Saturday, 18 December 2010

Project 1: Points - Exercises Notes and Conclusions


In preparation here are a few example situations that I feel could make a clear point

· A glow of a street bulb (Hoping to make it to Malvern to have a look at the gas lamps that they still have working there)

· A glow in the sky preferably the moon on a lovely frosty morning, when it has a slight glow around it. I have seen it once in the last month!

· A lone tree or barn in a field

· A piece of farming equipment, with some colour on would be nice?

· A named bag, Fred Perry, Adidas with the bag taking up the whole frame and the point being the zip

· A small flower in a large grass land

· A flow of light through a stained glass frame-Church/Cathedral

From the brief I have decided to tackle this part of the course using a lot of black and white.  I love this anyway and find it far more expressive than colour, though I must stop going quite so dark!  

However, I am hoping to place some elements of colour within the exercises to understand how graphic elements can be created solely by colour as saturation and as cross processing is also a real love of mine, so I may have a dabble or two!

Reading through the section and what I have noted in my reading diary are the following thoughts and understanding to bear in mind
  • Structure and movement
  • Technique and process
  • Requirement, function and necessity
  • Small in frame and contrasting
  • Strong presence if dominant
Looking through my old photographs

Firstly I have moved all my photographs from 2010 in Lightbox as most of my files are RAW. I decided not to use Lightroom for this as it gets too messy trying to find everything after I have edited them.   I will see how this goes I may change my mind!

I have made a few notes and drawing in my manual log which I will now be keeping as well as the online blog and a little field book as I have a memory like a sieve!

I am not really sure how many photographs I take that have a point so this will be an interesting exercise…..

Exercise 1 Positioning a point

I have toyed a lot with this exercise feeling uninspired by a single subject in a large area and firing the camera, it very simple to fall into the trap of doing the exercises and moving on, but I know I want more from the course than that!  so I am taking things slow and trying to produce good photographs based on each brief.  Also one of the remarks from Andrea was to endure I have my metadata with each image.

From November until January I have kept a written log, taken and stored photographs  so I could take the entire time to keep going back and forward through through the Elements of Design as each exercise are so interlinked.  I am not sure if this is what I should do but for this section I have found this works for me.

These are the images I have put together in that time bearing in mind the following points

Size – making your focal point large is not the only way to make it prominent

Color – using contrasting colors is a way of setting your point of interest apart from it’s surroundings

Shape – similarly contrasting shapes and textures can make a subject stand out – especially patterns that are repeated around a subject

Position – Place it in a prominent position

Brief:    Take three photographs in which there is a single point, placed in a different part of the frame in each example.

The Storm Tree

1/60 Sec at f/22 focal Length 14mm ISO 200
This was taken in the middle of January with my Sony 11-18mm.  I set up my tripod on the way to work and initially took three shots ready to perform a HDR. However when I got home I did not like the result of the HDR and much preferred the single image.  

Point dominates image
I added some vignetting, played with the temperature and the blacks to create the finished image.  Though the large tree is centre weighted the colour and line of the sky gives it enough contrast to draw the eye and add the drama to an otherwise boring object. The vignetting complements the photograph and adds a little extra weight to the point.  The tree dominates the photograph making the whole image the point.

The Winter Rake
A Long Exposure of 30 sec f18 focal Length 180 ISO 200 
A long exposure was necessary to capture this image.  It was very dark and I have just really started to understand the importance of shutter and aperture priority settings on the camera.  I did not want to use the flash, it would not throw enough light anyway. 

Top Left Hand Corner

I have placed the rake at the L/H corner and top of the frame and included the tracks to show it's movement as it sits alone not quite at the top of the slope.  I have been using Photo tools in CS5 and playing around with HDR and this is the result.  

Fred Perry Bag
1/8 sec at f5.6 focal length 18mm ISO 400

Again taken using my wide angle lens and following a thought that has been with me since I first read the brief.

