Saturday, 19 December 2009

Art of Photography: Project 18

Project 18 still focused on points as 16 & 17 had, but where as they focused on single points this is about having two points in the image.

When a single point is in the image with nothing else the composition is created by the relationship between the point and the frame, so placement of the point in the frame is all important.

However when there are two points in the frame the composition is created by the relationship between those two points. I learnt that the mind usually has a stronger focus on one of the points, maybe because it is larger or nearer the centre of the frame. The positioning of the points and their size can either balance or unbalance the composition.

On the day I took the images it was very cold and there wasn't much opportunity to capture two points in an image, so the pictures are not great but I still learnt the idea's behind the project.

Here I believe the composition is fairly hard to resolve as both points are in a similar position in the frame and the eye moves between the two, however as the dog is slightly nearer the centre and motion is implied, attention is drawn there a little more.

This is a good example of how the relationship between points can balance the composition. One duck is nearer to the centre of the frame, larger in the frame, and more in focus, so although the viewer sees both ducks attention is drawn to the male.

We were also asked to take an image of a pair of eyes at equal distance from the centre of the frame, and equal size, to see how this can make an uncomfortable position as the viewer cannot resolve the composition.

The mind cannot decide between the two eyes and is not drawn to either. Here I believe the bridge of the nose is also 'dividing' the image.

I also captured a similar image of ducks, where they were both the same size and distance from the centre of the frame. I decided to include it as another example as I believe it shows the same idea as the eye picture.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Art of Photography: Project 17

For project 17 I had to capture three images with a 'Point', having a reason for it's placement in the frame.

Here I chose to place the point small and bottom left in the frame to show the expansiveness of the sky and movement of the plane into it.

Placement here is not so good with hindsight, but it is placed near to the golden section, and I still like the image for a slight feeling of serenity it gives.

This is placed on the golden section as well. After taking this image I realised something that made me laugh. That this is the kind of area I usually place bows when I wrap presents, and that the lines showing the divide would be the same position as ribbon. This made me think of how the golden section is meant to be appealing visually, even sub-consciously, that I did this before I even started photography, and that many other people place it like this too.

Art of Photography: Project 16

Project 16 & 17 focus on 'Points', how they are positioned in the frame and how they divide the frame.

I have learnt that a 'point' is a focal point in the frame which drawers the viewers attention. The smaller an object or subject is in the frame, the more it can be considered a point. Points can also divide the frame so their placement and focus can have a big impact on composition.

For project 16 I had to choose 6 pictures I have already taken with 'points' and look at their placement and how they divide the frame. Also, a point can have a sense of movement depending on its position and relation to the edge of the frame.

The positioning of the gull here gives a very slight sense of movement into the frame, which I think aids the view that the gull is 'gliding'.

Similar to the gull, their is a larger divide on the right of the image which helps to show the heron heading into the picture and movement to the right. The higher and further right placement makes the heron appear higher in the sky and perhaps moving faster.

I like this picture simply because I remember how fast the ducking was shooting across the water to reach his mum. It was almost like he was gliding on top of the water. Here the duckling in centered horizontally in the frame which I felt helped show the direct route 'through' the water to his goal.

Being an early picture (before I started the course) this one didn't have too much thought for composition and the subject could have been placed better.

This earlier image of a Poppy shows how when a subject gets larger it is less of a point. Also the point is very near to the centre of the frame and doesn't add much to the composition of the photograph.

The placement of the point to the right and higher in the frame, together with the trails, show the subject heading off out of the frame and downstream. The large and uninteresting divide to the left, however, I feel is probably too big and ruins the photograph.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Art of Photography: Assignment 1 - Final Categories for Submission

The final categories I have chosen for submission are as follows:-


Art of Photography: Assignment 1 - Diagonal/Rounded

I quite enjoyed this category. I decided to base it on football, focusing on the goal for the diagonal image and the ball for the rounded image.

