coursework

well, hello dolly…

Finally got back shooting today. Not doing coursework, just working my way towards the images for assignment 4.

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concentrating light…

concentrating light…

A few months ago—if you’d suggested that I wanted to create stark, strong light and shadows—I’d have laughed at you…!

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contrast & shadow fill…

contrast & shadow fill…

Using reflectors—homemade and store bought—to manage contrast and filling shadows in our images…

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the lighting angle…

the lighting angle…

The purpose of this exercise was to investigate how the angle and position of the light will light the subject…

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softening the light…

softening the light…

This exercise aims to illustrate the difference between hard [bare-bulb] and soft [diffused] light…

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softening the light…

softening the light…

The purpose is to evaluate the effect that diffusion has on both the quality of light and the required exposure…

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light vs lighting

Still trying to get to grips with the concept of lighting—know that in the past when I have used lights. I have used them to make the object visible in a darkened room as opposed to using lighting creatively to illustrate concepts such as texture, colour, volume or shape. Read Prakel’s book on lighting—which is now on the ‘suggested further reading’ section of the TAOP reading list. Found the book easy to follow and understand; and felt that it linked more closely with the lighting coursework in the red folder.

But I was determined to go further—and so have tackled Light: Science and Magic—which is on the essential section of the reading list. This is hard going! It is the third time that I have attempted the book; and I am not going to let it defeat me. So far, I have managed the first four chapters, so there are another six to go. But am finding that by taking it slowly and making the mind-maps; it is starting to make more sense.

I still have to try all the experiments in the book—and doubt I will have time before my assignment is due—but I am obsessed/determined/pig-headed about lighting—and it will make sense one day!

The first four chapter mind-maps are available here:

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experimenting with light…

experimenting with light…

So I had a little play, thinking that it might cover the contrast and fill exercise, until I read the exercise afterwards…

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tungsten lighting…

tungsten lighting…

Knew when Ylennia asked me whether I wanted to take some images in the new water villas…

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cloudy weather—3

Finding cloudy day images in our image library that would definitely not  have been better in sunlight…

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rainy days and sundays…

rainy days and sundays…

For this part of the exercise, we were encouraged to take our cameras out & capture some ‘wet’ images…

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cloudy weather—2

cloudy weather—2

Covering two parts of this exercise with these images—looking at colour, f/stop etc but also texture…

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cloudy weather—1

cloudy weather—1

I know where we are going here—looking at shadows—and how clouds help to soften the shadows and the light…

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light through the day…

light through the day…

What’s more frightening—chased by a naked man in Windsor Great Parks—or attacked by aggressive terns…?

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colour temperature—2

colour temperature—2

In this exercise we look at whether or not a scene requires in-camera white balance correction…

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colour temperature—1

colour temperature—1

The fact that daylight has colour—and that colour changes through the day—is something I am aware of…

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higher and lower sensitivity

higher and lower sensitivity

In my first post for lighting coursework, I said that occasionally I would try to pre-empt what was required…

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measuring exposure—2e

measuring exposure—2e

Okay, now this series has gone on long enough—I get the picture—I promise to make more informed decisions!

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measuring exposure—2d

measuring exposure—2d

Penultimate series of bracketed exposures for this part of the coursework—and an interior series…

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measuring exposure—2c

measuring exposure—2c

The third and final series of bracketed images that I shot in Venice—with a slight difference from previous…

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measuring exposure—2b

measuring exposure—2b

The second series of images where I bracket exposures and decide which one reflects the scene as I want…

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measuring exposure—2a

measuring exposure—2a

Here we go with exposure bracketing—creating a series where we deliberately under-and over-expose images…

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measuring exposure—1

measuring exposure—1

An exercise which calls for a number of images that are deliberately lighter or darker than average…

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measuring exposure—intro

measuring exposure—intro

These exercises are designed to teach us to make conscious decisions about what metering system to use…

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silly games…?

silly games…?

I’m playing a game with myself and ‘lit’ photography at the moment—and it’s helping me ‘see the light’!

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lighting…thus far

lighting…thus far

Because I ‘played’ with lighting in assignment 1 and assignment 3; it seems a good time to take stock…

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lighting coursework…

It’s time to start all the ‘onerous’ tasks as background for the lighting assignment. Actually, I’m quite excited although it is not my intention to just work through all the exercises like an automaton. I used the word ‘onerous’ in my introduction, because that has been what I have felt reading through some of the other blogs as people complete the exercises. There seem to be so many, which can drag one’s enthusiasm down if they feel just like a never-ending mountain of tasks. So my intention is to approach it slightly differently!

a different approach

If you have followed this blog, you might have noticed that I have a little bit of an obsession with lighting! Used lights in both assignment 1 and assignment 3—mostly spray and pray attempts at lighting. A sort of ka-boom; crash-bang-wallop approach, without blowing it out too much—and eliminating shadows as much as possible! There was no modelling, no finesse! In fact, it was only towards the end of assignment three—my tulips series—that I was starting to handle the light with a little more intention. They’re not perfect, but I was enjoying lighting them to get the highlights on the top of the petals; and moving bits of foil around to fill areas. So now, I am ready to move on…

And before I even get near to the assignment, I know that what I want to do will be different. There will be some soft light—no shadow shots; but I also want to experiment with creating hard shadows (intentionally) and also throwing shadows. I’ve chosen to work with a doll, who stands only 18in—she can’t actually stand unaided—so that might also be fun! Why I mention the doll so early is because I know I am in for a hard time with her. All my light modifiers are huge—not huge in the commercial studio sense—huge in the amateur photographer sense. And I know that the softness of the light is directly related to the size of the light-source when related to the size of the subject. So getting the effects I want will be a bit of work. Have some home-made workarounds in mind—but not sure if they will work. We wait and see.

