Saturday, 30 October 2010

Exercise 23 - Rhythm and Patterns

I was initially worried about thus exercise, I was worried that I didn't have a good enough understand of the difference between rhythmic elements and patterns to be able to produce enough images. In the end I found a lot more rhythm options than pattern options.

There was also an element of not wanting to 'waste' a good rhythm image on an exercise when I knew I would need one for my next assignment.
Here is my rhythm photograph.

This photo was taken with the 5D and the 100mm macro lens. I used the lens because I wanted to throw as much of the frame out of focus as possible as I was interested to see if the rhythm of the photo was dependent on the focus of the whole subject. I think this photo proves that it isn't and that the eye will still move across the frame regardless.

The pattern image is a photo of my bedside lamp. This is a bit of a cheat because the pattern is man made and intentional but I struggled to find patterns that weren't explicit and I like the colours and the feeling of motion in this.

But it it a crop of the original, which is below and my preferred photo. The exercise stated that the pattern should fill the frame, but I don't think that this photo loses the pattern as focus and the emptiness on the left of the frame gives it more prominence, as does the loss of focus.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Chapter 4

Just finished chapter four of Graham Clarke's The Photograph.
I'm really enjoying the book and it's great to have individual photos critiqued in detail so that we can learn to improve how we view photographs as art. I can totally understand why it is given as part of this course.
The last chapter did make me think though, I'm a massive fan of landscapes and I think that a landscape photograph can evoke more emotions and intrigue than any other subject matter, but I think that Graham Clarke may have given too much credit to some of the photographers and their intentions when taking the earlier photographs. A lot of early landscapes seem to have been commissions from governments which tells me that the photographers were fulfilling a brief and weren't simply creating art.
Not to say that there was no art in early photography, and Talbot , Fenton and Calvert Jones were certainly following painting traditions, but Clarke attributes a lot of social commentary to the photos and I don't think this was intentional. When Talbot took photos of his book shelf, it wasn't to produce an autobiographical commentary on his social standing, I imagine it was to practice his new technique, the same must surely be true of Daguerre.
This may come across as arrogant on my part and I don't mean to criticise Clarke's book or writing. Its just a thought that's been occurring to me.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Exercise 22 - Real and Implied Triangles

Real triangles

The triangles exercise was useful and there really are triangles everywhere. An initial stumbling block that I had was the idea that a 'real' triangle could be one that is 'made' using convergence. Apologies for all the quotes, but what I'm getting at is that when I started thinking about triangles, I was approaching it from the vantage that a real triangle is a solid, actual shape that has either been created by nature (unlikely) or by man.
Such as this:

This is a detail of a small swing footbridge and the triangle has been made from two wooden sides and one of floor tiles.

As mentioned before, I found the idea of a triangle made by converging lines being a real triangle a confusing one until I redefined an implied triangle as being a triangle where the points are made up of separate objects. I used the Bridgewater Hall for my Triangle created by converging upwards.

Then, as the book predicted, finding a triangle that had been created by downwards convergence was a bit more difficult. I achieved this by walking past a lock and noticing this:

Implied Triangles

The implied triangles gave cause for another still life arrangement. I would have liked to put more thought into subject matter, but time and light got the better of me for this exercise. There should have been 5-6 objects but I will hold my hands up and admit that I didn't notice this just now! oops. I think the exercise is still useful.

Still life with apex at top

Still life with apex at bottom

Finally the trinity image where the models heads make up the lines of the triangle. This image has quite a snapshot feel to it, despite being taken for the purposes of the exercise. The models weren't being co-operative :-)

Monday, 25 October 2010

Exercise 21 - Implied Lines

Implied lines are an interesting tool to improve a photo from a graphic design perspective and to encourage the viewer to move around the image in the way that you want them to. I do understand that most of these choices are unconscious on the part of the photographer, but that comes from having been concious of the technique through training such as this course.

In the two given examples the lines are dominant and immediately obvious to the viewer. The first image of the matador shows a prominent line running across the back of the bull and then continued across the shoulders of the man and then finished by his cape. 
not reading the exercise thoroughly enough I didn't add arrows but the movement would be towards the top right of the image, in the direction that the bull follows.
The second image has a line running from the top of the horses head and strengthened by the eye line of the horse.

