Posts tagged ‘exercise’

November 5, 2013

Exercise: Rain Magazine Cover

by Suzy Walker-Toye

The exercise on p181 is to create a magazine cover on the subject of rain. Here is mine:

Rain cover

I did take this other image at the same time but I think the one I chose it better. Rainy london.

Alternative Rain

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October 24, 2013

Exercise: Juxtaposition

by Suzy Walker-Toye

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…

Undead & Unwed My New Cover

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:
Undead And Unwed Cover

October 23, 2013

Exercise: Symbols

by Suzy Walker-Toye

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:

  • Growth – eggs, small green shoots, little & large comparisons, children wearing adults cloths & shoes, increasing line graph, seeds, babies
  • Excess – sex, drugs & rock & roll lifestyles, banquets, super drunk people, obesity, exaggerated bling
  • Crime – guns, knives, handcuffs, police badges, mugshots, bloody bodies, chalk outlines, hoodies, balaclavas, swag, being arrested
  • Silence – silencers, headphones, praying, libraries, one finger to lips hush sign
  • Poverty – open hand (begging), 3rd world aid, tramps, people rummaging through bins, soup (kitchen), two cents (have not got two to rub together), the big issue.
October 22, 2013

Exercise: Evidence of Action

by Suzy Walker-Toye

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.

Spilt Milk

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:

  • Love – advertisers are continually trying to sell using love
  • Wealth – advertisers know that many people want to be rich
  • Faith – all sorts of symbols for this across the different faiths
  • Popularity – advertsiers play with popularity, who’s hot or not, the facebook ‘like’ thumbs up, etc
  • spread bettering – the best one I saw for this was a patched teddybear with a slogan about being stuffed, it made me laugh because many people get caught out spread betting so a company that can help you reap the rewards without so much risk would be worth it.
  • Virus protection – this is a bit like insurance, where they tend to use shields etc as symbols for protection.

There are many photographers who specialise in conceptual photograph, the one who springs to my mind is David Nitsche

David Nitsche

October 3, 2013

Exercise: Shiny Surfaces

by Suzy Walker-Toye

The exercise on p163 is about taking photos of reflective surfaces. The instructions were a bit weird, take a shiny object to lay flat and photograph & light from from above. Then take a cone of tracing paper to put over the lens and the object (but not in the photo) to stop the shiny object from reflecting everything about. Right, so I duely got about a spoon and gave it ago. However I couldn’t get the tracing paper cone big enough or stiff enough to stay in place over the spoon out of shot. Finally after getting very irritated with such a silly request I managed to (sort of) do it with a five pence piece. The first photo is the 5p just lit with a bare desk lamp. The second 5p is lit with the silly cone of shame over (see the little set up shot).

5p bare light
5p under the cone
5p Setup tracing paper cone

What we’re actually seeing here is that in the first shot the light is not in the family of angles that would be a direct reflection on the 5p. Chapter 6 of the Light, Science and Magic book (see my bookshelf) explains this very well. In the ‘under the cone’ shot the 5p is reflecting its surroundings (the cone). This is actually better demonstrated in my next set of images, which dont use a cone but a light tent (better, more stable version of the cone).

 
 
 
 

Setup 1
 
  
 

The first image is just the two bare lights. You can see it reflects its surroundings completely.
Photo with Setup 1

Setup 2
I thought to soften the light with diffusers but you can see the brown cardboard in the left hand cup and my arm reaching out to hold the second diffuser in both the larger cups.
photo with setup 2

This was the same set up as before but I moved the diffusers closer to the cups, you see its removed the brown colours in the left hand cup because the centre of the diffuser is now firmly in the family of angles which the cup directly reflects. But you can still see me and the rest of the surround reflected.

Photo with setup 3

Setup 3

To fix that you need the whole object surrounded (like with the cone) so we can use a light tent. You can still see me and the camera in the opening from the tent though.

 
Photo from setup 4

Setup 5

The light tent comes with a little front piece with a slit in it for just such an occasion which attaches with velcro. This allows you to just poke the camera lens through the opening to minimise as much of the direct reflections as possible. Obviously we cannot not have the lens there, if we don’t point the camera at the object we don’t get a photo, but we’ve done what we can. I guess if you wanted too, at this point you could just clone that out in photoshop to tidy it up a bit.

