Thursday, 19 August 2010

Art of Photography: Project 31

Project 31 is an ongoing study in colour, to build a library of photographs capturing colour. The reason for doing this is to start to analyze and recognize colours, to learn about colours and develop a 'colour sense'.

As such I will post the pictures I have captured now, and continue to add more at later dates.

I liked looking for the many different types of green.

Here I was looking at the relationship between these two colours.

These three pinks are all the same colour with different exposures!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Art of Photography: Project 30

This project is the first of section 4, which looks at colour. The first project is to learn about how exposure can be used to change, or how it can effect, the brightness of colours. The images below were taken all taken at f/8 ISO200 at 100mm, and the shutter speed was changed for each to change exposure. The shutter speeds used were 1/90 sec, 1/125 sec, 1/180 sec, 1/250 sec and 1/350 sec and are displayed below in that order.

Looking at the variation in colour above, you can clearly see the huge difference in colour from varying exposures! I can honestly say I was not aware of just how much difference it could make before this project!

Of course this means that if you want to capture a colour accurately, the exposure will have to be correct to best represent the true colour you see. As will any brightness and contrast adjustments etc. Of course this makes total sense and seems obvious, but before now I might not have given this the consideration it deserves. For example I can remember having captured scenes where I had exposed for the best levels across the whole scene, and later wondered why the colours were duller than I had remembered. Now I can see that perhaps the exposure wasn't as good for those colours and didn't represent them accurately. This then brings in to question things such as, if the colour is of high importance maybe the exposure should be set for that, and the rest of the scene lit to match/correct for that exposure. All these things I have not considered before, and I am very glad that I have learnt and can now understand better.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Art of Photography: Project 29

This project was a summary and practice of all the projects about shapes, points and lines, based around a theme. I chose 'farmland' for my theme.

Single point dominating the composition

2 Points

Several points

A combination of horizontal and vertical lines



Distinct even if irregular shapes

Implied triangle 1

Implied triangle 2



Friday, 18 June 2010

Art of Photography: Project 28

This project covered 'Patterns' and 'Rhythms'. In a photograph a pattern can be said to be a repeating theme or subject where the content is quite static. Where as a rhythm is similar to a pattern but may include curves, diagonals, or something which makes the elements of the photograph more dynamic and causes the viewer to follow the 'rhythm', and can be imagined to be similar to a musical rhythm.

I found it hard to find good examples of this due to time constraints, but I did understand the project and what it was trying to convey.

A pattern repeats throughout the frame of the photograph but is quite static.

A rhythm has a pattern or shape which is dynamic and causes the viewer to follow the rhythm. This isn't a great example but I felt the slight wave to the wooden logs helped to convey movement and a 'rhythm'.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Art of Photography: Project 27

After rectangles and triangles, this project focused on circles. I learnt that circle can be harder to find, and when used in photography they are the tightest and most compact and enclosing of all the shapes, imposing more structure on the image than triangles or rectangles. An example was provided and it was clear to see that the circular plate in the example drew the viewers eye towards it and away from any surrounding detail.

For the project I produced four pictures showing real and implied circles.

I found a circular shape created by surrounding foliage. The shape together with the focus and depth of field draws the eye to the lake in the background.

Although I didn't manage to get a sharp image of this bumblebee, it still provided an example of an implied circle.

An example of a real circle.

This final image falls somewhere between real and implied circles, but provides a good example of how circles draw the eye, with the smaller circles in the centre of the flower also drawing attention.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Art of Photography: Project 26

This project focused on triangles. Triangles occur much more frequently than rectangles and are not as restricting. During the project I learnt that triangles are more dynamic than rectangles as they are usually made up from diagonals, which similar to diagonal lines, have associations with movement.

Of particular interest to me was reading how triangles can be formed from just two sides, or sometimes even one, with the edge of the frame making up the other sides. In this way impressions of triangles can be formed easily and used effectively in composition and the potential is there for a lot of creativity. This also ensures triangles appear quite frequently.

Another reason triangles appear a lot is due to perspective. As I have already learnt linear perspective causes many lines in photographs to converge on a point in the distance, which naturally causes triangles. Examples of this are a road heading into the distance, looking up at tall buildings or trees, and looking down from above at converging lines. With this knowledge it is easy to enhance effects and perspectives and create triangles and interesting compositions.

Triangles can also be implied as with other shapes and lines, and any three points in any position (as long as they are not touching) will form a triangle. This is another reason that triangles are easy to find in photography. I enjoyed the examples of this, using groups of people to form triangular shapes, and I can begin to see the creative potential of triangles.

The project required six photographs to show examples of triangles.

The first photograph is of a real triangle.

The second photograph is a triangle formed using perspective and converging lines at the top of the frame.

The third photograph is an inverted triangle formed using converging lines and perspective.

Here a triangle is formed using a still-life arrangement of 5 objects (as points).

Another still life but forming an inverted triangle.

The final task was to form an implied triangle using a group image of three people. I only had two and not much time or space to do it, but I tried to create a silhouette of a triangular shape.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Art of Photography: Project 25

Here I learnt about the first of three basic shapes, rectangles.

Most opportunities to photograph rectangles come from man made things as they are made with straight sides and right angles. They have to be shot from straight on to maintain shape, as any deviation in the viewpoint will distort the rectangle. Also, because the frame of the photograph is itself rectangle, it is very easy for the eye to compare shape and see distorted or uneven rectangles, so even a small change in angle from 'straight on' becomes very obvious.

