Review and Refection on Assignment 1

10 11 2011
I managed to work within the brief, selecting some existing images from my photo archive that were at contrast with each other. I also managed to take 16 photo’s of contrasting elements as well as 1 image the has contrasting elements present in it.
I have managed to take some really interesting shots, I decided at the start that I would like to take images that were strong and interesting not just a snap. I also wanted to challenge myself and take some risks on the images to push past my comfort level. I feel that in general it went well and I am please with the photo’s. However there are a number of learnings that I have to consider for all further projects.
What was the challenges?
  • Work within the time frames that I have set myself.
  • Prepare and grow my ideas for photo’s recording these in Evernote as soon as I have them.
  • Try and prepare each shot before getting on location to take it.
  • Research more for ideas of interesting subjects within the local area in preparation for future projects.
  • Read a lot more to build my knowledge and improvement understanding of different elements within the images.
  • Plan to include elements (lines, diagonal etc) in my image, not just find them afterwards by chance.
  • The printing was not as smooth as I imagined due to my cropping and the image quality from those crops, when the last image needs to be blown up. The ‘moon’ image was an example, I was at my limit on my zoom lens, when I then cropped in Aperture the image on the screen looked good, but once uploaded to the print site, the image was deemed as poor quality for the size I wanted to print. So I had to print on image smaller than the rest. Which does not give a good impression.
What have I learned?
  • I  do not have a process for dealing with the images and for posting to the blog in an efficient way. This is all taking too much time.
  • My knowledge and use of Aperture could be greatly improved and I need to do some more work on building my knowledge to improve my speed in this area of the projects.
  • That the adding of contrasts and different elements within an image greatly increases the viewers experience.
  • From the printing process I have also learned that the image cropping does really effect the overall quality of the image, especially as the image is blown up larger, i.e. A4, 12×10.
  • Ensure that I am cropping the images in the scale that will suit the last printing paper.
  • That images with fully surrounding boarders are better for reviewing and for framing etc in the future.
  • Shoot images, where possible as they are to be printed, reducing the amount of images produced.
  • Take images within the lens capacity to maximise the quality of the images. No more large crops in Aperture.

What Will I do Differently?

  • I will read more in advance of the assignment, preparing the shots in advance and really thinking about the aspects within the shots.
  • I will definitely record more details in the blog as I progress through, to increase the blogs usefulness as a revision tool as well as to improve the tutor’s understanding of how and what I have done right and wrong.
  • Work within the time frames given by my tutor.

How Will I do It differently next time?

  • Research and reading the core text books first will definitely improve my efficiency. I read the books as the assignment was progressing not in preparation for the assignment.
  • I will also build my knowledge/understanding of how shots are take by other photographers, giving me the knowledge will also cut my time spent on trial and error.

What Have I achieved?

  • I have completed the assignment to the standard of the brief with what I believe are interesting images that have challenged me and I have enjoyed it.

How can I put the theory into practice:-

  • I feel that I need to read more and put into practice what I am learning as I learn it, documenting this on the learning blog.
  • I feel that I need to not be conscious, of what is on the blog, as it needs to include the good as well as the bad, to help me improve.

List of Actions:-

  • Explore faster uploading of images, labelling, placement in Wordpress.
  • Improve the use of the learning blog, not just to post the exercises but as a record.
  • Really focus on the composition of the shot, trying to cut the amount of images taken to get the last shot.
  • Work within the limits of my lens, not relying on Aperture to crop the image to enlarge it.
  • Crop images in the same ratio that I will finally print.
  • Print images with a border.

Assignment 1: Contrasts Part 2 ‘The 8 Pairs’

10 11 2011

Preparation:- I really enjoyed the first part of the assignment and feel that it has inspired me to really think about the contrasting images that I must produce. I have also been reading ‘The Photographer’s Eye’ by Michael Freeman about ‘Contrast’ (pages 34 – 37). The challenge is to imply or prove that the image is reflective of the title, and to make sure that the image portrays this to the viewer.

To a certain extent it is a challenge to imply ‘soft’ in an image, but having read the background of the exercise and Itten’s reasons for choosing these contrasts, there is a much more technical aspect to this assignment. The assignment reinforces all the experience gained in previous exercises to improve the composition of each photograph. By planning each image I am going to think about the ‘sense’ of the image and how I can increase or reinforce this, but use some of the techniques that I have learned up to now.

Equipment:- The equipment that I will use during this exercise is:

Camera: Canon D5mk2 (Full Frame)

Lenses: EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, EF28-90mm f/4-5.6, EF50mm f/1.8 II (All with UV filters)


Spirit Level that fits on the hotshoe.

Assignment 1 Part 2

Firstly I am going to work on the contrasts that I initially feel confident with.