Have also compromised with my tutor that not all the shots will be indoors—so the rain had better stop sometime soon. Will be taking the lights outside as they are all battery-powered. Need to work out a way to get my flash to trigger the lights or vice-versa. More technical stuff to learn!

approaching the coursework

My intention with the exercises is to stop before I do each set; and try and anticipate what the results will be, what the exercise is trying to teach me—and, if I really think that I might not learn from that one—doubtful though—I’ll skip it!  Also if I think an image is relevant to more than one aspect of the coursework; then I will use it again! Also, my tutor did say in my previous report—”The course work is going to ask you to do a lot of things you already can.” So maybe it is okay if I skip an exercise here and there—with justification of course.

One of my reasons for try to pre-empt what is being asked of me, or what an exercise is designed to teach me, is so that I can get as much out of this module as possible. In the previous ones, it’s often only when I get to the end of an assignment that I understand where it was leading me; and then I have got frustrated because I don’t think that I have learned all that I should have done from it. And then I get tempted to start again! So I’m reflecting on my learning before I start learning—if you know what I mean?

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indecent proposal

indecent proposal

I’m still out on holiday, but you can see from the feature image that I have done some of my light studies…

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black & white conversions

Been discussing the pros and cons of Lightroom vs Photoshop on the OCA forum, and the conversation has moved on slightly to include plug-ins including Nik Silver Efex Pro. Jeremy wanted to know my thoughts on the standard B&W conversions in Lightroom as opposed to the conversion using Silver Efex Pro; and I thought the best way forward would be to post a series of images illustrating the conversions.

the images

In my previous post, I mentioned that I preferred the neutral/straight Silver Efex Pro conversion to the straight Photoshop B&W adjustment layer conversion. But going on from the conversation, I decided to have a look at the Lightroom conversion as well. So, here they are:

original colour image

original colour image

neutral lightroom conversion

neutral lightroom conversion

neutral silver efex pro conversion

neutral silver efex pro conversion

neutral photoshop conversion

neutral photoshop conversion

conclusion

My observations here are only with the standard conversions—in each application, I chose just to opt for the standard B&W conversion and did not apply an other adjustments or enhancement.

  • The Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro conversions is seem better than the Photoshop conversion, especially with the handling of the yellow and orange colours.
  • The greens look pretty similar in both.
  • The Silver Efex pro conversion looks darker overall than the Lightroom conversion
  • I think I see more detail in the tones in the Silver Efex Pro one, noticeable in the reds; and in the reflections on the lighter peppers.

Even though the Silver Efex pro necessitates a few additional clicks instead on the one-click Lightroom conversion—because I have to launch Silver Efex Pro, as shown in the screenshot below—I still think I would opt to go this route because of all the additional controls that the application offers. I might do a Lightroom one-click on an image just to get an idea of how the conversion to B&W might look, but I’d revert to colour and go the Silver Efex Pro route for ‘hero’ images.

launching silver efex pro from within lightroom

launching silver efex pro from within lightroom

 

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colour into tones in black & white

It’s not often that I want to disagree with something that is written in our course notes, but maybe it’s about time It’s not that drastic a disagreement though—maybe just a case of semantics! The course notes say that, “…all black-and-white photography, calls for a different sensibility. It involves training your eyes not to be influenced by the colours in scenes”. That’s where I disagree—a little. I think you have to train your eye to be influenced by the colours; and know how those colours will be interpreted in black and white tones.

I actually found this exercise very interesting as I was trying to pre-empt how the conversion of colours to black & white; and the application of the different colour filters in post-production, would affect the final black & white image. And it is something that I will find myself practising in real life.

In my last assignment, I set the LCD display to monochrome because I knew that I intended to convert all the images to black & white. But I had no preconceived idea when I looked at a scene as to how it would convert. I also did not apply any colour filters to the images in the last assignment. Although, I may well go back and give it a bash—just for interest’s sake.

no edward weston

I opted just to do peppers for this exercise—maybe not that imaginative, especially because the course book examples were also peppers. But on the upside, it did send me off on a little mission looking at Edward Weston’s images of peppers—lovely, gnarled, human images. And mine were flat, boring, ‘perfect EU’ peppers—totally lacking in character! But am seriously considering trying to grow my own and see if I can develop some peppers worthy of photographing!

post-processing

I opted to post-process in Silver Efex Pro because I am still getting to grips with this plug-in, and any excuse to go back and play! The other reason I did it here was because I really did not like the black & white Photoshop conversion! Found it really flat and boring; and there was not that much difference between the effect of the red or yellow filter. My results with Photoshop were more interesting if I dragged the little slider and forced colours to be effected. Wonder if my green pepper was too yellow because each time I dragged on the image, it was the yellow colour ranges that were being affected and not the green?

In Silver Efex Pro, you have the option to change the strength of the filters when you apply them, but I opted to stick with the application default settings. Except for the blue filter which I brought down to 75% because I could not believe how drastically it affected all the other colours! The peppers were all just about black and you really could not see anything!

original colour image

neutral photoshop conversion

neutral silver efex pro

red filter

yellow filter

orange filter

green filter

blue filter

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colour relationships—part 1

In this exercise, we were to explore Goethe’s concept of colour ratios, and then find examples of these ratios easier said than done! From the outset, I realised that the red/green was going to be the easiest, orange/blue pairing slightly harder; and the yellow/violet pairing. And this would be the same for both found or created situations. The only idea I had of a yellow/violet pairing that I knew, existed in nature, and they would be flowers. Because I was considering flowers as part of my assignment 3, I was hesitant to include them here—but did not know where else I might find the pairing. I discussed the ratios suggested by Goethe in a previous link; and am not going to include that information here.

post-production

I got my inspiration for this from Catherine’s learning log, to illustrate the colour relationships more graphically.

