Monday, 22 November 2010

The Photographers Eye

Have just finished the Photographers Eye after intermittently dipping
into it for ages. It's a great book I really enjoyed it and can see
why it became the basis for TOAP.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Exercise 24 - Control the Strength of a Colour

This is the first of the exercises from Part 3: Colour. My subject for the image was one of the girders of a swing bridge in Newcastle.

I took these photos handheld - which may have been a mistake as the composition isn't exactly the same for each photo, however the colour fills the frame as required so they do the job.

The aperture stops that I used are F2, F2.8, F4, F5.6 and F8. I used full stop increments instead of half stop increments because I was using my digital compact which does use full exposure, but the indicator between the stops isn't very clear.

The 'correct' exposure according to the camera was F4 at 1/80 second and this is the third image. The exposure increases the brightness and seems to weaken the saturation making the colour seem more washed out the wider the aperture. When the aperture is narrow, the colour seems richer, more saturated and darker. It isn't actually affecting the saturation, it just appears to be doing so.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Assignment 2 - Elements of Design

Assignment 2 - Elements of Design

Here are the images I have submitted for Assignment 2 - Elements of Design
It was a fun challenege to choose a specific subject area for the series of photographs. I chose Street Details as my subject area and then I decided to make the streets coastal. This was still a strong subject with a wide variety of options available to me, but crucially it focused my trips out as I could only make two trips to the nearest coast-line. 
I started off at New Brighton on the Wirral, photographically made famous by Martin Parr in the Last Resort, but now a very quite town in decline. I then made another trip to the Wirral and visited West Kirby beach which is near where I grew up.
It was an interesting challenge having to focus my attention on the required set of design elements and I fear I may have looked slightly dememted roaming the promenades with my eyes scanning from side to side looking for particular points or lines. I am quite happy with my results, a further trip to the other side of the New Brighton sea wall would have been good.

Curved Lines
This image is of a wind shelter near the sea wall in New Brighton. I have an alternative curved image which I may yet replace with this one as the black and white stands out from the rest of the set and Simon has pointed out that whilst there is a strong curve, there are other dominant lines here.
Exposure 1.6 seconds at F22 - on a tripod to get as much detail in the morning light as possible.

Diagonal Lines
I am really pleased with this image. I am still not 100% happy with the crop and I may widen it again but I love the colours and I like the way that the diagonals are stacked on top of each other and they are created by perspective.
Exposure was 1/6 second at F13. I could have gone to a narrower aperture but the wind had started to pick up and I didn't want any movement.

Distinct, if irregular, Shapes
Again I am very happy with this image, I like the bleak feeling to it and the muted colours. The three shapes are made up of the low traffic islands and the roundabout itself. In post production the wonky lampost in the middle made me question my composition a few times.
Exposure 1 second at F22.

Horizontal and Vertical Lines
Although the horizontal lines are significantly more in number, the two verticals match them in strength due to the stark contrast between the rope ladder and the sea wall.
Exposure was 1/6 second at F13. I could have gone to a narrower aperture but the wind had started to pick up and I didn't want any movement.

Implied Triangles - 1
The three swans make up an implied triangle here. I tried cropping the sky out more than the original composition but it lost some of the image's success. I think the swans need the context of the sea front so that they fit into the whole set.
Exposure was 1/50 second at F5 to throw the background out of focus.

Implied Triangles 2
There are three implied triangles at work in this image and I'm happy to say that I spotted all of them through the viewfinder whilst composing the scene. The first is created by the rocks, the second from the smallest man in the distance and the third by the space made by the nearest man's legs.
Exposure was 1/640 at F4 as I was hand holding and didn't want too much detail in order to enhance the triangular shapes

There were a few choices for this design element but I decided to use the patterns left by the wind on the shifting sands.
1/6 second at F22 to get as much detail as possible.

A lot of the buildings and walls around the coastal towns had available choices for rhythm and I chose the sea wall, promenade side, in the end as I liked the curved sections that suggested movement.
Exposure is 1/320 at F4.5 to throw out all but one of the concrete sections in order to start the viewer on that section and let their eye move forward and back.

Several Points in a Deliberate Shape
This landscape shows several rocks left by the tide which create a circular pattern which appealed to me. I hadn't captured any other circles for the set and decided that, as it is a deliberate shape which does not occur often by accident, that it would work well here. Exposure was 1/125 at F9 which was the narrowest I could capture hand holding with a telephoto lens.

A Single Point
The lighthouse is one of the main landmarks in New Brighton these days so it seemed a natural single point. I walked down onto the sand to present it in a dominant position in the frame.
Exposure is 1/13th second at F16 on a tripod for good detail but a sharp lighthouse.

Two Points
The detail here was on the ship and the boat. The backdrop does distract the eye to a point but it still works reasonably well.

Exposure was 1/125 at F10 to get good detail in the two points but not the background.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Ansel Adams

Due to generally being swamped I've decided to approach my write-ups of historical photographers in a quick fire way, so I'll use the same headings for each one I planned to research.

Born in America in 1902, died in 1984. 

What was he famous for?
Landscape photography and creating the zone system for better exposure and contrast in printing

Interesting Facts
Adams founded the Group f/64 along with fellow photographers Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham - dedicated to sharp, detailed and accurate photography.

Photograph that most speaks to me

Mainly due to the dramatic sky and the way the curves of the river help the eye roam around the image.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Successful L Panel Submission

Yesterday was a very proud day, after 18 months of working on it, attending advisory days and waiting for opportunities, I submitted a panel of 10 photos to the Royal Photographic Society and recieved my Licentiateship certificate from them, so I can now use the letters LRPS after my name.

This was my winning panel. A lot of people went with themes but I stuck to the letter of the manual and showed different techniques. I'm really pleased, it was totally nerve wracking and an exhausting day!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Photographer Awareness

One of the reasons why I wanted to do this course was to explore and understand the work of famous photographers and be able to appraise a photograph from an artistic viewpoint. With this in mind, I'm still working my way through the Graham Clarke book but whilst I am enjoying the book, reading an academic work on a subject area that I was completely clueless about before, doesn't produce great understanding under my particular learning style.
So to address this I decided to widen my knowledge and I bought four Taschen books second hand off Amazon. The first one that I have started (and nearly finished) reading through is 20th Century Photography.

This book is ideal for where I am right now, it contains 1/2 pages of information about nearly 50 photographers who are deemed important to photographic art and who's work features at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.

I've read through most of the book now and it's given me a good understanding of who was responsible for what and its also been nice to identify the creators of some of the photographs that I already knew. 
So with this in mind I have decided to blog about 6 of the photographers who's work is quite different from each other. This will be useful in helping me consider my own work in terms of their areas and also get some inspiration and ideas.

I'm going to look at:

Henri Cartier-Bresson - street
Ansel Adams - landscapes
Richard Avedon - portraits
Alexander Rodchenko - montage and alternative angles
Duane Michals - photo sequences
Peter keetman - abstracts

There are so many to pick from I just decided to pick the one's in the book who's work spoke to me immediately from an aesthetic viewpoint.

Lack of Posting

I'm a bit concious that I haven't posted anything for a while, I have been working on Assignment 2 and now have 9 of the images that I'm happy with.
I need to retake an image for points making up a deliberate shape as I'm not happy that the points I had found are far enough apart, it's more of an implied shape.

I've also been a lot of reading around photographic history having bought some Taschen books, I will add another entry tonight summarising what I have been looking at.