Colour relationships

Task

This exercise consists of two parts.  Part one requires a single photograph for each combination of primary and secondary colours, adjusting distance, focal length or framing so as to compose the pictures in the following proportions, or at least close to:

  • Red: Green           1:1
  • Orange: Blue         1:2
  • Yellow: Violet        1:3

Part two requires the production of three or four images which feature appealing colour combinations; these can be of two or more colours.  The objective is to demonstrate there is no single ‘correctness’ to complimentary colours.  However, any indication of imbalance in the combination should be studied and the effect noted in the learning log; the slight tension that comes from imbalance can often be more interesting than perfect equilibrium.

Research

As this followed logically from the previous exercise my research was focussed on possible images.  It was evident from the outset that the first part was going to be difficult if I was to follow my wish to identify suitable scenes ‘as found’ in the landscape environment.  I also had to get it firmly in my mind that this exercise was about colour harmony and that balance/imbalance was not about, shall we say, the selection of white balance setting. However,  I did delve into the origins of the colour values assigned by J W Von Goethe out of interest as I had never heard of this before; on the one hand I found it to be a bit difficult to get my head around having an engineering background and therefore very much from the Newton side of life, but on the other there may be something in Goethe’s view given the influence that colour has on us from a psychological perspective.

Outcome

Part 1

DC6_3890 - 1/45 sec, f5.6, ISO400, 56mm Red:Green - 1:1

DC6_3890 – 1/45 sec, f5.6, ISO400, 56mm
Red:Green – 1:1

It was difficult to gauge the proportions of this in camera so I chose to bisect the frame diagonally with the green bramble crossing the red stems of the Dogwood.  Compositionally this worked for me with the single thick stem of the bramble contrasting with the confusion of red stems behind.  Taking the shot in the early morning shortly after a heavy mist lifted gave a good depth of colour to both the green leaves and the red stems.

DC6_3847 - 1/90 sec, f6.7, ISO100, 70mm Orange:Blue - 1:2

DC6_3847 – 1/90 sec, f6.7, ISO100, 70mm
Orange:Blue – 1:2

Fortunate to have an RNLI station close by!  Whilst the proportion does not strictly fit the requirement I think the design of the sign illustrates well the use of proportions and complementary colours to produce a striking, eye-catching advert, especially attached to the green fence.  I guess I could have cropped the image to give a closer 1:2 but, to my mind that would have been fiddling the books for the sake of it.  I believe what I have captured here is a good illustration of the use of colour to attract attention and it has been designed following the ‘ideal proportions’.

DC6_3899 - 1/15 sec, f8.0, ISO 100, 105mm Yellow:Violet  - 1:3

DC6_3899 – 1/15 sec, f8.0, ISO 100, 105mm
Yellow:Violet – 1:3

Again, finding a subject that gave the proportions called for in the exercise proved a challenge.  I felt sure I could find something in nature to use for these colours as they are so prevalent in flora, just not at this time of year in the wild.  However, this proves that looking at things from a different angle is revealing.  Right or wrong I really like this image, to me it speaks volumes as to the use of colour by nature.  The proportions may not exactly fit the bill but nature must have had a reason for what we see here; it may not be divided up in the proportions that deliver an impact for us but it surely must be pleasing to some bugs out there.  Again, I guess I could have framed\cropped to deliver more closely the 1:3 but that would have lost the context which I consider important to illustrate this use of colour balance in nature.

Part 2

I decided to adopt a ‘Just Do It (JDI)’ approach to this part of the exercise; get out and about and see what takes the eye from a colour perspective, take the shot then address the “why?”.

DC6_3800 - 1/60 sec, f8.0, ISO100, 50mm

DC6_3800 – 1/60 sec, f8.0, ISO100, 50mm

Shortly after a bit of a storm I decided to go to the beach to see the impact. This, believe it or not, is ‘as found’!  I had no hesitation in breaking out the camera.  So why? Having sat in front of the image on the screen for some time I guess there are two main reasons.  First, this demonstrates the power of colour insomuch as we produces millions of throwaway articles many of which are highly coloured, presumably to appeal to us sensually, encourage us to purchase them, use for a while then throw away and buy some more.  This is reinforced by the fact that my eye was instantly drawn to the area.  From a colour perspective it is, to me, in harmony or balance probably because of the spectrum of the colours present and the random distribution, although I think there is tension induced by the fact that the coloured artefacts are against a backdrop of naturally occurring material, be it the colour or texture.  The other reason I took this shot is very simple, it is but a small indicator of what we are doing to this planet; take a look at the work of Garth Lenz.

