The exercise on p181 is to create a magazine cover on the subject of rain. Here is mine:
I did take this other image at the same time but I think the one I chose it better. Rainy london.
by Suzy Walker-Toye
The exercise on p181 is to create a magazine cover on the subject of rain. Here is mine:
I did take this other image at the same time but I think the one I chose it better. Rainy london.
Juxtaposition is all about putting objects together to suggest a relationship and its the mainstay of illustration. In this exercise we are encouraged to take a book and create a new cover for it by taking relevant elements of the story and incorporating those together.
I recently read a very silly book called Undead & Unwed. It’s a comedy about a completely handbag & shoe preoccupied young woman called Betsy who gets killed and wakes up, not only undead, but queen of the vampires because for some reason she can walk in the sun. Pride and Prejudice for the new generation? Not. But funny nevertheless. Here is my new cover for it…
I choose fake (glow in the dark) fangs (to indicate comedy and vampire), OTT handbag and clearly fake blood. The real cover looks like this where they use ditzy blond doing her make up sitting on a gravestone:
Following on from yesterdays exercise, this next one (on p178) is more of a thought exercise than a practical one. The idea is to find symbols for a number of supplied concepts here are mine:
The exercise on p177 is a challenge to produce one photo in which it can be seen that something has happened. Suggestions included something that might have been broken or emptied. Here I went for something spilled.
The project associated with this action is all about illustration, and about how it really comes into its own when the subject is dealing with an abstract idea or concept. I wanted to illustrate the saying “No point crying over split milk”, which is another way of saying accidents happen, or what’s in the past is done and you have to suck it up and deal with the situation. I was going to use real milk but I had the idea to use milk illustration (cut out paper) as stand in. It illustrated my point better using the graphical concept of spilt milk.
The example of illustrating an idea that is given in the exercise is when insurance companies need to advertise. The second part of the exercise was to think of 5 examples of concepts that are regularly depicted in advertising & publicity:
There are many photographers who specialise in conceptual photograph, the one who springs to my mind is David Nitsche
The narrative picture essay is a series of images which tell a story. We are all so used to trying to tell a story with one image sometimes we forget that a photo essay might be a more appropriate vehicle for telling the full story. I often do this on my personal blog when I come home from a trip (e.g. Whalesharks in Mexico). If there has been several discreet ‘chapters’ to my the story of my trip I might split them up into several blog posts and over the breadth of the trip across those (for example here, with my Namibia trip).
Image placement ,size and spacing becomes important in a picture essay. The images work differently when placed next to other images than in a standalone post. You can use size and order to emphasise certain aspects and shape the story. Captions are integral to most photo essays, linking the photos together to weave the story and give you greater insight to what is going on. The layout would be different depending on where & how the essay is to be displayed. I construct my blogs around my images but I try and shot my images to be standalone images for the most part. When you shoot for a story you find yourself taking context & linking shots which otherwise you might not take (or if you take them you might not normally choose to display them), but in the context of the story they can become the glue that hold the stand alone images together.
I actually went out into the Red Sea with the express intention of creating a photobook of my trip (for Solo photo book month). I had been to the Red Sea before, on the same boats in fact. So I knew what to expect. The types of shots to prepare for and most importantly I knew I wanted a photo book at the end of it. I found myself planning out the main story and then shooting to it rather than just my usual ‘street’ photography style of shoot what is interesting at the time. It was quite a challenge, the aim is to create 35 photos (or more) and text (if you want to) and put them in a PDF photobook all within 31 days! Also, because I’d planned it upfront, I was able to quiz my boat-mates throughout the week for some quotes on what they thought of the Red Sea to appear in my book.
The SoFoBoMo site (which has closed down now) had a size restriction on the file so I didn’t bother trying to print it because it’d look very crap. It’s been optimised for screen viewing and compressed to within an inch of its life to get it down to under 7mb. I was on a PC when I edited (not my Mac) so I used Microsoft publisher to layout which was pretty easy to use. I published to pdf but there wasn’t really any options on the pdf (security or document properties or anything) so I downloaded a free trial version of Adobe Acrobat 9 to edit my pdf properties. It was a very enjoyable process.
Really enjoyed this trailer for the forthcoming documentary on street photography
See it directly on Vimeo here.
“Everybody Street” illuminates the lives and work of New York’s iconic street photographers and the incomparable city that has inspired them for decades. The documentary pays tribute to the spirit of street photography through a cinematic exploration of New York City, and captures the visceral rush, singular perseverance and at times immediate danger customary to these artists.
Featuring: Bruce Davidson , Elliott Erwitt, Jill Freedman, Bruce Gilden, Joel Meyerowitz, Rebecca Lepkoff, Mary Ellen Mark, Jeff Mermelstein, Clayton Patterson, Ricky Powell, Jamel Shabazz, Martha Cooper, and Boogie, with Max Kozloff and Luc Sante.
This one isn’t technically on the reading list but was recommended to me. You know it’s going to be an interesting read when you learn something new in the first 12 pages. The HSD, unlike the other flash books recommended in the course notes is not a manual on how to shoot flash – Joe even states that on the into page xiii – This Is Not The Manual. This is a book you can sit down with in the train or with a cup of coffee and read like a normal person. And just who is Joe McNally, well as a National Geographic, Time, & Life photographer and internationally acclaimed American Photographer he knows a heck of a lot more about different light situations than I ever will.
