Tuesday, 30 November 2010

TAOP - Part 1 - Assignment - Contrasts

This blog post is in relation to the Assignment on Page 47 of the OCA Photography 1 - TAOP course material.

Going through all my previous photographs that I have taken over the years, I really struggled to find any that would fit the description of contrasts. Having only recently started to take my photography seriously, I have hundreds of old photos that just standard snapshots of people or places, but none that could be categorised as representing one theme or another. A good indication of how lacking in direction and purposed my photography was before starting this course.
However I did manage to find a couple of contrast examples, which can be seen in this Flickr set.

Having found out just how aimless my photography has been, I was looking forward to this assignment, about planning and thinking of various ideas that would best suit each of the contrasts from the list, and about trying to take photographs with purpose and meaning.

Some of the themes gave me ideas straight-away, such as the water drops for liquid, and the traffic trails for continuous, and they had natural opposites such as ice for solid. Others were not so easy to think of so I had to wander around looking to different things, trying to think of them in ways that made sense of one of the contrast list.

Overall, I think the photographs are good representations of the ideas and concepts they were trying to achieve, although I am pleased with some more than others. I am particularly pleased with Continuous and Pointed as they best show what there are supposed to represent.

If the thumbnail links are missing, view full images on the Flicker set for this assignment.

TOAP-Part1-A-1         Dark
f/5.6  1/8sec  ISO-250  45mm(67mm equiv)

The background and the table are still very dark even though there are three candles, showing just how little light is emitted from the bright flames.

TOAP-Part1-A-2       Light
f/5.6    1/125sec   ISO-250   55mm(82mm equiv)

I tried many different exposures of this bulb from a table lamp with varying levels of brightness. I like how the glass gives the impression of an aura of light around the filament.

TOAP-Part1-A-3      Heavy
f/5.6    1sec   ISO-200  52mm(78mm equiv)

The uniformity of the rust on the hammers almost makes them seem
like one large piece of metal, adding to the sense of weight.

TOAP-Part1-A-4      Light
 f/5.6  1/3sec  ISO-250   40mm(60mm equiv)

Here I have tried to indicate the weightless nature of the
feather by resting it gently on a dark fluffy cushion.

TOAP-Part1-A-5        Many
 f/5.6   1/100sec   ISO-250   55mm(82mm equiv)  +Flash

I had a problem with the flash bouncing off the face of some these coins, so I cut a small slot in a piece of paper and placed it over the flash. I think this gives the impression of looking into a treasure chest, and the way the coins extend beyond the strip of light, and even beyond the frame give the feeling of a large pile.

TOAP-Part1-A-6     Few
 f/5.6   1/2sec  ISO-250   52mm(78mm equiv)  +Flash

By showing that the coin is the only one in the pocket, it emphasises feeling of having so little.

TOAP-Part1-A-7    Pointed
 f/5.6  1/200sec  ISO-200 32mm(48mm equiv)  +Flash

It's not just the recently sharpened pencil that is pointed, the shavings all have a pointy bright yellow edge to them.

TOAP-Part1-A-8     Blunt
 f/5.6   1/4sec  ISO-250   55mm(82mm equiv)

Even though the matches are long and thin, the round heads and grouping
them together changes the overall shape to a flat object.

TOAP-Part1-A-9     Liquid
 f/5.6  1/1000sec  ISO-1000  34mm(51mm equiv)

This shot took a lot of trial and error before I got a crisp clean image with a sense of movement and fluidity.

TOAP-Part1-A-10    Solid
 f/5.6   1/200sec  ISO-200   55mm(82mm equiv)

I think most people will automatically think of solid ice as a contrast to liquid, and by using a recognisable shape it gives a sense of a solid object rather than frozen water.

TOAP-Part1-A-11   Diagonal
f/5.6  1/5sec ISO-250  52mm(78mm equiv)  +flash

By showing the dog sat upright, you can tell that this is truly diagonal and not just a tilted shot. I like how the dogs body disappears behind the line, adding to the harsh divide.

TOAP-Part1-A-12       Rounded
f/5.6   1/2sec  ISO-250  30mm(45mm equiv)

The rings within the logs add to the round shapes dotted throughout the picture. Converted to black and white and boosted contrast in post production to emphasis the rings.

TOAP-Part1-A-13    Continuous
f/29   15sec  ISO-200  26mm(39mm equiv)

I've wanted to try one of these traffic trail photos for a while so this was the first thing that sprang to mind when thinking about 'continuous'. The wall of the bridge was higher than was ideal for the tripod so I shot this in hand whilst resting on the wall.