DC6_3845 - 1/180 sec, f8, ISO100, 48mm

DC6_3845 – 1/180 sec, f8, ISO100, 48mm

Passing by this park I was struck immediately by the visual impact of the colours used in the children’s play area against the lush green of the field in which it stands, notwithstanding half of it was under water!  Here we have, in the main, three colours that sit one in each third of the colour wheel providing a strong contrast that is eye-catching rather than harmonious. I can’t help wonder what the designer had in mind regarding the impact that this colour scheme might have on the emotions of the kids using it, presumably energising.  I think the tension arises from the shape, form and colours of the structure sitting within the lush green of the grass.  The net effect is a very eye-catching structure appealing to the target audience.

DC6_3914 - 1/4 sec, f8.0, ISO100, 105mm

DC6_3914 – 1/4 sec, f8.0, ISO100, 105mm

I found the colours of this flower to be striking, it just screamed for a macro shot so that’s what I did.  I think there is also the fascination of why it is these colours, I have no idea as to whether this has been modified by breeding, but presumably it is attractive to some particular insects for the act of pollination.  From a pure colour perspective there are the complimentary orange and blues, the similar reds blending with blue fringes of the petals.  Whilst it does not fit perfectly with the definition of colour accent I would contend there is something about the orange highlights against the  blue, red and green background.

Reflection

This was a challenging exercise both in terms of finding the scenes and, once found, composing the shots to deliver the required images.  There was good deal of learning and it has certainly opened my eyes to the use of colour and encouraged a more questioning view of the world and how colour is used both by nature and man to achieve desired outcomes.  It has added yet another variable to use in the equation of making that superb photograph and I am concerned that it may increase my procrastination rather than relieve it, at least in the near future, as I try to remember all the elements to consider when setting up for the shot and composing it through the viewfinder.  Judging the colour proportions is a particular challenge despite the part of the exercise that is aimed at demonstrating there is no single ‘correctness’; being relatively inexperienced it is difficult to ignore the conventions despite trying to develop ones own voice, so to speak, for example I still invariably opt for the rule of thirds.  Clearly, how you use colour and apply the ‘rules’ very much depends upon what you are trying to convey in the image, I imagine the commercial photographer and the photojournalist could differ significantly in their approach.

Bibliography:

Douma, M. (2006) Goeth’s color theory. Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement, Washington, DC. Available from: http://www.webexhibits.org/colorart/ch.html [Accessed 22 January 2014]

Google. (2014) Images for Garth Lenz photographer.  Available from: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=garth+lenz+photographer&rlz=1C5CHFA_enGB524GB525&espv=210&es_sm=91&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=A0zhUqKZKIKThgflr4CYCA&ved=0CC0QsAQ&biw=1280&bih=595 [Accessed 22 January 2014]

Primary and secondary colours

Task

To produce images that closely match the six primary and secondary colours by finding scenes, or parts of scenes, that are dominated by the colours.  For each scene the exposure should be bracketed by half a stop which will change the appearance of the colours; select the image that provides the closest match to the colour wheel provided in the manual.  Man made decorative surfaces should be avoided if possible in favour of naturally occurring colours.

Research

The first thing that struck me as I began my research for this project was the wide variation in colours in the selection of colour wheels I found on-line.  Also viewing the same image on different monitors/screens produces quite a variation.  Given that we all have slightly different colour perception also adds yet another variable in this exercise.  Considering the research I carried out for the previous exercise and the requirements of this one I decided to try to find scenes in the landscape for as many of the images as possible and to venture into some macro photography which I have previously dabbled in but have been fascinated by what can be achieved.  This meant some delving into the camera manual to beef up on some of the functionality as well as looking for examples and tips on the techniques.  I found a plethora of information on-line and was particularly taken by the work of Ross Hoddinott which I had seen in many magazines and found his images were an inspiration.  Also I found the work of Ernst Hass to be very inspirational in the use of colour.  However the first thing I did was to calibrate my monitor and then dig out my ColorChecker Passport. It was then a case of some extensive footwork looking for the colours in keeping with my preference for the landscape scenes, noting the wide definition of landscape.