  • Created duplicate layer in Photoshop
  • Used the ‘Find Edges’ filter
  • Used an B&W adjustment layer above the Find Edges layer to convert the layer to B&W
  • Clipped the adjustment layer into the Find Edges layer, so that the Find Edges layer was the only one that was converted to B&W.
  • Made a selection of the pertinent coloured area from the original colour layer.
  • Made a new layer and applied a layer mask so that only the required coloured area would be visible. [This is easy if you click the layer mask icon when the selection is still active.]
  • Sampled the relevant colour from the bottom layer and then used the paintbrush to paint in that colour.
  • Repeated the last three steps above as required for the image.
red | green

The image below is of two eco-taxis, captured in the centre of Copenhagen. I will admit that my attention was drawn firstly to the champagne bottle and glasses in the centre of the red bicycle! [Says something about me, that does!] I thought it was fairly balanced at the time of capture, but now, having done the assessment, I am a bit peeved!

I have this habit of just seeing what I want to see; and somehow ignoring the rest! [In one of my images for assignment two where I captured a man on his mobility scooter in Windsor, I had had to admit to my tutor that I had completely ignored—or not seen—the boating shed and people at the base of the image. I need to teach myself to scan the image before clicking.

shutter: 1/125 | iso: 1250 | aperture: f/2.0


In this one, the balance would have been better if I had waited a couple of moments before pressing that shutter. The red clothing on the people behind the red bicycle is distracting. And the more I look at the image, the more I see it; and the more I want to kick my butt!

violet | yellow

The image was taken while I was on a studio lighting course with Damien Lovegrove. I am not totally happy with this image in that I have not got the proportions correct. It’s more like a 50/50 split in my opinion. But I am putting it up here so that I do not get held up any further! Will continue to look for alternate images; but I have to accept that I cannot let this hold me up while I try and capture that perfect image!

shutter: 1/200 | iso: 200 | aperture: f/16.0

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controlling the strength of colour

controlling the strength of colour

In this exercise on colour, the brief was to look at how we could control the strength of colour in the image by controlling our exposure of the image.  The aim was to see how overriding the manual exposure controls of the camera would affect the colour in the image. Not sure if I did this correctly, because so eager was I to get started that I opted to shoot an image with more than one definite colour in it; and also changed my exposure by using the exposure controls on the camera instead of changing my aperture. I am hoping that the results will be the same; otherwise I might have to reshoot it. But as I understand it, there is this triangle between shutter speed, aperture and ISO; and I should get a decent result.

post-processing

In all seven images, I focused on and exposed for the apple in the top of the frame. In my examination, I will look at how the colours of the apple; and the yellow leaves changed as a result of exposure.

I imported all images into Lightroom; with no changes other than the Lens Corrections settings where I chose the correct lens. After that, I exported them as PSDs into Photoshop. I placed colour sampler targets in the images—using a 3×3 average sample—and read the HSB and CMYK values from the Info panel.

There is some change in the framing of the images—should have used a tripod—but I have tried to place the samplers in the same place in each image. If you look at the image below, you can see where I placed the colour samples. 1&3 are on apples, 2&4 are on leaves.

expectations

Before actually looking at the colour values, I had some thoughts about what I expected to see.

  • Hue: Would stay roughly the same, accounting for the fact that I had placed the colour samples in slightly different areas—comment above about framing and tripod!
  • Saturation: This was an unknown, and the one that interested me the most in terms of how it might change.
  • Brightness: Expected that this would change and would become increasing lighter as I moved thorough the images.

shutter: 1/6000 | iso: 800 | aperture: f/5.6 | exposure bias: -1EV

shutter: 1/1250 | iso: 800 | aperture: f/5.6 | exposure bias: -2/3EV

shutter: 1/1000 | iso: 800 | aperture: f/5.6 | exposure bias: -1/3EV

shutter: 1/8000 | iso: 800 | aperture: f/5.6 | exposure bias: 0 EV

shutter: 1/640 | iso: 800 | aperture: f/5.6 | exposure bias: +1/3EV

shutter: 1/500 | iso: 800 | aperture: f/5.6 | exposure bias: +2/3EV

shutter: 1/400 | iso: 800 | aperture: f/5.6 | exposure bias: +1EV

conclusions

As a scientific study of the colour values, this was a bit of a failure! Owing to the fact that my framing and placement of the colour samples was not as consistent as I wanted it to be. Maybe if I had read the instructions more carefully and had found an object of one solid colour, I would have been more successful—again lesson learned! [Think will reshoot this at some time! have a bright yellow car; and that should have been my subject matter.] But I think that I saw saturation values reducing as I progressively over-exposed the image?

Because of this, I have opted not to look too closely at the colour values shown in the Info panel below each image, although I will do this when I re-take the exercise using my car!

From a visual point of view, I prefer the third image; the one that is slightly under-exposed at -1/3 EV, because the autumnal colours of the leaves and the red of the apples is stronger than the lighter images; but the overall image is not as dark as the ones taken at -1EV or -2/3 EV.

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dealing with saturation…

Still researching colours, and enjoying it; even though it’s taking longer than originally intended and my tool of choice when examining saturation in colours has been Adobe Illustrator and the ‘Live Color” and the ‘Color Guide’ functions.

what is saturation

From my readings of Linda Holtzschue’s book “Understanding Color: An Introduction for Designers, I have learned the following:

  • A saturated colour is a hue in its strongest possible manifestation.
  • Saturated colours are also called pure colours.
  • They are defined by what they do not contain—made up of only a single primary, or two primaries colours; never contain a third primary.
  • They do not contain white, black or grey.

By creating a colour wheel in Illustrator using ‘Live Color’; and progressively desaturating the colours, it becomes clear that the terms lighter or darker are not relevant when discussing saturation; more relevant would be terms like vivid, dull, and muted.

In looking at the colours that I generated, it also became apparent that the purer, more saturated colours were more likely to be the palette that I found in urban and man-made materials; whilst the more muted, desaturated colours were more likely to be those that I saw in a natural, rural landscape. I excluded brightly coloured fruit, vegetables and flowers from this assessment though—because they mess with my conclusion!

