Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Art of Photography: Project 6

When I reached project 6 I didn't have too many idea's for subjects. I was reminded about making notes about places, settings and shapes which would be good for photographs and I have now started doing this.

I had also just read about looking through the viewfinder and trying to find interesting images in familiar surroundings. I think it was partly this being on my mind that made me choose a park picnic table for this project. Something which is familiar and on first appearance quite boring. I'm not really sure that I managed any images which made it more interesting but I am happy that I attempted it and will try to see more potential images in things in the future.

This is the first image taken, without much thought for composition, shapes, placement. Taken at f/4, 1/1000 sec, ISO-200, 70mm.

The second image is taken to try and fill the frame with the subject. Taken at f/4.5, 1/800 sec, ISO-200, 133mm.

The third image zooms in to fill the entire frame with just a part of the subject. Taken at f/16, 1/250 sec, ISO-800, 300mm.

The last image is zoomed out so that the subject fills only a small part of the frame, and emphasizes more of the background.

It is clear from doing this project that the way you view a subject and compose the image makes a very big difference to the quality of the photograph, even with an ordinary everyday subject.

My favourite image from this project is the third image, a close-up of the bench top. I find that I like close-up, macro images and enjoy trying to photograph the kind of detail in subjects that isn't always seen or isn't immediately obvious.

My second choice would probally be the fourth photograph because the background in this image provides more interest and a 'setting' for a quite plain subject such as the bench.

In the second image I was trying to show an interesting shape but it didn't really work and I believe too much of the image is uninteresting. And finally the first image is the worst.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Art of Photography: Project 5

Before starting this project I always felt that I wasn't keen on blurred images and moving subjects, always favouring sharp pictures. However, I really enjoyed this project and quite like a couple of the pictures that came from it.

I also realised that there is quite a skill to capturing subjects sharply whilst panning the camera, and I enjoyed experimenting to find the shutter speed which worked best for the speed of the jumpers and the speed at which I panned the camera. There were a couple of images which worked ok and many that didn't.

I would really of liked to be able to capture one of the subjects in sharp detail, mid jump, with a blurred background, but I didn't manage to on this occasion. However, it is something I will probally try again, in other areas too, and with practice hopefully improve.

An early example. It was hard to pan and keep the runner in focus. f/8, 1/30 sec, ISO-200, 108mm.

Another early try. Here I managed to capture the subject quite sharply but in the process of panning the camera I cut off the top of his head!

This one worked quite well and I managed to capture his face and its expression quite sharply whilst everything else was blurred. f/7.1, 1/50 sec, ISO-200, 92mm.

Another one which is fairly sharp, though not from a very good angle. f/4.5, 1/50 sec, ISO-200, 92mm.

Similar to above, fairly sharp subject but not a very good angle. f/4, 1/40 sec, ISO-200, 86mm.

This was actually my favourite of the day! The subject is not sharp as I was trying to do at the time, but it was taken when the sun was starting to disappear and both arms and legs seem to have reflected light and there is a lot of colour in the image. Also with a slower shutter speed of 1/20 sec there is a sense of speed. f/8, 1/20 sec, ISO-200, 81mm.

I enjoyed this project and as I said before I will probally try this again before long.

Art of Photography: Project 4

For project 4 and 5 I went to the local athletics ground and got permission to take some images of people practicing the long jump and triple jump.

For project 4 I set up the camera on a tripod at the end of the running track. I found going to a public setting and asking permission to take photos of strangers quite daunting at first, but I soon forgot once I was set up. Unfortunately I didn't quite feel confident enough to start asking these strangers to move out of the way for the pictures or to move other distractions such as bags and bikes, so quite a few images were unusable or I have cropped to remove 'clutter' from the image.

The first image was taken at f/4.5, ISO-800, 92mm at 1/1250 sec. At this fast shutter speed everything is sharp.

f/4.5, 92mm, ISO-640 at 1/1000 sec. Again everything is sharp.

f/4, 92mm, ISO-500 at 1/800 sec. The jumper is still captured sharply.

f/4.5, 92mm, ISO-200 at 1/250 sec. Now the shutter speed is getting lower the moving subject has become slightly blurred but everything else in the image remains sharp.

f/4, 92mm, ISO-200 at 1/250 sec. Another image with a sharp background and blurred subject.

f/9, 86mm, ISO-200 at 1/60 sec. Now that the shutter speed has reached 1/60 sec the moving subject is significantly blurred.

f/10, 86mm, ISO-200 at 1/40 sec. At this shutter speed I think the moving subject is too blurred and starts to become hard to make out.

f/13, 86mm, ISO-200 at 1/25 sec. Similar to the last image this slow shutter speed almost makes the subject hard to see adequately.

