In my Creating Visual Impact class going on right now, there was discussion about placement in the frame of key objects, and a question arose about my comment that 'we read from left to right...' in western cultures. I thought it would make a good blog in general to talk about how we enter picture spaces.
In western cultures where we read from left to right, top to bottom, our normal, comfortable entry point is from the left. A psychology study I read years ago talked about this, that we entered a picture from the left/top and circled around. I have always considered the rule of thirds in my compositions, and most times, have found that I like the upper right or lower left for placement the best, for pictures that have harmony. But I never place something there if the space is going to be too empty on the left then; in the case of this rock and fall color reflection, it worked to put the rocks on the lower right. You enter the picture, travel across all this blaze of color, and come to rest on the rocks. You've seen my whole picture at that point. For my class, I decided to flip the picture to show the difference. In the flipped version, it actually still works, because the rock is shaped such that you follow it to the point of the rock and then jump into the pool of color. But I still prefer it with the rock on the right; it's more peaceful to me that way. (you'll have to cover one with your hand to really get the full effect of each picture in both sets).