Tag Archives: Winchester

Developing Assignment 3

ContactSheet-004 ContactSheet-005

The above are two contact sheets from the last couple of weekends which have been part of the process of planning assignment 2.

My first idea is to look at describing one or more Hampshire towns with an emphasis on their changing ethnicity. Following shoots in Winchester, Aldershot and Basingstoke I have trawled through the photos multiple times looking for something that resonates and helps me find a starting point. This process has culled the edited photos from many to a few less to the sixteen shown here four of those are just alternative crops of the same image.

Nothing is leaping out at me but I see some promise in the ones below which have a sense of continuity about them that might be worth developing. Overall I like the reflections combined with people’s faces and how the combination of the elements tells us something about how cosmopolitan or diverse these little towns have become.

Fig. 3 Red Girl - 1/125 at f/8, ISO 400

Fig. 3 Red Girl – 1/125 at f/8, ISO 400

I am starting with Red Girl because I like the lighting. It has a lot of the elements that I am looking for, multi-ethnic food (I’m not even very sure whether is is noodles or Italian), colour and reflections. It is tempting to crop even tighter to remove the dead space of the ceiling but I like her arms so unless i go square it is difficult to see a final image.

Fig. 4 Hairdresser & Bank - 1/125 at f/11, ISO 720

Fig. 4 Hairdresser & Agent – 1/125 at f/11, ISO 720

Fig. 4 Hairdresser and Agent would have worked better if a live person was in there somewhere but the colours really work well here and the ghostly reflection dominates the scene. I love the multiple layers of reflection so that it is hard to differentiate between the estate agent, the hairdressers and the infrastructure of the street. This might be worth shooting again when the shop is open although it might be quite different if the lights were on.

Fig. 5 Gurkha Jewellery - 1/125 at f/16, ISO 640.

Fig. 5 Gurkha Jewellery – 1/125 at f/16, ISO 640.

I have discarded this (fig. 5), come back to it, discarded it again, re-cropped it and now have it on my promising list. I like the gold, green and red and love the women’s face and expression but I can’t decide whether the white car is too strong.

Fig. 6 Turkish Barber - 1/125 at f/16, ISO 4000

Fig. 6 Turkish Barber – 1/125 at f/16, ISO 4000

Fig. 6 is another hairdresser, the reflections work well and the curled photos on the wall give it a back-street feel. His expression is great but it was taken on the shady side of the street and ISO 4000 is pushing the quality to the brink. To make the idea work I need a deep DoF so that the interior detail and the reflections are both in focus but I also need good light to allow me to at work at a lower ISO.

Fig. 7 Taste of the East - 1/125 at f/16, ISO 560

Fig. 7 Taste of the East – 1/125 at f/16, ISO 560

I like this for all the same reasons that I like Gurkha Jewellery. It is one of those brilliant cafés that sell a bizarre mix of food. Fish and Chips to Black pea rice and the boy just adds to the mix. The reflections are very strong and I like the fact that I have to take a long look at the picture to decide what goes with what.

The next step will be to try another shoot and try to focus in on finding the right combination of reflections, people and influences from outside of Hampshire. There are plenty more hairdressers, barbers, specialist clothes shops and cafés to look at in Basingstoke and Aldershot so I’ll run with it for a while longer.

Advertisements

Exercise 24 Colour Relationships

In this exercise we are seeking to create images containing complimentary colours. These are colours that are opposite each other on the colour circle which balance each other in an image but because their brightness varies their relationship needs to be proportional.

The idea rations are:

Red : Green     1:1 (they are of equal brightness)

Orange : Blue  1:2 (orange is twice as bright as blue we need twice as much blue)

Yellow : Violet 1:3 (yellow is three times as bright as violet)

To complete this exercise, and given that spring colours are currently limited to white and yellow in the countryside, I visited Winchester thinking that I might find these colours in shop windows and on signs.

Red : Green

Fig. 2 - 1/1000 at f/4, ISO 100. 50mm prime lens

Fig. 1 – 1/1000 at f/4, ISO 100. 50mm prime lens

Fig. 1 - 1/60 at f/11, ISO 250. 55,mm to 200mm lens at 200mm

Fig. 2 – 1/60 at f/11, ISO 250. 55,mm to 200mm lens at 200mm

Fig. 3 - 1/1000 at f/4, ISO 100. 50 mm prime lens

Fig. 3 – 1/1000 at f/4, ISO 100. 50 mm prime lens

Three quite different images with a variety of hues. Green is known to have a very large number of different hues so it was good to find this variation. As an image my favourite is the deep red church sign against the green lawn (fig. 3), I like the orange wall which adds a third balancing colour.

I am questioning whether the ratios defined really hold true. To my eye red is such a powerful and dominant colour that it is not at equilibrium with green on a 1:1 ratio. I think balance is probably nearer to 1 red: 2 green.