TOAP-Part1-A-14    Intermittent
f/5.6   1/30sec  ISO-200  55mm(82mm equiv)

The almost random layout of the car lights and lack of visible road markings makes for chaotic indeterminacy.

TOAP-Part1-A-15    High
f/7.1  1/200sec  ISO-200  55mm(82mm equiv)

The simplest way of achieving a sense of height is to take a photograph above normal eye level, looking back down at the ground. So with that in mind the view from the back bedroom window seemed ideal.

TOAP-Part1-A-16      Low
f/13  1/200sec   ISO-200  32mm(48mm equiv)

The same back street from ground level, lower than normal eye level and looking up

TOAP-Part1-A-17  Black & White
Black & White
f/5.3   1/60sec  ISO-200  40mm(60mm equiv)

I wanted a monochrome looking effect to this photo, so I arranged some white sugar over black coffee in a white mug sat on a black chopping board. The circular reflection from the flash was an unexpected bonus.


Friday, 26 November 2010

TAOP - Part 1 - Exercise 9 - Cropping

This blog post is in relation to the exercise on Page 46 of the OCA Photography 1 - TAOP course material.

A few photos that demonstrate cropping to fit the subject tighter or more balanced within the frame.

In each of the photos below, the original composition isn't quite right and there is some 'dead' space around the subject. By that I mean background that doesn't add to the balance or feel of the photograph. That is why a bit of post-production cropping is required.
Cropping a photo can sometimes help turn average photographs into decent ones, but it shouldn't be relied upon. I think what has happened in the original photos is that I have put all my attention and effort into quickly snapping the main subject, and haven't given much thought to what's going on around them, the composition or balance. This is something I'm going to have to learn to do in the future, to try and see the photograph as a whole.

 If the thumbnail links are missing, view full images on the Flicker set for this exercise.









TAOP - Part 1 - Exercise 8 - Vertical And Horizontal Frames

This blog post is in relation to the exercise on Page 43 of the OCA Photography 1 - TAOP course material.

As I have been I little behind schedule in my coarse so far (must try harder!), and having read through what the exercise entailed, I decided that to do this exercise in full would be far too time consuming. I appreciate the purpose of the exercise, that it is trying to get you into a certain way of thinking, in portrait, and how that this mind set will alter the way you approach your photography.

As a compromise I have gone through previously taken photographs, and selected some where I have composed the picture in both landscape and portrait formats. In each case they show the subtle differences between the compositions, in both the balance and the feel of the picture.
 If the thumbnail links are missing, view full images on the Flicker set for this exercise.















TAOP - Part 1 - Exercise 7 - Positioning the Horizon

This blog post is in relation to the exercise on Page 39 of the OCA Photography 1 - TAOP course material.

 This exercise, in trying different positions for the horizon, is something that I think all photographers would do naturally anyway. It's certainly something that I tend to do when taking landscape photographs. As a way of demonstrating this I have included a series of photographs taken in the summer whilst on holiday on the south coast. This scene is the view from the deck of the Isle of White ferry as it returns to Lymington. It was early evening, shortly before sunset and the skyscape and light reflecting off the water had an amazing silvery quality.
Although none of the photos show the horizon at the extreme edge of the frame, I think the set has enough variety of position and composition to make some good comparisons between them. I think the horizon works best when it is off centre, as it gives an emphasis to either the water or the sky without overpowering the other side. When the horizon is central your attention is on neither sky or water and therefore kind of gets lost between the two.
Which one photo works the best over-all would probably depend on whether you find the clouds in the sky, or the light on the water more interesting. Personally I'm torn between photos 4 and 5, but if I had to choose one it would probably be photo 4 as I like the shape and contrast in the clouds, and there is more interest in the foreground water.
If the thumbnail links are missing, view full images on the Flicker set for this exercise








TAOP - Part 1 - Exercise 6 - Balance

This blog post is in relation to the exercise on Page 38 of the OCA Photography 1 - TAOP course material.

If we break a photograph down to its most basic concept, it simply becomes shapes of light or dark or colour. Our eyes and brain recognise different objects and scenes, but if we take away that recognition, all it becomes is a collection of geometric lines and blocks. To me this is what is meant when the exercise asks to think about balance. It's not about what the photograph is of, it's simply shades of light and colour.

So when we analyse a picture for balance, we are talking about symmetry and weight. I have selected a few old photos and tried to show what I think shows the balance of each.

If the thumbnail links are missing, view full images on the Flicker set for this exercise







This last one is a good example of symmetry and therefore doesn't need a diagram to shows this.