Category Archives: 4 Looking through the viewfinder

Exercise 05 – Object in Different Positions in the Frame

Fig. 01 - 1/320 at f/8.0 - ISO 100

Fig. 1 – 1/320 at f/8.0 – ISO 100

The exercise “Object in Different Positions in the Frame” requires us to take a series of photographs placing the subject in different positions within the frame.

At this stage I declare that I have taken a short-cut with this exercise. I had decided that an ideal subject for this exercise would be to find a farmer working a large, single coloured field. I had this picture in my mind’s eye and as I travelled about over last weekend I surveyed each field I passed. We live in a rural location so there are plenty of fields.

However, it was obviously not a weekend for undertaking any kind of field work as not a single tractor did I find.

I suspect that the mistake was to head out with a specific subject in mind but I want to keep moving forward quickly with these initial exercises and have decided to openly cheat for the time being but to continue to look for an appropriate subject over the coming weekends and to replace or expand this report at a later date.

I have selected a photograph taken in the early summer of 2013 on my grandson exploring the paths made by a tractor in a field of rape seed flowers. I have conducted the exercise in Photoshop as I only captured one image.

Fig. 2 - 1/320 at f/8.0 - ISO 100

Fig. 2 – 1/320 at f/8.0 – ISO 100 – Original Photograph

Fig. 2 above is the original photograph, it meets the requirement of the exercise in the sense that it was a snap shot, taken without any thought as the subject was running bent over and jumping up to surprise me with his new position. He is very slightly off centre but this was not a composed shot.

Fig. 3 - 1/320 at f/8.0 - ISO 100

Fig. 3 – 1/320 at f/8.0 – ISO 100 – Off Centre Front

Out of the four crops I completed this is my favourite. I was using a 300mm lens so even at f/8.0 there is a satisfying blur to the front and back of the subject. His position in the frame with less flowers to his right and front and more behind and to his left creates a good balance to the photograph. His arms create some extra shape and generally point towards the corners of the frame. I find that the difference between sizes of the front and back and the two sides helps create a greater sense of depth to the field and creates a balanced end product.

Fig. 4 - 1/320 at f/8.0 - ISO 100

Fig. 4 – 1/320 at f/8.0 – ISO 100 – Off Centre

Fig. 4, where the subject is just off centre, would be my second choice but the nearly equal foreground and background make this a less interesting, more static and more predictable crop. The field still has scale and I like the relationship of the size of the subject and the size of the background.

Fig. 5 - 1/320 at f/8.0 - ISO 100

Fig. 5 – 1/320 at f/8.0 – ISO 100 – Centre

Fig. 5 is acceptable, uninteresting and predictable but it is at least a pleasant photograph of the boy. His Grandmothers would probably be quite happy with a print of this one. As suggested in the course notes by placing the subject dead centre the scale of the background is somehow reduced. It seems a small field with a large boy which is the opposite of both my original intent and the crop in fig. 2.

Fig.5 - 1/320 at f/8.0 - ISO 100

Fig.6 – 1/320 at f/8.0 – ISO 100 – Edge

Fig. 6 is last in terms of my preferences. It is not a successful image. It might have worked if the subject had been much smaller within the overall frame but I do not respond to this crop in any way.

Exercise 6 A Sequence of Composition – The Street Band

Fig. 2 - 1/100 at f/5 - ISO 110

1/100 at f/5 – ISO 110

The Sequence of composition exercise is designed to help the practical process of composing an image. It suggests a street scene as the best location.

My chosen location was Winchester market which, on the first  Sunday of the month, has two markets close to each other in the centre of the city.

The challenge in this exercise is to develop an idea of the “final” image whilst moving around seeking the best vantage point and an ideal subject. By its very nature a market is a fluid place with people moving between stalls and the many streets that this market stretches across.

Over the course of 2 hours I captured sequences in each of the distinctly different areas of the market.

The Street Band

TAoP-Ex-6.15-band-sequence-contact-sheet

This sequence took about 2 minutes and 20 seconds to shoot. The band were comparatively static and the challenge was to avoid passersby walking into shot and moving to new vantage points in the small crowd that had gathered.

Fig. 1 - 1/100 at f/5.6 - ISO 500

Fig. 1 – 1/100 at f/5.6 – ISO 500

My initial shot was taken as I found the band, the whole band is in shot but it is an uninteresting composition. My instinct was to try and get closer to individual musicians so I moved slightly further up the street.

Fig. 2 - 1/100 at f/5.6 - ISO 280

Fig. 2 – 1/100 at f/5.6 – ISO 280

I framed the two wind musicians in fig.2 to see whether the relationship between the two would make a good composition. There is too much empty space adding no value to the image so I zoomed in on the pair and focused on the nearest woman.