Outcome

As suggested in the course notes, it was not easy to match the colours I found in the landscape environment with the given colour wheel and a good deal of frustration was encountered on this task.  In the main I was able to find scenes which delivered acceptable results and only in 2 cases did I have to resort to a trip to the local florist.  When I started taking the shots and trying to get a decent comparison with the supplied colour wheel I became very frustrated as the colours in the course notes did not seem to match at all well with my images or other colour wheels I viewed; I concluded this was a result of the printing of the course notes and decided to use the patches in my ColorChecker Passport as they are claimed to match industry standards.

Primary Colours

Red

I took this shot because, to me, it represents the winter hedgerow.  Two seed pods hanging on amongst a tangle of bare branches and vines.  The composition makes the seed pods the focus of attention but behind is the confusion of the branches.

The left hand image (DC6_3695) provides the closest match with the colour patch.

Yellow

This is a fantastic splash of colour in the otherwise fairly drab colours.

Again the left hand image (DC6_3710) provides the closest match to the colour patch.

Blue

Have to admit this one was not lurking in the hedgerow.

It was difficult to select the most closely matched image here due to the varying hues but, on balance, I think that once again the left hand image (DC6_3789) is the closest match.

Secondary

Green

There was plenty of choice for this colour with a huge range of greens in the natural environment.  I chose this example as it provided interest with the pattern and taken shortly after a rain shower still had the water droplets on it.

Whilst I was expecting the underexposed image to be my selection, probably due to the fact that I tend towards British Racing Green, but in this instance I believe the overexposed image (DC6_3722) to be closest to the colour patch.

Violet

Although I did find some flowers growing naturally the colour was very pale and I had to revert to the florist for these shots.

The richness of the colour is best matched by the underexposed image (DC6_3774).

Orange

I felt lucky to find these berries in a hedge lit by the afternoon sun, a rare commodity at this time.

Something of a subjective assessment of the colour match here due to the lighting but overall I think the underexposed image (DC6_3762) provides the best match.

Reflection

This exercise was a challenge on a number of fronts; finding the scenes with the colours required without reverting to the paint manufacturer’s colour charts; nature’s decision to inflict persistent precipitation on the locality; venturing into the macro photography arena, an aspect of photography only previously touched on out of curiosity.  Nevertheless, I found the exercise to be an enjoyable experience, particularly the technicalities of going macro and discovering new ways of employing the functionality of my camera eg using live view to aid focussing.  I was also pleased to be able to find so much in the countryside to photograph and there were challenges in capturing the scenes I wanted “as found” – I now understand why right angle viewfinders are recommended.   Once you get down to this level of detail you really appreciate the range of colours that occur naturally, however, I still find some difficulty in deciding precisely where some of the pastel colours fit in.  As the course notes suggest, this will come with experience along with instant discrimination between saturation and brightness.  Looking at my images and my choice, in the majority of cases, for the underexposed image I wonder just how much we become indoctrinated by the preponderance of “supersaturated” images in the media – should it be pleasing to the eye/brain or “as found”?  A bit like having a sweet tooth?  I guess there is also the question of how the camera electronics process the image as I understand cameras do have a tendency to either under or overexpose and it is a matter of experimentation to deduce a particular camera performance.

Bibliography:

Google. (2013) Images for famous macro photographers.  Available from: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=famous+macro+photographers&sa=X&rlz=1C5CHFA_enGB524GB525&espv=210&es_sm=91&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ei=0OrTUpXpA8fH7AaGrIGYAg&ved=0CDkQsAQ&biw=2560&bih=1235 [Accessed 1 January 2014]

Google. (2013) Images for Ernst Haas.  Available from: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ernst+haas+color+correction&rlz=1C5CHFA_enGB524GB525&espv=210&es_sm=91&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=xvjGUp2tOcjB7AbroIC4DA&ved=0CDAQsAQ&biw=2560&bih=1235 [Accessed 3 January 2014]

Haas, E. (2013) Color.  Available from: http://www.ernst-haas.com/colorGallery04.html [Accessed 3 January 2014]

