Sunday, 16 June 2013


I've used flash at different times during the course so here is an overview of the different things that I have tried.
 17mm, ISO 100, 1/250, f4

20mm, ISO 1600, 1/250, f5

During the course I've experimented with fill-in flash to freeze movement - like here as my athletic niece gets some air, or someone tries a bit of slam-dunking. The flash has been adjusted in both cases to balance the exposure for a back-lit subject.

 35mm, ISO 400, 1/60, f4.5
35mm, ISO 100, 1/125, f2.8
This is similar to exposures that I worked on at Fielden (here a still life shot and a portrait of Faiz) that required the same effect with fill-in flash.

35mm, ISO 200, 2 sec, f11
We also adjusted our camera settings so that the fill in flash fired at different times during the raising and lowering of the shutter curtain. Above, with the first shutter curtain - the flash freezes the action at the start of a longer exposure, and so the light trail appears afterwards.

35mm, ISO 200, 2 sec, f11
This image is with the flash timed to fire with the second shutter curtain - in other words at the end of the exposure. Now the light trail is recorded before the action is frozen and so appears to trail behind - an effect that seems more logical and natural.

Just before the course I experimented with a Speedlite flash gun mounted on the camera's hot shoe.
 It wasn't straightforward - its not easy to get the flash exactly where you want it on the picture plane.

And you can also get a bit of a rabbit in the headlights look...

I had more success at a family party where the ceilings were much lower and I could bounce the flash successfully. I would like to repeat all this in view of what I have learned on the course more recently.

55mm, ISO 400, 1/60, f4

 20mm, ISO 400, 1/60, f4
35mm, ISO 400, 1/60, f4

People and portraits: Anna

In the end I decided to use my photographs from Anna's shop as the images for my second assignment, but I wanted to present them properly. The images earlier in the blog had not been processed, and I worked on them in black and white before realizing that they needed to be in colour after all.

I also wanted to acknowledge some of the photographers who (with their photo-stories) had inspired me to make these sorts of images in the first place:

 Margaret Bourke-White

 Cecil Beaton

Danny Lyon

Bert Hardy

Here are all the images that were submitted as part of Unit 208 re-adjusted and with more accurate white balance settings. I hope that this does the place justice!


Elements of design

I feel that the images in my assignments show lots of examples of the different elements of design, but I wanted to pull together some other shots too that show these features quite specifically. It is an interesting exercise to go out looking for these and to see what you can find.

 Colour - a favourite of mine.


Shape with pattern


 Texture and form

Fun with Photoshop and Lightroom

A big part of the last few months has been learning how to process my own images with more sophisticated software. This has been a steep learning curve, and very time consuming.
These basic controls are very similar to those in Lightroom, the application that has become my standard for organizing and processing my images. The Lightroom Library interface is below, and there are notes on the extensive adjustments that I made to images for both my assignments in the image log.

Much more extensive image processing is possible with Photoshop, and I am just beginning to explore what it can do.
I haven't used Photoshop extensively to adjust any of my images, but I have learned to use various tools in the palette courtesy of Mr Fruit Face - selecting, moving, cropping, re-sizing and transforming all the elements that make up his fruity face, and using some of the brushes to sort out his moustache and stubble.

And courtesy of my dapper cowboy I have had a bit more practice at using these tools, whilst also learning the basics of using layers.
These are simple exercises (in terms of what Photoshop can do) but they are a route into the software and a way of understanding tools that I can use on my own images. If I can afford to buy it that is, and remember all of this! ;-)

And last of all here is a portrait of Jess and Andy posing at Fielden. Photoshop's photomerge feature is designed to create panoramic landscapes from successive shots, but I thought I would turn it on its head and create a portrait. This is five shots linked into one - an indication of how powerful this software is.

Some examples of different compositions

I have used lots of different approaches in my two assignments to develop compositions that I hope are successful. I have included notes on these separately, but here are a few other examples of compositional devices in my images:

The rule of thirds is always a good basic starting point. It helps to organize this image, and could be used to structure a crop that would add more impact. The framing of an image and the viewpoint chosen are integral to any composition.

 A portrait from the same session that uses the rule of space to compose the image.

 Some recent images from the city that use juxtaposition...

And two other images that make use of very obvious triangles!

Notes on composition

Over the last few months I have tried to improve my compositional skills and here are a few notes that have been useful.

 The rule of thirds is a useful starting point, and placing the main elements of an image around the four intersections has helped me to organize some of my photographs.

It doesn't guarantee an good image though, and used too fixedly (as below) just results in images that can look staid.

These things are not really rules, more guides, and another useful starting point is the golden section. This is another system for organizing a rectangular picture frame, and is based on the Fibonacci series of numbers.

This is an interesting topic in itself, and is a pattern that is also clearly found in nature.