I also took a brightly coloured illustration and progressively desaturated by 25% in each iteration. Thus images below go from left to right in the rows.

  • The first image is the original, to the left is the image desaturated by 25%.
  • In the second row, the image on the left is desaturated by 50%; and the image on the right is desaturated by 75%.

It is evident that the colours do not change in value—they do not become lighter or darker, but they do become less pure, less intense and greyer.

 

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colour ratios

In addition to complementary hues, I’m also learning about the ‘correct’ ratios at which they should be mixed that colour harmony lies in a balanced relationship between these complementary hues. This is apparently because we have to take into account the relative brightness of the hues in order for them to balance.

It was Goethe who first proposed the colour relationships listed below, and I also came across Schopenhauer who is also accredited with assigning different values to the hues, although it is said that he used Goethe’s colour circle as the basis for his theory, (Holtzschue, L. pp 142-143). Essentially both approaches are the same and different! In Goethe’s thesis, he indicates that because the hues have different lightness values, they should be displayed as outlined below in order to achieve harmony.

  • Red: green 1:1
  • Orange: blue 1:2
  • Yellow: violet 1:3
Goethe's Colour ratios

Goethe’s Colour ratios

Alternatively, Schopenhauer illustrates the relative lightness of the hues in the colour wheel as shown below (Holtzschue, L. pp 142-143); and assigns the following lightness values to the hues. With Schopenhauer’s harmonious color circle each complementary pair is meant to be equal in light-refl ectance to each of the other two pairs

  • Red: green 6:6
  • Orange: blue 8:4
  • Yellow: violet 9:3
Schopenhauer’s  Circle of Color Harmony

Schopenhauer’s Circle of Color Harmony

Reckon that it must be pretty difficult to find these harmonious as naturally occurring instances, but possibly far easier to create in still-life settings? The one I have noticed occurring most often has been the violet/yellow combination—where women wearing violet coats have knowingly or unknowingly accented their outfit with a flash of a yellow scarf!

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complementary colours…

Having looked at the qualities of colour in terms of hue, saturation and value; I’m now investigating colour relationships and how colours relate to each other to create visually attractive or striking combinations. There are a number of colour relationships or colour harmony models. I will only discuss those which are relevant to the projects and assignment for this colour module, with this post dealing specifically with complementary colours.

complementary colours

Complementary colours are hues that are opposite one another on the colour wheel. The basic complementary pairs—consisting of the primary and secondary colours—of the colour wheel are:

  • Red and green
  • Yellow and violet
  • Blue and orange

In each of these pairs listed above, one half is a primary colour and the other half is a secondary colour. That secondary colour is a mixture of the two other primary colours. We are not restricted to only three sets of complementary colours; in fact the list is almost endless if we go beyond the primary and secondary colours. The only rule is that the complementary colours must lie directly opposite each other on the colour wheel.

In looking at the complementary pairs above, the pairing that I am not keen on is the red/green. I find it visually jarring. I most probably would have no problem with tints, shades or tones of this set; but when it is saturated, I don’t really like it. Finding that I prefer the complementary sets which come from the intermediary/tertiary colours as they are not so in your face!

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colour value

In addition to hue and saturation discussed in earlier posts, colour also has value, or lightness and darkness. If we start with the original hue and add black to it, we are creating shades of that original hue; and conversely if we add white to the original hue we are creating tints.

Dependent on what approach you use, value can also be called lightness or brightness as in HSB and HSL, where H=hue; and S=saturation.

In the large diagram below, I have only shown three steps either side of the original hue—three tints and three shades—but it is actually a continuous gradient which goes from black to white—with the shades and tints falling either side of the original hue.

diagram showing colour value—tints and shades

diagram showing colour value—tints and shades

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primary, secondary & tertiary hues

Neither the course notes nor the ‘Basic Colour Theory’ document on the OCA website contained any colour wheels so  I decided that I was going to make my own. I am rather visual, so it seemed right for me to make wheels that I could reference. Have this idea of making one on cardboard with a top cover and a cut-out so that I can more easily commit the colour relationships to memory. Guess if I do that, it will have to get stuck in my journal as opposed to being online here!

But first, a bit of theory…

hue

Hue means only the name of the colour: red, yellow, blue, green, orange, violet… Consequently the terms ‘hue’ and ‘colour’ are pretty much interchangeable. Although ‘colour’ can also be used to describe our complete perception of the colour—including its hue, saturation and value/lightness. Nearly all coloured objects include more than one hue, but one hue is the most obvious. For example, if we compare two red objects, both will seem red; but when placed alongside one another, one might appear to be more of a cooler blue-red whilst the other might be a warmer orange-red; but we see both objects as being red.

primary hues

The accepted artist’s primary hues are red, yellow and blue(RYB) because they are colours which cannot be created by mixing other pigments. This is different from the computer primaries (RGB) where by mixing green and red light, we can create yellow light.

secondary hues

Green, orange, and violet are the secondary colours of the artists’ spectrum. The secondary colours tend to be less contrasty in hue than the primary colours.

  • Blue + yellow = green.
  • Red + yellow = orange.
  • Blue + red = violet.

Each of the secondary color is at the ‘ visual midpoint’ between two of the primary colours, so each of the secondary colours has a primary colour in common with another secondary colour.

  • Orange and violet both contain red.
  • Orange and green both contain yellow.
  • Green and violet both contain blue.

tertiary hues

Although the colour wheel could contain any number of intermittent hues as hues are continuously blended together with their neighbours; for convenience sake, the artists’ colour wheel is normally limited too twelve distinct hues. Known as tertiary or intermediate colours— yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-violet, blue-green, and yellow-green—are the midpoints between the primary and secondary hues.

