Tag Archives: Children

Experimenting With Daylight Flash

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Following my research into Martin Parr and Anna Fox I have been wanted to experiment with daylight flash. I am interested in how it give a three dimensional feel to an image by increasing the brightness of the foreground subject. I believe that Martin Parr also uses the technique to partially take natural light out of the equation which gives the photographer more flexibility to shoot the subject without too much concern over how they are naturally lit.

I have found a full sized flashgun and a diffuser (I use a Nikon SB-910 and a Rogue Flashbender reflector) too cumbersome to use when photographing in the street or in a casual setting. It is such a large rig that it also attracts too much attention. After reading a number of reviews I have purchased a Nikon SB-400 which is a fraction of the size, has head tilt and comes with a small plastic diffuser. This set-up is so small it is quite reasonable to leave it on the camera when out on a shoot and just switching the flashgun on when needed. Unlike the SB-910 the SB-400 has no controls but the amount of flash can be controlled on the camera.

1/125 at f/13, ISO 160

Fig. 01 1/125 at f/13, ISO 160

1/125 at f/11, ISO 110

Fig. 02 1/125 at f/11, ISO 110

In fig. 2 there is a noticeable increase in saturation although it also highlight the problem of including near and medium distance foreground. My grandson is reasonably well lit by the flash, his grandmother is not.

In fig. 1, with a single subject the lighting is far better.

1/125 at f/8, ISO 800

Fig. 03 1/125 at f/8, ISO 800

In fig.3 a different potential problem is highlighted. Because of the comparatively slow shutter speed any significant movement will be blurred. In this particular photo that adds to the picture but that will not always be the case.

1/125 at f/11, ISO 100

Fig. 04 1/125 at f/11, ISO 100

Fig. 4 is one of the best examples of the technique as it is not obvious that flash has been used but the subject stands out strongly from the background.

1/125 at f/8, ISO 100

Fig. 05 1/125 at f/8, ISO 100

Fig. 5 is the opposite effect with it being quite obvious that flash has been used but it is still effective as all initial attention is focussed on the subject.

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This second set is slightly different. They were all take behind the scenes at Trashion 2014, Sarum Academy’s annual fashion show of clothes made from re-cycled materials. Apart form one supervisor the hairdressers are all students undertaking a BTEC in hairdressing. There was still some natural light in the hairdressing room but, even with flash, I was using high ISOs to get a result.

1/125 at f11, ISO 1,800

Fig. 06 1/125 at f11, ISO 1,800

Fig. 6 is a good example where the foreground subjects stand out very effectively from the background.

1/125 at f11, ISO 1,250

Fig. 07 1/125 at f11, ISO 1,250

I like like the saturated colours and the subject in Fig. 7

Overall I am quite pleased with the results of both shoots, the small flashgun has just enough effect to focus attention on the subject and capture saturated colours but the best results were achieved on the sunny day outside.



Exercise 19 Implied Lines


Fig 1

In the first image of the horses on a threshing floor there are two implied directions creating a dynamic meeting point.

The stronger lines are from left to right with a strong curve and thereby speed implied by the shape of the horses bodies. there is a sense of power created by the combination of this curve and the lead horse’s sight line. It is straining to increase speed.

The man is looking into the horses and both his implied eye line and his hand point in the opposite direction of the horses. The horses are bigger but also their curving shape says that the majority of power is coming from the left but the implied eye line of the farmer and his firmly pointing arm indicate that he is in control of this union.


Fig 2

In the second image there is an implied circle. The tangible curve on the sand behind the bull fighter tends to imply that the bull has moved clockwise around the man.

There is a clear implied eye line from the man down to the bull’s head or shoulders and the flying cape to the right amplifies the momentum of the bull.

The vertical shape of the man might also signify a dominant and strong position.


Fig 3 Graffiti Artist South Bank

In the first of my own images there is a clear implied sight line from the artist to his hand. We cannot see his face let alone his eyes but there is not doubt about where he is looking and this implied line takes our eyes straight to his hand.


Fig 4 Rodney Bay St Lucia Scanned from 35mm Slide

With the fishing boat there is a strong implied curve starting with the man in the left and ending with the direction of travel of the boat. The net floats in the foreground start the curve and the boat line finishes it off. The crew are looking at the helmsman who is watching the net.


Fig 5 Beach Scene Hayling Island

In the beach scene there is a dynamic of opposite implied lines. The three children are looking at each other and at the swirl of movement created by the spray as the left hand child tries to splash the two on the right. The greater number of lines moving to the left draws the viewer towards the face of the older girl.

Fig 4 Local Wedding on Grace Bay - 1/125 at f/16, ISO 100. 24mm-70mm lens at 24mm

Fig 6 Local Wedding on Grace Bay – 1/125 at f/16, ISO 100. 24mm-70mm lens at 24mm

The first of my two new images for this exercise is using the eye line and the implied forward movement of the photographer to led the viewer into the centre of the wedding ceremony.

Fig Kite Flying at Grace Bay TCI - 1/250 at f/11, ISO 100. 24mm-70mm lens at 34mm

Fig 7 Kite Flying at Grace Bay TCI – 1/250 at f/11, ISO 100. 24mm-70mm lens at 34mm

An alternative eye line is included at fig. 7. The pilot eyes, not surprisingly, lead us to the kite.

Fig 8 Little Ruin Sapodilla Bay TCI - 1/125 at f/5.6, ISO 100, 24mm-70mm lens at 24mm with polarising filter

Fig 8 Little Ruin Sapodilla Bay TCI – 1/125 at f/5.6, ISO 100, 24mm-70mm lens at 24mm with polarising filter

The little ruin in fig. 8 was all that remained of , what appeared to be, a large house that must have once stood on this peninsular. The twisted, wooden path leads to the gazebo and although part of the path is not in view the viewer continues to follow the line.


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.