Off Centre

The placement is off centre with bias slightly to the right.  The focal point being the zip clasp which follows the pattern of the zip.  The image was taken in black and white and enhanced slightly by increasing increasing the black and the contrast and very heavy vignetting to enhance the zip by losing it start point.  The image illustrates that it is a bag but is expecting you to finish unzipping It to see inside

My perfect point

I went and did a lot of photographs of this wind pump but found this one to contain my  perfect point.  I find I am slightly bias towards the centre with just a little bit off.  I would like to have taken the pump further to the right but was unable to move the camera without bringing a lot of hedging into the the frame.  This was a sunset photograph that I bracketed and put through the HDR for my 365 project for the purpose of the project I have converted one of the original images to B&W.

0.4 sec at f22 focal length 70mm ISO 1250
Taken using my Minolta telephoto lens.  I was restricted to space and available light time.  I set my camera to Aperture priority and used the setting of f22.  I am very pleased with the result as I have captured a lot of detail.  

Exercise 2 The relationship between points

The brief tells me that if there are two points in a frame the simplicity of the situation is lost.  I have found this to be true. 

It certainly is difficult to find two points that are natural and so I have used situations that have been put together by me or people I know that would have had a subconscious reasoning behind them in their layout.

The Scooter Do
1.10 sec at f5.6 focal length 35mm ISO 400

Taken at a Christmas do that I attended.  Both the sign and the Lambretta had been placed on the stage in a display of equal importance.  I was stood to the side of the stage having being asked to do some photographs from the evening my positioning gave me a different outlook immediately. 

I thought it relevant to capture the name of the club as they had not held a meeting for several years and I wanted the image to be the first in the sequence of photographs.   

I focused on the sign leaving the Lambretta wheel slightly out of focus but not so blurred I you could not read the tyre logo.  The sign is the stronger image with the tyre secondary, however the tyre gives credence to the sign and helps in the persuasion of what the photograph depicts.

Christmas Baubles
1/125 sec at f5.6 focal length 70mm ISO 400
  The relationship between two points is quite a complex one illustrated in this  image with light, focus and pattern.  The two baubles are equal in dominance and the eye looks directly at both of them as they intermingle with each other in form and colour.  The shadows on the wall that reflect the images are the secondary point

Exercise 3 Multiple points

  1. Make-up......face cream, lipstick, mirror, eyeshadow, perfume, blusher brush, powder, liner
  2. Jewelery.......ring, bracelet, watch, necklace, earring, gloves (long) neck scarf
  3. Bacon & Egg sarnie.....plate, bread, butter, knife, egg, bacon, tom sauce dropping onto sandwich.  Wide aperture with frying pan in background?
I decided to opt for my jewelery option and to place the point as my locket which contains the photographs of the two most precious men in my life, my Dad and my partner in the dominent position. Using a Biba bag as the back ground and the foundation on the sequence I bgean to build my photograph.

1. The lone ring positioned to the corner of the frame, waiting for additional items to tell the story.

2. The tail of the necklace is attached to the ring and leads the eye from the ring to the necklace giving the actual connection to each other.  The shape is round to emulate the ring and also to start to create the circular flow

3.  The ring and the two necklaces start to form the circle and the directional lines into the central piece.

4.  The additional necklace again in a circular placement draws the eye further around the display with the eye starting at the ring and through the necklaces in succession.

5.  The last ring finishes the circle and allows for consistency for the eye with its placement, forming balance and drawing the eye inward.  The soft curve suggests a comfortable and relaxed feel and conveys comfort and love.

6.  The final placement of the locket closes the composition.  It shows the importance of the locket over the other pieces and directs the eye with its dominant position.  The gaps in the pieces allows and horizontal and therefore directional lines to be formed.

I placed my SLT on the tripod and the lit the area with a standard lamp that I have.  I shot with my Minolta 50mm Prime lens f4.4 and a shutter speed of 1/13 with a ISO of 800.  I sharpened the shots and added additional contrast in Lightroom as well as a bit of vibrancy to bring out the golds against the silver.


This exercise has illustrated the thought process behind object and my placement, how movement and and distance have a real bearing in telling the story of the photograph and what you want the audience to see.  It has also taught me a lot about focus, where and what I am actually supposed to be focusing on and ensuring I capture my thoughts when taking the photograph, rather than being disappointed when I view the image at home.  During the exercise

I tried tethered shooting and loved the instant recognition of correcting the placement of each piece.  I will certainly do this again for any still life in the future as it cuts down time.

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