  • Red + orange = red-orange.
  • Orange + yellow = yellow-orange.
  • Yellow + green = yellow-green
  • Green + blue = blue-green
  • Blue + violet = blue-violet
  • Violet + red = red-violet

As with the secondary colours, each of the intermediate/tertiary colours is the ‘ visual midpoint’ of its two adjacent colours; each colour containing one primary and one secondary colour.

Okay, so the names for the tertiary colours as listed above are technically correct, but they sounded pretty boring; so I have alternate, more descriptive names here as well…

  • Red + orange makes tangerine.
  • Yellow + orange = saffron.
  • Yellow + green = lime.
  • Blue + green = turquoise.
  • Blue + violet = indigo.
  • Red + violet = magenta
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understanding the colour wheel

It took me quite a while to get my head round this ‘new’ colour wheel; after all I was an rgb/cmyk girl where my primaries were red, green and blue; and red was opposite cyan, green was opposite magenta, and blue was opposite yellow! And now they wanted me to accept that I had it all wrong, that the primaries were red, yellow and blue; and that it was blue/orange; green/red and yellow/violet!

My tone might sound a little flippant, but I don’t mean for it to sound that way. Actually accepting this apparent new order was really difficult, initially. I read a fair amount—will reference the books in separate posts as I tidy up my study notes; played in Adobe Illustrator; read  OCA forum posts, jumped around the internet and interacted with a few sites— and finally I saw the light. One book which I would highly recommend is UNDERSTANDING COLOR: An Introduction for Designers (Fourth Ed) by Linda Holtzschue. I’m on my second read of the book; and still discovering loads about colour. Don’t think it all sunk in the first time around.

She has some interesting exercises—especially the after-image ones. This was when I discovered that violet is indeed the opposite of yellow; and I was convinced that it was blue! In fact I had previously been so convinced that it was yellow/blue that in my first assignment, I intentionally placed the lemon on a blue background—just goes to show! Below I have shown the original lemon on blue; and then done a little jiggery-pokery in Lightroom to see how it would look against violet. May have over-egged the violet a little, it’s a new colour to me! It seems a little too red and a little too light.

I have come across terms such as perceptual, artistic, subtractive, additive; and accepted that there were a number of different worlds out there; and I could manage their co-existence. Had fun with the visual acuity tests at x-rite too–although I had to close my eyes often to ‘cleanse’ them. Got a score of 4, which apparently means I have good colour acuity.

To be honest, I was still a little sceptical of this ‘new’ approach until I had another little ‘eureka’ moment whilst playing with ‘live color’ in Illustrator. I plugged in green; and asked for the complementary colour; and was given red instead of the magenta that I had anticipated! And this new approach was fait accompli.

The prawns above—also from assignment 1—were a happy coincidence! I only had the blue background, so they were shot against it. But now when I look at it, I can see how much better the orange looks against the blue background, it is so much stronger than the lemons against the blue. Half-contemplating reshooting them for the colour section; as they were not part of my final selection for assignment 1. Of course, if I do, I’ll use a metal skewer to avoid the droop in the middle, get the ratio better and make the prawns a little tidier!

Finally, I have made myself both colour wheels in order to visualise the difference; and found it easier to anticipate the intermediate colours on the RYB wheel than on the RGB wheel!

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getting to grips with colour

getting to grips with colour

I’ve not picked up the camera in over two weeks now—intentional and not lazy—I’ve been training my eye…

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rhythm & pattern

rhythm & pattern

In this last set of exercises for module 2, we were required to find a minimum of two images—one which illustrated rhythm and one which illustrated pattern.

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implied lines (ii & iii)

In the second and third sections of this exercise, we needed to assess and apply the concept of implied lines to our own photographs.

section 2 — assessing our own photographs

The instruction was to take three of our own previously taken images and assess the presence of implied lines which lead the eye.

image 1

Taken at the same time as the image of Maddy included in the diagonals set, this image shows her looking out of the frame with the faintest of smiles on her face, this makes us wonder who she is looking at—what is happening outside of the frame as such. Again, I am happy with the contrast between the direction of her gaze and the diagonals behind her.

image 2

This image was taken after attending the Struth exhibition at Whitechapel when we came across the demonstration by the EDL at Liverpool Street. It was the first time I had really taken street photographs like this; and admit to being rather apprehensive. If only I had had more presence of mind, because I am sure that I could have got better examples of policeman pointing because they were all telling us where to go. In the image, the policeman to the left of the frame is pointing to the right; and the policeman on the right of the frame is looking out of the frame in the same direction.

image 3

A second image taken at the protest, where I think I have managed to show an implied line through movement. Granted the main protagonists in the image are blurred, but the rest of the image is in focus. I think it is this movement which shows the implied lines in the image. The fact that the police are running—where are they running to, what is happening outside of the frame, and why is the one police woman in the background running in the opposite direction?

section 3 — taking two images

The two images below were taken specifically to show the use of impled lines in photographs.

image 4

In the fourth image, the couple walking are both looking in the same direction at something out of the frame; thus creating an inference that there is something of interest happening outside of the frame. The pedestrian behind them is also looking in the same direction.

image 5

This is very much an implied directional line—or pair of implied lines—pointing out of the image. Both groups of people are following a direction out of the frame, although the line is stronger with the four people on the right of the image.

image 1: focal length: 85 | shutter : 1/5000 | iso: 400 | aperture: f/1.2
image 2: focal length: 23 | shutter : 1/80 | iso: 1600 | aperture: f/16
image 3: focal length: 23 | shutter : 1/40 | iso: 2000 | aperture: f/16
image 4: focal length: 23 | shutter : 1/60 | iso: 3200 | aperture: f/16
image 5: focal length: 23 | shutter : 1/125 | iso: 400 | aperture: f/8

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implied lines (part i)

implied lines (part i)

This exercise moves from real visual lines—which have been studied in the previous projects— to the more optical/virtual/implied lines which can exist between points.