In preparation for the assignment I had taken some photo’s with some contrasts in mind and I have managed to find a few images as possible inclusions.

Image 1a Still

'Still' ISO200 300mm f/5.6 1/200


This image was taken in my village, in good sunlight in mid July. I was using my EF 70-300mm lens and had planned to try to catch some butterflies or other insects in the wild grasses close to the river. Unfortunately I wasn’t happy with the results but on my way back there was a large flowering plant protruding from a garden, here I found many butterflies basking in the sun.


My intention was to find a shot for ‘Still’ using the combination of the flower and an insect.  From my location I had complete focus on the butterfly and a bokeh background that would be sympathetic to the subject. The colour contrasts between the flower, the back ground and the butterfly works really well. I was delighted with the shot and I did manage to capture a great view of the wings with the detail and the face of the insect.

Image ISO200 300mm f/5.6 1/200 WB ‘Sunlight’

By shooting at 1/200th sec there is no movement present in the image and the butterfly does look still. The positioning of the butterfly in the foreground helps to give a still feel to the image, but there is also a sense of depth too as the butterfly is looking into the image and there is a flower further into the image which falls out. I cropped this image like this to emphasis that there is somewhere for the butterfly to go, outside the shot, generating thought for the viewer.

Image 1b Moving

'Moving' ISO200 300mm f/7.1 1/250


I managed to shoot this shot whilst looking for the ‘still’ image. I had looked for a bee or wasp to emphasis movement as I wanted to show movement from a travelling perspective, but also capture the movement of the wings.


I was looking to capture movement of the insect and the movement on the wings.

Image ISO200 300mm f/7.1 1/250 WB ‘Sunlight’ (Manual Mode)

Finding the one bright yellow flower among all the other wilting ones really helps to focus the viewer on the key elements. This image has not been cropped and I feel that the bokeh effect on the back ground helps to further emphasis the purpose of the shot. The space around the insect allows the viewer to see that he has travelled to this point, creating a sense of movement. As the image was shot prior to him landing it also gives a greater sense of movement as you know that he has still a little further to go.

The blurring on the wings was perfect as the speed of the wings is captured in the hallow effect. From reading the movement section of ‘The Photographers Eye’ Michael Freeman, I was reassured about the subject not being in absolute focus and that this could have given the subject a more static feeling. As the flower is in focus this enhances the sense of movement in the insect.

I felt that this image really worked and I knew this was the image I would use after the 3 shots taken.

Image 2a Few

'Few' ISO200 105mm f/6.3 1/800


I shot this image on the banks of the Trent in July 2011. My intention on that day was to take some photo’s of my daughter, but as she had fell asleep I decided to look around and try and capture some images for this assignment.


Capture interesting images that could be used for the assignment.

Image ISO200 105mm f/6.3 1/800 WB ‘Sunlight’ (Shutter Priority)
This image was taken with shutter priority as I wanted to be sure that I captured still butterflies with no blurring. The ‘few’ butterflies are emphasised by the many yellow flowers and this reinforces the lacking numbers of butterflies. This image does have a lot going on, the viewer does immediately find the larger open butterfly, there is a delay noticing the second. The curve from the lower butterfly to the upper one is emphasised but the curving effect of the flowers and this helps link both of the subjects together, also strengthening the image.

Image 2b Many

'Many' ISO640 28mm f/6.3 1/10


This is the lobby of the Movenpick Ibn Battuta Gate, Dubai. The moment I saw the lanterns and how many of them there were, I knew this was my ‘Many’ shot.


Emphasis as much as possible how many lanterns there were, along with the chains holding them.  I tried from underneath but there was not enough distance between myself and the lanterns to get all of them into the shot with my 28mm lens. So above was the best option.

Image ISO640 28mm f/6.3 1/10 WB ‘Tungsten’ (Manual Mode)

I shot this image in manual, resting the camera on the sill of the over walk on the 5th floor. I did try the 4th floor but I still didn’t have enough height to get the best impression. I wanted to make sure that I could pick out the detail on the lanterns at the front and the back of the image, so I chose manual mode with a f6.3 aperture.

Once back at home I thought that the image worked best in Black and White with a med/high contrast. (3.5) This image is all about the lanterns, and by having other elements on the image revealed, only detracts from the subject. There is in fact lots of people on the ground level having dinner, but I wanted to remove this to make sure that the viewer was led from the bottom of the image to the top, giving the ‘many’ feel. It is only a little later that you realise that the image is dissected by the chains holding the lanterns, this is not immediately clear as the ones in the foreground almost hang in the air by themselves.

I appreciate that the image could be more powerful with a closer crop, suggesting that more lanterns were outside the picture, I did try this crop, however the walls around the image act as a natural frame and this was lost. I believe that the intensity of how ‘many’ lanterns there are is helped by the narrowness of the shot and emphasised by the building, still giving the viewer a sense of ‘many’ within a tight area.