Photo from setup 5

Setup 6

The reason I took this last photo, is I thought that the left hand cup was a bit bright, so I re-angled the lamp outside of the tent a bit more to my liking.

Photo from setup 6

In truth I prefer the wider angle of the first few photos, and the light tent with the front open, if you were to just make the opening black to remove the reflection of camera & me then it would look better I think than the weird frontage that the front flap reflection gives.

 

September 25, 2013

Exercise: Outdoors At Night

by Suzy Walker-Toye

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:

  • A floodlit building (where the lights are hidden)
  • A brightly lit storefront
  • A large interior such as a shopping centre
  • And a view of a busy road where we can create light trails of the car lights rushing by.

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.

Floodlit

Closed Tube

The Tower

City lights

City Lights

The Gherkin

Office

Triangles

Lit Walkway

Triangles & Lights

Office Block

Stairwell

Outside seating

Liverpool St Station

Busy Street

Empty Street

Traffic

Traffic

Traffic

Traffic

Hairdressers

Shopping Mall

Liverpool St Station

Liverpool St Station

Upturned Spotlights

Shiny building

September 18, 2013

Exercise: Contrast & Shadow fill

by Suzy Walker-Toye

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:
bare light only

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.
Light & black bounce card

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.
Light & diffuser & black bounce card

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.
p160 exercise set up

In this one, I’ve removed the black gobo. so the rooms natural shadowfill is back but lessened by the diffuser
Light & diffuser only

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).
Light & diffuser and white board 1m away

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.
Light & diffuser & white board at tables edge

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.
Light & diffuser & dull foil board at tables edge

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.
Light & diffuser & shiny foil board at tables edge

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.
Light & diffuser & crumpled shiny foil board at tables edge

You can easily see the difference a simple reflector makes to the contrast of the image.

September 16, 2013

Exercise: the lighting angle

by Suzy Walker-Toye

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.

Lighting Diagram p158

In each of the set up shots I used a lens cap to represent the placement of the camera (usually) just out of shot.

setup 1 setup 2 setup 3 setup 4 setup 5 setup 6 setup 7 setup 8 setup 9 setup 10 setup 11
 

 

September 14, 2013

Exercise: Softening the light

by Suzy Walker-Toye

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.

Bare Bulb

With Diffuser

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.
Set up shot 1 Set up shot 2

August 9, 2013

Exercise: Cloudy weather and rain. Part 2 & 3.

by Suzy Walker-Toye

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.

Making use of overcast weather

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.

Strong coloured subjects photographed on overcast days

Strong coloured subjects photographed on overcast days

Bad Weather & Rain
Bad weather in tropical climates can create some dramatic photos with rolling thunderous clouds and amazing sunsets.

Storms brewing

Storms brewing

Storms brewing

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!

Hurricane Ernesto

Hurricane Ernesto

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.

Splashy split shot

Splashy split shot

Rain makes an incredible texture on the surface of the water when shooting from below.

Rain patterns on the surface of the water shot from below

Rain patterns on the surface of the water shot from below

You can get some really interesting rainy shots closer to home too such as theses from London and Florence

Rainy Florence, full of colour

London Night by the Tate

After the rain

If you’re really lucky the sun comes out again and gives you a rainbow or two!

Double Rainbow

Rainbow

August 8, 2013

Exercise: Cloudy weather and rain. Part 1.

by Suzy Walker-Toye

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.

Firstly, two photos of a building (these are straight out of camera with no adjustments in LR).
Building under cloud
ISO 200, f11 1/250

Building in the sun
ISO 200, f11 1/500

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,

Cloudy street scene
ISO 200 f8, 1/200

Sunny street scene
ISO 200 f11 1/320

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.

People lit when the sun is behind clouds
ISO 200 f9 1/200

Person in the sun
ISO 200 f11 1/400

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.

August 7, 2013

Exercise: Variety with a low sun

by Suzy Walker-Toye

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)!

Frontal Lighting, the sun is behind me

Frontal Lighting, the sun is behind me

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.

Side Lighting

Side Lighting

Side Lighting

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.

Back lighting

Back lighting

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.