“Light is quicksilver. Magic. It is here, then it is there. Then it is gone.”
Its basically a book filled with different lighting examples and the stories of how they were shot, this makes it sound pretty dull but I found it really interesting to read. I tried to make notes on it as I went along so I would be able to refer back to my book review when I needed to look stuff up for reference (hence the page numbers throughout the review).
The introduction is all about the nuts & bolts of what Joe uses and why. What was the thing I learnt in the first 12 pages? Well, on p11-12 he is explaining the importance of EV. Mostly when I’m using my camera for underwater work it’s in manual mode, since my flashes are all manual so was my camera (this however may change now with my new Olympus set up), I rarely use Aperture priority so didnt have to understand this EV thing. EV is exposure compensation. In Aperture mode you are selecting the aperture and letting the camera select your other settings but what if you wanted it slightly darker or lighter than the camera suggests? That’s where EV comes in. You can compensate for the extra brightness or darkness you want.
Bright backgrounds will silhouette your subjects, hence you know to program in some plus exposure in order to brighten things for them. (p11)
Flash has independent EV controls because the camera EV is scene wide, a global input, which is both available light and flashlight. So if you dialled in some over exposure to the camera you have dialled in the over exposure to the flash too which would need to be corrected or the whole scene would just be darker than you anted (assuming we’re using TTL, which is sort of automatic mode for flash).
Upfront he lays out the very basic settings he usually uses and the reasons why. The book is very Nikon-centric but I’m sure it’ll translate into Olympus (or anything else) once you understand the gist. After twenty or so pages you might start to tired if the witty americanisms but push on because the content is worth it. He writes in a conversational tone but somehow gets the facts over. I found the little section on rear curtain sync (and why not to use red eye pre-flashes) on p14 interesting because I did have mine set to rear curtain but was finding the recycle time too long for the tiny hotshoe flash which my strobes optically slave from, I now have it on 1/64s power – more experimentation needed I think.
There is a section at the start on flash concepts which clearly lays out the terms Joe uses throughout the book, eg TTL (through the lens metering), CLS (creative lighting system – this is Nikons name for it) etc. He talks a lot about zooming the flash (so that your flash coverage is edge to edge even when you zoom in your lenses). I must remember to check out this feature if I purchase a topside flash, it seems important throughout the book (introduced on p22). There is an interesting introduction section on gear, gels, light modifiers etc that had me reaching for google to check out extra info on them. Given the price on some of this stuff, I think careful consideration on exactly what you might need and what might be DIY’d will be in order. Given that he isnt saying you need any of this stuff, he’s just explaining what things are that he uses so when he talks about them later in the book you arn’t left scratching your head wondering what he’s on about.
Once you set one of these puppies off, light goes everywhere. It’s up to you to tell it where to go. (p27)
Joe goes into quite a bit about colour, specifically balancing the colour of the flash (which is usually neutral white daylight) with whatever the available light happens to be. This is going to come in handing during the end of Section 4 of the course. On pretty much every photo he examines he explains which colour gel he put over his flash & why which I found really useful.
Light can be hard, soft, wrapping, harsh, slashing, sumptuous, glowing, ethereal, muddy, muted, brash, poppy, brassy, contrasty, clean, open – it’s a little nuts. (p38)
I found the explanation of how Joe shot an image of a Tanzanian woman (below) on p56-57 really interesting – balancing the natural (harsh) window light with his flash. He makes the point that straight flash would destroy the mood and atmosphere of the scene, the lighting from the window reminds me of the “cathedral” lighting I often see in caves, shipwrecks and under jetties.
On p61-67 Joe goes through a couple of the pitfalls of on camera flash and iTTL (intelligent through the lens), and gives a good explanation of EV, gels & colours, again explaining that he adds a CTO gel to warm up that flashlight and he moves the flash off to onside, right near the subject to produce a more flattering light. On p70 & 71 he talks about adding Magenta filters to the lens to offset the overall greenish tone to a city night scene but then having to green-up his flash with filters to offset the magenta filter and blend the light with the available light (in digital you can just use the fluorescent white-balance instead of the magenta lens filter). One great effect this has is the dusky sunset gets more magenta – which made it look even better. On p83-85 Joe goes over why you might use fill-in flash, what exactly it is, and how such small nuances may effect the mood and story of a photo.
You know why they call it “fill”? ‘Cause the glass is already just about full. All you have to do is pour a little more in. (p84)
And what, pray, is a Lastolite All-In-One umbrella? Being new to topside flash I’m amazed by the variety of accessories and lighting modifiers. On p96 Joe goes through why he was using this umbrella and its various features to shoot a girl in a hoodie at twilight. He goes further with teh accessories on p98 where he basically overpowers the natural light with flash to recreate the sunset!
The ballerina photo on p102 is a really nice example of using shadows of things that are between the light and the subject to tell a better story in the photo.