For the 'Diagonal' image my idea was to show the diagonal of the goal structure prominent in the frame, with blurred action in the background. I wanted the blurred action to show it was a football match but with the main focus on the frame of the goal. This I felt I achieved quite well, using a wide aperture to blur the players and capturing a suitable 'action' shot. However I was unsure how well the goal frame shows the 'diagonal' theme.

For the 'Rounded' image I simply wanted to capture an interesting action shot with the football featuring very prominently in the frame. Ideally I hoped this would be very dynamic with the football heading towards or close to the camera, so it was very large in the frame, and players again in the background. This proved quite difficult as the very limited lighting limited me to slower shutter speeds. Even with the aperture at its widest and ISO at its highest I could only get 1/60 or 1/80th of a second. This meant any time I tried to get the image I wanted the photograph was too blurred as the ball was invariably moving very fast. The high ISO also meant the images had a fair amount of noise. In the end the images which I felt I could select from were not quite as dynamic and still a little blurred.

However I did really enjoy photographing a sport which I love and would like to try this again on another day, perhaps with better lighting so I could capture much sharper images.


Image taken at f/2.8, 1/80 sec, ISO-1600 and 100mm.


Image taken at f/2.8, 1/80 sec, ISO-1600 and 100mm.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Art of Photography: Assignment 1 - Still/Moving

This category didn't really turn out as I'd hoped. Based around a set of swings, the idea was to show the swings in use and capturing motion, and then when not in use. I wanted to have sunshine or bright colours in the Moving image and subdued colours in the Still image, hoping this would add a feeling of fun and happiness when the swing was played on, and a contrasting dullness or loneliness when it wasn't.

My only task for the still image was to try and find an angle and composition to make the Still image interesting. I tried many different angles and am fairly happy with the result, but feel without a good 'Moving' image the idea is not presented as well as I imagined.

For the Moving image I found it really hard to capture much detail in the movement during the day or brighter light. Obviously it is not too hard to capture a small amount of motion blur, but I had envisioned capturing the whole arc of the swing and this is what I was trying to achieve. I had a few attempts on different days but could not find settings to capture the image as I hoped. To have long shutter speeds during the day requires slower or narrower apertures, and I also used ND filters to reduce the light reaching the sensor. Whilst there wasn't a problem obtaining the shutter speeds I wanted, it was only capturing little if any of the swing motion. I tried many times with many different settings. I also tried having my flash set to second curtain sync, thinking it would be brilliant if I could capture a blurred swing with the person using the swing sharper at the front of their arc, but unfortunately this didn't work either. I believe this was due to my on camera flash not being powerful enough, and that with a dedicated external flash I could achieve what I wanted.

This is another example of not being able to do what I hoped because of my equipment. Whilst I have been very happy with it in general, there have been a couple of occasions where I would like to possess more. I have already purchased a flashgun kit and nice lens and will continue to upgrade when I can.

So overall I guess the images are okay, but unfortunately not what I had pictured or wanted to achieve.


Image taken at f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO-1600 and 100mm.


Image taken at f/11, 0.6 sec, ISO-200 and 20mm.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Art of Photography: Assignment 1 - Large/Small

I have been trying to complete this category for some time. It was one of the simpler idea's, a macro close up shot of an interesting subject to make it look 'large' and a contrasting shot showing it's actual size.

The problems I had were that I wanted to photograph an insect or small animal and at this time of year there are far less around. The weather has been bad also, and although I went out looking several times I wasn't having any luck. I also needed to find something which would be okay for the 'small' image, as when getting a close up macro of something and showing detail which is not normally seen it is easier to create an interesting image, but the same subject much smaller in the frame may be boring. For example I did have a good photograph of some toadstools where I laid on the ground and got in close, resulting in a lot of detail and toadstools that looked as big as trees. However, I tried to photograph the contrasting 'small' image and found that small toadstools surrounded by mud didn't really make a good picture!

I had more luck today though and managed to complete the category. I had been looking for spiders and found a tree with dead wood. Removing some of the bark uncovered a lot of creepy crawlies and one very large spider. It was difficult to photograph however as I had to try and get the camera and tripod in amongst lots of other branches and consequentially I couldn't photograph the spider as I might have liked. I couldn't get a clear angle to show as much detail as I wanted. I also had to use a high ISO in the dark woods, to try and increase shutter speed to get a sharp image, which meant there was more noise in the final image. I am fairly happy with what I achieved though.

