Sunday, 28 November 2010

Exercise: Measuring Exposure

This exercise is in two parts, first we are to produce four images that are lighter or darker than average and make comments. The second part is to produce five or six photographs of any subject, for each one we are to make five exposures: -1.0, -05, 0, +0.5, +1.0 stops. I first had to read my camera manual as the default step for my camera was 1/3 stop! We are then asked to comment on which versions are acceptable and if they were how we expected the image to appear.

The first image was that of a dark BBQ cover, here the camera has over exposed the shot to make it an overall grey colour which is not true.

The second image is that of a door, in this case the image is under exposed as the major of the image is supposed to be bright white. The camera once again has gone for a metering that tries to obtain an overall grey image.

This image is similar to the first and is over exposed, the paintwork on the car is a very deep black but here looks almost grey.

Firstly, apologies for the rather drab image of washing. Not exactly Persil white here again as the camera has opted for an underexposed image.

The following 5 exposures of a wood store all work in one way or another (expose compensation is shown in the left bottom corner). The overexposed images could show a sunny day, in fact this image was taken against a north facing wall so there would not have been any sunlight here.In the over exposed images show a great contrast which appeals to me and gives more depth.

The next sequence of 5 images has different results, The over exposed ones are too over exposed and the image is washed out. The zero compensation image is a good rendition of the original but I actually prefer the under exposed images with more contrast and intensity.

This sequence taken of a modern church does not work at all on under exposed images. It is a white building and the camera has over compensated, therefore the only true likenesses are the over exposed images.

The next set once gain show that over exposure doesn't seem to work in my garden shots whereby the image is just washed out. This was taken in sunshine so the light would have been strong. I much prefer the darker images with more contrast, they also show more detail in the Gnome.

The final images of this exercise were taken on the bank of the Thames. I chose this composition as I believe that all of the images work well here. The over exposed show a bright sunny day, although some of the highlights have come through too strong. The under exposed show great contrast and colour. The shot were taken around 4 pm in Autumn which I think also helped in not having such harsh sunlight.

The Photograph

Today I have finished the book that accompanied the OCA Course The Art of Photography, aptly titled The Photograph by Graham Clarke.

I found this book quite facinating, but at the same time very hard going. At first I was unsure where this book was taking me but I persivierred and am glad that I did as this book has given me insight into a world I had not appreciated. The use of traditional photographs from the 19th and Early 20th Centuries was quite an eye opener, many of the photographers here were clearly way ahead of thier time and preduced remarkable images with the technology available.

I found the chapter on The Body quite revealing as a photographic art form, quite challenging really. I was intrigued by some of Diane Arbus' images, I found these  of great interest and will need to looking into more of her work.

This book has helped me to hone into the areas of photography that I am interested which is predominantly Documentary, whether that be in landscapes or people. I found a lot of the photographs in the Documentary section really compelling and inspiring. Robert Haeberle's 'People about to be shot' [1969] in particular as well as Dorothea Lange 'Migrant Mother' [1936], I found to be particularly strong images?

The fine art section also opened my eyes. In this section I tried to image the photograph as a painting and whether or not people would want to place it in a frame and mount it on a prominent wall in their house? I think that all of the images in this section fit this criteria. One image I was really taken with was Edward Weston 'Nude' [1936] shown left. The way in which the body is constructed with the curves, lines and shadows, with the models face out of shot really does make a work of art from the human body. I have looked at other images Norton has done and think that this is by far the best I have seen.

One thing that struck me is that most classic images are still in black and white, which I like, using colour only to emphasise an element in the photograph.

In all a fine book which I will keep and revisit. 

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Assignment 3 Complete

I finished Assignment 3 and posted it off last Thursday, I have just got around to posting them elsewhere on the web. If anyone wanted to see them they are available here.

Looking forward to my tutors comments. Onwards to lighting, looks interesting but a much bigger section than Colours!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Moving On

Section 3 'Colours' seemed to be quite easy and quick for me and I can now concentrate on the Assessment and getting back on track with the course. I have a few ideas for the Assessment but have just realised that it is 16 images, a lot more that previous assessments.