The smaller the light source relative to the subject, and the farther away it is, the sharper and harder the shadows will be. (p104)
He gets serious with lighting delicate hospital moments (and how to over come the banks of hospital overhead florescent with a Lumiquest 80-20 attachment) on p109 and p130.
The moment is more important than the light. (p110)
The next few sections cover topics such as light texture (lacey light to get that net curtain effect), working without strobes and introducing them slowing in an on-site scenario (although most of us wouldn’t get to document behind the scenes at NASA), various times when putting the lighting outside the windows creates great effects, lighting on water in just a plastic bag – eek, mixing neon, flash and tungsten light sources and some other interesting stuff.
Seedy motels mack of illicit liaisons, last stands, one-night stands, and desperate deeds done in the dark. Great photographic fodder. (p153)
On page 155 he goes into lighting without messing up the atmosphere of the scene as it stands. Increasing the punch and depth of the shadows by zooming the light through old dirty windows seems to be a favorite technique that he uses again and again.
I want to get this posted up for my tutor to see what I have so far, so I’m leaving this unfinished to come back & edit to when I’ve finished reading… to be continued.
For this assignment the task was to apply different lighting techniques to one object to emphasise Shape, form, texture & colour. Click on the small images below to enter the gallery view.
I’ve put my critical review & thoughts into my learning log pdf part 4.
Here are two bonus photos which didn’t quite match the rest of the set but which I also liked…
This could be an alternative for Texture:
This could be an alternative for Form:
This is Nice simple introduction to lighting principles. I like the way they don’t try and narrow it down to using flashes and get too bogged down in the equipment right out of the gate. That is often off-putting to a beginner like me, when you pick up a book about lighting & flash. However here, they acknowledge that the same principles apply whether you are using the sun & clouds, desk lamps & DIY diffusers or high-end studio lighting. They are teaching the physics behind it (but in a practical and useful manner whatever your equipment).
For me personally I found this book very useful because I have only used flashes underwater (where the physics is a little different due to the water column, depth away from the sun, particles in the water catching the light (backscatter) and a host of other factors). On those flashes (two Inon z240 strobes), they come with two types of diffusers (but I have only ever used one set) and I have DIY red gel filters so that I get nice blue backgrounds. Colour drop off due to depth & distance is not an issue on land of course. When I shoot on land I use desk lamps for macro with official diffusers (just a little DIY tracing paper). Quite often I use shiny surfaces as backdrops so the explanations in this book will help me to master the glare and reflections to achieve the photos that I want rather than my previous trial and error approach. I’d recommending reading this straight away if you are doing this course and not waiting for section 4 (the lighting section).
They go through examples of photographing things and what sort of set ups would work and why. Such as photographing artwork & other flat surfaces (great for OCA students)! Also, shiny surfaces such as metal, transparent objects like glasses (the subject I found most useful considering my first assignment ideas) and photos that would need a mixture of surfaces catered for. Also, chapters on lighting people with one or more lights. Also, lighting for difficult extremes such as black on black or white on white.
I’d recommend this as a must read to anyone new to lighting or someone who’d only read lighting books that explained the who & what but didn’t get around to the why. This is a nice companion to the course and I’d say the most practically useful book so far. It’s also nicely laid out for reference, I shall be dipping back into this as a reference for years to come I expect.
If you only want light to fall on part of the scene you can create a snoot or some other way to confine the light. That is what the exercise on p162 is all about. Here I took my desk lamp shade off and replaced it with a piece of rolled up black card to create a spotlight.
The exercise on p152 is all about photographing at night in the city centre. The aim of this exercise is to explore the variety of lighting effects and colour in artificial light. To include in our list of image were the following:
The view skyline would look much better at dusk where there is a hint of light in the sky however I usually go home before its dark at this time of the year or I’m out for a reason until it’s full dark – this time I was at the David Bailey and Bruce Weber exhibition. Although having said this – London has so much light pollution it is never really black anyway.
This weekend Olympus was doing a very special event to celebrate the launch of my camera‘s big brother the EM1. I went along to the free workshops and they were a great chance to try out some types of photography I’d never done before. Studio lighting with a model and Indoor urban performance photography. And there was a photographic exhibition on in the space – Women of Iceland by Gabrielle Motola. It was especially good given that the current chapter I’m doing for TAOP is ‘Light’. Here are some of the shots I produced.
Studio Lighting with Damian McGillicuddy:
Damian basically set up the lights and talked up thought the choices he’d made and why he’d set the lights up like this. He had two FL-50r speed lights (with some sort of little lighting sock on them so they didn’t light up the white columns they were next to) behind the model for a back/rim lighting. The main light was another FL-50r behind a soft box into the models face from the side. He then got the model to stand ‘like an innocent little girl’ which to be honest given what she was wearing I found a bit creepy. I got her to do the same pose to see if I could get similar photos to Damian but she looked so sad that when Damian was busy with something else I got her to be a bit silly – which she seemed to enjoy – doing aeroplanes Here are the photos…
Setting up – I wanted to take a few shots when no flashes were going off and I actually really like these:
Damian’s assistant Matt took the light meter readings – all the flashes were on manual mode:
I took this shot before I changed to square format. You can see that they’d moved one light a bit so they ended up slightly asymmetric, maybe its ocd but I really wanted to go over and change it!