Orange : Blue

Fig. 6 - 1/125 @ f/11, ISO 200. 55mm to 200mm lens at 180mm

Fig. 4 – 1/125 @ f/11, ISO 200. 55mm to 200mm lens at 180mm

Fig. 4 - 1/125 at f/11, ISO 200. 55mm to 200mm lens at 200

Fig. 5 – 1/125 at f/11, ISO 200. 55mm to 200mm lens at 200

Fig. 5 - 1/125 at f/11, ISO 400. 55mm to 200mm lens at 165

Fig. 5 – 1/125 at f/11, ISO 400. 55mm to 200mm lens at 165

Brick work and the sky were obvious orange / blue combinations and I restricted myself to one example, I have used a mask to manage the curves separately in fig. 5 as the sky was a little too pale to achieve a strong contrast. My favourite is the bus door with the orange trim on the glass backed by the blue of the ticket machine inside the bus, I especially like the dust and other marks on the glass.

Yellow : Violet

Fig. - 1/80 at f/11, ISO 100. 55mm to 200mm lens at 150mm

Fig. 7  – 1/80 at f/11, ISO 100. 55mm to 200mm lens at 150mm

Fig - 1/100 at f/11, ISO 100. 55mm to 200mm lens at 200mm

Fig – 1/100 at f/11, ISO 100. 55mm to 200mm lens at 200mm

Yellow and violet was far harder to come by and more difficult to crop into the right ratios but a flower stall and an advert on the side of a bus came to the rescue. Of the two I prefer the advert which I think is a nicely balanced image and the sort of intimate landscape photo I like.

Appealing Colour Combinations

The second part of the exercise is to select colour combinations that appeal to me.

Fig. 9 - 1/1500 at f/4, ISO 100. 50mm prime lens

Fig. 9 – 1/1500 at f/4, ISO 100. 50mm prime lens

My first choice is red and two different hues of blue. I would say that it is about 2:1 red to blue but the red is broken up by the white spots and this reduces it dominance. There were a lot of red / blue combinations in the high street but I liked the overall balance of this shot and think there is a little bit of mystery about it which is why I wanted to include a small piece of the mannequin’s hand.

Fig. 10 - 1/180 at f/4, ISO 100. 50mm prime lens.

Fig. 10 – 1/180 at f/4, ISO 100. 50mm prime lens.

Wandering around Winchester on a bright spring day I became more and more interested in the reflections in the shop windows and how colours became muted when I looked at them from an angle. Fig. 10 is a mix of green, brown and blue. I like the chaos of the scene and how it is given structure by the triangle of the  “A” and the three smaller triangles of the arches on the building on the other side of the street.

Fig. 11 - 1/125 at f/4, ISO 160. 50mm prime lens

Fig. 11 – 1/125 at f/4, ISO 160. 50mm prime lens

Continuing with the theme of reflections I like the “open” sign in orange and green which hangs over the reflection of the couple and their pushchair and the mirror image of the poster. I think it is interesting to ask the viewer to decide what is reflection and what is on the “mirror”. the colours do not dominate the scene but because they are a bright neon sign they still play an important role in the composition.

Fig. 12 - 1/125 at f/11, ISO 720. 55mm to 200mm lens at 82mm

Fig. 12 – 1/125 at f/11, ISO 720. 55mm to 200mm lens at 55mm

Fig. 12 is my favourite of the three reflection images. It has the same element of chaos as fig. 10 and has a subtle colour combination of two different hues of orange and a pale ethereal green-blue which comes from the angle of the shot and how the lights inside the shop and the daylight are playing on the glass. There is a balance of space and structure and of the two colours with the orange line creating an interesting tension. In all three reflection images the viewer is brought into the image to decide whether each element is inside the shop or on the other side of the street.

Fig. 13 - 1/2000 at f/4, ISO 100. 50mm prime lens

Fig. 13 – 1/2000 at f/4, ISO 100. 50mm prime lens

I have included fig.13 because it shows how we select red and yellow as a combination when we want to catch people’s eye. Yellow is the brightest primary colour and red the most powerful so there is no doubt that this sign shouts “look at me”.

It also shows how red appears to be nearer to the viewer than any other colour so, in this image there are three distinct planes, red nearest to us, yellow in the middle distance because it is so bright and the dark green behind, even though they are all on the same plane both in the street scene and on the computer screen displaying the image.

Fig. 14 - 1/320 at f/11, ISO 100. 55mm to 200mm lens at 62mm

Fig. 14 – 1/320 at f/11, ISO 100. 55mm to 200mm lens at 62mm

My final choice is another chaos image with six colours fighting for our attention. I liked the composition because everything is so chaotic, the broken sign, the lines going in all directions and the different colours that have all been chosen to catch our attention.