This image on the left shows a line starting from the elbow of the guitarist and running across the neck of the guitar. The direction of the implied line is from left to right, a natural direction to view an image. this direction is strengthened by the eye line of the guitarist.

The image on the right has an implied line running across the length of the stick and the dogs head. Again, the eye line of the dog creates a direction of the line from left to right. It's interesting to consider whether I subconsciously composed these images so that they would be read from left to right.

The last of my older images is of a sheep with the implied line being formed by it's back and ears.

For my "extension of a line or lines that point" I shot the fish counter at Tesco using the digital compact. I was walking around the supermarket looking for implied lines and the rows of fish paired together made an interesting line.
There is a sense of motion and direction from the shape of the fish, the line seems to point upwards, the eyes of the fish will also contribute to this effect.
To achieve an eyeline shot, I followed one of the cats around for a while to see what they looked at. This shot is interesting in that there are a few shapes that should be dominant, the square of table that can be seen, the circle of the toilet roll or the rectangle window, but the eyeline of the cat is very strong.
It may not be immediately obvious here, but I selectively coloured the eyes of the cat to see if it increased the strength of the line and it worked well. I also did it to see how well I could edit JPEGs from the new compact.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Exercise 20 - Curved Lines

The next task asked for curves both actual and implied. I've struggled with this one as I don't seem to naturally spot curves as much as I do other graphical elements on a day to day basis.
All of these images wee taken with the compact camera and some are technically much better than others. But the important things is the capture of the curves.

The curved lines here are the metal frames of the bike shed and the curve is quite prominent being in the front of the image and then repeating, albeit decreased towards the background.

I like this image although it has been quite over saturated in post production. The curve here is a bit less dominant than the bike shed, it is a nice clean line though and it leads the eye around the image nicely.

This image was a bit opportunistic. The curves of the drawer handles form a nice break in the horizontal line of each drawer.

Another opportunistic image! I was getting worried that the curves I had photographed so far were too contrived and the images were intestine but not unique. I thought of the urinal as an interesting image as something that occurs in everyday life (well for men) but is rarely photographer and often has a strong curve. I converted to greyscale and added a colour tint to warm up the image but keep the shape of the object the focus.

This photo is terribly blurred and I took it whilst cycling to work. Despite it being a terrible photo technically, the curve of the tree is quite strong and I wanted to include a curve that wasn't man made. I could retake this image with the 5D or during daylight and get a better result.

The last image is a curve that is implied by a series of traffic cones. I wanted to include an implied line and it took quite a while to find one. Again, a technically poor image, taken in the dark, but it serves a purpose. The picture has been over sharpened in post production.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Exercise 19 - Diagonals

The diagonals exercise was interesting because as the folder says, it is really easy to create diagonals by shifting the perspective and creating a diagonal out of a vertical or horizontal line. The images that I took, on a return visit to the city centre, are a combination of created diagonals and actual diagonals.

All of these images were taken on my compact camera and have had the levels altered in Lightroom.

In this image, the wall and balcony create a strong diagonal line which has been created by my standpoint when I took the shot. This is strengthened by the diagonal line created by the lamposts which run up the street.

Stair cases make classic diagonal line shots and this one works very well.The main staircase whcih dominates the image causes the viewer's eye to roam from right to left but then back again. The second stair case in the top right is a secondary interest to the viewer. I used a split tone effect with this image as I wanted to make it feel quite cold and clinical to reinforce the lines and encourage a feeling of faster movement.

The main diagonal line in this image is created by the row of bollards and the feeling of movement is increased by the three figures walking towards the camera, whilst also following the line of bollards. Secondary lines are seen in the paving and whilst they are ataully intermittent verticals, the perspective makes them seem like extra diagonal lines. In the background to the top right and top left, alternative diagonal lines from the road and a disability ramp are featured but are at different angles to the bollards which does create a small amount of tension in the image.

This image features the second of the enforced diagonals and the saturation has been increased for the reds in the photo to make it pop. When I took this imagemy intention was to show a strong diagonal line that was totally intentional and this line, of an available retail unit, has been clearly chosen for graphic design purposes. It creates a dynamic feeling through the use of the diagonal line and again a feeling of movement. Looking at the image for a second time, there is a real conflict for the eye as the natural response is to look at the line from the bottom left and then move up to the top right, but the human brain will always go to text before anything else so the line's strength is diminished due to the text.

