This is the second half of my log for this exercise and starts with pair 9.
Pairs 1 to 8 are discussed in Exercise 11 Vertical and Horizontal frames Part 1.
As found with the first 8 pairs I was seeking vertical subjects so in most cases the vertical version is better than the horizontal. With this set there are, at least, two failures where I did not do justice to the subject in either format.
I enjoyed this exercise even though it is the most work of any exercise so far with a large amount of sorting, editing and summarising to complete. It was also a challenge, which of course I didn’t achieve, to capture 40 interesting shots in an afternoon.
It reminded me of an Ansel Adams quote ” Twelve significant photographs in any year is a good crop.”
Pair 9 The Towers
Chichester Cathedral has a separate Bell Tower to the North West side so it is possible to capture this, the North West Tower and the Central Tower in one wide angled shot.
These three tall buildings seemed a perfect subject for a vertical frame and fig. 01 does work reasonably well. The line to the right balancing the single tower to the left.
Fig. 02, the horizontal version, works better. The framing has allowed me to capture the bulk at the bases of the towers and this creates a feeling of great size and weight that is lacking from fig 01.
Vehicles were parked between the towers that I didn’t want in the shot without them there might have been a stronger composition available.
Pair 10 The Doors
The glass doors of the cathedral made an interesting composition with the vergers standing to greet visitors.
In fig. 03 I have intentionally stayed just off a silhouette as I think the faint tone of the inner wall adds a little to the composition. The idea seems to work but the silhouettes of the two people are lifeless.
In Fig. 04 there is a more interesting scene developing in front of the doors and as a result it is a better photograph but the wide, dark expanses to the sides are unnecessary and apart from the lit stand add nothing.
To test whether the failure of fig. 03 was the subject rather than the frame I cropped fig. 04 into fig. 05.
Fig.05 is the best composition of the three.
It is tighter on the doors than fig. 03 and has none of the dark distractions in fig. 04. The two vergers are distinct and separated from the visitor and I like the word “donations” that is lit up to the right.
The chandelier works well both symmetrically and as a balance to the bright backlight on the doors.
Vertical therefore wins the day because it better fits the shape of the subject.
Pair 11 Pondering
The cathedral grounds were being used for a sleep-over to draw attention to the homeless and people were building their shelters. This pair of shots of a man pondering how to make his temporary shelter hold together are not strong images but they do show that using a horizontal frame on this subject caused a number of compositional challenges.
The subject has faded into obscurity against a dull background. Fig. 06 is not a great shot but at least the subject is obvious.
Pair 12 Blue Tent
I liked the blue tent images far more when I took them than I did when I reviewed them. The horizontal version is cluttered with no clear subject, the man is looking away and the baby has climbed in front of the women. The subject appears suited to a horizontal frame but it has not worked as an image.
The original vertical version at fig.09 is equally weak. The man is in a better position but it was difficult to frame this well. The grass and the building add nothing.
Fig. 10, which is the strongest of a week set is a crop of fig.09. The vertical frame is now working better and the man becomes a more interesting subject but it is still an untidy photograph with uncomfortable dynamics. The man wold be better to the left but then we would have the legs of the women in shot so it is at best a compromise.
Pair 13 Fast Food
I am very pleased with fig.11. I had already taken the landscape shot of the fast food wagon while these two tourists were buying their hotdogs and realised that there might be a shot of them walking away. I got into position just in time to catch this image. I have thought long and hard whether crop it in post production but have eventually decided to leave it exactly as captured. The man is very tight to the left but I like the sequence of him and the women looking at their food then the wagon to the left and the street disappearing into the distance. I think the balance has worked with the subjects right at the front with a deep, in focus, background. The initial shot was a little over exposed so I have adjusted the exposure by 1/2 a stop in Camera Raw and then by using a mask put different curves on the sky and the street. I think this image has a 3D feel.