On Damian’s advice I set it to square format (thinking I’d be able to choose the crop again later since I’m shooting raw, but for some reason it only showed me the square format in LR and I could get back to the original, not doing that again, I’d prefer to crop in LR if I’m going too):
You can see the light flare in from one side where the light was nearer on one side that the other – it does look quite cool but I would have preferred it if it was intentional.
Urban Performance Photography with R. Cleveland Aaron.
We actually arrived just as one session was finishing – with some cool acrobats doing flips etc but I wasnt standing in the right place for this one. I really wished we’d been there for the whole session with them. As much as the next session was really good, I have less than zero interesting in football.
Our session was with football freestyler Colin Nell. He was very talented. If you like football tricks. They work better in video than stills though.
I did get to test the ISO capability of my camera though because downstairs it was very dark – only lit by those LED lights so to get a reasonable shutter speed with my not so fast lens I was up at 4000!!
Here is a 1:1 of a portion of that image with no noise reduction on it – ouch:
I switched to video which worked much better to capture his actions:
We then went upstairs for another round with a bit more light (thank goodness)! Where Colin demonstrated the same stunts with a hat, a tennis ball and lastly a golfball. He finished off by catching that one in his mouth – eek.
As talented as he was (and he was very skilled, not one ball came bounding over to the photographers) I still would have preferred to be watching the previous people backflip.
Women of Iceland Exhibition by Gabrielle Motola.
More infor about this in my paper log.
Here is another review of this event.
‘Everyone is an artist’
To celebrate the new Nokia Lumia 1020 phone, Bruce Weber & David Bailey each took one around Harlem. Mike & I went to the private view of the resulting exhibition: Bruce Weber x David Bailey by Nokia Lumia 1020
“For this project, old friends David Bailey and Bruce Weber spent 24 hours in Harlem, New York to capture the spirit of the area using our newest phone, the Lumia 1020, which has the most advanced camera capabilities of any smartphone ever made. The 41 MP camera with optimised image stabilization means it captures images of gallery-worthy quality. “
Reflecting the content of the exhibition the event had a New York theme with American-style canapés, free wine and several chaps with Lumia 1020s to play with. There was also a choir & some girls doing fingernails.
‘It’s the new folk art – digital photography’
I very much enjoyed myself and used my own phone (not a Nokia shhhhh) to document the evening.
‘It makes u relook at things u take for granted ‘
Here are some of the Bailey & Webber photos in situ at the exhibition and some general photos of the event:
Other reviews for this event:
The exercise on p160 introduces the concept of shadow-fill. Essentially if you have your light source at an oblique angle you will have high contrast on your subject – the side facing the light will be bright because it is lit and the side facing away from the light source is very dark because it is not lit. So what do we do above the loss of details on the unlit side? Add a second light? Maybe – but then we’d blast the contrast out and lose the depth in the picture – the 3D-ness of the subject would be lost. This is where shadow-fill comes in. A small bit of light to just lift those shadows. This exercise is to show that affect. Firstly using a straight light. Then light + diffuser. Then light + diffuser + a white ‘bounce’ card opposite the light to bounce back the light into the shadows of the subject. Then further experiments with the reflectiveness of the bounce card.
First the light only shot:
I noticed that the light was actually lighting up the white ceiling and wall (even though the table was as far from the wall as I could get it) so I set up a black ‘gobo’ (go between) to block the natural shadow fill of the room. Here is the resulting shot. Notice how the right hand side of the headphones are now darker.
This is the same set up (with light and black gobo) but with a diffuser added in front of the light. I’ve added the set up shot (taken on my iPhone) for this below. Notice this has softened all the shadows and reduced the highlights.
You can see that the light is a desk lamp (with daylight bulb) and the diffuser is the same home made one from the previous exercises. The black gobo to block the shadowfill is just my black laptop-case propped into position by some cans.
In this one, I’ve removed the black gobo. so the rooms natural shadowfill is back but lessened by the diffuser
In this one, its the same as above, in fact from now on we’ll keep the light & diffuser static. however this time I’ve put a white card about 1m away from the headphones, opposite the light to bounce the light into the right hand side of the headphones to fill the shadows (even more than the room already was).
I’ve moved the card nearer to the end of the table here, nearer to the subject an d the light. It’s effect is magnified and the shadows are lifted even further.
In this one, instead of just a plain white card I have covered it in kitchen foil but with the dull side out. This is bouncing more light than the plain white board.
Here even more light is being bounced into the shadows because I’ve turned over the foil and am now using the shiny side to reflect the light (you see why they may be called reflectors now). This is as bright as my shadows get in this little series.
This one here is less bight in the shadows because although I’m still using the shiny side of the foil as they reflector, I’ve crumpled it them smoothed it back out but the effect is lessened because it can never been as smooth and reflective as it once was. This is brighter than the white card but less bright than the dull side of the foil before it was crumpled. It does seem a bit more even than the other foils shots though so probably my favourite.
You can easily see the difference a simple reflector makes to the contrast of the image.