It is interesting to see which colours draw our attention and which fade into the background. For me it is the pink theatre sign that leaps out and demands that I look at it first. From there I move to the yellows, then the blue, red and finally brown. It shows that different hues, different sizes and the other structures in the image will all effect us and can reduce the impact of dominant colours.

Exercise 16 Vertical Lines

vertical-lines-word-cloudIn terms of their graphic qualities vertical lines have certain characteristics in common with horizontal lines. Because they will be seen in the context of a frame it is critical that they are aligned in parallel to that frame and through this relationship they can also express stability.

Vertical lines can be used to create a sense of strength and power, they are associated with standing, perhaps with standing tall and potentially with standing over or dominance. If they extend far into the image they will also denote height although I suspect the opposite is equally true so perhaps it is more correct to suggest that a vertical line acts as a measure within the frame. Generally I saw more verticals than horizontals when capturing images for this exercise. This may be me or it may be that human beings provide obvious verticals and there are plenty of those about. Trees, posts, walls, buildings and many other aspects of the landscape offer dominant verticals. My challenge was to find four distinctly different examples whilst continuing to avoid just photographing one straight line.

Fig.1 Farnham Church - 1/500 at f5/6. ISO 100. 50mm prime lens

Fig.1 Farnham Church – 1/500 at f5/6. ISO 100. 50mm prime lens

Fig.1 is my safe choice that plays to tall, strong, dominant and powerful, a church tower. I wanted to dominant the image with the tower but to include soft shapes and other lines to create an interesting image. It would have been easy to select a viewpoint that isolated the tower but I wanted it to “tower over” something other than an empty churchyard. Churches were designed to stand out in the landscape, churches like this one, when built, would have dwarfed every other building in the town other than the lord’s castle. they might have been the only non-military building constructed in stone. I wanted to capture this dominance and to show the tower as being dramatically larger than its surroundings and filling the whole vertical perspective of the frame.

St. Andrews Church in Farnham is a favourite location in my home town. It brings back memories of my elder brother parading the scout’s colours for the annual remembrance day services, my first and certainly my last live performance as part of the school choir and the site of William Cobbett’s grave. Cobbett is my political hero, a man who championed the rural poor, battling  the urban centric politicians of his day.

Fig. 2 Statue in Winchester - 1/100 at f/7.1. ISO 180. 105mm prime lens

Fig. 2 Statue in Winchester – 1/100 at f/7.1. ISO 180. 105mm prime lens

In fig. 2 I wanted to balance the statue against the many verticals in the old house. I have used a moderately shallow depth of field and processed for high contrast to focus attention on the many tones of bricks and the strong lines of the chimneys.

Fig. 3 Old Wall - 1/100 at f/5.6. ISO 100. 24-70mm lens at 32mm

Fig. 3 Old Wall – 1/100 at f/5.6. ISO 100. 24-70mm lens at 32mm

Still in Winchester I took a series of photographs of the old wooden framed buildings around the cathedral. The wooden frames are quite constant and repetitive but the way the bricks have been placed inside them varies. Where the bricks were neat and horizontal the vertical beams did not dominate the image. However, in this one section, in fig. 3, where the bricks were laid at many angles the vertical beams became much more important as dividers of the frame and as frames within the frame.

Fig. 4 Cathedral Crypt - 1/50 at f/8. ISO 25,600. 50mm prime lens

Fig. 4 Cathedral Crypt – 1/50 at f/8. ISO 25,600. 50mm prime lens

Fig. 4 is one of a series of photographs of Antony Gormley’s self portrait statue in the crypt of Winchester Cathedral. I had gone to Winchester to specifically photograph this statue thinking it would be an interesting take on a person being a vertical line. I had hoped that the crypt would be flooded as the statues often stands with its feet in the water but it was not. I hadn’t realised that the crypt had railings across it but this gave me an image of many verticals. In this version I have used a mid-range DoF on a 50mm lens to have the railings just out of focus but strong in the image. This seems to have him imprisoned.

Fig. 5 Crypt Statue - 1/125 at f/3.2. ISO 9051. 50mm prime lens

Fig. 5 Crypt Statue – 1/125 at f/3.2. ISO 9051. 50mm prime lens

In fig. 5 I tried a shallow DoF but cropped a little wider. The statue is smaller in the frame and the railings less significant. He seems less imprisoned because the iron bars are less dominant and he might be a man taken through park railings, a more comfortable and gentle composition.

Fig. 7 - Crypt Statue - 1/125 at f/4.5. ISO 20,000. 105mm prime lens

Fig. 6 – Crypt Statue – 1/125 at f/4.5. ISO 20,000. 105mm prime lens

My third interpretation of the statue in fig. 6 is taken with a 105mm lens through the railings so that they are excluded and we see the statue as a strong vertical framed by another vertical and the arch. It is interesting how different framings in exactly the same light impart different moods. Imprisoned in fig. 4, distant, isolated and remote in fig. 5 and strong in fig. 6.

