Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Art of Photography: Project 13

I really enjoyed this project as I found it interesting to learn about the 'Golden Section' and to find examples of it in practice. It was however a little confusing at first and the Golden Section shown in the text book is different to the one used on many sites on the Internet, and when you start to read about it there is much more information to be found.

The Golden Section is based around the idea of the 'Golden Ratio' which is 1:1.618, and is in turn based on the number Phi, 1.618033988749895.....

It is a ratio or proportion which when shown on a line for example, divides a line segment at the unique point where the ratio of the whole line (A) to the large segment (B) is the same as the ratio of the large segment (B) to the small segment (C). In other words, A is to B as B is to C.

This happens where A is 1.618 times B and B is 1.618 times C.

This ratio is believed to be found in many things from nature to the pyramids and can be found in many different shapes and designs. It has been found by scholars and mathematicians, and used by many artists in paintings, sculptures and photographs, etc.

The idea of the Golden Section is that in a rectangle of photograph proportions there are ways of dividing the frame so that the ratios of areas inside the frame are equal or close to the Golden Ratio. A photograph rectangle can be divided so that the ratio of a small area to a larger area is equal to the ratio of the larger area to the whole photograph frame. Then with these rules, if an area of interest lies on one of the four intersections creating the Golden Section, or if the shapes in an image are close to the areas created by the Golden Section, it is believed to be pleasing to the eye.

Here is one of my photographs with the 'Golden Section' idea overlaid:-

I really feel like this wasn't explained very well in the text book and left me with just a vague idea of rectangle shapes in a frame and how I was supposed to find things to fit them. Consequentially, I researched more on the Internet and when photographing for this project I ended up looking for the 'Golden Rectangle' or 'Golden Spiral' in my photographs, which is still based around the Golden Ratio but implemented differently. Here squares within the frame diminish in sizes equal to the Golden Ratio and spiral into the frame. A spiral touching the opposite edges of each square also spirals into the frame forming the Golden Spiral. To use this in photography you can place subjects in the squares formed by the Golden Rectangle or in line with the Golden Spiral to lead the viewer into the picture.

Here are a couple of my photographs with the 'Golden Spiral' idea overlaid:-

I also found that the Golden Section and Golden Spiral ideas follow the same proportions within an image so that both could be used together to compose an image!

Here is one of my pictures with both the Golden Section and Golden Spiral overlaid:-

As it says in the text book, I understand that rules for photography cannot be used in every situation, with every subject. Being tied to the rules too much is not good! But with subjects where the Golden Section or Golden Spiral can work, I now know and understand them enough to be able to use them to help me create attractive compositions in my photographs.

Finally, I constructed this to show how the Golden Section and Golden Spirals can be used to compose an image in many ways!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Art of Photography: Project 12

For this project I found it quite difficult to find an unbroken horizon line. Actually it was quite difficult to find a horizon at all as everywhere is built up with houses, street lights, telephone poles, etc.

I really wanted to try and achieve the effect of having the horizon at the top of the picture to provide a real sense of depth. However I found this quite hard to do and realised it would be beneficial to be quite level with the scene or lower to the ground when photographing. I did however learn the idea's behind the technique and the project as a whole and beleive I can try this effect again in the future with more success.

I now know how the horizon can be placed at different points to change the focus and balance of the image, and believe that there is no 'best' way of placing the horizon, it all depends on what you are photographing and what you want from the image.

I also realised I really could do with an ND Grad filter for images like this as the sky is overexposed/washed out in most of them!

With the horizon towards the top of the frame, nearly all attention is on the forground and scenery.

Here the sky has slightly more prominance, whilst the focus is still on the forground.

With the horizon in the centre of the frame it really does cut the picture in half and is not a result that I like, in this instance at least.

As the horizon gets lower more prominance is given to the sky.

Again the sky is more prominant.

With a low horizon the sky is now the most prominant part of the image.

I had quite a few attempts at different horizons and I actually found in nearly all of them that I really like the images with a really low horizon and high viewpoint, as it seems like the sky is huge and imposing! I would like to get an ND Grad filter and try this properly with an interesting sky.