Fig. 3 - 1/100 at f/5.6 - ISO 280

Fig. 3 – 1/100 at f/5.6 – ISO 280

This shot, fig. 3,  cuts out the distractions around the musicians and is a much more satisfying composition but it is not, in any way, dynamic, nor is there any sense of them being part of a lively street band.

I moved further in front of the band to isolate the women in the red coat.

Fig. 4 - 1/100 at f/5.6 - ISO 560

Fig. 4 – 1/100 at f/5.6 – ISO 560

Fig. 4 was taken from this new position but did not feel interesting.

Fig. 5 - 1/100 at f/5.6 - ISO 640

Fig. 5 – 1/100 at f/5.6 – ISO 640

I moved again to the right and began to photograph the clarinet  player , fig.5, whose bright scarf made the image potentially more vibrant.

This made for a better image with the shop window providing a sense of place and her shape and the scarf making a pleasing composition.

I moved further in front of the band to look at the other players.

Fig. 6 - 1/100 at f/5.6 - ISO 800

Fig. 6 – 1/100 at f/5.6 – ISO 800

The guitarist was next in line. I was fairly certain the the final image was going to be a close up so I stayed zoomed in when I took the shots of him. His hair and expression of concentration held some promise.

Fig. 7 - 1/100 at f/5.6 - ISO 360

Fig. 7 – 1/100 at f/5.6 – ISO 360

However, his grey shirt and the off-white background make this a dull photo. The band was on the shady side of the street so it scene was fairly subdued already.

I zoomed out and caught him facing in a more interesting direction. The passerby leaving the shot to the left seems to add rather than detract from the image and I think that the dark coat and the blue music stand frame the subject quite effectively.

My natural progression was to continue to the right and I felt that the last two musicians were more animated and that all the energy in the band was coming from these two characters.

Fig. 8 - 1/100 at f/5.6 - ISO 140

Fig. 8 – 1/100 at f/5.6 – ISO 140

Although I had been getting generally closer I zoomed back out to 70mm to capture these two men together. This felt a better shot as there seemd to be movement and the backdrop gave a real street musician setting. I stayed with this position in the hope of capturing an image with more energy.

Fig. 9 - 1/100 at f/5.6 - ISO 140

Fig. 9 – 1/100 at f/5.6 – ISO 140

Fig. 9 has captured the man to the right in a better pose but it seemed seemed flat and I felt that I was too front on and needed to focus on these two but from a more dynamic angle. I stepped right and inwards to look back down the line of the band.

Fig. 10 - 1/100 at f/5.6 - ISO 140

Fig. 10 – 1/100 at f/5.6 – ISO 140

This gave me a better angle on the two nearest musicians without losing the feel of the street.

Unfortunately I was now in the middle of a busy pedestrian route so it was becoming harder to get the shot. I moved left again to avoid the traffic.

Fig. 11 - 1/100 at f/5.6 - ISO 220

Fig. 11 – 1/100 at f/5.6 – ISO 220

This shot, fig.11, might have been the end of the sequence but I haven’t captured everyone’s energy at the same time but the flautist knocked over his coffee and looked down to deal with that just as I took the shot. I think that there is a much more interesting crop here of just the three men.

I stayed just about where I was but turned the camera back to landscape.

Fig. 12 - 1/100 at f/5.6 - ISO 180

Fig. 12 – 1/100 at f/5.6 – ISO 180

Fig 12 captures the band and the street but two musicians have stopped playing and the picture is without any interest again. A backward step in terms of progression towards the final image.

Fig. 13 - 1/100 at f/5.6 - ISO 180

Fig. 13 – 1/100 at f/5.6 – ISO 180

Then the flautist and the guitarist looked up, the violinist turned my way and a passerby moved into shot. This is probably my favourite image but I had been progressing towards a close up.

So, I zoomed right in as the flautist started playing again.

Fig. 14 - 1/100 at f/5.6 - ISO 180

Fig. 14 – 1/100 at f/5.6 – ISO 180

I focussed on the flute and at f/5.6 achieved a satisfying blur on the violin player. This image works reasonably well but the alternative ending is a crop from fig 13 which I think has much more life.

Fig. 15- 1/100 at f7.1 - ISO 180

Fig. 15- 1/100 at f7.1 – ISO 180

Exercise 4 Fitting The Frame to the Subject

1/320 f/2.8 ISO 100

1/320 f/2.8 ISO 100

In exercise 4, Fitting the Frame to the subject, it is necessary to identify a subject that is “clear in appearance and compact in shape”. As discussed in my research and reflections post, Research for the Frame, I decided upon electricity pylons.