Hoddinott, R. (2014) Ross Hoddinott photography.  Available from: http://www.rosshoddinott.co.uk/gallery.php [Accessed 1 January 2014]

Nikon USA. (2014) Macro photography tips: photographing insects and other small creatures.  Available from: http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Learn-And-Explore/Article/gfv2vkmu/photographing-insects-and-other-small-creatures.html [Accessed 1 January 2014]

Research – The work of Don McCullin CBE FRPS

Following the review of my Assignment 2 work which contained one or two fairly “moody” shots and my stated preference for landscape photography my tutor pointed me towards the work of Don McCullin; a photojournalist who covered extensively some of the most brutal wars and conflicts of recent times including Vietnam, the Congo, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Biafra and Bangladesh before developing a profound interest in protecting our countryside and turning his considerable energy and talent towards that goal and, of particular interest for me, his support of the Somerset Wildlife Trust.

Unfortunately there does not appear to be a single website that gives the full spectrum of his work but I found many examples, predominantly his images from the wars and conflicts he has reported.  However, it was very revealing to watch the film produced by Canon, as they courted him into digital photography during a trip to France, which gave an insight to the man and an understanding of his pictures which are, in the main, dark.  Having watched the film and some interviews on YouTube I found myself revisiting his images and being very drawn to them.  His war images are brutal, honest and shocking; they tell the story as it is and despite the horror they convey they are captivating and make you question humanity.  It is therefore not surprising that, as he turned his attention to the countryside, his landscape images also convey a similar darkness but are also captivating and caused me to gaze long and hard at each one;  his use of light is fantastic and in particular the black and white images convey a magical use of tones and textures.  I am truly in awe of the photographs this man makes; look at his work, sit back and reflect.

Bibliography:

BBC. (2013) Don McCullin in his own words. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNeVZjMVn0o [Accessed on 14 December 2013]

Google. (2013) Don McCullin landscape photography.  Available from: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=don+mccullin+landscape+photography&rlz=1C5CHFA_enGB524GB525&espv=210&es_sm=91&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=KWDJUtKJN5OShgehnYDoBQ&ved=0CDAQsAQ&biw=2560&bih=1235 [Accessed 3 December 2013]

Canon. (2013) Don McCullin feature.  Available from: http://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/Don_McCullin.do [Accessed 5 January 2014]

Control the strength of colour

Task

This task is aimed at illustrating a technique to control the colour in a photograph at the time of shooting; it utilises one of the most basic, over saturation.  The exercise requires a subject of strong, definite colour shot from a viewpoint such that the colour fills the viewfinder frame.  Five photographs are required, all composed exactly the same, but differently exposed from bright to dark.  Having found the average exposure setting take the sequence of photographs starting at one stop brighter than the average recorded and subsequently stop down by half a stop each time. On completion note the difference, apart from over-exposure to under-exposure, in terms of colour.

Research

My research for this project began by building on what was given in the course text ( I lost the will to live in trying to find the basic text for the theory of colour on the OCA website).  My main sources were Freeman (2007: 109-127), Freeman (2013: 139-153) and Prakel (2012: 74-85).  Whilst these readings went way beyond the requirement for the first exercise I considered it best to get a fulsome understanding of the subject matter at the outset.  The main learning was to keep at the forefront of the mind Hue, Saturation and Brightness and to view all images, and potential images, in consideration of those parameters. Having considered the requirements for the exercise I selected a piece of green card for the subject.

Outcome

I mounted the green card on the wall and set up the camera with cable release, tripod mounted, such that the card filled the viewfinder.  The average exposure setting was determined with a hand-held light meter and a custom white balance set using a grey card. All the shots were carried out in manual mode.  There was an unexpected challenge during the shoot which was carried out in a conservatory in the middle of the afternoon, in that the weather changed rapidly and the light kept changing.  This was overcome by resetting everything and completing the shoot in quick time.

The exercise called for the shots to be reviewed for difference in colour apart from the over/under-exposure.  I approached this question with the HSB mantra in mind.  In deliberating this I found the explanation of HSB given in Freeman(2013:141) of the colour cylinder to be the most useful.  Clearly the Hue/colour is constant but as the exposure changes the saturation and brightness are affected.  Looking at the shots from left to right, the constants are ISO and shutter speed and the variable is aperture with decreasing light falling on the sensor giving an increase in saturation or richness of the colour with the final two frames being so dark as to make the colour almost unidentifiable; in other words the saturation increases to a point where brightness becomes the dominating factor.

