This one goes back a couple of weeks now to that photo walk through the beaches. It’s one of those shots, for me anyway, that I always find hard to compose. Just not a lot going on here. Sometimes less is more, though. I like photographs with few elements — ideally though, those elements should be in odd numbers, like three, or five, or seven. In this case I’m seeing three main elements: the guys on the pier, the pier itself, and the water. The composition actually follows the rule of thirds, to some extent. Both subjects on the pier (and the distant horizon line) are situated right along the top horizontal line in the rule of thirds. The water really becomes an element near the bottom horizontal line, where it begins to swell. And as an added bonus we have a leading line that draws your eye to the photographer standing at the end of the pier.
Personally, I don’t think the rule of thirds is something you *have* to follow, and if you find yourself distracted by it (as in forcing your composition to conform to it), then you’ll probably end up with a less than great shot. Ideally, you want to just intuitively sense that the elements in your photo are situated in the most pleasing manner. In many cases — if not most — you’ll notice afterwards that your intuition has guided you to the rule of thirds. Like everything, though, rules are meant to be broken. It would be a boring world, photography wise, if everyone conformed to the rule of thirds in their picture taking.