Image 3a Curved

'Curved' ISO100 28mm f/13 20sec


This image is Ibn Battuta’s Gate, Dubai shot from a window within the hotel at night.


This is definitely a ‘curve’ but I wanted to have more than the structure, so I decided to take the shot in the evening and try and get some car lights streams/curves.

Image ISO100 28mm f/13 20secs WB ‘AWB’ (Manual Mode)

I had plenty of time as the camera was propped on the window sill and so I reduced the ISO to 100 and selected 20secs as the shutter speed. With this length of exposure I was able to get streaks from the car headlights, and the yellow dots along the main road, which was from a bin lorry with a flashing yellow light on top.

There are so many curves in this image; the gate, the headlights, and the brake lights which all clear to the viewer as they spend more time looking at the image. The roads themselves are curved in the near and foreground, and there is also a curving feeling from the buildings as they wrap around the image too. I really enjoyed this shot as I have not taken too many with the streaking of lights. It was also dark and there was also the challenge of the long exposure time too. I think it is an image that draws you in as you discover more.

Image 3b Straight

'Straight' ISO200 52mm f/25 0.30sec


I took this image at the beginning of August close to my home. The farmers had made the stacks that day, there was  storm approaching, and the sun was setting quickly.


Using one of the stacks as a platform, I set up my tripod on top and from the higher position was trying to capture the ‘many’ shot. But I didn’t feel that it really worked and decided to concentrate on the lines created in the newly cut straw as a possible ‘straight’ shot.

Image ISO200 52mm f/25 0.3sec WB ‘Cloudy’ (Aperture Priority)

I took this from on top of a stack, looking towards the storm that was coming in. The sun was setting and the golden glow from the ground was amazing. There are many straight lines in this image, from the lines running away from the viewer, to the intersecting horizon. Depth of field is strong and the elements within the scene help create order. The stacks in the foreground also add balance, which is in contrast to the sky where there is no order, instead there is a sense of the unpredictable storm looming. I feel this creates contrast and conflict within the image. I really enjoyed taking this photo.

Image 4a Rounded

'Rounded' ISO2500 f/4.5 1/30

This image was taken in the Movenpick Ibn Battutta Gate hotel, whilst I was staying there.

The plan was to capture the lanterns from below framing the image using the arch way, giving a sense of the Middle East due to the shape.

Image ISO2500 28mm f/4.5 1/30sec WB ‘Manual Temperature’ (Manual)
The was a lack of natural light in the lobby, I knew that my flash would never give me the illumination that was required and I had no tripod. Therefore I made use of my cameras’ ISO range to enable me to shoot the shot whilst holding the camera. My plan for this shot was to frame the shot with the ’rounding’ effect, but also by making use of an interesting image. The image does give you the sense of looking through a window, which provides balance to the image as the arch is perfectly balanced. Also the lanterns are positioned symmetrically in the foreground which adds organisation to the image.

Image 4b Diagonal

'Diagonal' ISO400 54mm f/5.6 1/50

This is a pillar with a diagonal detail.

I was looking for diagonals within an image. This has lots of diagonal lines and shadows.

Image ISO400 47mm f/4.5 1/50sec WB ‘Manual Temperature’ (Manual)
Diagonals give the image many characteristics, from depth to movement. They also create points within the image. The viewers eyes are kept within the outer diagonal lines running parallel  to each other from top to bottom. The pattern also stretches from below to above the image, which gives a greater sense of depth and scale.
Image 5a Dark

'Dark' ISO500 28mm f/8 1/50

This image was taken in a field, just before sunset, as a storm was moving towards me near Newark, Notts.

I had went to the location to take possible images for ‘many’, ‘lines’ and ‘straight’. But when I noticed the intensity of the storm, I knew this would make a great contrasty image.

Image ISO500 28mm f/8 1/50sec WB ‘Cloudy Weather (Aperture Priority)

There are many aspects of ‘Dark’ within this image. The lighting level, the contrast, the storm and the atmosphere all of which portray ‘dark’. ‘Dark’ is further enhanced by the light foreground of freshly cut straw, the light within the cloudy cover and the break in the clouds on the horizon.

I positioned the horizon low as this introduces more drama within the clouds showing more intensity than the straw. The tree line is silhouetted against the light sky but this is consumed as your eye moves towards the storm. The rain is also visible on the horizon and you can pick out the heavier rain bands as the viewer looks towards the darkest area. This helps create tension and inspires the viewers thoughts as they realise the storm is moving towards them and is consuming everything. This image works better in black and white, and this further emphasises the emotion for the viewer, light is good and dark is bad. The graining effect also increases the intensity of the image. The foreground has detail in the freshly cut straw to catch the viewers attention but not to detract from the horizon.