For the 'small' photograph I faced the same problem as before, trying to make an interesting image. So I tried to find an angle and composition to improve the image and settled on two intersecting branches at diagonals in the frame and selective depth of field, with the spider in the right of the frame.


Image taken at f/5, 0.6 sec, ISO-1600 and 100mm.


Image taken at f/11, 0.6 sec, ISO-800 and 100mm.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Art of Photography: Assignment 1 - Black/White

Whilst the idea for this category tries to convey a serious message or idea, shooting the photographs was a lot of fun. As with the Hard/Soft category I didn't have any experience with photographing or directing people and it was all a learning curve. However I had gained a little bit of confidence by this point and felt more able to ask for the types of expressions I wanted.

I was quite pleased with some aspects of the photographs. I was happy with the lighting and equally pleased with the expressions captured. We tried many different expressions on the day so I had a few to choose from.

However, I wasn't quite as pleased with how the make-up turned out. I have no experience with make-up whatsoever and we didn't know which would be best to use and which could produce the best results. I had hoped the make-up would be flat and even, to look more like natural skin. I felt this would make people think more, as they would at first see a natural looking face and then realise that the skin colour was different to the shoulders and body. As you can see from the pictures the make-up was quite uneven and is clearly not natural, instead being instantly recognizable as make-up. I would have wished this to be better but I still believe the images convey the message I wished, just a little less subtlely. Again this was all part of the learning for me. Overall though I am still pleased with this category.


Image taken at f/2.8, 1/200 sec, ISO-100 and 100mm.


Image taken at f/2.8, 1/200 sec, ISO-100 and 100mm.

Art of Photography: Assignment 1 - Hard/Soft

I enjoyed doing this category as well as the Black/White category. It was the first time I have both photographed and worked with people so it was a learning experience.

I believe my idea to show two sides of a personality or character worked out quite well. However, I would have prefered a more stern expression for the 'hard' photograph. This is one of the things I have learnt from the experience, that when working with people you need to be direct about what you want, where as I probably didn't explain or give direction as well as I could have.

For the 'hard' image we set up in front of a doorway to shoot a doorman scene. We had to ask the real security guard for permission! It was raining quite heavily and I was trying to work the camera under a waterproof covering, and I was also concious of keeping everybody standing in the rain for too long, so I felt rushed. I feel I could have done better if I relaxed and took my time but again this was all part of the learning experience for me. I was still pleased with the image and liked the doormans reflection in the glass. Though again I could have lined this up a little better with more time and focus.

I was also pleased with how the 'soft' image turned out. At the time I thought it might not be as good as I had imagined as I felt the couch used could have been better, and we had to use a toy baby. However, I set up the camera to shoot from above the couch, arranged the flash guns to try and achieve some interesting lighting, and tried to find an interesting composition. Overall I was pleased with what I had managed to do and the final image.

Both images were taken in colour and converted to black and white later so that I had more control over the tones.

I feel both photographs convey what I had hoped. That one side of this persons character is a doorman and has to be tough, hardened. Whilst the other is a soft, caring and loving father.


Image taken at f/3.5, 1 sec, ISO-100 and 20mm.


Image taken at f/3.5, 1/100 sec, ISO-100 and 18mm.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Art of Photography: Assignment 1 - Long/Short

For this category I chose to focus on trees. Mainly because whilst I was out and about a little while ago I spotted a really tall tree and wanted to try and shoot it from a very low angle to create an interesting image. So that became my idea for the 'long' photograph.

For the 'short' photograph I tried to think of the other extreme, a very short tree, so I decided to try and capture a bonsai tree next to something else which would exaggerate how small it was.