Reflection

The exercise has demonstrated the ability to control the saturation of a colour when taking a photograph.  However, It has raised questions in my mind as to the relationship between saturation and brightness where brightness produces the pastel colours; can you have a saturated pastel colour?  There does seem to be quite a lot to get your head round with saturation, brightness, pastel colours, muted colours et al.  But is there a right and wrong treatment?  Again we come back to the eye of the beholder.  Whilst the basic theory of the colour wheel, harmony and discord provide the basic structure the latitude for personal preference appears to be in the saturation and brightness, notwithstanding some will elect to go totally off-piste.

Reference List:

Dorling Kindersley. (2008) art the definitive guide. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited

Freeman, M. (2007) The photographer’s eye: composition and design for better digital photos. Lewes: The Ilex Press Limited

Freeman, M. (2013) The photographer’s eye: a graphic guide. Lewes: The Ilex Press Limited

Prakel, D. (2012) Basics photography 01: composition. Second edition. Lausanne. AVA Publishing SA

Assignment two Elements of design

Task

This assignment is to incorporate the insights learned so far on the course into a set of photographs directed towards one type of subject.  10-15 photographs are required, all of a similar subject, which between them are to show the following effects:

  • single point dominating the composition
  • two points
  • several points in a deliberate shape
  • a combination of vertical and horizontal lines
  • diagonals
  • curves
  • distinct, even if irregular, shapes
  • at least two kinds of implied triangle
  • rhythm
  • pattern

Research

The first consideration was the choice of subject.  I have always favoured landscapes and that has been the focus of my photography for a considerable period of time.  However, I was concerned that within the subjects listed ‘street details’ was also an option; I have always considered such a subject to be included within landscapes.  I therefore decided to look into the definition of landscape; this revealed that there are as many definitions as sites you research.  This was made all the more daunting by the proliferation of academic definitions, beyond dictionary definitions, but the research was enlightening in that I had previously been inclined to just the scenic vistas of the countryside or urban areas.  In the end I settled on two sites from which to draw my own conclusion as to what I could include in my portfolio of images for this assignment, namely; Dave Wyatt’s Landscape into Photo and The Royal Photographic Society where a piece by Paul Foley FRPS addresses the question.  I concluded that I could include anything which defines my environment and, as such, settled on ‘landscapes’ as my chosen subject.   Beyond this my research for this assignment consisted of a review of the exercises carried out for Part two elements of design and revision of earlier course work, being mindful of the need to incorporate all learnings.  Having reviewed my images in the exercises regarding presentation in colour or black and white I decided to go with the latter; I am now convinced that absence of colour does help to emphasise and portray the elements of design.  As recommended by my tutor, I elected to carry out the assignment using a single focal length of 50mm which would definitely take me out of my comfort zone.

Outcome

Single point dominating the composition

I have probably strayed into dangerous territory with this image.  Not only is it an iconic, much photographed subject but I chose to tackle it at the height of a storm, at dusk, at high tide in an estimated 70 mph wind.  I have for some time been seeking an ‘alternative view’ of this lighthouse and this assignment provided the challenge for me.  There was little choice in viewpoint given the conditions.  I learnt a good many lessons from this shoot, most notably the fickleness of mother nature and being prepared for any eventuality;  I should have been in position a lot earlier.  Anyway, I look forward to the feedback on this image.

Two points

I selected this image due mainly to the fact that the two people were alone in a vast expanse of sand and water and, as such, really dominated the scene; I used the rule of thirds and presented them walking into the space ahead.  I elected to position the horizon near the top of the frame in order to emphasise the sea and sand rather than what was a rather dull sky. Their purposeful stride is indicative of what was approaching up the Bristol Channel.

Several points in a deliberate shape

I was attracted to this subject due to the rather shabby appearance and the impression of a rather hasty construction, all of which makes for a number of textures, shapes and tones.  I hope my interpretation of several points, being the four points of the cross, fit the criteria.  I am a little unhappy with the sharpness but in order to get the shot I had to adopt a rather precarious position, hence the use of a high shutter speed.

