Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Assignment 1 Contrasts



Hard and Soft Contrast together in one shot.  Sadly the best of the conker shell has passed otherwise it would have been a fabulous photograph for rough and smooth.  I am however happy with the shot and pleased with the thought process behind it.


Taken at The National Arboretum 2010.  Showing the different impacts of both straight and curved structures. 

If you have never visited the Arboretum then do so.  Not only for the impact of the sad and tremendous loss of life but also the great detail taken in designing the very features that demonstrate this selfless act.




 The broadness of the maple leaf (at least I think it is a maple!) in comparison to the the pine leaf below gives me my contrast.


The following images stay with the Autumn theme, my favourite time of the year for both colour and vibrancy.



The next two images have been affected slightly by the problems I appear to be having with the camera and it's inability to focus at very close range regardless of aperture, lens or shutter speed.  Reading the manual it appears that the internal battery may need to be looked at.  But until finances allow I must persevere.  Regardless I feel the images do reflect the thought process though the detail could have been much clearer.





I awoke this morning to a typical Autumn morning and an image that I had thought would suit this assignment nicely.  My car made a perfect subject matter, though I would have preferred a harder frost and use a leaf for its colour and shine.




I had messed around with this using different subjects but finally settled on the Halloween/Autumn theme.  As our business is the manufacture of windows I used a clear and an opaque piece of glass to produce the photographs.


Taken on the Long Mynd in Shropshire, on a very cold but beautiful day.  I felt that the shot lent itself more to black and white than it did the colour.  However upon arrival home I thought that both worked. 

I would have loved to have gone back in the evening and taken a night shot of this subject.  As this was not possible, I have attempted to emulate this in Lightroom from my black and white shot.  I hope it shows the difference of a nice bright and light day shot followed by a night shot with the moons light (using the suns rays) shining through the trees to just slightly illuminate in the background.




The objective of the following display of photographs is to show what I have learnt  in the first part of this course.  I have used the information I have gained from focal length, shutter speed and aperture size allocation with the adjusted shutter speed to follow the squirrel on our village green as it went about it's usual morning routine. 

The squirrel comes down the tree and jumps to the ground.  Straight away it heads off to find acorn nuts.

The following 3 photographs are the action and movement of the squirrel as it finds its nut, has a few bites or strips the exterior........

This last photograph shows the squirrel ready for the off with nut in mouth.


The assignment has really made me think about contrast of objects in many forms and ways.  It was actually quite difficult not to settle for the obvious and I have tried to think out of the box though to be fair I do not think there is much out of the ordinary in my photographs, except to me where I see a change in my outlook and perception of photography.

I have also learnt from this what I want from my camera and my photography.  I have never been much of a landscape person but Part one of the course has really opened my eyes to another dimension, which I really did not think interested me that much.  I now see photographs everywhere I go and take the camera in the car with me on every trip I make, just in case!

I look forward to the upcoming sections and the chance to further develop the craft and my experience.

Tutor Assignment Feedback

Overall Comments
In this first assignment, you have met the requirements of the brief and shown a range of images
 to show the different contrasts.  It is good to see a variety of types of photographs, from abstract, still life, nature and landscape. 

I particularly like curved, light, sharp and hard/soft.  These images show both creative considerations of composition and good technical skills.

You comments are informative on the images you have taken but it would be worthwhile considering what you would change if you were to take the image again.  Also can you include technical information for the images that you have taken.  This is a vital part of your log and you
 will find it most informative to view the camera and exposure settings when you review your work.  This information can easily be obtained for your images in Lightroom – under metadata. 

You can include details on:              aperture
                                                            Shutter speed
                                                            Focal length of lens
                                                            Use of flash or any other lighting equipment
                                                            Use of tripod
                                                            If you have undertaken any post-capture work

If you could include this information for all future assignments that would be great. 

Feedback on assignment
Hard and Soft
In this image you do have a strong contrast between the leaves and the hard conker.  The composition is effective with the conker placed centrally in the square format.  It is a shame that there isn’t a little sunlight to backlight the leaves from behind and create a little glow to the images.  The image is quite subdued in colour so you could consider brightening it.  I understand that you are now using Lightroom – the clarity and vibrance sliders could be used for this.  Vibrance 
seems to be much better than saturation for adjustment the appearance of colour saturation.