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lines in composition: curves

For this exercise, we had to look for and take four photographs using curves to emphasise either movement and/or direction within the image. So, here are my first attempts at using curves as a design element within an image—not as difficult as I thought they would be, but not sure how successful I was in producing images with any worth!

curved lines — from my readings
  • A leading line—in this context a curved line—can be either visual or virtual — either way it does the same thing in that it leads the viewer through the image. Can work very well as leading lines.
  • More active the line — like curves — the stronger it encourages the eye to follow it.
  • Have a sense of movement and direction, and can be considered a kind of diagonal line. Because they pull the eye, they are useful in planned composition.
  • Distinction within curved lines   — C-shape and S-shape curves — to me the distinction should not be as much the shape — S or C — but rather the ‘extreme-ness’ of the curve?
  • More likely to be natural than man-made.
  • Harder to introduce into a picture.
  • Fish-eye lenses can be used to simulate or force curves.
  • Tend to have a smooth, graceful, elegant, gentle, meandering feel—and can add these feelings to an image.
  • Less powerful or forceful than the straighter lines discussed in previous projects — but that becomes their attraction.
  • Can be a strong compositional design factor as they are less common that the straighter lines.
comments

Whereas in the previous exercise on diagonals where I was confident that I would be able to find diagonals fairly easily, I felt that curves were going to present me with a problem. As mentioned above, they do tend to occur more often in natural surroundings than in man-made surrounding—a meandering river, a curved hillside, a curves country road. Thought I might also be able to find then in architectural details, but then worried that they would become the focus of the image and not a compositional element within the image.

image 1

Worried that this looks like an image where I am just photographing curves, whereas actually I was trying to use the curves of the car to lead the eye to the reflection of the man sitting next to the car. This is slightly more visible at a larger size.

image 2

My first few shots using the new x100 [which has given me so much more confidence to shoot on the street]. Still getting used to the slight delay when shooting with it—not as instaneous as SLR. Think the shot would have been better if it had been captured a millisecond before or after it was. Before, the lady on the phone would not have been in the image and the curves would have just lead to the post with the flowers; after, and she would have been in front of the post, and the curves would have lead the eye to her instead.

image 3

Another from that first day of using the x100. Combination of the cut curves in the grass and the diagonal of the buildings on the left, leads the eye round to behind the castle. Maybe a bit ‘picture-postcardy’; but think it is evidence that often more than one design element can be used in an image to guide the viewer.

image 4

Originally taken when I was concentrating on the ‘two points’ project. When shooting I became aware of the fact that the branches were curved and that the one from the left seemed to draw the eye to the top right; where one picked up the second curve leading to the flower at the bottom right. Again it seems to be a combination of elements within the image; and wonder if this is a problem?

image 1: focal length: 23 mm | shutter: 1/500 sec | iso: 400 | aperture: f/9
image 2: focal length: 23 mm | shutter: 1/750 sec | iso: 400 | aperture: f/8
image 3: focal length: 23 mm | shutter: 1/1200 sec | iso: 400 | aperture: f/8
image 4: focal length: 100 mm | shutter: 1/500 sec | iso: 3200 | aperture: f/16

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lines in composition: diagonal lines

In this exercise, we needed four photographs which illustrated the use of diagonals in the image. I felt fairly confident about this one; knowing that in my back catalogue there would be a few; and also when shooting specifically for diagonals, they would be something I would tend to see more easily.

What I did notice however, was that in my back catalogue, where I was shooting a scene, I had tended to use diagonals as part of my design/composition, but when sent on a mission to find diagonals, I was shooting the diagonals per se, more than using the diagonals in the scene. [Need to be more aware of this distinction when I shoot for the assignment.]

Also did some odd shots in  the back-garden, just to see how the wide-angle lens would change the perspective and give me more diagonals. Still trying to use the lens more. I know that what I would like to be shooting are those sort of wide-angle street scenes that one sees in Leica brochures. [Oh, for a little Leica! I digress again, but I have a fear of shooting in public; and a little Leica would be so cool. Thinking of hiring one for a day; the deal is only till end of July!] Never got round to hiring the Leica, time, money and the problem of possible temptation made me desist!

In addition to shooting the required images, I am also looking through my back catalogue; to see whether I have used any design elements. Course notes say to build this section up as a reference for future.

diagonal lines – from my readings
  • Few real diagonals — except for staircase, but can create diagonals by tilting the camera, or photographing lines along their distance. Wide-angle lenses can be used to create converging diagonals from straight lines and give a greater sense of depth.
  • Represent unsolved tension. Can convey a sense of expectation, action, movement; make the composition more dynamic.
  • Greater sense of perspective.
  • Strong for creating leading lines and directing the attention of the viewer through the image.
  • “Diagonals that run from bottom left of the image to top right are considered more dynamic and give greater sense of movement.”  Präkel, D. (2006, p.48). No, please no! Have already noticed in a great number of my images that I tend to run the other way — bottom right to top left! Plus I felt I was okay — that Sinister diagonals were acceptable and possibly even more dynamic?
image 1

From the back catalogue—but one of my favourite images from that holiday. Evidence that I was using diagonals, maybe even sub-consciously then.  Also evidence that I’ve always been this bottom-right to top-left person; and I am know trying to visualise what the image may have looked like if I had positioned the diagonal on the opposite side. Really must ask my tutor whether there is a wrong or a right way? Know rules are meant to be broken, but would like to understand and then break them intentionally!

Also wondering whether this is a diagonal or a zig-zag? Readings have suggested that there is a distinct difference between the two. Tend to say that zig-zag have a greater sense of unease or tension, disquiet, agitation, exciting, unsettling—which is definitely not the sense that I am getting in this image.

image 2

Included this image here because it has the same sort of diagonal or zig-zag lines as the above image, with the wake leading the eye through from the top right along the lines until it reaches bottom right. The energy that these lines can have is much more evident in this image. [Accept would be much better if I had managed to include all of the smaller boat on the right.]