The exercise on p158 is a series of photos where the camera & subject stay static and the light moves around the subject. This is to get a feel for the way the angle of lighting will affect a subject. I’ve chosen a subject with many facets to show light & shadow with each angle change. The first five are at subject level. The next five are at a 45 degree angle from the subject and the last one is directly lit from above. Please click on the thumbnails to open the gallery:
I took small setup shots on my iphone for each of them (below) but it may be easier to see what the lighting set up was from my diagram which shows the table, first from above then from the side of all the positions the lamp was in for each of the 11 shots.
In each of the set up shots I used a lens cap to represent the placement of the camera (usually) just out of shot.
The exercise on p157 is designed to show the effects of adding a diffuser to a light. Here are two photos of Danbo. The first is with a bare lamp (I’m using normal desk lamps with Daylight bulbs in them) and the second with a diffuser. The diffuser was home made with a polystyrene frame and tracing paper screen that you can see in the set up photos below.
In the second one you can see all the shadows are are softened and much reduced. The edged of the shadows are much less defined. And the harsh shadow under his chin has disappeared. The contrast & highlights have also been reduced.
These are the set up shots, the only thing I changed was to hold the diffuser between the light and Danbo.
The exercise on p151 is a follow on from the earlier colour balance exercise. It’s split into two parts – part one is essentially its a comparison between tungsten & daylight. I couldn’t find any tungsten environments in which to test this one, none of the lights in our house (and all my friends & family) were tungsten. Mainly everyone uses halogen now as they are much better for the environment so I think perhaps the course needs to be updated ;). I’ll leave this here as a place holder in case I’m able to find something before I finish the section.
The second part of the exercise is comparing different florescent bulbs. The first set below are of our friend Danbo again this time lit by a small florescent bulb. The second set are Danbo in my office light by the florescent overheads. The third set are the same images shot indoors, light by daylight (for comparison).
Its interesting to note that modern overhead florescent lights we have at work at very close in white balance to daylight. The florescent at home (top row) is much warmer but I was surprised to see that the incandescent white balanced looked the closest to the correct white balance!
The overal colour quality in the top two rows dont look as good as those shot in daylight because florescent lamps do not emit a full colour spectrum.
I got married at the end of August and to my delight the Venice Biennale was still on during our honeymoon. Before we went I caught the culture show’s coverage of it – which is uploaded to youtube here & here in two parts.
We were only there for a few days so we didn’t make it all the way over to the Giardini delle Biennale near Arsenale but, as my new husband is a street photographer, we did walk pretty much everywhere else. We caught many of the periphery pavilions and exhibitions. Unlike here, except for a few places, mostly they allowed photos to be taken so here is my rundown…
We were staying near Campo S. Stefano so we’ll start with the Azerbaijan pavilion.
Azerbaijan. The national pavilion presented Ornamentation, an exhibition commissioned by a foundation headed by Azerbaijan’s First Lady, Mehriban Aliyeva and curated by Herve Mikaeloff. I saw the installation in Palazzo Lezze, Campo S. Stefano, which is adorned with traditional, decorative patterns across the walls, lamps, tvs, furniture etc.
Ukrainian national pavilion featured the The Monument to a Monument show by artists of the younger generation, Mykola Ridnyj, Hamlet Zinkovskyi and Zhanna Kadyrova. I thought it was somewhere near Campo S. Stefano too but this site reckons this was at Palazzo Loredan.
The Ukrainians displayed sculptures and drawings (a wall full of match boxes with tiny portraits sketched inside them which Mike is regarding in the photo below), installations (a video camera with a beam of light made of concrete), and videos filling rooms with glimpses of Ukraine’s turbulent recent years, with the destruction of the utopia of the past and history manipulation as some of the motifs. The drawings and tiny matchbox portraits stole this one for me.
The next one we saw was Richard Mosse‘s The Enclave at the Irish-via-the-Congo pavilion. His exhibition features photos & videos of rebel-filled forests made using military surveillance film that turns the world psychedelic colours. The first room of giant scale photographs were a beautiful counterpoint to the traumatising videos in the next room. I picked up a leaflet for this one, in my paper note book for reference, with the curators statement – here is a quote:
Death is plainly observed by the ca,era, which pans over twisted bodies lying on the side of the road, already bootless, looted by passersby.
Not really honeymoon material but powerful nonetheless.
Here is a video;
Some of the Collateral Exhibitions were, as far as I could work out, unaffiliated with a national pavilion. Culture Mind Becoming is one such, although filled with Chinese artists. It was spread over two locations, we managed to visit both, Palazzo Marcello, San MArco and Palazzo Mora, Cannaregio. The first, featured work from Fang Lijun – A Cautionary Tale.
Some I really liked such as the one pictured above but I wasn’t so keen on the gruesome disease series pictured below and the ones with all the many many babies in them.
I really liked seeing these exhibitions in such unusual settings, usually art gallery spaces are very modern and austere but throughout these exhibitions the backdrop of these old Palazzos was rather refreshing. Quite often they had the patio doors & windows open so we could lean out for some sneaky photos of views venice while we were there. I’ll be blogging my main photos over on my personal blog at some point.
Xu Bing – Phoenix: The Interior of Urbanization. Made from 3D printed animation.
Ye Yongqing: Painting a Bird, above. See the detail shot below.
