Sunday, 31 January 2010

Project: Photographing movement - Shutter speeds

The following projects relate to capturing movement within a photograph. In the first exercise we are asked to take several pictures of a moving object taken at varying shutter speeds. I used a local 'A Road' and captured some of the cars as they passed.

The first image taken at 1/13 of a second shows a blur that is not instantly recognisable as a car at all, but does show extreme speed.

The next image was captured at 1/60 second and shows a car clearly moving at some speed with the whole of the car blurred through motion. I personally am not keen on this type of image.

At a speed of 1/400 second the car is almost frozen, the body blurred a little with the wheels clearly blurred; it is most likely the wheels are moving slightly faster than the car body. This is my favourite image as this shows a car clearly but with elements of motion.

The final image was taken at 1/800 of a second, which given the fading light was about the highest I could go to at a reasonable ISO of 640. This image has frozen both the car and wheels with the holes in the car's hub caps clearly in focus. This image lacks all sense of motion, it could well be parked!

Project: Focus - Focus at different apertures

This exercise was to demonstrate the range of focus within an image taken with varying apertures. For this exercise I took three photographs of the railings at a local park at f2.8, f7.1 and f22. The slides and swings in the background also proved to be a useful measure of what was in and out of focus also.

The area of focus within the images is the area between the two white bars.

The first image at f2.8 shows a narrow band of focus, this is also visible not only in the railings but also the tower in the background.

The second image at f7.1 is the mid point of the lens producing the best sharpness in the mid ranges, this gave a good overall focus, noting the tower now in focus, however the far railings are still out of focus when magnified.

The final image at f22 shows almost the entire image in focus, however I did note that the overal sharpness was not quite as sharp compared to f2.8 and f7.1

It is therefore clear that a higher f-stop or smaller aperture will produce an image with a greater range of focus, whilst a lower f-stop or larger aperture will create a narrow field of focus around the focal point of the image.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Project: Focus - Focus with a set aperture

The objective of this exercise was to select a scene with a good depth of field, as the weather was poor I chose a number of toys lined up at an acute angle on a table. Using the camera’s widest aperture we were then asked to take two or three pictures focusing on different parts of the scene for each photograph. 

I took three photographs at f 2.8 focusing on the Red, Blue and Green blocks. Each photograph was taken at ISO100 with a shutter speed of 1 second.

I thought that the photograph above with the Red block in focus was the most pleasing image for two reasons. Firstly the Red block is the largest item in the image and as such tends to dominate it, when it is out of focus the image looks unbalanced. The second reason is that with the Red block in focus a natural line appears emphasising  the depth in the image giving it a greater perspective. 

When focusing on the Green block a similar feel to depth is obtained, but I feel that the big red blur in the front of the image is too distracting. 

For all pictures taken it is clear that the eye is automatically drawn to the area of focus.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Project: Getting to know your camera - Focal length & angle of view

In this exercise we are asked to take three photographs of the same scene, noting the exact position the photographs were taken from. As the weather was fair I went with my son to the Ashdown Forest. The first photograph was with a focal length equivalent to the naked eye, that is objects appearing the same size through the lens as they do through the eye. When I took the picture below I recorded a focal length around 50mm on the barrel of the lens, the Exif data confirmed this to be 52mm.

The second photograph was taken at the widest focal length of the lens, for the lens I was using this was 24mm.

Finally that last of the three photographs was taken at the telephoto end of the lens which was 180mm. In hindsight this was a little too long for the exercise, but it still showed the principles of focal lengths and finding the standard focal length of the camera.

We were then asked to print out these images on to A4 and return to the position where they were taken. Holding them up to the view we were to offer them up adjusting the distance between the eye and the photograph so that the view was exactly aligned with the print and measuring this distance for each of the above three photographs from eye to print. 

The results I obtained for my pictures were 48cm for 52mm , 22cm for 24mm and 180cm for 180mm. Not surprisingly the focal length and measured distances are directly proportionate at around x10 the focal length.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

The First Blog Entry

Not only is this my first entry into this Learning Log, but it is also the first time I have set up a Blog so I hope I am doing all the right things? I have been really looking forward to this photography course for some while now and after shedding some other commitments I now have the available time to start in earnest. After reviewing the material that the OCA have sent me I am eager to get started yet hesitant as I want to make sure I do everything to my best ability - a lot of the terminology and educational processes have changed since I was a student, which was a long time ago and I need to get my head around this first! I am confident that the course will help my photography enormously as it is exactly what I am looking for to enable me to have a greater understanding of the true art of photography. Hopefully this will be reflected in better quality images that I produce over the coming years.....