Edge Lighting

Edge Lighting

Edge-lit Lion

August 6, 2013

Exercise: Judging colour temperature

by Suzy Walker-Toye

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 sliders in Lightroom 4 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.
Magic Filter

and I set the manual white balance using my hand like this
Setting the white balance manually

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.

August 5, 2013

Exercise: Measuring Exposure

by Suzy Walker-Toye

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.

Under-exposures:

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.

Over-exposures:

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.

April 21, 2013

Exercise: Colour into tones in black & white

by Suzy Walker-Toye

Colour

The exercise on p119 is about trying to explain the use of colour filters on the outcome of a black and white photo. The exercise gives you the option of using actual colours filters on your camera of you have them or faking it with software if you do not. As I do not I choose to fake it with software as directed and I discovered something interesting (if not wholly unexpected). The sliders in LR (and probably photoshop is the same) do NOT mimic traditional filters. They can, if you know what you are doing with the sliders, and if you already know how traditional filters work, but I think this will confuse many people taking the OCA course (I did me, until I had it properly explained by Mike, B&W extraordinaire).

So what is the difference? Well, a traditional colour filter will lighten the area of that colour and darken the area of the complimentary colour in the resulting black and white image. So an orange filter would be used to darken a blue sky for example. In contrast the sliders in LR only darken and lighten the colour of that slider and all the other colours remain untouched. To demonstrate this I have taken a colour photo with all the primary & secondary colours, Blue,Red,Yellow,Orange,Violet, and Green.

These first photos below were processed using the sliders in LR. I made virtual copies of the colour photo and then, as directed, converted to black and white and tinkered with the b&w mix sliders for each. However, I noticed that the default position of the sliders on the neutral were not all the same (not a great place from which to start a comparison so I created another “neutral” with all the slider at -35.

Neutral b&w conversion – and default sliders, and next to that the increased yellow slider as an example…

LR Neutral LR Neutral Sliders LR Increased Yellow slider

Below is the set of LR slider based conversions. Notice for that each conversion, only the colour of that slider has been affected..

A photoshop plug in called Silver Efex Pro actually does have the facility to correctly mimic the use of tradition filters and their effects so here are the results of the same photo being run through against different filters.

You can see from this that the green filter not only lightens the green background but also darkens the red chilli, and also noticeably darkens the pruple box (because of the red element making up the purple from blue). Hopefully you’ve found this post interesting.

April 20, 2013

Exercise: Colour Relationships

by Suzy Walker-Toye

The exercise on p114 is in two parts. Part one is to produce photos with the following colour combinations and ratios:

  • Red & Green, Ratio 1:1
  • Orange & Blue, Ratio 1:2
  • Yellow & Violet, Ratio 1:3

I decided to make this into a little set (click them to see them larger)…

The second part is to use colour combinations that appeal to me. I’ve noticed that I tend to go for colour combinations that include blue or yellow or both.

December 16, 2012

Assignment 2: Elements Of Design

by Suzy Walker-Toye

For this assignment we were allowed to choose a subject for example ‘Flowers & Plants’, ‘Landscapes’ or ‘Street Details’ with which to show a group of photos with elements of design in them as specified by the headings below. The subject I chose was Underwater Macro Life.

 

1. Single Point dominating the composition:

The eye of this sleeping goat fish definitely dominates this composition.

Sleeping Goatfish eye

 

 

2. Two Points:

I was attracted to the little tendrils that spider out from each hole.

two holes in the surface of an orange sponge

 

 

3. Several points in a deliberate shape:

The eyes and knees of this mantis shrimp  (do mantis shrimp even have knees?) make an implied rectangle. I liked that the whole thing was enclosed in an actual circle (his hole) and a spot of light from the snoot I was using. Shapes within shapes.

Implied Rectangle

 

 

4. A combination of vertical and horizontal lines:

I was confused a little by this one because in the exercises for this the horizontals and verticals were split out into different pictures but this title implied both. So I shot all three versions. Horizontal, Vertical and Both.

Horizontal Vertical Horizontal and Vertical - inside a tunicate

 

 

5. Diagonals:

The diagonal lines of the crinoid lead you eye to the striking little crab.

Diagonal

 

 

6. Curves:

This was shot during daylight hours so I used a high shutter speed to control the ambient light to achieve the black background. I wanted to emphasise the curve of this whip coral to lead your eyes down to the very well camouflaged shrimp and a blue (water) background wouldn’t have worked as well.