A combination of vertical and horizontal lines

I took several shots of this building from different viewpoints but selected this one due to the fact that the structure upon which the clock sits provides a very strong, bold vertical line which compliments the solid horizontal lines of the floor levels.  The vertical lines in other views, which although being obvious, are much weaker.  My selection is also a trade off with depicting the full height of the building.  The picture was corrected for vertical lines in Lightroom.

Diagonals

I have stood atop Crook Peak many times and gazed at the scar of the M5 motorway as it carves its way through Somerset and Devon disgorging its load onto the feeder routes for Cornwall.  Obviously it was not the best of days and on this occasion I did not have a tripod with me so the image is not as sharp as I would have liked.  Nevertheless, I think it is a good illustration of a diagonal benefitting from having an elevated view-point.

Curves

I chose this unusual urban landscape as the curves are very obvious and there is a good flow from the horns down to the curvature of the bridge itself.  I waited quite a while to get the pedestrian walking in what I considered the right direction thereby complimenting the direction of the curves.  Again there was a lot of moving around on my part to find a suitable view-point given the use of the 50mm lens.

Distinct, even if irregular, shapes

One benefit of taking photographs in urban areas is the proliferation of multi-storey car parks which offer very good viewing points providing, of course, you are prepared to stick your neck, and arms, out.  I took this photograph due to the multitude of shapes on view, it just seemed the obvious shot.  There was a good choice of compositions but this seemed to offer the best in terms of the variety of shapes in view.  It was a hand-held shot due to the position of the view-point.

Implied triangles

I thought this would be one of the easier sections but I did not find it so; perhaps there is something here about training the eye.  My aim here was to produce a varied (in terms of the environment) selection of implied triangles; quite what the instruction means “at least two kinds of implied triangle” I’m not sure as I understand there to be triangles achieved by perspective or implication – I’m sure my tutor will enlighten me.  Of the above shots the one of the blackberries proved the most challenging due, in the main, to the wind; I was reluctant to increase the ISO to enable a faster speed for fear of losing detail in this particular composition which has resulted in some loss of focus in areas but as it represented the detail of the landscape I have, nonetheless included it.  Within the remaining selection I have identified that I should have used a faster shutter speed for the slipway image as I took this hand-held and there is evidence of some camera shake.

Rhythm

Lesson here, timing is everything and use of a tripod in cities is difficult.  However, I was attracted to this scene due to the rhythm induced by the columns which effectively marched you through the image from foreground down to the harbour.  This was also complimented by the regularity of the benches and the fountains.  Clearly the use of a tripod would have delivered a better technical result.

Pattern

I decided to include two images here to cover both ends of the spectrum, at one end a man-made pattern on a sculpture and at the other end one of nature’s patterns in the form of a seed pod I noticed when out and about.  In the case of the seed pod image I reverted to my macro lens rather than stick with the 50mm; taking this shot was a challenge in terms of selecting a depth of field since the pod itself is curved – I wonder what Fox Talbot would have made of my ‘accurate’ recording?

Reflection

I found this assignment to be more testing than I had anticipated.  Two main factors influenced this.  First, having to deliver all the images depicting the elements of design from within a single subject area which, in the case of my selected subject, was open to a broad interpretation which may not accord with the assessor’s view; this was nagging me all the way through but I felt I should stick to my guns.  Secondly, using a single prime lens (50mm) took me out of my comfort zone of “the zoom”, making me move around to study the subject from many angles; good discipline yes but it added considerable time to the field work and I then found I was doing a good deal of cropping in post processing.  Clearly the fact that this is my first marked assignment also added to the pressure.  Nevertheless I have enjoyed the challenge and satisfaction of completion and look forward to the feedback. Turning now to my thoughts of achievement against the assessment criteria points.