Art of Photography: Project 11

Choosing a selection of my images to look for balance in a photograph was actually quite hard, since until recently many of my photographs have had the subject central in the frame, and because I usually take wildlife photos so it'soften isolated subjects.

I did however understand what I learnt about subjects in the frame and placement to 'balance' the photo, and feel I will be able to use the knowledge in the future.

The first image I chose was quite easy to show balance, with the large subject i.e. the scenery, offset by the small subject towards the edge of the frame.

In the second photo I felt that the background takes up much of the frame and all of the left of the frame, but that the Water Measurer (the insect) on the right side balances the picture.

Here I thought that the left flower is slightly larger in the frame but the right flower almost equals it, being slightly more offset.

Similar to the flowers above, these are almost equally balanced with just a slight offset.

Here the balance is easier to see again, with the butterfly being larger and more prominent in the frame, and the flower placed nearer to the edge.

Finally, I felt the bush/tree took up a lot of room at the bottom of the frame but the Starlings at the top are more central so I felt they were quite evenly balanced.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Art of Photography: Project 10

This project was more interesting than the last one. The idea was to take a photograph of something filling the frame with a long focal length to achieve a telephoto perspective, and then to walk forwards in a straight line and take the same photograph with a short focal length/wide angle and study the results to see the different perspectives this produces.

The first image was taken at 300mm with the telephoto lens using a tripod. This is the sort of image I am used to seeing and was what I expected. f/5.6, 1/400 sec, ISO-400.

I then walked in a straight line towards the building until the same scene filled the frame at 18mm.

This image was taken of the same scene but at 18mm. I was surprised by how different the perspective was. In the first image the building appears quite 'flat' and 'compacted' where as here it seems to have much more presence, depth and weight. f/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO-250.

Before starting this project I was unsure as to what the difference would be. I had read about how different focal lengths and lenses produced differing results and particularly how telephoto lenses 'compacted' perspectives but I didn't have first hand experience of it. Although I had a 18-55mm lens I rarely used it and always stuck to the 70-300 so I was very used to how images looked at these focal lengths and found it hard to imagine how it might look different. For these reasons I enjoyed doing this project and now feel I will have more consideration for using shorter focal lengths/wide angle lenses, and more of an idea as to the results they may help me produce.

Art of Photography: Project 9

An exploration of different focal lengths shot from the same place. I used both my lenses, 18-55mm and 70-300mm.

Image 1 taken at 18mm. f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO-200.

Image 2 taken at 28mm. f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO-200.

Image 3 taken at 45mm. f/5.6, 1/800 sec, ISO-200.

Image 4 taken at 55mm. f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO-200.

Image 5 taken at 70mm. f/5.6, 1/800 sec, ISO-200.

Image 6 taken at 100mm. f/5.6, 1/800 sec, ISO-200.

Image 7 taken at 133mm. f/5.6, 1/800 sec, ISO-200.

Image 8 taken at 214mm. f/5.6, 1/800 sec, ISO-200.

Image 9 taken at 300mm. f/5.6, 1/800 sec, ISO-200.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Art of Photography: Project 8

Whilst taking pictures for project 7 from a bridge over a river I noticed some ducks and rocks below and thought about trying to get some nice pictures from there. This then became the idea for project 8, which is to capture a sequence of images from the first thought about an idea through to the final image.

I spotted the ducks and reeds from the bridge.

Then I spotted the rocks and thought I might be able to find an interesting image.

Another image of the rocks taken from the bridge.

So then I went down to river level for a closer look.

Another at river level.

I liked the way the light reflected off the surface and the different shapes and colours created as it flowed around the rocks so I decided to try and capture it.

A first attempt at capuring the light on the water.

A swan was very interested in what I was doing and came over to say hello.

I tried a couple of the rocks but they weren't very interesting.

Another of the rocks.

I noticed some interesting patterns on the bridge side and tried photographing that.

I put the Circular Polarizing filter on the camera and tried some photos to show beneath the water.

This image of reeds was also taken with the Circular Polarizing filter attached.

I took some more photos of the swan :D

From this sequence I didn't really get one definitive photo which I liked the best and I don't think any of them were great, but it was good as an opportunity to follow the creative process. The ones which I like most of the river are below, where I captured the patterns of light and water as it flowed over the rocks.