Jesse, my tutor, has also asked me to look at others' work and gave me a couple of artists to look at. After some minor researching I was immediately drawn to Gregory Crewdson and his book Beneath the Roses.
Beneath the Roses

I have gone through different phases when looking at this work from .....'Is it real, how did he do that.....' to 'Ok now I have some idea but I will never be able to create anything like this ......' to ' .... just thinking and admiring'

There is a great interview of Crewson on You Tube see link below.

For a photographer that doesn't press the shutter he is simple unique. Yes he has a huge crew, with the best in lighting and imagery and post production but the thoughts and ideas come from one man and transforming what is in his head to almost unreal images is fantastic. Taking over complete streets or even towns in the US or even creating sets specifically for one photograph he produces truly artistic photographs.

He describes his work as a still from a movie, with an obvious styling of the 1950 - 1970 era of small town America. This is mainly denoted in the cars used in the streets, signage and props in the sets that are created.

For me the admiration is in the interest that each picture draws the viewer to. The lighting is quite remarkable, most of the shots are taken in dimly lit areas but brought to life with very precise lighting to emphasise what he wants you to concentrate on.

I cannot scan the images as the book is too big but the quality is amazing, I will certainly buy another once I have digested this one....... but it might take a while. I wonder if he needs a gofor?

Exercise: Colours into Tones in B&W

In this the last exercise of 'Colours' we are tasked with taking a single image and processing the image into black and white whilst adjusting the levels of Red, Blue, Yellow and Green to see how the effects can emphasise different areas of the image. The image should consist of still life objects that are Yellow, Green, Red and Blue with a back ground neutral grey card; the grey card should appear roughly the same within in each image.

I shot my image in RAW and used the grey scale converter and sliders within the raw converter to achieve the following results from the following colour image, followed by the natural Grey conversion.

First up is a simulation of a Red Filter, here a Red filter will filter or allow mainly red light to pass hence the 'red' in this image is a lot brighter and all the other colours are less intense.

Second is the simulation of the Yellow filter, interestingly the Green block also appears more intense because Green is made up from Yellow and Blue, the Blue and Red blocks appear very dark.

Next up was the Green filter, the green block here appears to be no lighter than the previous conversion, probably because I also lowered the level of yellow as can be seen when comparing the last two images.

Finally the blue filter was applied showing an intense blue block with all other blocks looking dark.

I have played with colours previously in this manner when converting to Black & White, but this time around I can now see the effects on all colours and after reading the course notes have a better understand of colour and why!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Exercise: Colour Relationships

In this exercise we are asked to explore the relationship between primary and secondary colours by taking photographic images of a primary colour and its opposite secondary colour in the following ratios:

RED/GREEN [  1:1  ]
ORANGE/BLUE [  1:2  ]

We are then invited to take an additional three or four images of colour combinations that we like and make comments.

The first image was taken directly above a red flower. I used a shallow depth of field to blur out the background foliage to concentrate on the flower and give a more even green background, approximately in the 1:1 ratios

The second image was a bit of a find along Brighton Sea front (in fact I found two). I cropped the image a little tighter which probably reduced the ratio of 1:2 in favour of orange but think that the image works well.

The final image again was of a flower that I found had bright yellow centre and a fringe of violet. This was my least favourite of the images and the one I struggled with. I already have an idea for a still life that I will probably keep for the Assessment.

For my final 3 images I chose colours that seemed to complement each other. The first was of bright violet flowers in a pink clay bed. I think that the two colours warm up the image nicely, it was also take late in the evening when the sun was low which also added some warm to the image 

My next image was taken of a pair of brightly colour flip flops. The purple and orange are completely contrasting and I like the ratios as the orange is far heavier that the purple as there is less of it the balance seems to work.

For my final image I again showed colours that are around a third apart on the colour wheel, in this case blue and yellow. Again I like the proportions of the colours and think that they contrast well.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Exercise: Primary Colours

In this exercise we are asked to take 6 images, 3 of which are dominated by the primary colours ( red, blue & yellow) and 3 dominated by the secondary colours (violet, green and orange). Furthermore each photo is to be taken with auto bracketing for -0.5 stops and + 0.5 stops as well as the metered value of 0 stops. To make this more palatable for blogger I have split this exercise into two for primary and secondary colours

We are then to take the exposure that matches the primary / secondary colour that is shown  on our colour chart on page 87 of the course notes.