Unfortunately I am not too happy with how this category turned out. Whilst trying to photograph the tall tree from a very low viewpoint I did find some very interesting angles, but I felt that as I was photographing the length of the tree the branches became too compact and ended up being quite messy and distracting in the composition. I eventually used another angle which was still very low to the ground but slightly further away. I lined the tree up with another couple in the distance to exaggerate how tall it was. I also cropped the image to be taller and again exaggerate how tall the tree was. I was then quite happy with this picture overall as the sky was good and I got a good exposure on the image. However it wasn't an unusual angle and composition as I set out to achieve.

As for the 'short' image, I originally planned to photograph it next to a person as I felt it would more easily show how small it was. I tried this but wasn't happy with the results. I then thought about photographing it in front of another tree trunk, with the trunk out of focus. I thought this might maintain the tree theme and show how small the bonsai was at the same time. The result was slightly better but I still wasn't pleased with it. On both cases I found it hard to show a lot of detail and interest in the bonsai tree. As it was quite small and I needed to photograph from a distance to included the larger subject as well, the bonsai kept looking messy and lacking any detail or definition. And if I tried to focus on more detail of the bonsai I couldn't included enough of the background to make the bonsai look small.

So overall neither of the images for this category turned out like I had imagined, but I was still pleased with the 'long' image at least.


Image taken at f/11, 1/30 sec, ISO-100, 18mm.


Image taken at f/2.8, 1/50 sec, ISO-400, 100mm.

Art of Photography: Assignment 1 - Many/Few

Whilst at the shops I spotted one of those candle mirrors where the light is reflected in the mirror. I decided it might be good for the many/few category, with a photograph of the candles 'as is' for the few photo, and then a photograph of them reflected in the mirror for the many photograph.

I set up the candles at home, on a black background, but knew I didn't want to use flash but rather the light from the candles. I first tried to photograph the three candles for the 'few' image, trying to find interesting angles and compositions. Then for the 'many' image I had to line up the camera in front of the mirror. At first I could see the reflection of the camera and tripod in the image, so I had to block out as much light as possible in the room and cover the camera and tripod with a dark sheet. Then it was just a case of finding an exposure and focus point I was happy with. I tried a few different things including focusing on the mirror, blurring the front candles, overexposing and capturing light bursts around the candles, but I eventually settled on trying to get a sharper image.

To begin with I thought this was probably one of the weaker idea's, but I am quite pleased with how both images turned out.


Image taken at f/2.8, 1/4 sec, ISO-100, and 100mm.


Image taken at f/32, 5 sec, ISO-400 and 100mm.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Art of Photography: Assignment 1 - Strong/Weak

For the strong/weak category I quickly thought of trees, the kind which have been around for a long time with large strong trunks, and roots deep in the earth. The contrasting image therefore was obviously a dying or dead tree, at the end of its days.

My idea was to try and add to the strength/weakness in the images by showing strong, bright and healthy colours in the 'strong' image and dull, washed out colours in the 'weak' image. I decided to try and capture a strong tree surrounded by saturated autumn colours, and conversly a dead tree in a much darker and duller environment.

When processing the raw files I added to these effects. I saturated the colours in the strong image to make it more vibrant, healthy and 'alive'. For the weak image I did the opposite and removed a lot of the colour. I didn't want a black and white image, but one in which the colours were very subdued and dark, leaving the image as the life had left the tree.


Image taken at f/11, 1/20 sec, ISO-100 and 47mm.


Image taken at f/3.5, 1/100 sec, ISO-800 and 21mm.

Art of Photography: Assignment 1 - Heavy/Light

I chose this category for my image which shows both contrasts in one picture. The idea was to photograph weighing scales with weights and a feather, with the feather being heaviest and weighing the scales down. So the image would show something which is usually known to be very light and expected to not weigh much, actually being heavier than the weights.

