Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Excercise 8: A sequence of composition

Finally managed to do this on Chinese New year/Valentines day. I was very nervous about shooting people/strangers in a public place but I hoped that an event such as this would make it easier for me. Unfortunately (there always seems to be an 'unfortunately' part to my posts), I was not really able to move around very much, my position was a long way from the action, and I did not have a long enough lens to see the dragons and lions in very much detail. Also having two little children to look after meant that I could not concentrate on keeping my eye to the viewfinder, but was mostly trying to make sure they did not get lost in the crowd! However, I managed to pivot around the spot, and I did find after trying to shoot wide and telephoto scenes and trying to get as much of the crowd/background in the photo, I preferred to look at more close up scenes, for more interesting shapes/blocks of colour/groups of people.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Excercise 13: Vertical and horizontal frames

This excercise comes under the project heading frame shapes and sizes.  The project introduces theories of frame division, and the excercise is based on the theory that because our eyes are a horizontal oval, and cameras are made with a horizontal view as normal, people tend to shoot this way instead of shooting upright.  However, although shooting upright may not be the easiest to do and ergonomically more awkward, I have found that I mostly shoot vertically anyway because of my subject matter (usually close up portraits).  So, I am actually forcing myself to shoot horizontally in this excercise.  Here are a selection of the photos I took vertically, then horizontally.  I was intending to go to Winchester for the excercise but was prevented by doing so, so I had to shoot in the house and garden.

Most shots could be made to work equally well whether shot vertically or horizontally.  However, I did find that if a shot had vertical lines, I would be more drawn to shooting vertically.  I found that shooting the above subjects horizontally, forced me to place the subjects along one edge.  The first horizontal orchid for example, I do not think works particularly well and would perhaps have benefited to being along the right a bit more so thatt the frame was a bit more balanced and followed the rule of thirds.  Similarly, the horizontal shoots does not work well for me because of the vertical lines, but it could have been made to work by placing the nearest shoot along a point in the rule of thirds.

The project also deals with frame formats, and I think a single yellow flower could have been succesfully shot or cropped to a square format as it is radially symmetrical.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Excercise 12: Positioning the horizon

Horizon in the middle. Neither here nor there. I want to see more of the sky as the clouds promise a bit of interest.

Up High! All that grass leading up to the only point of interest - those clouds. Gives it depth? Does this look like a mountain to climb?  I think it does but then I was there and it is a hill (which felt that a slippery mountain when you're climbing it in the freezing winds with inappropriate footwear).

Down low. Ah, that feels better. Open skies.

up high again but with a little bit of foreground detail (and a flare) Not too keen on this and the sloping horizon. Makes me feel like I'm about to slip over.

The horizon's nearly in the middle but having the gate and furrows in the foreground makes it much more interesting.

I found it difficult to find a relatively clear and unbroken horizon for this excercise but glad I found one in the end.  I think my preference is for the horizon to be lower than middle and to show more sky, but when there is an interesting foreground object, then the focus shifts to this rather than the sky so could be more pleasing as is the case with me adn the last photograph.  I think I read something about the human eye wanting to have things solid and more 'grounded' on the bottom of the pictures so this would certainly explain my preference for the above landscape to have a solid foreground but more sky.  (I think it was in M freeman's book, "The Photographer's Eye" - must check this out later.)

Incidentally, I've found Michael Freeman's book an invaluable partner to the course materials as it appears to follow the same format and of course it is written by the same author!  I am trying to not read the book too far in advance though, as I want to complete the excercises and make notes of my initial findings, then read more around it. 

Excercise 11: Balance

This was a useful excercise for me to go through past photographs to see if I can identify the balance within them.  Also useful to know that they do not necesserily need to be balanced, but visual tension could be used as part of the overall design of the photograph.

There are three photographs in the course file (page 38).  I found that I could identify the balance in 2 of them, and find them easy to view.  The third, I tried to find balance but could not easily.

Excercise 10: Focal Lengths and different perspectives

This excercise is all about perspective. This is my understanding of it; the wider the lens, the more it emphasises the difference is sizes between the objects in the frame and shows distance between items well; a telephoto lens compresses items in the photo which has the effect of either isolating the subject from it's background, or as the course material states "it reduces the apparent difference is size due to distance" (page 35).  I tried to choose a scene with depth, but I'm not sure this really shows the difference in persepective well at all.  The focal lengths I chose are 35mm which is the widest I have, and 125mm.


I'd like to try this with a person and if possible with a real wide angle lens and a telephoto to see if I can demonstrate the difference more.  It is certainly advocated by many on the photography forums I've visited that the use of wide angle lenses whould be avoided when photographing people at close distance as it is likely to produce distortion of the facial features which are not likely to be flaterring!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Lots of photography

I had a day off today and managed to get lots of photography excercises done.  I'm a bit behind in uploading to this blog, but will try to catch up at the weekend.  Meanwhile, I'm very excited to say that I managed to get a flare or two today!  But goodness, I couldn't see anything very well for a few minutes after taking the photos!  Here's one.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Excercise 9: Focal Lengths

This is a fairly simple excercise showing the difference between a wide angle and a telephoto lens.  It also shows how taking a photograph using a telephoto lens of the same subject as the wide, is not the same as walking into the shot and taking a closer shot with the wide angle lens.  This is explored further in excercise 10.




Excercise 8: A sequence of composition

I told my tutor when I sent him my student profile, that one of things I aspire to, but am absolutely petrified of doing is street photography.  Guess what Excercise 8 is all about!  Well,  I can choose to photograph a landscape, but the initial suggestion is a public event with people.  I was hoping to have a bit longer to psyche myself up to shooting in public, but here it is already. 

So my plan is to actually shoot people in public (might as well push myself), but I will wait until the Chinese new year on 14/2/10 where there will be a parade and hopefully I won't get challenged for taking photos of strangers.  So I will come back to this excercise, and for now continue with the rest of the excercises.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Website showing colour combinations

Came across this site -
thought it might be useful for the colour section of the course.

Some photos using panning

I'm pleased to say that being on this course has already affected the way I take my everyday family shots.  These are two where I tried panning instead of my usual 'must choose a really fast shutter speed to freeze the motion' technique.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Excercise 7: Object in Different Positions in the Frame

The subject needs to be smaller for this excercise but I attempted it with these:

1 First shot, not attempting to compose.

2 Centre of frame


3 This should have been the 'little way off centre' but because the subject is so large, it actually goes to the edge of the frame!


4 Edge of frame

I prefer the two at the edge of the frame but I need to redo this exercise with a smaller subject and a larger more even background.  I think I actually prefer photo number 3  as I think the lines of the road are contributing to my liking of the picture.