The last image is a strong diagonal line that has been created by perspective and the row of buildings creates quite a dramatic line that is mirrored in the lines of the road.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Exercise 18 - Horizontal and Vertical Lines

This was an interesting exercise for two reasons, firstly, the challenge not to repeat the same cause of lines (such as building sides) was fun and it made me circle town a couple of times to find alternatives. The second reason why it was interesting was because I bought a compact camera whilst in town so that I can have a camera on me at all times. I took a few shots with the 5D and then when I had bought the compact (a GE E1480W chosen for it's bargain price, 14mpx, manual mode, robust case and lithium battery) I just used that.

The final selection is an even split between 5D and compact so I'm really happy with my purchase.

Horizontal Lines

This picture was taken at F1.6 and 1/125 down a badly lit side alley using the 5D and the 50mm lens. The horizontal lines of the shutters is the first thing the viewer should notice and then the lines of the bricks which help support the horizontal.

The lines of the road, the pavement and the cladding are the dominant lines here, because they are low in the frame, the eye does move up to the windows with the interesting pattern caused by the curtains. This was also on the 5D 50mm at F2 and 1/100.

This image was taken using the GE compact and the horizontal lines are caused by initially the window décor, then by the décor on the wall and finally by the stairs inside the room. This is not as strong as some of the other horizontal images.

The final horizontal image was again taken using the compact and it shows a dominant horizontal line of the Opera House canopy which is then boosted by the lines of scaffolding and then the road.

Vertical Lines

The first of the vertical images also features scaffolding, but in this case it shows a strong series of vertical lines which are then supplemented by the vertical lines of the adjoining building. This was taken on the 5D 50mm at F4.5 1/125. 

This is my favourite of all of the images although the angles of the shutter at the top and bottom of the frame do weaken the vertical lines with a suggestion of diagonals. This was a 5D 50mm image taken at F2 1/100.

I'm going to be honest and admit that I used the lens correction feature of Lightroom to remove the converging lines. I was struggling to capture pure vertical lines on buildings and as soon as I pointed the camera up, the verticals became diagonals. I do like this image despite cheating, it was taken using the compact and is of a very art deco building in town.

This strong vertical line was taken using the compact and was a real find. This artwork is placed in a very tall area of a refurbished library. 

I'm quite happy with my images for this exercise but to be honest I feel like I used too many artificial lines and I am going to try and keep an eye out for some more natural lines that are made out of groups of objects rather than man made lines.


This is a reject from my vertical lines trip out today.

It doesn't have enough of a vertical to be used, but I lie it, especially the contradiction between the signs.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Exercise 17 - Multiple Points

This task featured my first planned still life. I have done still life images before but rarely has it been a collection of objects placed and then only for a few wedding detail shots like a bride's shoes and jewellery.
This was a fun task to plan and the most inspiring part of the instructions for me was the selection of a background that was "unfussy but not entirely plain". I decided to do a still life based on food, honestly due to the lack of any small, interesting objects within my home (due to life with cats).

After I decided on food, I chose a lettuce leaf as my background. This decision that dictated the choice of lens, my 100mm macro, as I wanted to get as much detail of the leaf as possible.

I decided to shoot the still life using natural day light so I positioned the leaf next to our south facing window on top of a wooden box and shot the images at F22 to get as much detail as possible and 3.2 second shutter speed in order to correctly exposure such at narrow aperture at 100mm. 
One or two of the images are slightly blurred which is frustrating considering the tripod set up but I was moving around whilst the camera was exposing the speed so this must have been the reason.

So, step by step, here we go:

The first two images were quite simple. the initial image simply decided how the leaf would fill the frame. I decided to leave a hint of the wooden background as it is a box lid constructed in a check-board pattern and the suggestion of lines and squares in the bottom corners add to the implied geometry that I was hoping would come later.

I positioned the first object, an almond, at the end of a visual line already created by the leaf. I wanted the line to have a stopping point so that the viewer did not start on the top right and move right across the image too quickly.

The second almond was positioned lightly lower than the first in order to create movement downwards as the focus of the subjects was towards the top of the frame and I wanted the eye to have something to lead it downwards.