I knew when planning the photograph that I wanted it to be very obvious that the feather was heavier so that this fact was the main focus of the image. There were a couple of things I had planned which I hoped to be able to do in order to achieve this.
The first was to use depth of field to selectively focus on the feather and so draw the viewers eye to it. This I feel I achieved well. I had to experiment with the lighting, it's distance from the subject, and use the least amount of flash possible to be able to use the widest aperture to create a shallow depth of field. I also chose to angle the scales to provide that depth of field from the front of the object to the back, and to improve the composition of the photograph.
The second thing was that I hoped to be able to find the old style of balance scales, where the items to be weighed and the weighing plates hang on chains from horizontal balance bar. The reason I wanted this type of scale is that the difference in height from a heavy object on one side and a light object on the other is large, and it is therefor very easy to see immediately which object is heavier. Unfortunately I could not find these scales to use, except if I could afford to pay quite a large amount of money for them which I couldn't. This meant I had to use a different type of balance scales, which whilst they obviously do show the difference in weight of objects, it is not as immediately clear. Consequentially I tried my best to achieve what I wanted with these scales and I am still pleased with the final result, but I know it could have been better and more obvious if I had been able to use the correct scales for the photograph as I had imagined.

My original idea was also to use weights for the opposite side of the scales from the feather, and I had thought about painting the weights to experiment with different colours. This couldn't be done as the weights and scales were borrowed. When it came to setting up the picture I first tried with the weights but I wasn't happy with the look of the image and the fact that the weights, scales and feather were all black. Then I had an idea about using the measuring bowl filled with sugar! This would add more shape and colour to the image, add a contrast between the white sugar and black feather, and add more interest to the image. I tried this and was far more pleased with the result. It actually reversed the normal roles where weights are used to measure ingredients and replaced the weights with a feather.

All in all I still would have liked to use the type of balance scales I had hoped and I know it would have been more obvious which is heavier, but I am pleased with the final image and my idea.

Image taken at f/2.8, 1/200 sec, ISO-100 and 100mm.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Art of Photography: Assignment 1 - Idea for Black/White

I have had an idea for another category, Black/White. I may try and include this so I have 11 to choose from for my final eight.

I would like to try and capture two face portraits, one of a black person and another white. However I would like them to have make-up of the opposite colour covering their face, but with an open neck included in the image showing their natural skin tone. Both would be captured with a confused or inquisitive facial expression.

Obviously this is a little controversial and I would like it to make people think. I want to try and show people of one skin tone trying to be another and wondering why. Why should there be any emotion or consequence of someone being a particular skin tone at all? Why should someone wish to be something other than how they were born to feel content, accepted, welcome, equal? I personally see all people as the same and 'one race' and feel upset and angry with how much of an issue this still is today. If I can make these images I would hope they might make some people ask themselves the same questions.

I was inspired with this idea by a program I watched with my fiance recently which looked at how many Asian people wish to lighten their skin tone, and how lighter skin is seen as 'more beautiful' to some. The program asked the same questions, why should they wish to lighten their skin? and why not be happy with how you were born? The program was called 'Make Me White' (from BBC site: Anita Rani looks into the world of skin-lightening cosmetics in the Asian community) and can currently be watched on BBC iPlayer for anyone who missed it.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Art of Photography: Assignment 1 - Liquid/Solid

I completed my first category for the Art of Photography Assignment 1 today. For the Liquid/Solid category I had decided to photograph a flower, firstly with water hitting and bouncing off it for the Liquid image, and then in a block of ice for the Solid image.

I enjoyed creating both images, and both were a challenge and a learning experience.


For the liquid image I set up a home studio with flashguns (which I had only just purchased and never used before), a a simple black background. I placed a soft box to the left over the flower and an umbrella to the right and lower.

I used a 100mm macro lens, tripod and cable release. I pierced holes in a plastic bottle and attempted to photograph the flower whilst dripping water on it, with the intention to capture the 'splash' of the water drop.

After a little trial and error I realised I would not be able to capture the image exactly as I wanted it. To capture the water splash and freeze time would require a fast shutter speed, probally 1/500 sec or above, but as this was the first time I'd used studio lighting I had not realised I would be limited by my camera's flash sync speed. I was always used to using fast shutter speeds when outside and just assumed it would be the same.