Image 5b Light

'Light' ISO320 71mm f/6.3 1/125

I took this image in my village on a Sunday afternoon walk with my daughter during Autumn.

On such a clear day, I took my daughter a walk around the village. The earlier days sunset had been amazing, and with it being October the sun was low. As I walked back the light was streaming through the trees. The challenge had been how to catch the light so that it did not bleach out the image, whilst still keeping interest and detail in the image. I was really pleased the trees still had enough leaves to disrupt the light enough so that I could catch the rays.

Image ISO320 71mm f/6.3 1/50sec AWB (Manual mode)
This image is all about the light, it is really warm as it is during the golden hour in October, and the redness is coming through from the leaves also – the light picks this up too. The trees are managing to cast large shadows of themselves which adds to the dramatic effect of the image.
In post production I did have to remove a couple of very small lens glares from the image, I had noticed them on the first couple of images that I shot. I had positioned myself behind the tree, using it as cover to cut any glare. This was successful albeit for a couple of small glares which were easily moved.
The leaning aspect of the trees to the left, and lean on the few trees to the right of the sun help keep the viewers eye on the light stream. This is further enforced by the angle of the path coming towards the light stream and the line of the light.

Image 6a High

'High' ISO6400 35mm f/4.5 1/20sec

Whilst in Dubai we had planned to visit the ‘At The Top’ attraction which is the trip to the viewing platform on what is the highest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

Take advantage of the vantage point and try and get my ‘high’ shot. I didn’t know what that shot would be, but I knew if there was a shot on height, this should be the place to take it.

Image ISO6400 35mm f/4.5 1/20sec AWB (Manual)
Due to luggage constraints I was unable to take my tripod with me and I knew that getting a useable shot in the dark would be a challenge due to camera shake and exposure times. The shot was taken on the viewing deck outside on the 124th floor (the highest in the world). I had to use manual modes with the ISO at ISO6400 to enable me to have a chance of getting a shutter speed that could be hand held as there was not even anywhere to support the camera. This is also why I had to choose a relatively large aperture of f/4.5. Fortunately I did manage to get the shot and despite the constraints I was really happy with it.
I do feel that the viewer does not necessarily have a sense of immense height as the buildings opposite are so high in their own right. It is only as the viewer starts to pick out the dots of cars that a real perspective is gained, which definitely makes the viewer then look at the image in a completely different way. Despite the large aperture, the sense of depth is achieved as the 2 roads on either side are diagonals and moving into the image. Also the detail of the buildings and black of the coast line does make the viewer look deeper into the image.

Image 6b Low

'Low' ISO500 28mm f/8 1/40


This shot was taken in a local field to my home, just after the straw had been cut.


Identify a shot to emphasis the sense of ‘low’ to the viewer.

Image ISO500 35mm f/8 1/40sec WB ‘Cloudy Weather’ (Aperture Priority)

This shot became obvious to me as I was shooting other photos for the assignment. The height of the straw had been cut to around ankle height, and the stacks were approx 5 feet tall. I wanted to take a shot that would focus on the height of the straw, but still have a reference to the stacks to emphasis the short height of the cut.

I shot this image by hand, crouching down in among the cut straw, the viewer only gets this sense once reference is drawn from the stacks.

Image 7a Strong

'Strong' ISO400 64mm f/5.6 1/100

This is a photo of the main lock gates at Newark Lock.
Take a shot of the lock gates that emphasised how strong the timber structure was to hold back the water.
Image ISO400 64mm f/5.6 1/100sec WB ‘Sunny’ (Manual Mode)
The strength of the gates is demonstrated to the viewer some ways. There is a glimpse of the water level on the other side. The water flow ¾ the way up the gate further demonstrates the height on the other side, and also the algae line shows the viewer the heights the water reaches when it is high inside the lock gates. The strength of the gates is considerable, they are made of wood and the thickness of the wooden beams can also been seen. I feel this image works well.

Image 7b Weak

'Weak' ISO400 90mm f/5.6 1/1250

This is derelict crane along the canal bank, the frame is rusting.
The difficult part of this assignment is demonstrating the effect of ‘weak’.
Image ISO400 90mm f/5.6 1/1250sec AWB (Manual Mode)
This derelict crane with rust looks in a weakened state of repair, but the weight limit on the crane head makes the viewer appraise the condition of the frame with the weight limit – could this crane really hold 5 Tonnes? The truth is, you don’t know but the viewer at least questions the situation, creating a moment of thought. The frame work also focusses the viewers attention to the words which reemphasised the thought.