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills.  Wherever possible I should have used a tripod and in the cases where I could have, but elected not to do so, it is evident with the associated loss of sharpness.  Allied to this, where I shot handheld, on occasion, I failed to take into account camera shake and dial in enough shutter speed to compensate.  In these respects I need to take more time making sure my camera settings are the most appropriate which use of the tripod will help with.  I look forward to my tutor’s comments on the technical aspects of my images as I am now using Lightroom in anger, so to speak, and delving into new areas of the functionality with the help of YouTube and some literature; I suspect there are areas that I have entered where my skill level will be evident.  I do have some concern that when I am taking shots for a particular exercise I may not be giving sufficient consideration to all of my previous learning and incorporating that into the image.  I think my visual skills are improving, I certainly feel that I am looking at my surroundings in a different way and have become much more mindful of what makes a good image.  However, I have not given enough attention to learning from others and need to seek out the work of notable photographers which will help me determine a direction to move in.

Quality of Outcome.  I believe I have presented my work in a coherent manner and communicated effectively my ideas and thoughts both through the written word and the content of my photographs.  Whether the underlying theme of my interest and concern for our environment is evident will no doubt be revealed in the feedback after assessment.

Demonstration of Creativity.  In the words of my tutor “Creativity is a highly subjective term”.  Thus far in the course I have commented on my own creativity but following feedback on assignment one I have tried to avoid this nagging noun.  I hope it is evident that I am developing a personal voice through my selection of subject matter and the comments I make.  Within all of this I still find it challenging to imagine or, preferably, visualise the impact of a photograph I am considering which makes for a time-consuming dilemma on occasions – probably a matter of just getting on with it rather than using that all-encompassing technique of procrastination.  I think there is evidence of my readiness to experiment at the expense of perfection eg the lighthouse image although it might have been a step too far at this juncture.

Context.  I am aware that whilst I research the topics and exercises as they arise I am still not reading wider and studying the work of others to help me find a real direction in which to take my photography, a point already raised by my tutor.  I think a big stumbling block is the language used in some of the recommended reading which makes reading a chore rather than informative and inspirational; I am currently still struggling with Susan Sontag’s On Photography, Sontag (1979), try reading it without a dictionary in the other hand!  In terms of my learning blog I believe I have developed a style and layout that enables the reader to understand my thoughts and navigate their way around.  As mentioned above, what is missing is comment on wider study.

Reference List:

Foley, P. (2009) Landscape photography. Available from: http://www.rps.org/learningzone/landscape/landscape-photography-paul-foley-frps/ [Accessed 13 September 2013]

Sontag, S. (1979) On photography. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books

Wyatt, D. (2013) What is a landscape photograph? Available from: http://www.landscapeintophoto.com/what-is-a-landscape-photograph-part-1/ [Accessed 1 September 2013]

 

Rhythms and patterns

Task

The requirement is for two pictures, one depicting rhythm and the other pattern.

Research

Whilst pattern was obvious to me the principle of rhythm was less so.  I referred to both Freeman (2007: 48-51) and Prakel (2012: 68-69).  I also found some additional material in Freeman (2013: 76-79) as well as numerous examples from a Google search.  As I have inferred, I considered the rhythm shot to be the more challenging of the two.  Whilst the principle became clear using the musical analogy, I was concerned about finding a subject that was not boring eg cable pylons that dominate the countryside in my area and form a rhythmical march across the fields of our green and pleasant land.  For the pattern shot it became clear that there were a number of options ranging from numerous man-made examples in the urban landscape, which would be more obvious and easier to find, through to nature’s patterns which would be considerably more challenging both in terms of finding and achieving a composition that would meet the criteria.  I noted the importance of framing the pattern such that there is the assumption, when viewed, that it continues beyond the edges.  In common with other exercises in this section I elected to present the images in both colour and B+W for comparison in the build up to the assignment.

Outcome

Rhythm

I debated this image as, to my mind, it portrays both rhythm and pattern but I decided that the framing gave the rhythm dominance whilst the pattern in the structure introduced interest.  I think the rhythm is introduced by the columns in the top arches and then the arches themselves move the eye along. Looking at the two images I think the B+W best portrays this design element.

Pattern

When I first considered this I questioned how big, or small, the pattern has to be to ensure effectiveness; this is the side of a relatively large building that has been given over to street art.  Looking at the overall structure I saw a pattern in the structure of the building itself, one of those concrete monstrosities, overlaid by the street art.  Although in this shot there is no obvious repetition in the pattern of the artwork I think it leaves you asking the question as to whether it repeats itself outside the frame, which adds a bit of tension.  For me the B+W image, with the contrasting tones is the more interesting although the colour image is certainly striking and really shouts at you from the screen.