Hua Qing: Destiny – The 12 Zodiac Animals. 12 silkscreen prints.
Zhou Chunya: Peach Blossoms Series – Flower Blooms, Flower Fades, Year after Year.
Down the centre of the exhibition was this huge model pagoda on its side. When you walked past it sections from within would glow different colours.
I liked this: Still Life No. 1, Huang Hsin-Chien, 5 pieces made from Lucite with eroded stainless steel embodiments. Each piece was so delicate.
Fan Angel: Secret Garden – No.2.
Zhang Kai: The beauty in my heart. According to this site this painting was sold in 2012 by Triumph Art Space for RMB 200,000 (approx. USD 31,900).
Next up is New Zealand – with Bill Culbert’s Front Door Out Back. This was one of my favourites that we visited, see my paper notebook for the map of the installation.
Walk Reflection 2001/2013 – this one one of a pair of light skewered wardrobes, the other being called Walk blue:
Daylight Flotsam Venice 2013:
Level 2013: This is a clever piece positioned to reflect whatever passes the doorway on the canal
HUT, Made in Christchurch 2012:
Where are the other two? 2013
Here are a couple of youtube videos about the exhibition:
In an adjacent exhibition, Rhapsody in Green, we saw the most meticulously painted green fields I’ve ever seen.
Huang Ming – Chang: Paddy in Autumn.
Huang Ming – Chang: Paddies in the Wind 2.
Not just paintings though, This is made from painted iron & steel wool.
Kao Tsan – Hsing: Mid-Summer Night.
One that both my Husband and I really enjoyed seeing was Ai Weiwei’s Disposition. On April 3, 2011, Ai was secretly detained by the police for 81 days at the Beijing Capital International Airport while on his way to board a flight to Hong Kong. He was released on bail on June 22, 2011 upon fabricated tax charges. Although the bail was lifted after a year, the authorities have not returned his passport and he remains prohibited from travelling outside China.
Installed inside a church (Salizada S. Antonin), Disposition is a set of 6 dioramas set inside large metal containers from Ai Weiwei’s 81 days in prison. There are viewing windows in the top and from the sides so you can see in. Its claustrophobic and disturbing and this is entirely the point. Here is the blurb that was printed at the entrance:
The top viewing windows were jammed open with a little plastic cover – these mush have been added afterwards because I remember in the culture show (above), them commenting on the nice prison clang they made when opening and closing the hatch. In one way this plastic cover took away from the experience of interacting with the show because a) you couldn’t hear that clang, and b) the plastic made it hard to see through the reflections caused by a bright church. In another way though, it enhanced it, the reflections were reflecting the church onto the scene – and there was a reason why he put this into a church in the first place.
You can watch an interview with Ai Weiwei here:
Another one nearby our hotel, just off Campo S. Stefano is Ink Brush Heart: Xi Shuang Ban Na. Artists Simon Ma & Julian Lennon show off a range of sculpture & paintings.
In the foyer we are met by a paint-splattered winged fibreglass horse-creature by Simon Ma entitled Lighterning.
The rest of the large sculpture pieces are outside in a cool sort of crumbing courtyard.
At the end of the courtyard is an enclosed bit with inflated plastic versions of the teardrop shape with different colour liquids in the bottom. There was one guy polishing them and another guy getting ready to inflate some more. Could it be that they need to inflate and fill these every day?
Up on the first floor landing are some pictures by Julian Lennon. They are listed as Archival Giclée Print + Ink. The print is inside a plastic box and the ink is painted on the outside. They are hung in front of lights to show off the shadow caused by the dual surface.
Taken + Wind 2013:
Blaze + Phoenix 2013:
Silver Linings + Lost Feather 2013:
Aurora + Duet 2013:
Homeland + Return 2013:
The Palazzo Pisani is really a lovely building. Up one more flight of stairs for the rest of the exhibition.
- Peacock Dance, 2013. Rice paper & Ink.
- Embrace, 2013. 18k White Gold, Copper Alloy, Malachite, Emerald, Garnet, Yellow Diamond, Sapphire & Mother of Pearl
Simon Ma: Harmony, 2013. 18k White Gold, Copper Alloy, Malachite, Green Abalone & Blue Chalcedony
Simon Ma: Black Shadow, 2013. Rice paper & Ink.
There was some blurb about the artists collaboration too…
Down yet another random backstreet we found Palzzo Falier which houses the Pedro Cabrita Reis exhibition A Remote Whisper. Up several flights of stairs inside I wasn’t sure what to expect but this is what I found…
Click on the images below to open the gallery:
Here is a video interview with the Artist and Curator (watch larger on Vimeo here):
By this point in the blog post you might be getting a bit arted-out, however, I’d urge you check out these links which explain a little more about this extraordinary installation.
I ended my trip around the Biennale on a little bit of a disappointment. I just couldnt get into the work in the Scottish Pavilion. After all the amazing art I’d seen, little trays with water in them and half finished mosaics weren’t really worth the 2 or 3 flights of stairs up to see them.
In fact the view out of the window here held my attention for longer… sorry chaps.