Image 8a Transparent

'Transparent' ISO640 50mm f/2.8 1/40

This subject in this image are my Harman and Kardon laptop speakers. I thought due to their design they would make an interesting transparent subject.
I planned to shoot the image, trying to emphasis the transparency of the speakers. I tried a number of shots with different backgrounds i order to try and emphasis this.
Image ISO640 50mm Prime Lens f/2.8 1/40sec AWB (Manual Mode)
Whilst experimenting with different shots, I caught the reflection of the subject on the granite worktop. This gave me an idea to try and capture a reflection of the subject but without drawing attention to the granite surface. By making the image black and white I was able to increase the contrast in the real subject, this enabled clearer detail in the reflection and created more interest for the viewer. The cropping of the image adds a surprise for the viewer, as they work out what the image actually is. The crop also allows the viewer to see the entire speaker system but not in the traditional sense, the viewer has to put the pieces together. I feel this adds an extra interesting element to the image.
I have managed to capture depth not just in the subject, but also in the reflection which adds to the quality of the reflection. The transparency of the speakers is clear in both the subject and the reflection.
Image 8b Opaque

'Opaque' ISO640 240mm f/5.6 1/40

I wanted to emphasise the ‘opaque’ of this image and to do this, I thought that a window that could not be seen through would prove this best. I decided to photograph a stain glass window in my local church.
Upon seeing this scene, I really wanted to capture the detail in the window. What caught my attention was the direction of the gaze from the subjects in this image. The figures hands point to their face and their gaze from each subject moves your eye to the next. Also the direction that they are facing, with the gazes looking out from the scene, do give an element of movement within the image, and also for the viewer, a moment to contemplate ‘what are they gazing at?’
The framing of the lead is clear in the image, but does not overpower or detract from it, however it does reinforce that this is a window.
Image ISO640 240mm f/5.6 1/40sec AWB (Manual Mode)

Final Image With Contrasting Elements

Light and Dark

'Light & Dark' ISO100 300mm f/11 1/25

All during this project I had a plan to take a shot of the moon. I had seen many images of the moon over the years and I really wanted to take a good shot for this project. It is a great contrast of light and dark.
In preparation for this image, I did some research on the pitfalls of photographing the moon. I also used an app that I have for my iPad called ‘Observatory’ which tells you the planetary cycles based on your current location. There was one clear night according to the weather forecast and I had to maximise the opportunity.
I set up my tripod, using my EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. I had to use the timer mode as I do not have a remote release for my camera.
Image ISO100 300mm f/11 1/25sec AWB (Manual Mode)
Adjusting my settings according to the best advice I could find on the internet, I set my ISO to 100, my aperture to f/11 and then selected a shutter speed that would give a sharp image. I knew that too slow a shutter speed with the movement of the moon around the earth could create blurring.  As I was reviewing in camera, I was able to see that the image was still sharp. This image is a classic contrast, as in people’s mind the moon is associated with darkness, yet in fact the moon is being lit by the sun and is very light. There is also only part of the moon visible as it is obscured by darkness reinforcing the contrast.

Assignment 1: Contrasts Part 1

26 08 2011

Part 1: Assignment 1: Contrasts

The Brief: In preparation for the project you could look through the photographs you have taken before and try to assemble pairs that represent contrasting concepts. Remember it is visual concepts that we are looking for. A lead weight may be heavy but does it look heavy and if so why? Colour, tone, lighting and comparative relationships to the back ground will all affect our response. We know weights are heavy but what if they are sprayed pale yellow and out on dark, unyielding surface? Can you find at least 4 contrasting pairs? This will be a valuable project in recognition and selection.

Choose from the following list of contrasts:-

Large/small   long/short   thick/thin   black/white   many/few   pointed/blunt   smooth/rough   still/moving   transparent/opaque   liquid/solid   strong/weak

High/low   broad/narrow   light/dark   much/little   straight/curved   diagonal/rounded   hard/soft   light/heavy   sweet/sour   continuous/intermittent.


Having to look through previous photos within my database was a challenging exercise and one that took much more time than I anticipated. I did manage to find 4 contrasting pairs and actually managed to find some contrasting pairs within the same image. I did find myself really looking into the images to find the elements to fit the lists above. Some are more obvious than others. I selected 14 images to begin with and produced a contact sheet for each, which I printed off and then noted my thoughts about the best possible pairs that demonstrated the best contrasts. From this contact sheet I then selected the best 8 images. I was looking for the strongest impression/feeling for the viewer not just looking for images that fitted the description.

Contact Page

These are the images that I have selected.

Image A1 Diagonal

'Diagonal' 55mm f/8 1/320 ISO100

I have used some previously edited images from my photographs, this image has a strong diagonal presence and running left to right but also from right to left. The black and white adds a great sense of depth and this increases the diagonal effect. I also do feel that the flower offers a ’rounded’ contrast as well within the image and is at odds with the strong straight lines. I took this image on honeymoon in Thailand and it just appeared interesting at the time. The flowers would fall from the plants that entwined the trees.