Reflection

My initial thoughts on this exercise were realised in that I wonder whether my rhythm image is sufficiently strong to satisfy the requirement.  I am also beginning to question whether my pattern image is covering too big an area to properly convey the design element.  However, this has given me further ideas for the assignment images so perhaps it has achieved its aim as an exercise.  In particular I would like to find one of nature’s patterns to photograph.

Reference List:

Freeman, M. (2007) The photographer’s eye: composition and design for better digital photos. Lewes: The Ilex Press Limited

Freeman, M. (2013) The photographer’s eye: a graphic guide. Lewes: The Ilex Press Limited

Prakel, D. (2012) Basics photography 01: composition. Second edition. Lausanne. AVA Publishing SA

Real and implied triangles

Task

The task is to produce two sets of triangular compositions, one using ‘real’ triangles and the other making ‘implied’ triangles.  In the ‘real’ category there are to be: a triangular subject; two triangles created by perspective, one with the apex converging to the top of the frame and the other with the apex converging to the bottom of the frame.  For the ‘implied’ category two still life arrangements are required, one with apex at the top and the other with the apex at the bottom and image with three people arranged such that their faces or the lines of their bodies form a triangle.

Research

As usual I turned to Freeman (2007: 84-87) and Prakel (2012: 50-51).  Whilst it appears that the triangle is the both the most common shape due to the requirement for just 3 points, it has the advantage of providing both dynamism and stability depending on the configuration.  Thus it is a ready source of structure.  My reading also threw some light on what had previously for me been a source of irritation when photographing buildings and having to tilt the camera either up or down with the resulting perspective – little did I know the value of this technique!  I found numerous examples of images depicting triangles through a google search, far too numerous to list.

Outcome

Real

An obvious real triangle forms the basis of the structure of this somewhat unusual footbridge in the Bristol harbour side.  As well as the real triangle I was drawn by the implied triangles.  I was somewhat constrained by the surrounding access as to the viewpoint but, on reflection, it would have been interesting to have explored some slightly different angles and the perspectives generated, especially as I was using a prime lens.

This presented something of a challenge since the tower itself is listing to starboard, so aligning the shot required a degree of care.  When composing the shot I spent a good deal of time trying various degrees of camera tilt to achieve the optimum degree of convergence – not sure if I have achieved it.

I did not find it easy coming up with an image that depicted the inverted triangle.  I looked at a number of subjects and when banging my head on the countertop in frustration just happened to look down at the cupboard handles – my eureka moment!  As with the previous image, it took some time to achieve what I considered the optimum composition to illustrate the principle.

Implied

Still-life forming a triangle with apex at the top.  I spent a good deal of time trying to get the lighting right for this one both with and without flash and still managed to get shadow; I wonder whether I should have tried to make use of shadow rather than eliminate it.  I have to admit that I am no fan of still-life photography as I find the arranging of the objects very testing and lighting is always a challenge.  Hence, my preference is for simplicity of both objects and arrangement.

Not actually Tracey Emin but……. Again it was the lighting that proved to be the issue.  I tend to avoid flash whenever I can as I have yet to master this technique so as to avoid making it obvious that I have used it.

A 70 mph wind off the Bristol Channel and three willing(!) volunteers provided the opportunity for an image that represents triangles both through the positioning of faces and bodies.

Reflection

For me this was quite a frustrating exercise in terms of finding appropriate subjects and determining the optimum viewpoint to best illustrate convergence.  This was somewhat contrary to my initial assessment of this task.  I feel I probably got too wrapped up in trying to find an image that I found pleasing rather than being satisfied with something that met the requirement of the exercise; this is an important observation for me as it has a very real impact on the time to complete the exercises.  I am also still unsure as to what depth of field is best suited to convergence images.  The time of day is also important for taking some of these shots otherwise there is a large dynamic range to content with if shooting tall buildings against the skyline.  Still-life still does nothing for me!  Comparing the colour and B+W images, I think, on balance, the B+W images best illustrate what the exercise is about.

Reference List:

Freeman, M. (2007) The photographer’s eye: composition and design for better digital photos. Lewes: The Ilex Press Limited

Prakel, D. (2012) Basics photography 01: composition. Second edition. Lausanne. AVA Publishing SA