This is a good pair of images taken at the same location.  The curved image is composed so the lines lead the eye around the frame.  The sky helps to offset the colour of the wall.  You could also consider this image in black and white, as this would allow the texture of the wall to be 
emphasized and therefore draw attention to the names.
For straight the lines on the wall are the prominent part – however I think the angle of view and framing is clipping the top and bottom of the wall too close to the edges of the frame.  Again if the image were in black and white the texture of the names would be emphasized.

This is another well chosen pairing where the similar nature of the images makes the contrast.  
The broad leaf has been allowed to fill the frame and is offset to the top so that the shape can be seen along the bottom edge.  The background has been blurred out of focus with a small depth of field, which is effective.
The pine leave seems more awkwardly placed in the frame and seems to jut out of the bottom edge.  You may wish to consider how you frame this and maybe another viewpoint – possibly 
more from underneath may help.  The depth of filed is again small and the exposure has been 
well controlled to ensure that no detail is lost.

In this pair you have provided a still life of the chestnuts.  The background has been well 
controlled as it neutral and evenly lit.  The chestnuts do have specular highlights, which can be avoided if you diffuse the light (later on in the course you will cover artificial lighting). 
For many I think you need to fill the frame completely with the chestnuts so that it all that can be seen.  For few I think the arrangement needs to be more spaced out to show the distance 
between them – this would then contrast with the many.

A simple but very effective and well-considered interpretation here.  The sharp image is particularly strong.  The use of the sharpener as the prop works two fold as it adds information to the image and provides a very useful stand to raise the pencil up in the frame.  I note your problems 
regarding camera focusing so will make no further comment on this for these images.  The depth
 of field in the sharp image is very effective as emphasizing the point of the pencil.
The blunt image is not as effective but as a pair they work well together.  The paper may need to
 sit on a surface as by using a white background it seems to float in mid air.

In this pair you have shown water in two of its states – ice and liquid.  The exposure is well controlled as the images are well lit.  I would consider cropping them so that only the body of the
 car can be seen to make them more abstract.

For these two images it is vital to view them as pair to understand the relationship and contrast between them.  I can see how the use of the opaque glass can make a difference to the image
 but for the transparent there needs to be information on how this image is transparent within the image rather than just as a contrast to the other image.  You could include the edge of the frame 
so that the viewer sees you are shooting through a window. 

In this pair you have shown how the same image can be adjusted to give two very different.  The light image is well composed with the building placed on the rule of thirds line.  You do seem to have some perspective distortion in the image – normally caused by using the widest focal length on your lens.  This can be corrected in Lightroom 3 or (you will need Photoshop if you have Lightroom 2).

The black and white image on screen does look very dark in the foreground with little detail. 
You may wish to lighten this area a little to bring out the detail.  However the effect on the sky is
 very dramatic and has completely changed the mood of the image.

The still and moving images of the squirrels do show how you are experimenting with shutter 
speed to control movement – either blurred or frozen.  The images are fun and work well as a series. 

Learning logs/blogs/critical essays
You are showing good work on the blog.  Your posts are regular and it is great to see links to 
other photographers work.  Please do keep this up to date.

Suggested reading/viewing
I note that you are using Lightroom, if you do wish to look at a book on how to use this program.  
I do highly recommend Scott Kelby – he has a 7 step systems for adjusting images.  Once you 
have mastered the steps it gives a quick way of working and adjusting your images.

Elements of Design

For assignment 2 you are required to look at elements of design.  The key to this assignment is
 to select from ONE of the group of subjects listed. 
Photographers you could look at for each group are:

Flowers and plants
Niall Benvie; Heather Angel; Ernst Haas, Robert Mapplethorpe (the flower images only!!)

Ansel Adams; Charlie Waite, Joe Cornish; John Davies

Street details
Lee Friedlander (the urban images); Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Raghubir Singh,

Raw Materials of Food
Edward Weston (still lives); Irving Penn (still lives); for animals look at Steve Bloom; Andy Rouse.

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