Image A2 Rounded

'Rounded' 44mm f/5 1/15 ISO800

I chose this image as some examples of rounding. The lights in the fountain are part of a circle, the lights themselves were round but also the tops of the fountains are rounding as the reach their greatest height. I had already edited this image, cropping and adding black and white. Again this was taken in Thailand and there are contrasts within this image as well, with the straight lines on the fountain. This could also I guess offer a straight and curved contrast too.


The images do contrast with each other with the contrasts being the strongest features within the images.

Image B1 Low

'Low' 50mm f/3.2 1/1000 ISO100

The snowdrops in this image are barely the height of the grass and this is clear from the image and the foreground also emphasises how ‘low’ the camera was when taking the shot. You have a real sense of ‘ground level’ with this shot.

Image B2 High

'High' 90mm f/8 1/800 ISO400

There is a great sense of height from this shot, as I was directly under the helicopter as it came over and hovered. The lack of any other reference point adds to the sense of height as there is nothing to scale against. Also how I have cropped the image gives a greater sense of space as you find at higher altitudes. I shot this image over my home about 2 years ago whilst living in Matlock. The RAF were rescuing a person from the top of a nearby hill.


Both images have other elements within the images that add to the sense of ‘high’ or ‘low’ so you have the feeling from the image not just the logical sense of helicopters are high up and snowdrops are low down, but the images reaffirm this by using the isolation and the use of foreground to help draw context.

Image C1 Few

'Few' 44mm f/5 1/50 ISO800

The image draws emphasises the ‘few’ tangerines by focusing the viewer’s eye on the ‘many’ chestnuts. The colour contrasts between the tangerines and the chestnuts further reinforces that the image is focused on the ‘few’ rather than the many. I took this image during one of the exercises during this module.

Image C2 Many

'Many' 18mm f/4 1/20 ISO400

There are of course many jam jars in this image, but I feel that the table out front piled high adds a greater sense of depth to the image and then of course the back of the image is full of jars too, this multiplies the sense of how many jars there are. Also by the jars coming to each side it gives the impression that there are more jars out of sight. The focal point is also on the jars to the top left and this also gives the sense of drawing the viewer in past the jars int he front, giving a sense of being surrounded by them. This image was taken in a store in Matlock in Derbyshire.

Both images are very different in what they are achieving and how they doing it. The jars photo draws the viewer into the image and this is due to the focal points and also the sense of what is going on outside the image. You have the sense of many more than just the large quantity that are seen. The tangerine shot is all about insolation and the brightness of the tangerines against a a darker back ground helps to isolate the tangerines more, giving a greater sense of them being there by themselves. I also think that they look a little out of place in the context of the image and this further emphasises the sense of ‘a few’. Both images really deliver in there own right.

Image D1 Curved

'Curved' 34mm f/22.6 1/125 ISO400

The tire marks in the snow lead the viewer into this image, with curve coming towards the end, this further emphasises the curve and the change of direction takes the viewer out of the shot. The horizon line is straight also and this further emphasises the curve in the path. This image was taken on the hill tops over Matlock in 2010, the morning after a very heavy snow fall.

Image D2 Straight

'Straight' 18mm f/22 1/80 ISO400

This image was already cropped and in black and white. The main dominating feature is the ‘straight’ train lines, but there is also shadow lines of the track, that further intensify the dominance of the tracks in this image. By using a low aperture of f/22 I was able to focus on the distance and this pulls the viewers eye up the tracks to the horizon, giving the sense of travelling down the tracks in a straight line. So the feeling/sensation is created. I took this shot on the steam rail line in Matlock on 2009.
Both images are about a path and they contrast well with each other due to their similarities. Bothe lead the viewer on the journey, the straight shot is uncomplicated and you can see where you are going, but the curved one generates a little tension as the curve is deep into the image, the turn is sharp and also  then leaves the shot. Both images deliver on the contrasting theme but achieve it in a similar way, which is interesting.

Contrasts Part 1 Conclusion

The assignment did suggest that this would a valuable project of ‘recognition and selection’ and it did take longer than I thought it would be to narrow the possible images down to the contact sheet and then finally select the images. I do feel that the images are strong and show the contrasts.

My learnings have been around the ‘sense’ of each image. It was quite simple to find shots that could be interpreted within the contrast subjects, but the harder part was ensuring that the photo did more than just look like the contrasting subject. To add the feel makes the image much more powerful, much more memorable and much more interesting.
I need to really consider this as I plan for the next stage of the assignment and preparation will be the key to maintaining the feelings as well as creating visually stimulating shots.