Have also noticed that for both images, I went for a slightly panoramic crop as this seemed to emphasise the diagonal lines more.

image 3

Although not possibly the best image in terms of composition, what I did like about this one was the extreme diagonals; and the sense of movement and energy that they gave to the image [shown by the arrows in the image].

Know now that the extreme angles come from shooting wide—was using a 24-70; and shot at 24mm—wonder if having an even wider lens woud have allowed me to get more into the shot, and how that would have affected the diagonals in the image.

Initially did not like the concrete in the lower right-hand corner of the image, but there was nothing I could do to exclude it, I was up against a wall; and stepping onto the concrete changed all the angles in the image. Then I accepted that it did work within the image, as it was functioning as an arrowhead, pointing into the same area as the gondola was pointing and moving. [Or maybe, I was just over thinking?]

image 4

In this image, the diagonals are formed by the lines in the metal shutter, which are moving away from the subject which were introduced by changing the angle at which I was shooting Maddy. What I like is that the diagonals are at completely a different angle from the way she is looking, which I think makes the image more interesting.

I think that conventionally, I should have positioned her at the right-hand side of the image so that she was looking into the empty space instead of looking outside of the frame; but I just like this effect. [Wonder at times about the 'rules' and when it is acceptable to consciously break them?]

Also need to know more about when/where one should ‘amputate’ the body. Hoping that might come in future modules.

image 5

This is just a little extra. Took this photo while trying to get shots for my ‘positioning a point’ project. Looking at it, thinking that there are so many things wrong with it; and yet I like it?

Compositionally, maybe it’s not that good? In terms of the parasol being centred left to right; but it is higher in the frame — so it’s not centred vertically? Also would have been better if there had been fewer fractures in the trees.

Have clipped some of the shadows and highlights. But shadow clipping is not as extreme in Photoshop as it looks here, output will be interesting!

I got a sunflare! Whoop! Not the biggest or the most spectacular one — but nevertheless, and it was intentional. Never tried to do that before. Also learnt that to get this effect, I really need to stop down—f/22

Now to work out why I like it. Like the way the backlighting from the sun has lifted the parasol away from the background; the diagonal of light coming in from top left to bottom right; the wonky horizon (unintentional); the lines of the parasol handle and ribs all pointing to that sticky-out bit at top of parasol—which I am seeing as diagonals; the upward direction of the ground—another diagonal? I’m getting this whole sense of movement from bottom left to top right.

Okay, I like it, don’t love it. Maybe I will look back later on in this course; and think ‘what were you thinking…?’. But today, at this moment, I am happy with it. And that is all that matters — today!

image 1: lens: 16-35 | focal length: 35 | shutter speed: 20 sec | iso: 50 | aperture: 22
image 2: lens: 70-300 | focal length: 300 | shutter speed: 1/1250 | iso: 640 | aperture: 8
image 3: lens: 24-70 | focal length: 24 | shutter: 1/80 | iso: 400 | aperture: 9
image 4: lens: 85 | focal length: 85 | shutter: 1/4000 | iso: 400 | aperture: 1.2
image 5: lens: 16-35 | focal length: 35 | shutter: 1/40 | iso: 1600 | aperture: 22

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lines in composition: horizontal lines

lines in composition: horizontal lines

A continuation of the lines in composition exercise, with this section concentrating on horizontal lines as an element of design.

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lines in composition: vertical lines

lines in composition: vertical lines

The purpose of this exercise was to discover vertical lines as elements of design within a composition.

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multiple points

multiple points

We had to create a still-life using 6-10 similar sized, compact shape objects. The objective was to illustrate the relationship between multiple points. Bearing the following in mind:

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the relationship between points

the relationship between points

The purpose of this exercise was illustrate how the introduction of a secondary point in an image destroys the basic simplicity of an image.

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positioning a point

Experimenting with the different positions in which we can place a single point in the frame. Notes say that placing a point in the centre very rarely works, because of the static nature it produces. Wondering if that relates only to the 3:2 ratio, seeing many square images where the focal point is dead-centre. Wonder if that changes things?

the (not-so) cunning plan

Turned out to be not so cunning after all. Going on from what I had listened to with duChemin about being mindful and having a vision; I decided to be mindful before I shot. I was going to have an intention; emotion/emotions I wanted people to feel. With a lone bird-cage; or a lone lace parasol — hedging my bets by carrying both down to the field — I wanted to portray a sense of loneliness, loss or desolation.

I chose my lens specifically — wanted an expanse, to increase the sense of loneliness — so went for the 16-35mm. But it just does not seem to work for me; I have this overwhelming urge to always full the frame. It’s going to be hard to shoot with the wide-angle and get the feel that I want because it is just so alien to me. My aim is to shoot most of the time with it at 35mm; but it just causes me problems.

Maybe I should follow his paradigm of there being three images, the one I envisage, the one I shoot, and the one that occurs after post-processing?  It leaves me feeling frustrated. The initial shot needs to be closer to what I wanted, needs to convey the emotions or sense that I wanted it to do.

comments

The bird-cage just did not work at all. But it’s a possible prop for another day! Looking at the images, I also became concerned that my parasol was a little too big to be a point. May need to re-shoot sometime in the future.

In all the images where the parasol is lower in the frame, the gap in the trees is disconcerting and detracts from the image, making it more difficult to assess which is the better image.

Visually, the centred parasol is not pleasing. As shown on the image alongside, the eye is drawn to that point, but then does not seem to have any direction in which to travel. It is very static with little movement or direction in the image.

I found my reaction to the placement in the other three interesting. Preferred when I placed the element on the right in both the lower images; but then found my eye movement odd. When the parasol was placed lin the lower left, my eye entered comfortably at that point and then travelled up and right.