One exhibition that wasn’t part of the Biennale that I really enjoyed was in a shop on San Macro square, Impossible Venice by L De Luigi. Reminded me of Dali I think, which is probably why I liked it.
Following on from part one of this exercise, now we can demonstrate that overcast and rainy weather needn’t mean putting the camera away. Some scenes are more pleasing when shot in the enveloping, shadowless light. And photos in the rain can make for unusual photos.
Making use of overcast days
These photos of statues really benefit from not having the harsh shadows that a really sunny day would bring. We can better appreciate the subtle forms.
Another facet of the lighting on overcast days is that subjects with strong colours will appear rich and saturated. These two flowers (taken for the previous chapters assignment on colours but they didn’t make the cut) were taken in Kew Gardens when the day had turned overcast.
Bad Weather & Rain
Bad weather in tropical climates can create some dramatic photos with rolling thunderous clouds and amazing sunsets.
Here we’re waiting for the onset of Hurricane Ernesto. The sky and sea grew stormier and stormier until we had to retreat inside for a day or so, it didn’t stop me taking photos though!
No one likes to be out when its raining but you can get some really interesting photos. I’m at a certain advantage having a waterproof housing for my camera but even so the rain holds a special fascination for me because the kinds of places we tend to travel too usually has amazingly sunny weather, rain is seldom.
Rain makes an incredible texture on the surface of the water when shooting from below.
You can get some really interesting rainy shots closer to home too such as theses from London and Florence
After the rain
If you’re really lucky the sun comes out again and gives you a rainbow or two!
This exercise (p146) comes in 3 parts. The first is a comparison between sunny and cloudy weather for three types of scenes, the second is finding opportunities for best using the diffuse lighting that comes by overcast weather and the third is rain. This post covers part 1 only, part 2 & 3 to follow shortly.
So, for part one we are to take a street scene, a building and people, shoot them (with the WB set to sunny) when the sun is out and when the sun is behind clouds and see what the differences are.
Theres an obvious difference in exposure (1 stop) but also the building under cloudy weather is much less warm in tone despite being shot with the same WB. The contrast is higher and the shadows are deeper in the sunny photo.
Secondly a street scene,
This time there is a larger difference in exposure: 1-2/3 stops. The overcast photo looks very dull and flat compared with the sunny one. Again you see the sunny one is warmer in tone.
Lastly, people, they didn’t hang around so long in the sunny area so I have different sets of people walking through the same area.
This again was about 1-2/3 stops difference in exposure (by the way I was using this nifty little stop difference calculator here). This time we see that the cloudy one is nicer because the people are squinting less against the sun. There are less harsh eye-socket shadows in the cloudy photo too (although it was still quite bright). And although the buildings seem less warm the peoples skin seem ok in colour in both photos.
In this exercise, p142, we are demonstrating advantages to shooting when the sun is low, so called magic hour. The light is golden and lovely but from which angle should we shoot? I think the photos get more interesting when we consider all the different angles.
Frontal Lighting: With the sun behind the camera, striking the subject fully. The lighting can appear intense (or flat because the shadows stretch out behind the subjects, be careful not to get your shadow in the photo as I did here in the second photo)!
Side Lighting: The sun to the left or right will make strong shadows on half of the subject, great for bring out textures but it can be a little harsh if overdone.
Back Lighting: Shoot towards the light (don’t look at the sun though as it can damage your eyes). Interestingly using a higher f-number increases the number of points in the sun ball. This style of lighting is best of subjects with in interesting shape for the silhouette.
Edge Lighting: A special condition for shooting towards the sun where the sun is not behind the subject (usually not in the frame at all, although I choose to keep it within the frame in these tree photos, I included the lion photo again from exercise: measuring exposure to show the sun doesn’t have to be included). The sun hits the edge of the subjects to create a strip of light along the edge of the subject to define it from the background.
The exercises on p136 & p139 are two parts of a whole story about judging colour balance. This function is also know as white balance because it sets the very brightest parts of the scene to pure white. Although I thought I had a fairly good handle on what white balance is (when I’m in the sea I set manual WB see below), when using new functions on my camera I like to know what they do. I most often just leave my white balance set to auto and then adjust it slighting in Lightroom if necessary. For the exercise we are using a Danbo (which doesn’t have a strong colour – he’s amazon cardboard box coloured). First I took a few shoots inside (with no lights on, just available daylight) to check the sorts of looks each setting produces.
As you can see, if you hover the mouse over the thumbnails it lists the white balance (WB) setting selected from the camera (you can click to open them bigger in a gallery but its easier to compare them with the thumbnails). The only extra one I added was the auto white balance which has been auto white balanced in Lightroom. I didnt include the flash ones because this post is related to available light photography and not supplied light such as a flash or strobe.
White balance is made up of Temperature (measured in K for Kelvin) and Tint and those appear as two sliders in LR. Also you can set similar presets (daylight,cloudy,tungsten etc) in a similar way as you can set in the camera. As shot will use the cameras WB settings. The difference here between the auto white balance in the camera and the auto white balance in lightroom was so minimal I could hardly tell a difference by looking at the pictures. However the camera one was 3900K with tint +18 and the auto one was 3850k with tint +17 which is ever so slightly bluer looking with a touch more magenta.
