In my previous post I said I’d explain the link between Fibonacci numbers and a device we photographers often use. It’s a little technical but not very difficult to understand so bear with it!
Many plants arrange their leaves around the stem in a pattern in which each new leaf is positioned at an angle close to 222.5° around from the previous leaf (it has been demonstrated that this maximises the amount of light and water reaching each leaf). This image illustrates this pattern well. If it’s not clear how, I’ve created a version of it where each of the pairs of coloured lines represents this angle. The ratio of this angle and the angle of a full circle (360/222.5) is 1.618 (rounded). You may already recognise this special number: if not remember it for a moment.
The Fibonacci sequence (described in detail on Wikipedia) is a series of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two numbers before it. It looks like this: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34…. Starting at 2, the ratio between any pair of successive numbers in the sequence gets progressively closer to 1.618. Recognise that ratio?
That ratio happens to be what is commonly known as the Golden Ratio, a ratio many photographers may be familiar with as a compositional aid. If you’re not familiar with the idea, Wikipedia explains the Golden Ratio in detail and Digital Photography Review has a good article illustrating its use in composition, as does photoinf.com. This looks suspiciously similar to the well known Rule of Thirds, which I think is just a simplification of the Golden Mean proportions.
Ironically, this image uses neither for its composition, proving that rules are made to be broken!