When placed upper right; I entered at parasol, then went down lower left; and moved upper right and stopped there. Placed lower right, I entered there and went top left. With this one, while I liked the placement of the parasol possibly the most; and would have liked this image the best if the trees had been solid, I found my eye-movement strangely uncomfortable. I entered lower right; and then seemed to back-track on myself to the top left. This felt odd. But I found that my eye always then came back to the parasol in the lower-right; and stopped there.

image details

Image 1: focal length: 35.0 mm | iso: 400 | f-stop: 6.3| shutter speed: 1/100 sec
Image 2: focal length: 30.0 mm | iso: 400 | f-stop: 2.8 | shutter speed: 1/800 sec
Image 3: focal length: 35.0 mm | iso: 400 | f-stop: 6.3 | shutter speed: 1/100 sec
Image 4: focal length: 35.0 mm | iso: 400 | f-stop: 6.3 | shutter speed: 1/100 sec

 

 

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vertical and horizontal frames

vertical and horizontal frames

In this exercise we were asked to find twenty situations and shoot all those images vertically. The purpose was to not only force us out of the habit of shooting most things horizontally without thought for the subject or composition.

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positioning the horizon

positioning the horizon

Feel on more solid ground again after the balance exercise. In this exercise we were to concentrate on the placement of the horizon within the frame when composing an image.

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finding balance

finding balance

In this exercise we had to identify balance within images, this balance could be objects, lines, tones or colour.

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focal lengths and viewpoints

In the previous exercise, the purpose was to note how changing focal lengths narrowed the field of view with the position of the camera remaining pretty static throughout. In this exercise, the object was to show how changing viewpoints when using different lenses will also affect the image — particularly when changing between wide-angle and telephoto lenses.

The subject I chose was the long-suffering partner, who is often a reluctant subject when I need to check something out with a camera or lens. I knew before starting that wide-angle lenses — when used close-up on people can result in caricature-type studies with distortion of features or body-shape, but guess that was half the fun! However, I have opted not to include the images! Many of them are real caricatures; and I worry that if I post them, he’ll not be posing for me again!!

lenses used

The first shot was taken with a 70-200mm telephoto set at 200 mm; with the close-ups being taken with a 16-35mm wide-angle set at 16 mm. The aperture stayed constant at f/8. I kept the aperture constant because I wanted to see the different depth-of-field produced by the two lens.

telephoto

Image 1 was taken at 200 mm at a normal eye-level. There is no evidence of perspective distortion; and the perceived depth in the image is flattened. The distance from the subject to the tree behind on camera-left looks markedly less than what it looks like in the wide-angle lenses. The greenhouse, and the tree on camera-right have been rendered pleasantly out-of-focus which is what I would expect to happen with a telephoto lens.

wide-angle

With all three of the wide-angle lenses, there is both an increased depth-of-field; and an increased sense of depth between the objects within the frame. The distance from the subject to the tree (camera-left) seems markedly more than that in the telephoto lens. The angle of view is increased with more of the surroundings — for example, the shed (camera-right) becoming visible. The ground no longer seems flat — especially visible in images 2 and 3 —where it seems to rise away from the camera. The lines in the grass are more visible; and seem to converge.

In all the wide-angle shots, there is a marked increase sense of depth with the image, with greater space seeming to exist between the objects. The depth of field is also noticeably greater in the wide-angle lens.

Also noticed when I did the shots on the previous page, that the wide-angle lens tended to accentuate the clouds — what minimal clouds there were — and consequently added to the drama of the sky.

use of wide-angle lens in fashion

Although I was aware that using a wide-angle lens on the subject, at both the distance and vertical position that I was using it, would inevitably lead to a non-sympathetic distortion of the subject, I am aware that fashion photographers often use a moderate wide-angle lens when shooting vertical full-length shots of models. They use the perspective change to increase the perceived length of the model’s legs and height.

conclusion

The increased sense of space and depth of field in a wide-angle lens is very suited to landscape shots where we want to increase this sense of space; and not really suited to people as it distorts characteristics when used at extremes.

The telephoto is useful for flattening depth and also for extracting the subjects from its surroundings.

Having assessed these photographs, I wish I had continued with the series, shooting wide-open (f2.8) and stopped down to f16 or f22 to see the difference between the depth of field on the two lenses at those settings. I had anticipated some of the differences in perspective, but had not really anticipated the difference in depth of field.

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understanding focal lengths

understanding focal lengths

This was an exercise to study the effect that the focal length of the lens — that as we change lenses from one focal length to another — its effect on the amount of view we can take in.

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a sequence of composition

a sequence of composition

Not much of a people shooter — there was always a chance that this project was going to take me well and truly out of my comfort zone.

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object in different positions in the frame

object in different positions in the frame

For this exercise, I chose a small bench underneath a tree, and in front of a hedge, in Windsor Great Park.

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fitting the frame to the subject (II)

fitting the frame to the subject (II)

After taking the previous four shots, we were required to find alternate crops of the final image from the previous exercise.

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fitting frame to subject (i)

fitting frame to subject (i)

In this exercise, we were to experiment with the amount of space that a subject takes up in the frame…

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can’t pan, won’t pan…

can’t pan, won’t pan…

An afternoon sat on the roundabout in Trafalgar Square, handheld camera with limited success …

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fixed position with shutter speeds

fixed position with shutter speeds

In this exercise, we would investigate how shutter speeds would either freeze motion, or allow motion to be recorded in an image.

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focus at different apertures

focus at different apertures

The images illustrate the effect that changing the aperture has on the depth of field within an image; and how the increased depth of field can be a distraction in busy scenes.

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focus with a set aperture (ii)

focus with a set aperture (ii)

This set of images is a repeat of the previous exercise where I concentrate on focus with a set aperture…

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focus with a set aperture (i)

focus with a set aperture (i)

In this exercise we were to become familiar with how a wide aperture affected our depth of field in an image; and also how this affected our perception of the image when the in-focus area was rendered in different parts of the photograph.

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