Exercise 14 Cropping

16 08 2011

The brief:- Select 3 previously shot images each with a different subject. Select the original image and trace the corp on the original image and then corp the image and place side by side. Right a brief note describing the logic behind the choice of cropping. By using images already taken I may look at my images in a different way.

In this exercise I have chosen 3 very different images that were greatly improved by cropping, some, quite aggressively. Cropping can enables the photographer to compose a more compelling image, adjust the elements within the frame and create strong focal points. It does also offer the photographer the ability to compose the shot as he would have wished, but maybe due to a number of reasons at the time of shooting. Eg timing or the right equipment not being available at that time eg. wrong lens.
Once back on the computer the photographer has all the time he needs to compose the shot, zoom in, focus on a specific element etc with the ability to copy many versions to compare to find the best image. It is always every photographers goal to get the shot right in the camera, but this gives you a second bite at the cherry.
Image 1. The Allium and the Fly
This image was taken with a EF50mm lens so there was no opportunity to zoom into the key element in the photograph. I had been out looking to take differentially focussed images. I had noticed the fly on the allium, which is a great flower for colour and detail.
I cropped this image to focus on the centre of the flower, which is in focus, as is the fly just on the out side of the focal area. By cropping the image the viewer is drawn into the image by the depth created by the small focal area. By the placing the main flower using the rule of thirds. The smaller flower does not detract from the main subject but leads the viewers eye to the main element. By cropping it has also been possible to place the lower flower in the lower ‘thirds intersection’ point, which is also in the opposite corner to the main element. Which greatly improves the balance to the image and seems to link both flowers together.

Allium with Crop Highlighted

50mm f/2.8 1/160sec ISO400

Allium with crop applied

Image 2. Staythorpe Power Station
This image was taken with as wide a view as possible, without bringing in distracting elements. However due to my location, which I could not improve on, there were still a lot of distracting elements around the outskirts on the frame. By framing this image in a landscape crop I have been able to remove the distracting elements but still keep the sense of a wide angle. This image has a low horizon that allows the sense of size from the steam column. Movement can be felt due to the drifting of the steam from the main plume and from the chimney pots. I feel the crop adds to this sense.

Staythorpe Power Station with crop highlighted

Staythorpe Power Station with crop applied

Image 3. War memorial Huntingdon.
The intensity of this image was increased by focusing more on the face of the monument. The crop also compensated for the reach of my lens. Focusing on the gaze of the subject was enhanced by isolating the image to the far right (using the rule of thirds) the space to the left helps to focus the viewer on the face of the subject, in particular the eyes. The crop definitely works in intensifying the image and the feelings.

Soldier Memorial with crop highlighted

Soldier Memorial with crop applied

The cropping of these images really improve them and helps creates more memorable and thought-provoking images.

Exercise 13 Vertical and Horizontal Frames

16 08 2011

The Brief:- Take 20 photos vertically. Review the images answering ‘did you find that the restriction of the project encouraged me to search for tall things? Then try and retake the photo’s with the camera in the horizontal position and compare?’

All of the images were taken using my Canon D5 mk2 fitted with an EF 28-90mm f/4.6-5.4 lens. All of the images were taken during my lunch break whilst I was working in Huntingdon. This is not a town that I am familiar with, however it was interesting to go and explore, looking for good opportunities. I did not struggle at all to shoot vertically as I commonly do anyway. I did not find that I continually looked for tall subjects as I do shoot in both landscape and portrait. However I was struck with some of the images and how they looked in horizontal format. This definitely created different effects, especially for taller subjects like the clock tower, the gold clubs and the coach lamp.

I did enjoy this exercise as I also used it as an opportunity to find good subjects from a place I had never visited before. I was pleased with the photo’s and the opportunities that I found, like the golf clubs and the rasta man’s head which was on the side of a new wine bar.
I have laid the images side by side for easy comparison. In conclusion I believe that there are some images that work well in either portrait or landscape, but with strong composition there are a lot more that are adaptable. Sometimes the change of orientation adds different aspects for the viewer.

Exercise 12 Positioning the Horizon

5 08 2011

The brief: Find a view point that give a reasonably interesting landscape in which there is an unbroken and clear horizon.  View the scene through the camera and consider the different positions in which you can arrange the horizon line in the frame.Take a short sequence of  photographs (6 in total) in which the horizon is ranged from the top to bottom. Once the images have been processed, write a short note on the effect of placing the horizon low, high or in the middle. Noting which you prefer and why.

Image 1:- The image has a great feeling of depth, your eye is lead into the image towards to horizon. This gives a greater sense of perspective. In this image the shadows mimic the horizon line, as does the island in the distance. It has almost created layers within the image.