Although I couldn't use all the images because of people entering the view, it was clear that the moving subjects stayed sharp until around 1/400-1/300 sec, after which the amount of blur desired can be controlled by using the different shutter speeds.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Art of Photography: Project 3

Similar to project 2, I had some experience with depth of field and it's use to isolate subjects or selectively choose which parts of an image to be in focus. However project 3 helped me to see just how it can be used and how much difference can be achieved between the largest and smallest apertures.

Project 3 also taught me a lot about the relation between aperture and shutter speed, and how to maintain the same exposure throughout different settings. Before this project I would probally have just used aperture priority mode to set different apertures, where as here it was the first time I have used the manual mode on the camera and set both aperture and speed myself. I learnt to decrease shutter speed whilst increasing aperture, using the same amount of stops on each to maintain the same exposure, and obviously the same in reverse.

The first set of three images shows the different depth of field I achieved on a group of wild flowers by changing the aperture (and shutter speed to maintain exposure). All images were taken at ISO-400 at 300mm.

The first image was taken at f/6.3, 1/400 sec, and shows a small depth of field as expected.

The second image was taken at f/14, 1/80 sec and the depth of field has increased.

The last image was taken at f/32, 1/15 sec and shows the largest depth of field.

I also took another set of images of a flower close up and the effect of changing the aperture can clearly be seen. All images were taken at ISO-400 at 300mm.

The first image was taken at f/32, 1/15 sec, and with a narrow aperture and large depth of field the flower can be lost amongst other aspects of the image.

With the second image taken at f/14 and 1/80 sec, the depth of field is narrower and the main flowers stand out more.

In the final image f/6.3 and 1/400 sec are used to give a small depth of field and make the main flower stand out from the background.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Art of Photography: Project 2

For this project I found two different scenes. One was a row of trees and the second was a field of wild flowers.

Firstly, I enjoyed the fact that this project made me look at things in a different way. I have not yet had to travel further a field to find things to photograph, but even in my 'usual places' I found that looking for scenes with depth and recurring objects made me see things differently and I was aware of more opportunities for photographs where I had seen none before.

I also found that although I have had a little experience with depth of field before, actually finding somewhere and making it work was not as easy as I thought it would be. I believe the project helped me to learn more about depth of field in practice and that I would now be able to use it in a creative manner with more confidence.

The first set of three images are of a row of trees. Each image was taken at f/5.6, 1/50 sec, ISO400 at 214mm.

Here the camera is focused on the nearest tree.

Here the camera is focused on the centre tree.

And here the camera is focused on the furthest tree.

For the second set I selectively focused on a group of wild flowers. All images were taken at f/5.6, 1/400 sec, ISO400 at 300mm.

Here the focus is on the flowers at the front.

Here focused on the central flowers.

And here focused on the furthest flowers.

As for which version I prefer, I would say I prefer either the first or second image in both sets. However I believe that neither set uses depth of field very effectively or in a way that I might choose to use it, but they were very helpful in learning about depth of field.

It is clear that using depth of field and focusing selectively can help to really draw the viewer to a certain part of the image. That may be by focusing on an area in the centre or top of an image to draw the viewer into the scene, or by focusing on the foreground area and isolating the subject from the background or providing a setting.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Art of Photography: Project 1

Although I was obviously aware of different focal lengths and how they affect the field of view, I had never really thought before about a standard for my camera, or that it was the focal length at which everything appears similar in size to viewing by eye.

As my camera is a Canon 450D it has an APS-C sized sensor. I know from previous reading that this is smaller than a full frame/35mm camera and affects focal length.

I found that the focal length for 'standard' on my camera would be about 60mm. I have an 18-55mm lens and a 70-300mm so I couldn't find out exactly, but at 55mm the scene was very nearly the same as viewing naturally.

Here are the three pictures taken to test focal lengths. The first is at 55mm, the second is at 18mm and the third is at 300mm.


Start collecting things for use in photography... interesting objects, shapes and textures. Different backgrounds. Ideas for places to shoot.

Look at photos in magazines etc in a new way, thinking about why and how they were created. Keep favourites to refer back to for different elements as needed.

I didn't know the lens mm is the distance of the lens from the sensor/film before!