Sunday, 28 February 2010

Project: Focal Lengths and different viewpoints Ex 2

For this exercise we are asked to take two photographs of the same object. The first photograph at a distance using a long focal length so that the object fills the frame and then to walk towards the object and take the second photograph with a wide angle lens, or short focal length, again so that it fills the frame.

I did this in two examples as I was not entirely happy with the first effort, though I have put it into the log for future reference.

In my first attempt I took at picture of a porch at some distance using a 200mm lens, then walking towards the porch I took the second picture  at 17mm. Although the two photographs show that the perspective has completely changed, I also realised after taking the shots that the angle of view form the camera had also changed. At distance it is easy to adjust the angle of the camera horizontal, but when I walked towards the porch rather than it being at eye level I was standing beneath it, I step ladder would have been good to have.

I do however like the second shot as it gives a greater feel of scale and depth whilst distorting the angles of the facia boards.

So after realising my mistake, and after waiting for the weather to break, I went out and took another two photographs, this time of an old bench to which I could get a similar angle of view.

Again these two images were taken at 200mm and 17mm and show very nicely how the angle of perspective has changed dramatically. In the second at 17mm, the bench appears elongated showing a much greater depth.

I like both images here. This has been a useful exercise for me and I feel that I am starting to learn when taken pictures that there is much to be considered in the subject and how it will appear in a photograph. I enjoyed this one!

Here is a great example of a close up taken of a slate wall in Edinburgh by dillspec at Flickr, he has some great images ....

Monday, 15 February 2010

Exercise: A sequence of Events

In this exercise we are asked to take a series of pictures of an event as the event unfolds, trying to work the frame in helping to compose better images. I found this exercise hard. Firstly in February there was not much on and the weather was awful, so getting out was hard. Secondly this is outside of my comfort zone, though I am glad of the experience.

The sequence is an event on holiday that involved a lot of climbing and balancing on very high wooden beams and ropes in a forest. The event climaxed in the 'leap of faith' where we had to climb a forty foot pole, climb onto the platform (rather wobbly) and then jump outwards towards a trapeze swing, the object to catch it, some of us did this, many failed, but we were wearing a safety harness. I enjoyed the event, here are the pics....

Arriving with safety harnesses on the floor ready for us....

Kitted out with helmets that had to be worn at all times......

A taste of what to climb .....

The first climber .....

 ... It'll be me next!

On to the second level (the platform for the leap of faith can also be seen on the left of the shot

Tuition for the leap of faith

Climbing up the 40ft pole
The leap of faith above, and the satisfaction of completion back on the ground

Of all of the photos we are asked to choose one that summed up the day, for me there was no particular image I like them all as together they tell the story, but below is one of the leaps by a very scared and brave lady who unfortunately did not make the bar, this image captures the moment showing the miss...

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Project: Looking through the viewfinder Ex 2

I found finding the subject matter for this one a little tricky and after experimenting with various ideas I have plumped for this one, though not entirely happy.

We were asked to find a subject with an a large, even background and take a few shots of the object in various parts of the frame. This is to demonstrate how the framing can change the relationship between the subject and the background.

The background in my examples was water and the subject matter a rather obliging goose, although I think that the only reason she was hanging around for the hope of some bread!

In the first image the subject is centred. Here the subject dominates the image and distracts from the vastness of the water.

In the next image the goose is position slightly off-centre, moving to the right. Here the water is more prominent but the eye is still firmly on the subject.

In the next image the goose is positioned to the far left of the frame, here she is not dominating the scene and the expanse of the water is visible balancing out the scene.

In the next photograph the image is to the bottom right and still occupying the majority of the image but showing some balance with her surroundings.

This was an interesting exercise to me, as surprisingly when reviewing the images I actually prefer the shot with the goose to the far left, something I thought I would not; lesson learnt here to balance subject and background...

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Project: Looking through the viewfinder Ex 1

In the exercise we are asked to find a subject  that we can photograph from all angles, up close and from a distance. The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate how a photograph can change dramatically depending on the framing of the subject and the attention to detail that must be taken through the viewfinder before the shutter is pressed.