My normal camera set up is to have a non-default of zero compensation for contrast and saturation, I normally then add this during the raw conversion as required. For this exercise I chose not to change any of the default raw settings giving an 'as shot' version of the colours i.e. with no boost to contrast or saturation.

Primary Colours


For the first exposure I was not sure which one really captured the red on the circle, it certainly was not the over exposed shot, not much in it but if I were to choose then it would be the one taken at -0.5 stop, slightly under exposured.


Blue definitely looks more intense under exposed and I have no reserves on choosing the under exposed shot here.


The final colour of this exercise is yellow, again I took advantage of a brightly coloured flower. In this the final example, I have to plump for the over exposed  image. The yellow in the book and the yellow of this flower are both bright and vibrant and this is the closest match by a mile, so for the final image I would choose over-exposed.

Exercise: Secondary Colours

This is the second part of the exercise showing secondary colours

Secondary Colours


Violet was hard to find and I had to resort to a close up of a flower. In this particular example I think that the normal exposure is the closest to the purple on the ring.


For orange I chose a wall that contained some very orange bricks, they were used with red brick to make a pattern. Again, I think that that colour that matches the examples is the one without any exposure compensation. The under exposed image looks too drab and the over exposed too washed out.


Again green looks more like the circle in the most under exposed form of a picture of a fig leaf. I took this one because of the lines and curves, does this mean I am learning? It seems that so far all the primary colours look best under exposed!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Exercise: Control the strength of a colour

This is the first exercise of the section on 'Colours'. This was one of the sections that drew me towards this course and I am pleased I am now starting it.

In this exercise we are invited to explore the effects of colour by controlling or manually adjusting the exposure. We are asked to take 5 photos of the same image by varying exposures, these range from the metered value to +0.5 stops and +1 stop and - 0.5 stops and - stop. I took five images of a brightly coloured kitchen cleaning product trying the fill the frame as much as possible. 

The first image was taken at -1 stop off the metered value at an aperture of 4.0, the exposures are then increased  by 0.5 a stop each time giving he range of 4.0,4.5,5.6,6.3 and 8.0, the metered value being 5.6.

Obviously the less light that is reflected from the object on to the cameras sensor will will means that its brightness is lower, but we are asked to comment on how this affects the 'colour'. It can clearly be seen that the over exposed images (lower aperture) do not have the same level of richness or intensity of the image at the standard metering, and those images that are under exposed (higher aperture settings) have a much more intense appearance, giving a more saturated or richer feel to them, this is maybe more evident in the red rather than the orange parts of the image.

I therefore feel that this exercise is demonstrating to us that we can control the level of saturation of colour in an image by under-exposing the shot. Of course this can also be done post processing of the image, but I think that the same level of moodiness would be lost, therefore quite an interesting concept that I was unaware of until now.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Assignment 2 Complete with Feedback

I took too long in getting the second assignment completed. I found this section harder than the first  and I had less time but overall I am pleased with the results and my tutors comments. I must however think more of what the image is saying and be more descriptive on the narrative.

I have learnt a lot from this section - to be honest I think that all of it was new to me and I will try and employ the techniques used here for the rest of this course, it is now just a question of automating the processes....

I have also published the Assignment at should anyone wish to view these. I will also try and get the Assignment 1 images up there as well.

I have already started taking photos for the next section 'Colours' this looks a lot more intuitive to me and I already understand many of the concepts - so here's to getting this one finished earlier.....

Exercise: Rhythm & Pattern

I found this exercise interesting and something I had considered before but with no real thought. Now that I understand the concepts I will look for more types of these shots as I find them very interesting.

For this exercise we are two produce an image for a pattern and rhythm. Rhythm having that optical beat that the eye would follow through an image.

For rhythm I chose  a number of interesting slippers hanging off a wall. I guess this could also be described as a pattern, however I find that the eye does follow the slippers around. Also the notes indicate that a pattern should not have depth of field for which this image does, concentrating the viewer on the in-focussed slippers.

My second image, representing pattern, was of a penny fall in an amusement arcade. This is quite a messy image and I could have cropped it closer just to the coins but I decided I wanted to keep it as is representing one section of the machine.