ quote,
    “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”

    I don’t know about all the rules but I know I like your photographs. That is enough for me.

    jim and nena

    1. Morning Jim and Nena:

      I love the work of Salvador Dalí and Ansel Adams. Never heard the name of M.C. Escher. Being a curious guy, I’ll Google it later and find out who he is or was.

      I’m flattered by your comment about my photographs. Thank you so much Jim for pushing me forward. It means so much to me.



  3. This is what was called the Avenida Central which starts at Plaza Cinco de Mayo and ends at Parque Santana. If you know your way around Panama City, it can’t be missed.

    BTW, Plaza Cinco de Mayo is adjacent to the National Assembly Building (Asamblea Nacional).



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