The horizontal shot, shown at fig.12 below, is obviously from a quite different angle. the cart and the queue of customers were the right subject for a landscape frame whilst the two tourists with their hotdogs worked best in portrait. I think that these are a strong pair.
Pair 14 PC 559
Cheerful policeman obviously get assigned to manning the police tent and PC 554 was a jovial loooking character.
In fig. 13 he is framed effectively by the white tent and is smiling out of the picture. An adequate shot but not especially interesting.
In fig. 14 he is placed in context and we can see that he is sharing a joke with two others.
The horizontal image tells the more interesting story.
There is an intriguing balance in fig. 14 with two frames within frames. It takes two glances to realise that it is one, not two, photographs, It would have been good to have something linking the two frames.
Pair 15 Fracking
Fig. 15 and fig 16 are two alternative vertical framings of a protester by the old market. Fig. 15 was more spontaneous as he had just spotted me with the camera and raised his placard to ensure it was in the shot. By the time I shot fig 16 he was posing and staring right into the lens. Fig 15 is well balanced with the three other people in shot but I included fig. 16 as it is a better study of the placard man.
However, fig 17 works better than either with the lady to the left and the man with his back to us engaged with the placard man and balancing him and the sign. In this instance the more interesting frame was horizontal.
Pair 16 Bench and Child
The man on the bench was watching the toddler make her way past. He is sitting in a patch of sunlight and this seems to emphasise his role in the image.
The problem here is that this is a horizontal photograph in a vertical frame and most of the information in the top half of the picture is irrelevant. More thoughtful use of DoF might have helped.
In fig. 19, even though the little girl has moved past the best spot, there is far less distracting detail and a good balance with the two subjects at either end of the bench.
Definitely a horizontal subject.
Pair 17 Two Men on Bench
A new character appeared on the bench, seemingly loaded with shopping and ready for a rest.
Fig. 20 is balanced and well lit but it suffers from the same problems as the previous vertical composition.
The man on the left has now become aware of my presence and this makes the shot a little more interesting.
In fig. 21 there is better composition but I find that this shot works less well that the photo with the little girl. This might just be the subtle balances of the background or the fact that in fig. 19 there appeared to be a connection between the man and the girl whereas in fig. 21 there are two independent subjects.
Pair 18 The Old Market
The old market at the junction of the four main streets is one of Chichester’s landmarks. This seemed to work better in monochrome. I processed it to create strong contrasts on the clock face and the small bust. the two towers balance each other and are well linked by the roof of the market.
I endeavoured to process fig. 23 to have similar contrasts but I find the vertical frame the stronger image.
Pair 19 Two
For the last photograph in Chichester I have chosen this couple on a bench. I initially thought that the police car would dominate the shot but I now feel that it does no harm and potentially creates a line to the subjects. They are deep in conversation and oblivious to the camera.
They moved immediately after this shot so I have selected fig. 25 as the counterpoint.
A very different couple on the next bench along the street. He is totally focussed on his phone and I could have stayed and photographed him for 15 minutes and I don’t think he would have noticed me. The dog is staring into the distance and creates a satisfying composition.
The background is messy but I found that cropping detracted from the line of the two benches so my compromise was to settle for this composition. I find that combining interesting subjects with non intrusive backgrounds is a challenge with street photography and probably why so many street images are tightly cropped. This sort of image, fig 25, appeals to me most with either a very busy or an empty street. Two or three stray people standing still often make the worst backgrounds.
I keep thinking that there is a potential collection of street images to be made exclusively featuring people interacting with their smart phones as that seems to be more common that interacting face to face with other people.
Pair 20 The Avenue
The last image was taken in Farnham Park the next morning. This avenue of trees made an interesting final test of vertical and horizontal.
The vertical composition is not without merit but I found that I needed to be quite a distance from this particular group of trees to create good shapes leading in from the top.
It is obviously another very symmetrical composition but I like the way the single bench breaks up the balance.
For fig 28 I stayed in much the same place but moved the path left of centre.
I prefer the horizontal composition which makes more of the lone bench.