A logical progression from the previous post, this exercise involves finding two points that dominate the frame. I took some shots for this exercise and the previous one in Gadebridge Park, Hemel Hempstead. The course notes mention that it’s not typical to find situations where there are two points, and suggest that some variation of viewpoint (so getting on higher ground for example), distance or changing the focal length, would probably be needed. This is certainly true – at least to achieve any obvious demonstration of a relationship between points.
Image 1. 38mm, 1/640 second, f/8, ISO 400.
Technically this image has two points but there is little sense of dominance of either point in the frame, which produces a pretty flat image, at least as demonstrating any sense of relationship between points goes.
Image 2. 98mm, 1/640 second, f/5.6, ISO 640.
Again, I thought that this was a pretty static, flat shot, but you could argue that two points dominate the image. The flower on the right of the frame draws the eye first as it is bigger but also in sharper focus.
Image 3. 32mm. 1/80 second, f/16, ISO 400.
Fairly dull in terms of the content but a reasonable demonstration of the relationship between the two points of the goalpost on the left of the frame (which the eye is drawn to first as it’s bigger and nearer) and the lone guy much smaller in the background entering the frame from the right. The eye is drawn from one to the other and there is an implied line with a sense of direction.
Image 5 (40mm. 1/80 second, f/16, ISO 400) and 6 (48mm. 1/80 second, f/16, ISO 400). Image 5 produces a bit more sense of direction and stronger implied lines – probably due to a third point created by the guy walking his dog. Image 6 is pretty similar to 5 but without the figures coming into the frame (…and I would argue gives less sense of direction and weaker implied lines).
Here with the first of my post for the second part of TAOP – Elements of Design. It is about positioning a single point in the frame, and continues on from one of the previous exercises – positioning the horizon. The course notes stress that there are two important graphical relations that points have within a frame. First, a sense of movement – the strength of which is in proportion to the distance from the point to each side. The second is division, so the point implies a division, and is therefore important for composition of an image. Maybe it is my choice of subject – I actually found it quite difficult to find situations where there was a clear single point dominating and the frame – but I don’t find the images that I took demonstrate either relationship particularly well. I can appreciate though that placing the point in the centre creates a static composition and I agree that this would rarely be effective.
Photographs – park bench in Gadebridge Park, Hemel Hempstead.
After a really slow start to the course I finally managed to submit the first assignment on Contrasts for the end of February. I created a pdf slideshow and added title slides so I could include some brief information for each pair of photographs and technical data. I’ve posted a low res version below.
Overall I was pleased with the feedback that I received, which was prompt and really constructive. I have to admit that I was relieved that it was generally positive. More importantly though it gave me a good steer on expectations of the OCA and how I should progress with, and present, future assignments. And I got some really practical pointers for development. The feedback is posted below.
General points raised
I’m encouraged by the opening remarks made: broadly that I covered a range of subjects; achieved contrasting pairs through literal and metaphorical interpretations; and the composition and subjects were engaging. The tutor was quite correct to pick up that some of the photographs were archive shots. Although I have made a slow start to the course, I take a lot of photographs and have done since enrolling. This meant that I was in the fortunate position of being able to assemble final set of pairs from a much wider set. I ended up including a mix of photographs, some of which were taken in the same location and day as a quite deliberate pair (e.g. for large and small – two pictures from the same art exhibition), and assembling pairs from photographs taken at different locations and on different days (e.g. the boxer that I used for ‘still’ and the gymnast for ‘moving’ which were taken a few months apart).
I acknowledge the need in future assignments to elaborate on techniques applied, why I chose to compose shots in a particular way, and explain any post production techniques. On the last point, I will be laying off some of the heavier post production I applied (I used Topaz adjust on a few of the images) and instead concentrate on studying the histogram for images and using the levels tool in photoshop. I have also started to keep a log of photographers that I have researched and exhibitions that I have been to and will start to incorporate and reference some of this material in my learning log, which I have only done in the loosest of ways so far.
The recommendation to research the work of Alexander Rodchenko was a really welcome one, given my interest in architecture of the Constructivist movement.
On the pairs of images, I don’t intend to address every point of feedback raised here but will certainly work through it all. I can address most of the improvements relatively easy through different crops or basic adjustments, but there are more substantive learning points in the two pairs described below.
Large and Small. For ‘Large’ I would certainly agree that the framing on the gorilla shot is too tight. I used a 35mm prime lens for this so I could take photographs in low light (maximum aperture of f/1.8) but the compromise was that I had to move with my feet to change the framing. To get the girl in the left hand side of the frame I had to take the shot reasonably quickly, but the composition could have been more considered. With hindsight, I think the processing here is probably a bit over the top and my tutor probably went easy on me. The photograph for ‘small’ is better composed and not heavily edited and is the better shot for it. This was a good find for the contrasting ‘small’ image (and I only come across it on my way out of the exhibition – it was in a side alley outside) and getting the litter into the shot and some detail of the alleyway adds to the sense of scale.
Still and Moving. The feedback suggested that this was the most successful pair of images, but technically I think one of the images leaves a lot to be desired. The ‘Still’ image was shot as f1.8 at 1/4000 and ISO 2000. There is no logical reason why I would have used such a wide aperture with a fast shutter speed (given that the subject was static) and high ISO, and the explanation boils down to the fact that I took this photograph with haste without checking the camera settings. It was taken at the Clapham Grand at a charity boxing night. After making some enquiries I was optimistic about a ringside position and the promoters being content for me to take some shots. As it turned out they were not ok with it at all, so while a friend was trying to negotiate with them for me I took what shots I could quickly. The end result was a half decent shot that could have been much better (less noisy with more depth to it). For ‘Moving’ I got the shot through patience and after a fair few attempts (no tripod – so I just had to hold the camera in position). It sounds like I should explore blending modes to improve this shot, and along with going back to the books on levels in photoshop, this is the next bit of technical development that I’ll be finding the time for.
This might be the final set, for now at least. Again, thanks to Geek Syndicate for providing a press pass for me, using and crediting the photographs. See here for their review. Thanks as well for anyone who let me take some shots. If you see yourself here drop me a line and let me know what you think. With a bit of luck some of them might be used for the next Geek Syndicate magazine.
Some more shots from London Super Comic Con.
Matt, Tim and John who run the Hat Decides podcast
If you see yourself here drop me a line.