Image 1 28mm f/20 1/125 ISO125

Image 2:- In this image the horizon still high in the image, but there feels as though there is less depth to the image. The shadowing is less relevant as you eyes more quickly to the horizon. The foreground becomes irrelevant.

Image 2 28mm f/20 1/125 ISO125

Image 3:- The horizon is dead centre and something interesting is happening as you look at this image as my eye is bouncing between the sand and the sky, it is as though with the horizon in the centre my eye can’t decide which part to dwell on and this is creating continual movement. A very interesting effect. You also have a sense of interest on the dividing line. The island and the buildings in the distance.

Image 3 28mm f/20 1/125 ISO125

Image 4:- This image is all about the sky, the foreground and even the horizon are becoming irrelevant. Your eye moves from the red flag to the clouds. There is a sense of scale with this image, but not a sense of depth.

Image 4 28mm f/20 1/125 ISO125

Image 5:- My eye is drawn to the horizon and the buildings on it initially and then you are taken up into the sky and the clouds. Rather than a sense of depth there is a sense of scale.

Image 5 28mm f/20 1/125 ISO125

Image 6:-  The image is dominated by the sky and clouds, there is a feeling of your eye falling from the sky to the horizon. What is below the horizon appears to be insignificant to the image. The flag coming into the left does had a sense of height to the sky but does offer a distraction and seems to point your eye to where to start looking in this image. You are drawn to the left top corner which does challenge the normal viewing process of looking at the bottom left upwards. It does create a different experience to the viewer and offers a more uncomfortable view. But this could be used to the photographers advantage in certain situations.

Image 6 28mm f/20 1/125 ISO125


The difference in the same image due to the location of the horizon may be stark in the extremes. My favourite image is the middle of the road image 3. This gives a good sense of depth but still includes the interesting features of the sand and the shadows which lead you to the horizon. The horizon in this image is not just a dividing line but due to it’s location offers another element to the image as your eye traces along the line and you pick up the building dotted on the horizon. In other images the horizon is a line and there is no need to look along.The clouds and the sky add to the sense of the image and create an interest at the top of the image. I think that it works well as there is a lot happening in this image and the balance works well. What I have learned however is that for different images and to add drama or intrigue to an image, by simply positioning the horizon the image may be changed.

Exercise 11: Balance

25 04 2011

The aim of this exercise is to select at least 6 photo’s from my image library and review how they are balanced. Once reviewed I have to highlight directly on the image how the image is balanced and also sketch the ‘weighting scale’ to emphasis this. Once this was complete I was to conclude how simple I found it to identify the balance within the image and discuss why it was easier to identify in some images rather than others.

Photo 1a:- In Photo 1a I completed the task but as I posted it to the blog I realised that I disagree with my first conclusion. So I adjusted the image to say what I now know is the dominate part of the image. In the photo the dog’s eyes looking down the nose and out of the image is really what you are drawn to, despite the head dominating most of the frame it becomes irrelevant. In Photo 1b I have shown this.

It also alters the scale to be only focused on the eyes and nose.

Photo 1a

Photo 1b

Photo 2:- In this image there is a key focal point, the moss, but what is interesting is that the wall creates a divide in the image and with it moving backwards right to left this draws your eyes to the moss. The other aspect of the image is the focal point, it was taken on a 50mm lens@ f/2.8 so there is only a very narrow area of the image in focus. With the moss ‘leaping’ to the left it circles your eyes around the image and back again. The image is weighted to the right side of the image.

Photo 3:- This image was a challenge, as it is so busy but I think the balance is delivered from the 2 areas that are brighter than the rest of the image. It was a very difficult decision.

Photo 3

Photo 4:- This image is dominated by the large flower head to right of centre, but balance is achieved by the smaller flower head to the left of centre.

Photo 4

Photo 5:- The balance within this image is created by the rotor blades of the helicoptor. It centres your attention on the fuselage, the sky in the rest of the image becomes irrelevant.

Photo 5

Photo 6:- There is balance in this image by the 2 principal structures of the pier which are linked and connected by the pier itself. Albeit the near ground element is more prominent.

Photo 6

The exercise was a thought provoking one. What is clear, is that not always when you first look at an image that the balance is apparent. How complex the image is definitely effects the balance. Looking at photo 4 v’s photo 3 emphasises this. Balance is not always achieved but what is clear is that images with good balance can be more interesting to look at. But this can be a distraction also. In the exercise example Cecil Beaton’s ‘Quintin Hogg Q.C.’ is photographed with a hat sitting on a lower table to the right of him. I can see the balance, but as an image I find the hat a real distraction to the image overall.

In conclusion balance is another rule to consider when taking the image and when cropping. It can help create interest, draw the viewers eye and draw the viewer into the image. But sometimes is can also detract or confuse the image.