Curves

 

 

7. Distinct, even if irregular shapes:

I used a snoot on my strobe to create a pool of heart shape light around this pair of harlequin shrimp enjoying a romantic meal for two of starfish legs.

Heart shaped

 

 

8. At least two kinds of implied triangle:

This decorator crab has three little polyps on his head making a nice implied triangle. And the eyes and shrimp of this coral grouper being cleaned make an implied inverted triangle. The groupers body is triangular too, more shapes within shapes.

Implied triangle 1

Implied triangle 2

 

 

9. Rhythm:

The pattern of this coral reminded me of a musical score.

Rhythm

 

 

10. Pattern:

This pattern of coral polyps looks as though it could go on forever.

Pattern

 

To see the Exifs etc for these images (as I know my tutor might like to do) you have to look at them in side show mode. Click any image below to begin, please bear in mind that my lighting is external and manually controlled so this would not be taken into account by the Exif.

December 15, 2012

Assignment two – Draft Images

by Suzy Walker-Toye

The subject I chose  for my assignment was Underwater Macro Life.

Note to tutor… I filled in my google docs PDF learning log with images and text for each day I did my assignment images. Now I cannot download as a PDF it so I’m putting the images here in date sections to be referred too when reading the PDF. This is not all the photos that I took each day of course but those that were intended towards the assignment that didn’t make it into the PDF. Please click on each set to open in a larger slideshow version.

 

 

22nd November 2012: Assignment 2. First day of shooting.

 

 

23rd November 2012: Assignment 2. Second day of shooting.

 

 

24th November 2012: Assignment 2. Third day of shooting.

 

 

25th November 2012: Assignment 2. Fourth day of shooting.

 

 

26th November 2012: Assignment 2. Fifth day of shooting.

 

 

27th November 2012: Assignment 2. Sixth day of shooting.

 

 

28th November 2012: Assignment 2. Seventh day of shooting.

 

 

29th November 2012: Assignment 2. Eighth day of shooting.

November 20, 2012

Exercise: Rhythms & Patterns

by Suzy Walker-Toye

On p99, the last exercise for part 2 is of patterns & rhythms. Photos with Rhythm lead your eye in a pattern to a beat. And for photographs with patterns your eye can imagine the pattern continuing on out of the frame.  Following on from yesterdays post these photos of rhythms & patterns are also all from central London buildings.

There are quite a few so I’ve put them into this clickable gallery, click the images to see larger. As you can see there are some triangle influences here too…

my favourites are #1 and #9. Next to do is the assignment for this section.

November 19, 2012

Exercise: Real & Implied Triangles

by Suzy Walker-Toye

The section on shapes end with an exercise on real & implied triangles (p92). Does anyone else think of the Eddie Izzard sketch about Darth Vader eating triangular food? No? Just me then. Ok, so I went for a walk in Central London to take photos to cover this, the previous (with the Batman building) and the next exercise. As it turns out I really enjoyed taking photographs of bits of buildings! I thought they’d look better in black and white but as usual I just couldn’t part with the colour for most of them.

The one above is triangletastic, looking up into a triangular section which is reflected in the shiny windows causing even more triangles. The one below is part of a construction saw I saw on the walk to work (one of the few here not from the south bank).

The one below is also looking up and if I had been shooting with a wider focal length would have made a giant triangle so this one is an implied triangle with little real and reflected triangles in it too.

This is another looking up one, I thought the negative space of the sky made an almost implied triangle but there are other triangles by perspective in it too.

The one below is another from the 1/2 finished building. In this one the inverted triangle leads your eye down to the little worker men at the bottom. I should have taken more time over this one, the men are a little close to the edge of the frame for my liking but it was touch and go for getting to work on time at it was. This is why you should never take photos in a hurry.

And now for something completely different….

The last part of the exercise very clearly states that it has to be a photo of 3 people arranged in a group such that their faces (or bodies) make an implied triangle. Well luckily for me it did not state 3 living people! Here is a family portrait from the Acme Family Portrait Studio of my kitchen table:

November 16, 2012

Exercise: Implied Lines

by Suzy Walker-Toye

The exercise on p85 is all to do with implied lines. The first part of the exercise is to find the implied lines in the photographs supplied in the coursework, to make a sketch and note down what the lines might be. I’ve done that in my physical notebook. I’ll finish up the exercise here with these photographs.