The first images I took had shadows across the bottom of the image and I was confused! I tried changing the lighting to no effect. It took me a while to realise it was the camera shutter showing in the pictures! The flash sync speed on my camera is only 1/200 sec, and above that the shutter shows in the image! So now I realised I would be limited to 1/200 sec and not be able to capture the water drops as clearly as I wished. I have been more than happy with my Canon 450D since I purchased it and it wasn't cheap, but now I am starting to crave a more expensive camera :)

I tried getting enough light to be able to take the photograph without flash and so use faster shutter speeds but unfortunately I was unable to. I carried on anyway, taking images at 1/200 sec, and tried my best to get an image I was happy with. Consequentially the final photograph was not quite as good as I had hoped but I was still pleased.

Image taken at f/7.1, 1/200 sec, ISO-100, 100mm.


I was far happier with how the second photograph turned out. I took the same flower and submerged it in a carton of water then froze it. When it was ready I set it up in a home studio with a softbox behind the block of ice and an umbrella to the left side. This again took some trial and error but it worked well like this as the soft box would send light through the ice, and the umbrella lit the front of the ice, whilst not casting strong reflections as it was placed to the side.

Once I had found the right settings I took a number of images, all at f/11 but with different shutter speeds. I was attempting to capture as much detail in the ice as possible by underexposing the flower, and then capture detail in the flower (which overexposed the ice). When finished I combined the different exposures to create the final image.

Combined exposures ranging from 1/200 sec to 8 seconds. All taken at f/11, ISO-100, 100mm.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Art of Photography: Assignment 1 Final Idea's

I chose one photograph idea to contain both sides of a contrast category, and ten pairs of photograph ideas to show ten categories. Only eight are needed but I decided this way I can do all ten and then pick the eight best ones to submit.

Heavy/light - Both in one photograph

Old style balance scales, one has stacked weights and the other has a feather. The feather is heaviest and weighs down scales. Weights could potentially be white or light colour and feather dark colour to try and alter perceptions of the objects mass, but this depends on if I am able to paint the weights (e.g. if I borrow the scales from someone I couldn't paint the weights).

The image will be taken using a home studio and macro lens. I may try with both a dark and light background to see which works best. I envisage the image as having the scales slightly angled with the feather side closer to the lens, looking slightly bigger, and maybe the weights slightly out of focus, but again I will see what works best when taking the image.

Strong/weak - 2 photographs

Strong - autumn setting in woods with vivid colours making use of time of year. Main focus is a strong healthy tree trunk (large), slightly to the right of image centre.

Weak - a duller, possibly wet, image of a dying, decaying or dead tree.

Many/few - 2 photographs

Few - still life, image of candles, dimly lit and atmospheric.

Many - candles with mirrors to look like many candles. I will try to find an interesting shape or composition for the image to improve the concept.

High/low - 2 photographs

High - a person (dressed in hiking gear?) stood atop a hill, looking out over a view. Try to compose the shot to appear high up. Person is located in left of frame. Idea is to try and give a sense that the person feels high up.

Low - another (same?) person but this time small in the frame, looking up at a very tall, large, imposing building or structure. Person either small in the frame next to building, possibly making building look like its leaning over them, or taken over their shoulder so it feels like viewer is looking up with them.

Long/short - 2 photographs

Long - a tall and interesting tree, no leaves (to make it look taller?), shot in a vertical frame from very low ground level to make it look tall. Possibly black and white.

Short - a very small (maybe Bonsai) tree in the bottom left of the frame, at ground level, with shoes and legs of a person in the right of the frame so tree looks tiny. Utilising Golden Section in composition.

Large/small - 2 photographs

Large - an extreme close-up macro of an insect or animal (probably insect) showing detail of an area of the subject, filling the frame.

Small - the same subject but zoomed out to show its environment and how small it is.

Hard/soft - 2 photographs

Two sides of a personality.

Hard - doorman, suit and headset, arms folded, mean looking, angry, big. Composed so people approaching the door look small.

Soft - same person, at home, relaxed clothes, holding a baby or child with a big smile on his face. On sofa, shot from raised angle to look smaller.

