Lens-Artists Challenge 116 – Symmetry

pagoda, reflection, symmetry, china


“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”


This week Patti has challenged us to illustrate the principal of symmetry in our images. Many of us have studied photographic techniques and worked to develop skills that are in line with the principal. On the other hand, an untrained eye often instinctively finds compositions that follow the same guideline. Whether trained, instinctual or sometimes just lucky, images that are symmetrical in nature are among the most pleasing to the eye – drawing viewers in to the object(s) of our attention. Reflections, such as those in my image above and below, are often an excellent way to capture a horizontally symmetrical image, where the top and bottom of an image are closely matched or identical.

egrets, two, reflection, birds


“The most beautiful birds do not know how beautiful they are until they see their reflection in water.”

Matshona Dhliwayo


doors, ornate, Buenos Aires, four


“Knowledge unlocks the door to the mysteries of our mistakes; wisdom guides us away from repeating them”

Evinda Lepins

As we travel, cameras in hand, our eyes are drawn to symmetrical scenes such as the image of doors above or the beautiful mosque windows below. As photographic principals go, three is a better number when capturing the elements of an image. As always though “rules” are made to be broken. My image of four doors is an example of rule-breaking that reflects the scene of the street image as I saw it, rather than as the “rules” would have had me present it.

windows, blue, mosque, orange


“Blue color is everlastingly appointed by the deity to be a source of delight.”

John Ruskin

There are those who might not be drawn to the image below, but as always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is a simple image of a wall I found in Hong Kong. It’s colors drew me in, along with their symmetry. I especially liked the small square in the top right, without which the image would be, at least to me, less interesting. A break in the symmetry is said to give the eye a place to rest.

green, yellow, wall, symmetry


“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. ”

Oscar Wilde

The image of boats framed within a bridge in Shouzhuang may not meet a classic definition of symmetry, but many of its elements are subtle suggestions of the concept. The scene is reflected in the water, the image is centered such that both sides are similar if not identical, and the boats draw the eye to a strong focal point. Again, the tiny vertical window in the building at the far end, for me adds an extra element of interest.

four, boats, framed, reflection, symmetry


“A lake is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”

Henry David Thoreau

Finally, an example of radial symmetry, where circular patterns emerge, often due to water droplets. The thing that drew me to this one (which was the result of a raindrop rather than a stone’s throw), was the small circular leaf floating within the water’s concentric circles. 

water droplet, reflection


“As you sit on the hillside, lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens.”

Stephen Graham

As always, Patti’s challenge presents us with interesting food for thought and offers us an opportunity to explore a strong technique for honing our skills. We look forward to seeing your examples and reading your thoughts on the subject. Please remember to link them to Patti’s original post here, and to Tag them with our Lens-Artists Tag.  My sincere thanks for your many and varied responses to last week’s Inspiration challenge. The creativity you showed in your approaches was amazing –  your continuing support and enthusiasm are very much appreciated. We hope you’ll join us again next week as, with a slight modification to our schedule, Amy hosts Challenge #117. Until then be well and stay safe.








134 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge 116 – Symmetry

  1. Tina – Tina … what a beautiful gallery … and the so suitable quotes. You always deliver beauty. My pick of this stunning gallery … it has to be the Hong Kong,image because of your eye to details and the same with Zhouzhuang image with the boats,

  2. All breathtakingly beautiful in symmetry – or almost symmetry. Exquisite, Tina. My absolute favorite is the egrets – so delicate, so beautifully white and sensual. but I do love them all – and your writings.

  3. Tina, these are such exquisite photos. The birds and the quote that goes with it are my favorite, but they are all amazing. Do you alter the colors in your photos? They are so vivid and perfect. Just breathtaking.

  4. I look at your beautiful photos and see that slight breaking of symmetry is what makes photos most interesting. Like you say about the wall from Hong Kong, or the slightly different doors of Buenos Aires, or the not-exactly-the-same arches in Jerusalem,

  5. I’m with you and Jo on symmetry. In the natural world, it is hard to find symmetry. Even in the constructed world (things we make), we can make things look symmetrical but are not when the measuring begins or it has to dismantled or restored. Great challenge though. 🙂

  6. Such beautiful images this week, Tina, and your commentary has helped me understand better a couple of other principles of photography. I’m in love with the wall in Hong Kong because you chose to include that window, which, as you said, makes that picture special. How creative of you! But also, I love all the others, too, especially the water drop and the resulting circular symmetry. You’re definitely a teacher even though you may not have intended to be. Thanks for good lessons.

  7. Beautiful images, Tina, as always! Your reflections are stunning. You raise an interesting thought about the 2-tone wall in Hong Kong and the small square giving the eye a place to “rest.” I hadn’t thought of it in that way, but that’s exactly how that small window functions. Thanks for your beautiful photos and insights on “symmetry!”

  8. Absolutely mesmerizing photos Tina . I know , all those rules of symmetry helped but just the photos on their own told a story that was fascinating. For once, I couldn’t choose a favorite, be it the concert in the middle of a lake , the kinds of doors or the reflections and ripple in the water. Even the colour balance in Hongkong was delightfully balanced. I wonder, was the building painted to demarcate property lines or just a part of colourful rows? What a wonderful treat indeed !

    • Thanks very much Sheetal for the lovely compliment, glad you enjoyed. The Hong Kong wall had no special significance really, it wasn’t a particularly interesting building but the colors did draw my eye. I focused on them while leaving out the rest of an otherwise boring structure 😊

  9. Amazing photos, Tina. All are beautifully captured and presented here for this theme. I love the first image especially. I’m in awe with the image of the egrets and reflections. Hope to see Suzhou and Shangri La in the near future.

  10. Hi Jo – I’m rather with you on that. I like symmetry to a point but am always looking for a little gotcha to stay away from 100%. After all, nature isn’t 100% is she?! Glad you liked Zhouzhouang, a very fond memory of a very special place.

    • Hi Jo – I’m rather with you on that. I like symmetry to a point but am always looking for a little gotcha to stay away from 100%. After all, nature isn’t 100% is she?! Glad you liked Zhouzhouang, a very fond memory of a very special place.

  11. These are beautiful examples, Tina. For some reason, I”m especially drawn to the first shot of the concert, perhaps because of the beauty of the surroundings and the deep, lovely colors. If the water is still, egrets and the other water birds are prime candidates for symmetrical photos. Don’t ask me how I know. 🙂


    • Thanks very much Janet – I remember that evening perfectly with the beautiful music wafting across the water. (does music waft???). Anyway it was a truly beautiful spot far from the maddening crowd as they say.

  12. Beautiful photos, Tina. The egrets are wonderful but the doors captured my interest. The blue ‘by the rule’ doors are fascinating, but the four doors (you rule-breaker!) are lovely. They remind me of steps in wood staining. Very pretty.

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