Firstly this one of the diver lighting up the corals…

This photo is actually an optical illusion. The diver swimming by happened to have his flash set on slave so when mine went off so did his. Now normally this would ruin a photograph however my flash was pointed at the corals in such a way it looks like the diver had a torch on the corals creating an implied relationship (even though in reality he was much too far away). This small version here shows the implied lines, the main arrow shows the “torch beam” effect. And the smaller implied line shows the space for the diver to swim into.

The next photo has the following implied lines. This one is less subtle with the lines of ridged sand leading you eyes from the shell to the rays, the foreground rays swimming forward and right and the background rays swimming straight right.

This guy on the front of the Duomo in Florence looks as though he’s impeaching the heavens. You follow his eye line upwards but the alcove that he’s sitting in all point inwards and the star pattern leads your eye back down to him again creating a circuit within the frame.

For the third part of the exercise was to plan and take a photograph that has these types of implied lines. I took this one of my little people in their snowy landscape. Even though the man in the foreground is blurred by the DOF your eyes still go between him & the woman in yellow because they are holding eye line and waving. The people in the background are much less dynamic so hold less interest in the composition, however they are all walking inwards keeping your attention within the frame and back to the woman again.

November 15, 2012

Exercise: Curves

by Suzy Walker-Toye

The exercise on p82 is a little like the diagonals exercise but this time with curves and circles. Curves give a composition softness that sharp lines would not. I took these going along in the car with my iPhone, I like the long exposure of them and how they emphasise the fireworks shape (that usually gets burnt into your retina for a few seconds). Notice the light trails of the headlights of the cars going past.

 

I took this one of the “batman” building yesterday lunchtime…

My wide angle underwater lens is a fisheye lens but its ok since not many things underwater have straight lines (apart from the odd bit of shipwreck but they tend to be quite curvy too).

And of course there are lots of circular things in the sea…

November 14, 2012

Exercise: Diagonals

by Suzy Walker-Toye

Looking back over my work, I seem to use diagonals a lot. The exercise on p80 is designed to make you aware of diagonals and how they can bring dynamism to your photos. I’m not sure that I agree that there are few true diagonals apart from stairs (the rest being a matter of perceptive or angle of the camera). Clearly the author of the coursework hasn’t been to London in a while, the place is littered with buildings that are not straight with diagonals and curviness abound.

For some reason (maybe because its easier on the eyes for a western reader, I dont really know) I seem to favour the diagonal going from left to right up the image. I had a dig around to see if I could find any that were the other way around – not many I must say.

This one is a matter of perspective of a very tall building, so not something I really intended to be diagonal but without a tilt shift lens theres not much you can do about it. However, I’d still label this vertical rather than diagonal.

This one of sun rays lighting up the fish eggs is more of a radial pattern….

November 13, 2012

Exercise: Horizontal and Vertical lines

by Suzy Walker-Toye

In this exercise on p76, we are encouraged to go out and make photographs or horizontal or vertical lines. I’ve talked about this a little in my PDF log (9th Nov entry) so I wont go into too much detail. Here are some images that shows verticals and horizontals

November 12, 2012

Exercise: Random Points

by Suzy Walker-Toye

I meant to add this as part of the previous post on points as an addition photo. There were some comments in the course work on random collections of points. The points on the previous post were deliberately placed. The buttons were just chucked down until they made a pleasing arrangement in the frame.

July 5, 2012

Part one exercise recap

by Suzy Walker-Toye

So looking back what have we learned in part one: the frame?

We looked at the different effects of zooming & shooting at different focal lengths. We played with depth of field (DOF) and it’s effect of emphasising a subject put from the background.
We covered a couple of ways to show a sense of movement. We explored what sorts of subjects work well in vertical or horizontal format. We touched on compositional guidelines and learnt some cool features of the cropping tool in LR.

We looked at position of subject in the frame and balance in photographs. How you can affect the tension in the image by playing with that balance. We looked at how your choice of horizon position within the frame would affect the image.

We analysed how your approach to a subject can yield photographs you weren’t expecting when you first started your approach, essentially an exercise on ‘seeing’.