As you can see, the camera presets have a marked difference (apart from underwater which is frankly just confusing as I was expecting that to be really red, but it seems to be just auto with an extra +1 tint so we’ll ignore that one). The sunny setting warms the whole photo up to 5000k (+5 tint). The shade setting warms it even further 7250k (-1 tint). Cloudy is in between them at 5800k (+5 tint). The next two are for dealing with different types of artificial light, incandescent (tungsten lights to you and me) and fluorescent (like you get in shops and offices). These two sets of lights obviously behave quite differently. Incandescent is way down at 2700K (0 tint) and fluorescent is at 4200k but with a massive magenta tink of +53. While I was googeling to check that incandescent actually meant tungsten I found this really useful link.
Anyway, once I took Danbo outside for the real part of the exercise things got pretty interesting. For this exercise I took shots in the sunlight in the middle of the day, shots in the shade in the middle of the day and shots in the sunlight at the end of the day when the sun was low (sometimes called magic hour because the warm colour of the light makes everything look so nice). Here they all are compared.
As you can see depending on if you’re in the sun or the shade and what time of day it is the white balance presets give you different results. The shady images are more blue than the sunny ones and the low sun ones are a really warm yellowy colour. As you can also see, the LR auto WB has quite a different effect on each bringing it back to neutral colours, although we wouldn’t want to in the case of the low sun because we usually shoot at that time of day expressly for the colour balance of the sun at that time. My favourite one? Well the colour of Danbo in the auto WB magic hour is the nicest but I do like auto WB sunny Danbo too. Which one do you think is the best white balance?
When I’m in the sea using shooting available light I use a red filter (called a magic filter). I have to set the manual white balance to allow the camera to compensate for the filter. The filter goes on the back of the lens like this.
This is a shot where I’ve used a magic filter (in this case I actually manually white balanced on the ship since it was white, and with my larger dome my hand doesnt always fill enough of the frame to get a good reading):
And this is a non-filtered available light shot where I’ve tried to white balance on the sand in LR afterwards, as you can see the sea in the top is also white but the blue has gone a horrible colour.
And now onto section four – which is all about light. The following quotes seem appropriate here:
Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography. – George Eastman
Light meters read; photographers interpret. – Catherine Jo Morgan
That’s what this first exercise (p131) is designed to explore. Interpreting the light and choosing the exposure which best expresses your intent for the photo. Here are a few photos where the exposure is deliberately darker or lighter than average.
For each of these photos I choose to under or over exposure some part of the photos to achieve the look I was going for. The first four I’m underexposing and the second for I’m over exposing.
The lion in the first photo was edge lit (there’s an exercise on p142 coming up about varieties of lighting with a low sun angle) so the actual lion is shown more as an lion-shape because it is underexposed. In the second photo, shot in the cenotes, the focus is on the amazing light beams that shine in through the surface opening. The rest of the image is somewhat under exposed to emphasise this. The coral inside the cave was being lit from a shaft of light from above and the rest of the cave was much darker, if I had not under-exposed that it would have lost much of its atmosphere. The iconic shape of Ankor Wat in Cambodia is brought out in silhouette by underexposing the building against a lovely sunrise coloured sky.
The brightness in the dandelion brings out its fluffy white texture by being slightly backlit. The overall scene of my back garden in the snow is very bright because the snow & sky are both very white. The bright white sand in the photo of the sting ray contrasts with the dark ray very well to emphasise the lovely shape of his tail. And lastly, the sky in the photo of the statue of Neptune in Florence was brilliant white, with a white statue and white sky I exposed for the statue to bring out the textures.
The second part of the exercise on p131 is to take bracketed shots of several scenes (which means take the correct exposure and some under and over exposed versions either side of that, there is usually a bracketing feature on most cameras to do this automatically). Then we can look at the set and see if any of them are actually better slightly under or over exposed. My camera was bracketing with the chosen exposure first then two under exposures and two over exposures, which is how I’ve displayed them below. I’ve removed the really blown out last over exposures though because for everything but the last two rows (the interiors) they were just horrible. I think they all worked best as the proper exposures however if I was going to say over or under as next best thing I think the interiors worked better sightly over exposed and the outdoors sunrise/set ones work better slightly under exposures.
This assignment is to demonstrate combinations of colours to show deliberate relationships of harmony & contrast. The assignment is broken down into four types of relationship which I have put as headings above each section of photographs. We were asked to vary the subject matter by ‘finding’ situations where the colour relationship already exists and also ‘setting up’ situations to manufacture the relationship. I wanted an overall look to my assignment despite having to both find and set up the colours so I choose flowers as my overall subject to give the assignment a bit of coherence, sometimes I could find the colours within the flowers and their natural surroundings and sometimes I set up the backdrop by holding a coloured card behind them. So without further ado…
These are colours which face each other across the colour wheel (of primary and secondary colours). Click into see the images bigger and read the descriptions to see if I set up the colours or found them.
These are warm and cool colours which are next to each other on the colour wheel.
These are colours which contrast strongly and are spaced about a third of the way around the wheel from each other.
These are images where a small splash of colour sits against a much larger area of another colour as a spot or accent of colour.