Having taken several series of photographs I have selected a sequence that best meets the objectives of the exercise. During the sorting and editing process I decided that the subject lent itself better to monochrome than colour. For comparative purposes I have included some colour versions towards the end of this post.

I made this decision because the, mostly green, background landscape was more about tone than colour, the subject by nature was made up of lines and shapes which contrasted better with the background in black and white and I felt the overall composition was better highlighted in this medium. I rarely use black and white and I am not satisfied with the results (especially with Fig. 4.4) and need to carryout more research on editing for black and white.

Fig 4.1 - 1/250 at f/8.0 ISO 100

Fig 4.1 – 1/250 at f/8.0 ISO 100

The first image, Fig. 4.1, was captured when I first approached this particular pylon. As suggested I took vey little time to think about the framing. This hopefully qualifies as a conventional viewpoint. It was obviously an option to turn the camera to take a portrait image but my first instinct was to include the power lines coming to and leaving the pylon.

Fig. 4.2 - 1/320 at f/2.8 ISO 100 with polarising filter

Fig. 4.2 – 1/320 at f/2.8 ISO 100 with polarising filter

Fig. 4.2 is the tight framing version where the subject fills the frame. I did try framing the subject even more tightly but something about the shape of the pylons made an uncomfortable image when right up tight to the frame and unless I cropped the image to be out of proportion it is the wrong shape to fill the frame in both directions. I concluded that this framing best represented “tight” for this subject.

Fig 4.3 - 1/1000 at f/4.5 ISO 100 with polarising filter

Fig 4.3 – 1/1000 at f/4.5 ISO 100 with polarising filter

There were an overwhelming number of options for the image that excluded all of the subject’s edges. I selected Fig 4.3 simply because I like the strong lines from outside to inside that seem to be amplified the parallel patterns made by the clouds.

Fig. 4.4 - 1/100 at f 8.0 ISO 140 with polarising filter

Fig. 4.4 – 1/100 at f 8.0 ISO 140 with polarising filter

The final image of the sequence, F4.4, shows the pylon in its surroundings. This is the least effective image in monochrome as the pylon does not contrast strongly enough with the sky and as a result the patterns in the sky have become the dominant feature and the lines formed by the clouds draw the eye to the small group of trees to the left.

I then  looked at some alternative crops of Fig 4.4.

Fig. 4.5 - 1/100 at f 8.0 ISO 140 with polarising filter

Fig. 4.5 – 1/100 at f 8.0 ISO 140 with polarising filter

Fig 4.5 is the first alternative. I have kept the power lines in the frame and the pylon once again stands out from the background and regains its role as the subject.

Fig. 4.6 - 1/100 at f 8.0 ISO 140 with polarising filter

Fig. 4.6 – 1/100 at f 8.0 ISO 140 with polarising filter

Fig. 4.6 returns to a landscape format but by cropping more tightly the pylon becomes more dominant within the frame.

Fig. 4.7 - 1/100 at f 8.0 ISO 140 with polarising filter

Fig. 4.7 – 1/100 at f 8.0 ISO 140 with polarising filter

In Fig. 4.7 I have chosen a more panoramic crop which works quite well but the farm buildings and trees to the left have again become the focus of the image. To my mind this is partly because I believe we tend to look at photographs from left to right, partly because the buildings are a much stronger contrast against the medium and dark tones of the rest of the photograph and partly because the power lines and the clouds take me there.

Fig. 4.8 1/302 at f/2.8 ISO 100 with polarising filter

Fig. 4.8 – 1/320 at f/2.8 ISO 100 with polarising filter

The alternative crop that appeals to me most is Fig. 4.8 which is actually a crop of Fig 4.2. By cropping into the subject and changing the angle I believe it gives a sense of the height of the pylon as well as creating strong patterns that seem to lead upwards.

To conclude the report on this exercise I have included some samples of the colour versions of the above set of images.

Fig 4.12 - 1/250 at f/8 ISO 100

Fig 4.9 – 1/250 at f/8 ISO 100

Fig. 4.11 - 1/320 at f/2.8 ISO 100 with polarising filter

Fig. 4.10 – 1/320 at f/2.8 ISO 100 with polarising filter

Fig. 4.10 - 1/1000 at f/4.5 ISO 100 with polarising filter

Fig. 4.11 – 1/1000 at f/4.5 ISO 100 with polarising filter

Fig. 4.9 - 1/100 at f/8.0 ISO 100 with polarising filter

Fig. 4.12- 1/100 at f/8.0 ISO 100 with polarising filter