Basically we demonstrated that there are a heck of a lot of choices that we make before pressing the shutter that deeply impact the resulting photograph, it’s not just about what we shoot it’s how we shoot it.

And, I started reading a bunch of really interesting books. I’ll post more on those as I finish them though.

Looking back over the new photographs I generated for and from the exercises, these are my top 5 photos so far.

Next up is the end of chapter assignment (for those that remember Nintendo platform games this would be the big boss at the end of the level). This assignment we have to print out, present and send to our tutors for official marking. I already know what I’m going to do for it but I’ll present it to you over the next few posts.

July 4, 2012

Exercise: Cropping

by Suzy Walker-Toye

The final exercise in part one (before the assignment) is about cropping your photos to be more pleasing. In fact, you can even think about how/if you’ll crop your photo as you’re taking the shot. For example, I often know before I take my photo that I’ll be cropping it square so I compose with that in mind. Anyway here are three different cropping examples where I show the photo being cropped and the final result.

When shooting these Zebra in Namibia I was on one side of the watering hole, I couldn’t physically get any closer and I wanted to draw attention to the animals and their reflections so I’ve chosen to crop down my image to panorama format. You can see the crop outline from the original image below.

For the square shot above I framed the photo with cropping square in mind. Pity I didn’t get it as straight as I would have liked – as you can see from the cropping below I also had to rotate the cropping square slightly. In my defence I was sliding down an indoor sand dune!

This rather abstract photo of yellow tube sponges was also shot with a square in mind, as you see from the cropping screenshot there isn’t much else in the photo outside the crop.

July 3, 2012

Exercise: Vertical and horizontal frames

by Suzy Walker-Toye

The exercise on p62 presupposes that most photographers will mainly choose pick horizontal format for their photo as a starting point (because in general its easier to take a horizontal photo with most cameras). It is designed to emphasise vertical compositions can be more pleasing in certain circumstances and not to struggle to fit everything into a horizontal frame. I find that with my iPhone and my underwater camera that it is actually the vertical that is my go-to format. Sometimes I shoot both formats when I either cannot decide or have started off in one format before deciding it’d look better there other way. I show here a range of subjects, some look better in horizontal and some look better in vertical. The exercise calls for 20 photos of each which seems a little overkill to me so apologies if this post takes a while to load, I didn’t put all 40 photos up but there are plenty to illustrate the point. I have tried to minimise this by only showing a few examples in full (with the explanations) and the rest in a gallery format.

This was one example underwater with a decorator crab where my default vertical just didn’t work so well:

In this case it was the opposite, when this little pink sea slug “stood” upwards the vertical format made a much more pleasing composition:

These trees in Namibia work equally well in vertical and horizontal because they are tall enough to work with the vertical and the extra tree balances out the horizontal format:

June 28, 2012

Exercise: Balance

by Suzy Walker-Toye

For the exercise on balance I have completed the sketches of where I think the balance is for these photographs in my paper logbook. I wanted to show the photos here as well though because my printer rendered them rather badly (dodgy little uncalibrated canon – that’ll teach me).

June 27, 2012

Exercise: Positioning the horizon

by Suzy Walker-Toye

This exercise (p57) is all about how your choice of horizon placement affects the photograph. I couldn’t quite find an unbroken and clear horizon but I got up as high as I could and took these shots of the London skyline horizon with my iPhone. I tried to pick a cloudy day so they wouldn’t blow out too much. but the even then the dynamic range of the camera wasn’t good enough.

The photo above shows a very low horizon placement that emphasises the sky as the main element of the photo, which in this case it isn’t really an interesting enough sky to justify that.

With the placement in the middle both the sky and the land has equal weighting. In this case the main interest is in the thin strip buildings in the middle. I would be tempted to crop out the boring looking roof top in the bottom section of the photo.

In this one there is not much sky at all and the foreground building really isn’t interesting enough to justify this horizon position.

The photo above isn’t part of the exercise but it seemed a shame to go to the roof of one new change taking photos and not get a shot of St Pauls. As you can see for the exercise I deliberately didn’t include St Pauls because it breaks the horizon too much.

Again, I can’t seem to go to one new change and not take a version of this shot. As the sky is always different it always has a different feel to it. This one is nice and moody.

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