Whilst doing this project I found this fact to be quite limiting as it limits what you are able to do with a subject and also makes for quite a static image. However, rectangles can also be used as frames within a frame, and as they match the shape of the photographic frame they are also good at dividing the frame into sections.

Shapes in a photograph can create associated feelings or views, in the same way as lines. Rectangles are associated with being formal, enclosing, precise and static.

For all three of my photographs I decided to take them handheld to judge how hard it is to line up the rectangle to keep its shape in the frame. I found that I had to have quite a few attempts and as you can see they are still not perfectly straight. Even when using a tripod you would have to be very precise and careful to line up a rectangle perfectly, and although this is generally not needed or desired anyway, it does show just how much a rectangle is affected with even very small changes to viewpoint.

Art of Photography: Project 24

Project 24 still focused on design elements, but moved from lines to shapes. Here I learnt the basics of 'shape' and that a shape can be an outline or an enclosure depending on the subject, and that again as with lines, a shape is mostly defined by contrast, either of light or of colours.

I also learnt that shapes can be regular or irregular, and that regular shapes such as triangles, rectangles etc, are more easily recognized and therefore play a larger part in composition than irregular shapes.

I enjoyed learning that even when a shape is not clearly defined (it may be broken or uneven), as with lines the brain fills in the gaps to define the shape. I also enjoyed the examples of contrast playing a large part in forming shapes. A light subject such as a white building can have its shape defined strongly by placing it on a dark background. In the example a dark blue sky was used for the background, utilizing a circular polarizer to further darken the sky, which made the building and its shape clearly stand out. The other opposite example used a light background to define the shape of a silhouette, another effective technique which also removes detail from the silhouetted subject, further emphasizing just its shape.

Art of Photography: Project 23

After horizontal, vertical, diagonal lines and curves, this project focused on implied lines. Implied lines are those which are not complete or obvious but which the brain judges and resolves to make into lines. Imaginary lines.

As with the other projects on this subject, I enjoyed learning about this and hope to be able to retain the knowledge and put it into use. I particularly like implied lines as they can be used to direct a viewers gaze and attention to parts of an image, but in subtle and hidden ways.

For this project I had to find and photograph two examples of this in use.

This picture uses a line extension, where only part of a line is used but the viewers eye follows the direction of the line to a point of interest.

This image uses an eye-line, where the viewer follows the direction of someones gaze in the photograph.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Art of Photography: Project 22

After learning about points, horizontal and vertical lines, and diagonals, this project focused on curves. I learnt that curves have a sense of movement and direction similar to diagonals, and that they can convey smoothness and elegance.

As before it was much easier to find curves in man made objects, but I tried to avoid simple things and be a bit more creative. I ended up with two man made and two natural subjects.

I find it easy to see and understand the sense of movement provided by curves. In the image of the bridge the eye follows the curve over the bridge, and in the image of the truck there is a left to right or right to left movement following the structure of the truck.

For the first natural image I found an unusual tree which had curves going all the way up the trunk as if it had continuously twisted as it had grown. I found it hard to capture and provide as good an example of this as I would have liked, but the curves still convey the 'twisting' motion of the tree.

For the final image I tried hard to find something other than flowers which would have been an easy choice for curves. In the end I found this plant and was intrigued by the circular shape of the thorns, which were perfectly positioned and distanced to form a circle and also a star shape. I tried hard to capture it and show how perfect the shape was, choosing a wide aperture and focusing on the thorns to distinguish them from the rest of the plant, but in the end it probably didn't show curves as well as the other images.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Art of Photography: Project 21

This project focused on diagonals. Again I enjoyed learning about the properties and effects shapes can have on an image. In the case of diagonals they usually imply movement in an image much more than horizontals and verticals, as diagonals are seen as unstable.

I also enjoyed learning different ideas for capturing diagonals in an image. Photographing a straight line, fence, wall, etc from an angle will create a diagonal, something that is hard to miss if you have been taking photos for a while as they crop up everywhere. However, using them effectively or creatively is another matter, such as to converge on a point, draw the viewers attention along their length, divide the image, etc. I find this fascinating and I'm really trying hard to remember it all to experiment and put it into practice in the future.

Another aspect which intrigues me is the use of different focal lengths to achieve certain results with diagonals, something else I hope I can remember! Wide angle lenses can exaggerate diagonals and create converging lines, whilst as telephoto lenses compress viewpoints and subjects they can be used to compress/flatten a line of points to create diagonals.

I really enjoy learning these aspects of photography, and also the fact that although some of this becomes evident to you naturally and without thinking about if you have been doing photography for a while, its only when you study and concentrate on it in this way that you can start to see more creative options and idea's using these effects. What I mean to say is, from the photography I had already done I knew some of this already, but until now it wasn't actively used in my pictures and would never have been considered, to the detriment of my photography. Where as now I can explore ideas and concepts which can make use of and even focus on the techniques I have learnt.

I wasn't too pleased with the first pictures I took, I wanted something which could explore the ideas I had learnt but I didn't have much time and the light was fading. I had captured diagonals but not found anything as creative as I'd hoped.

I was much more pleased with the fourth image though. A combination of a wide angle lens and low viewpoint created four converging diagonals on the bridge.