Leaving the bottom half of the frame again, I couldn't fight the urge to create the first shape, a triangle, by placing an almond at the top, but still in a relatively irregular placement. I ensured with these three almonds, that they weren't all at the same angle.
The next object I positioned, is actually a cluster of smaller objects, sunflower seeds. I wanted to keep the movement implied by the line created by the spine of the lettuce leaf, but also break it up so the background wasn't too distracting. I decided to maintain the line with a rough scattering of smaller objects, the seeds.
I next returned to almonds and started by positioning an almond below the seeds to start building another focus towards the bottom of the frame.
A fifth almond was added to create an extra line to the right of the frame, but for now, it actually creates two lines, one across the middle and the intended line across the top right.
The middle line was disrupted by the close placement on an additional almond as I wanted to imply a square on that side of the frame.
The last almond was then added to create another implied triangle, but I kept it further right than it's original placement as I didn't want the final triangle to be too obvious or feel forced.
Finally I added a sprinkle of sea salt across the bottom of the frame from left to right. I wanted to give the image more texture and I also wanted to embrace the curve of the lettuce leaf on the bottom left.
So here you can see some of the implied curves and lines, you could argue that there are extra lines such as the three almonds along the bottom, but I feel that they are part of the curve. 
here are the implied shapes, my large triangle which is tipped by the sunflower seeds, bringing the different objects together, and then the more basic triangle and square which are implied by the almond placement.

This was a really interesting exercise, the image is quite two dimensional because it is top down, but I wanted to completely focus on positioning and shape so this was necessary.
Post production - I desaturated the green and warmed up the whole image, I also increased the clarity and sharpened slightly.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Assignment Feedback

Received my assignment feedback yesterday and I was very pleased with my tutors comments overall. There are a couple of suggested crops and neither of us are thrilled with my curved shot, which I may retake still.

Happily moving forward now though, I am looking forward to the next exercise which marks my first planned still life.

This iPad blogging app has just had an update to fix a problem where photos were not being uploaded properly, so just to test that, here's a shot from Sunday of a lady bird on one of my biz cards with a spelling mistake.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 11 October 2010

Exercise 16 - The Relationship between Points

In this exercise I was initially asked to take two photographs with two isolated subjects in the frame. I returned to the quays having previously noticed a few possibilities and managed to capture two images that I was reasonably happy with. 
I tried to take these pictures as naturally as possible without spending too much time composing the pictures or positioning myself. I did need to change positions to capture these pictures.

The first photo was taken at F5.6 and 1/125 using the telephoto lens at 75mm hand-held. The composition of the image is a bit disappointing because the edge of the front boat is cut off by the edge of the frame. This was due to the speed that they were moving and a bit of a slow response from me.
The two boats dominate the frame despite some distraction from the back drop. The eye is drawn to the blue boat in the foreground and then the white boat. What also helps the relationship between the two boats, is the eye line between the people in the boats. The viewer can tell from the angle of the blue boat rower's heads that they are looking at the white boat.  The blue boat commands more space due to it's proximity to the front of the photo and it's size. I think the colour helps as well.

The second image is of two red cranes and differs slightly in that the two subjects are the same colour but there is still a size difference.
The photo was taken at F14 and 1/125 due to extreme brightness at the time. The telephoto lens was used again this time at 97mm.
The right hand side crane is the less distracting of the two even though its mass is probably bigger due to the two beams protruding from behind it.
The left hand side crane is equal distance away from the edge of the frame but it still has dominance as the larger of the two and therefore the first thing that the eye sees when viewing the picture. There is an implied line between the top of the left crane and the top of the right which enhances the relationship between the two subjects. I think that this image is more successful than the rowing shot as there is little else in the frame to draw the eye. The red cranes are so dominant that the viewer takes a while to notice the thin cluster of building materials and storage at the bottom of the frame. I could crop this out for more impact. 

The last image I needed to take was of the most common, two point subject which gets photographed, the human face. The folder states that the eyes will both attract an equal amount of attention and this photograph works well to prove the point. I used F4 and 1/60 with the telephoto lens at 200mm. This was due to wanting to have a shallow depth of field in order to make the image more flattering to the model by throwing as much of the face out of focus as possible. I appreciate the point about unresolved tension as the viewing eye is pulled between left and right and back again.