This may prove a difficult idea but I believe it would be good if I could do it. Both black and white, or colour in the second image to feel softer.

Still/moving - 2 photographs

Moving - Child on swing. Motion blur showing movement throughout arc of swing, possibly still of happy child at top of swing overlaid if allowed. Sunny day, bright colours, happy feel.

Still - swing at same angle, empty and still, dull and dark colours, possibly rain. Wants to be played on.

Smooth/rough - 2 photographs

Abstract face portraits, dimly lit except for side of face.

Smooth - woman's face, smooth skin texture.

Rough - mans face with stubble. Rough texture, opposite side to woman's.

Both pictures in black and white to focus on texture. Both same lighting and both macro to show lots of detail in the texture.

Diagonal/rounded - 2 photographs

Both themed on football.

Diagonal - The diagonal goalpost and netting filling most of the frame, to the left, and in focus. Slightly out of focus players and ball in background. Ball possibly hitting net.

Rounded - focus and composition based on the football, centre right and foreground. Heading towards or past camera. Blurred players in background looking at ball.

Both these shots in rain may add extra interest, i.e. wet ball, water droplets, wet netting. However, I would need extra lighting for fast shutter speeds.

I am also unsure of how well the diagonal idea fits with the category.

Liquid/solid - 2 photographs

Liquid - macro shot of a water droplet hitting and bouncing off a flower. Nice lighting and fast shutter speed to capture water splash.

Solid - same flower frozen in ice.

So I have all my idea's and now I can go and photograph them :D

Art of Photography: Assignment 1 Idea's

I have really enjoyed this first assignment and I haven't even taken a photograph yet! The assignment is to take images with contrasting subjects/idea's from selected categories. 8 pairs of photographs showing 8 different categories, and one final photograph showing both contrasts of a category in one image.

I usually go out and take photographs of what I see, so sitting down and planning photographs, thinking of idea's and compostions, has been totally different to what I have done before and a lotof fun.

Here I've listed the rough idea's exactly as I wrote them down in a notebook, good and bad.

Heavy/light - scales old style, one side weights stacked, other side a feather, but the feather weighs down scales...

High - someone stood on top of a hill looking over a view, 'feel tall'.
Low - big building 'looming over' small person.

Thick/thin - obese? skinny?

Much/little - poor person, rich person. Poor person has loving family, rich person is alone.

Hard/soft - two sides of a personality? Army, boxer, security, doorman etc, working then at home with child.

Liquid/solid - water droplets, ice. Wall reflected in water.

Sweet - person with sweets/bowl of sweets, bright colours, pink background, soft lighting.

Sweet - peppers or 'sour' things wrapped in sweet wrappers with pink background, bright colours etc.

Curved - a curved silhouette of something, body?

Smooth/rough - abstract face portrait. Smooth womans, rough - mens stubble. B&w, opposite angles.

Sweet/sour - sweet fruit, one peeled, something sour inside.

Long - tree looking up from ground level.
Short - tree from above perspective.

Still/moving - still - something stationary with other things moving & blurred behind it. Moving - same subject blurred moving with stationary background. Still - wessex way from bridge with no cars. Moving - night shot same angle blurred lights.

Diagonal/rounded - street sign macros, half frame, circle and triangle with something in background.

Sweet/sour - candy peppers, sweets that look like sour things, glaze reflecting light, still life macro.

Diagonal/round - twisty candle macro from above & side.

Large/small - small elephant, large mouse.

Many/few - candle mirror at angle = 2 or 3 candles, candle mirror head on = many.

Black/white or light/dark - black - silhouetted object, light background. White - white or light object, black background.

Black/white - interesting macro subject, one silhouette with white background, one white subject with black background - interesting lighting.

Still/moving - child on swings, movement blur, sharp at top - bright sunny happy. Still - empty swing? wanting to be played on - dark wet? dull colours.

Diagonal/rounded - diagonal - abstract shot football goal, ball flying in net, players behind, viewed from back of goal. Rounded - action shot, football main focus.