I chose a rather boring life ring. The first image is just a quick snap of the object demonstrating no thought for framing.

The second image was taken trying to fill all of the object into the frame with little no no gaps to the boarder. My first impression is that this makes for a more dramatic image with more detail and focus.

The following two photographs concentrate more on the ring than the post to fill the frame and to even zoom into the object within the frame to find new angles of perspective.
I really like this style of image, in the past I have always preferred zooming in on objects beyond the natural frame, I have noticed that many scenes in film also adopt this even with faces.

Understanding framing and making an interesting shot from a boring subject is something that I must concentrate more on....

Project: Focal Lengths

This exercise explores the effect and relationship on an image through changing focal lengths, either through a zoom lens or through interchangeable lenses. For this exercise I shot images using my widest lens at 17mm and a zoom lens at 200mm at a local park.

The following image was taken across the lake at a focal length of 17mm capturing a wide range of the scene, including the boat house just off centre.

Using the far end of my zoom lens a similar view focusing in on the boat house (right) at a Focal Length of 200mm shows in detail the building.

Interestingly when I enlarge the first image taken at 17mm in the area of the boat house I get the resulting image below.

The quality of this image is not going to be the same as the number of pixels is significantly reduced, but it is remarkably to note that the two images are exactly the same in their perspective.

This shows that zooming in on an image does not change the perspective at all. This was something I had not considered before, I guess I just took it for granted

I am now looking forward to the exercise where we do change the perspective!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Project: Dividing the Frame - Balance

In this exercise we are asked to comment on 6 photographs previously taken. These were evaluated for overall balance detailing the major parts of the image by sketching a 'weighing scale' showing the balance within each photograph.

The first image I used was taken in a Church in Scotland.

This image is symmetrical from the centre of the dome, with lines spreading out as shown. Although maximum symmetry is not obtained the over balance is pleasing to me, framed by the archway above. The rich red colour seeping in from the stained glass also centres the image to the top of the dome.

The following image I am not so sure about, the area of sea is quite dominating but I think balance between the land and the sky is balanced with the large cloud over the sea.

Overall though I think that the image is in balance

The following pictures of Notre Dame were taken at night in the rain, I chose this one for depth to balance out the frame.

To me the dominant part of the frame is the tower, however the large foreground with a leading line to the Tower helps to balance the picture very well.

Again in this image I think the balance is obtained with help from the background.

The large red bush on the left dominates the smaller  'feathered' plant in size and colour, but the background behind the smaller plant helps to balance out the overall image.

Finally, I chose an image I am really not sure about. The three umbrellas are more or less central to the photograph giving balance, but with hindsight it would have been better for the bridge to be central as well.

However  the roof in the background tends to tip the scales to the left, so maybe the overall balance is OK. Either way I am not happy with this and think it is too complex now, but works in a quirky way - all down to taste!

This exercise to me has proved to be very helpful, and something I had not considered in the past - certainly something not to be ignored.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Project: Photographing movement - Panning with different shutter speeds

In this exercise we are asked to take pictures using a panning technique on a moving subject at varying shutter speeds. This is a technique I have used many times when photographing motor sport. However as my son is too young for a motor bike his push bike had to do.

The first picture below was take at 1/60 sec and shows the rider in good focus with the fencing nicely blurred and the wheels also showing a good motion blur.

The next photograph was taken at 1/30 sec. Again the subject is in good focus but not quite as sharp as the previous shot, though I do not think the rider was pedalling, if he was the pedals would show more blurring. The background is more noticeably blurred given a greater sense of motion.

My preference is probably the 1/60 shot. However it does demonstrate that the slower the moving subject the slower the shutter speed needs to be to get a real blurred background. This may cause problems at longer focal lengths where motion blur may become confused with camera blur.

These shots were taken with a focal length of 100mm, using greater than 200mm would require a very steady panning hand to maintain a reasonable level of focus on the moving object at 1/30 sec.

Motion can add so much to an image, here is a fairly popular photo from flickr, through motion it has made this man very demonic...