Still/moving - still - football & boots/player, ground level, lots of detail from ball boots & grass. Moving - action shot when playing.

Strong/weak - strong tree trunk, autumn colours. Weak - decaying tree.

Hard/soft - something with hard shell, soft inside like eggs, but how to make it interesting?

Smooth/rough - rough outer, smooth inner, like fruit.

Diagonal/rounded - unusual flower macros.

Still/moving - still - misty autumn morning. Moving - windy, leaves flying.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Art of Photography: Project 15

This project was about cropping, and looking at images already taken in a new way, to be able to see potential images within an image or improvements to an image. Of course it is always better to get a picture right 'in camera' if possible, but sometimes unwanted things can creep into a shot which weren't noticed, or with hindsight better compositions can be seen.

I am already used to cropping to remove unwanted elements etc, but to look at images in new ways is interesting. I also find I sometimes like to crop pictures into shapes other than the standard 3:2 frame such as square crops or longer rectangles. However whilst many like or don't mind this, some people seem to frown on it :( , it's also harder to buy frames that fit at the shops of course :) .

Here I chose to crop the image to focus more on the Cormorant than on the river. Of course with a larger crop like this the cropped image quality is significantly reduced, especially on my camera which is only 12 Megapixels.

Here I've cropped out all of the detail from the left and part of the top of the original image, to focus purely on the road and traffic.

Here I cropped for an even tighter frame of the Swan. It felt to me like it made an intriguing image which provides strong eye contact with the Swan. It also removed much of the background from the picture.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Art of Photography: Project 14

This was quite a simple project, to gain more experience with using a vertical frame (holding the camera vertically) as opposed to a horizontal frame which is generally used more often. The task was to take two versions of each photograph, one horizontal and one vertical, and learn about the differences to composition this would make. Hopefully this would lead to being more aware and willing to use a vertical frame more often when it can aid photography.

For me this was the case. I more often used a horizontal frame and might not have considered a vertical one except in obvious situations. From doing the project I have learnt that on many more occasions than I might have thought, the vertical frame can produce good images and compositions, where previously I wouldn't have considered it.

I believe I have learnt the main goal of this project, which is to be more mindful of the vertical frame and consider both orientations and how they affect composition when planning an image, and which will work best for the image, instead of mainly using a horizontal frame.

In these two images I first tried a horizontal frame, but found that the composition wasn't very good, as the Cormorant was facing left but the main rocks were on the right. Switching to a vertical frame produced much better results. The composition was better, and the Cormorant posed too!

Here again I used a horizontal frame first without even considering a vertical one. There was too much uninteresting space on either side of the Heron, but it wasn't until changing to a vertical frame that I realised I could also include some of the river in the image!

Here the horizontal frame worked better than vertical, as using a vertical frame introduced unwanted elements (parts of bushes) at the top and bottom of the image.

There wasn't too much difference between these two, except that it was a little harder to include the whole of the bush in the horizontal frame.

Here the horizontal frame produced a far better composition. I wanted to include as much of the waterfalls and rocks as possible and the horizontal frame allowed that. Conversly, the vertical frame cut too much out and also introduced more unwanted subjects in the top of the frame.

In these two images I much prefered the vertical frame again. I wanted to show the structure sweeping round and forming an arc which the vertical frame made possible, whilst the horizontal frame cut out too much of the arc or if I moved further away included too much sky in the right of the image.

For this picture I just wanted to try and capture the nice colours in the leaves, as a branch. I first tried with the camera horizontal and couldn't find a composition I was happy with. I then tried vertically and a better composition presented itself!

Another image which I first tried to capture horizontally but found that it didn't work very well, then changed to a vertical frame and achieved a much better composition!

Something I found quite suprising doing this project and its write up is just how often I found the vertical frame to be better! In fact previously with some of these pictures I would have just tried a horizontal frame and then moved on, without considering a vertical frame, and it was only because I was doing this project that I used a vertical frame.

I hope that from now on I will bear the vertical frame in mind more, or ideally think of it as just as important as the horizontal frame, and make use of it when it aids my photography.