Fig. 7 Portsmouth Landmarks - 1.200 at f/9. ISO 100. 70-300mm lens at 120mm

Fig. 7 Portsmouth Landmarks – 1.200 at f/9. ISO 100. 70-300mm lens at 120mm

I wanted something quite different for my third study. Fig.7 is an exercise in how strongly multiple verticals can dominate the composition. The bandstand at Southsea stands between the naval war memorial in the same town and the Millennium Tower representing a curved sail on the edge of the naval dockyard in Portsmouth. I believe the distinct vertical lines are the main element. The Millennium Tower is a strong vertical and looks powerful in the landscape despite having a clear curve on its left edge. Perhaps, because it is deep into the image we ignore the curve or the message of strong, high reaching, straight-up and vertical outweighs any other impression.

I see the curves on the roof of the bandstand long after seeing the vertical frame and the two towers but this is probably partly because I wanted the white towers and the frame to be prominent and have processed to have crisp whites against the grass and the sky.

Fig. 8 - Girl on Phone - 1/100 at f/8. ISO 180. 50mm prime lens.

Fig. 8 – Girl on Phone – 1/100 at f/8. ISO 180. 50mm prime lens.

I wanted a real person as my last vertical. In fig. 8 I was lucky to find a women standing between a black post and the verticals of the door frame with her back to more straight lines and even a near vertical row of books in the window. A composition containing lots of verticals. I seem to have a large collection of doorway images, some were taken because the fabric of the door was interesting, rusty metal or cracked timbers, some are because the door is impressive in some way but now I am taking more that are only interesting because someone is standing by them. The portrait shape of a door appears to be a strong compositional feature that I keep including in my photos.

I am beginning to think that a series of open, ajar and closed doors with glimpses of their occupants or hints of the occupants would be interesting. In the famous “Open Door” by William Henry Fox Talbot (1844)* we see a broom leaning by the partly open door but no sign of the broom’s owner or the building’s occupant. We are told that people were here, probably quite recently, we are shown what they were probably doing before they left but we know nothing more about them. I like this sense of a partly solved mystery.

Does the women in fig. 8 live behind the white door or is she just standing there to take her phone call?

Sources

*McCabe, Eamonn. (2008) The Making of Great Photographs, Approaches and Techniques of the Masters. Newton Abbot, David & Charles

Exercise 16 Horizontal Lines

horizontal-lines-word-cloud

Exercise 16 has two parts, horizontal lines and vertical lines. I will post my thoughts and results in separate posts.

Horizontal lines are a strong design element with the capability of communicating diverse and sometimes opposing qualities. Because an image frame is usually comprised of two horizontal lines and two vertical lines any use of a horizontal line will automatically and directly relate to the top and bottom of the frame. The most obvious example being the horizon. However, there are a number of both obvious and subtle horizontals in the landscape and in potential images in general.

As a simple exercise I cut and pasted the words used in a number of web articles about horizontal lines into a word cloud generator and came up with the diagram shown above. It is a crude analysis of the characteristics of this element but it is still interesting to see the word groups that writers have used when describing the effect of horizontals in an image.

There are a significant number of words that are associated with stability. Base, static, stable, stability, anchor, permanency, solid and stand. This group all help describe the use of a horizontal as a stable division of the frame creating something solid, reliable and potentially calming, if I take this idea a little further we can also include the natural elements that might create this effect such as the horizon itself, a shoreline, a road, a fallen tree or someone lying down. Our eyes follow lines in an image and as photographers we use this to create a sense of movement, however, compared with a vertical or a diagonal lines, a horizontal creates the weakest sense of movement and this plays to the calming and stable effect it creates.

Fig.1 Southsea Pier - 1/160 at f/10, ISO100, 70-300mm lens at 116mm

Fig.1 Southsea Pier – 1/160 at f/10, ISO100, 70-300mm lens at 116mm

With fig.1 I was trying to capture this sense of stability and calm by composing the structure of the pier in the vertical centre of the photograph and running for nearly the full width. I have cropped in a panoramic style to increase this effect. I wanted to experiment with this form of composition having seen Michael Freeman’s photograph of the Bayuda desert (pg 106 of The Photographer’s Mind*) where he explains how he positioned the horizon at the centre of the image to “deaden the image rather than inject graphic energy”. I wanted to create a completely  peaceful scene, with the small group of friends enjoying the winter’s sun on a still day on an empty beach.

The exercise asks that we make the graphic element the dominant feature of the image. I made the decision to endeavour to create images dominated by a horizontal line or lines  rather than to photograph a line in isolation. I quickly realised that this was easier said than done. In fig. 1 the pier is sharply in focus and dominant but is it the horizontal that is the dominant feature ? I believe it is partly because I have let it fall short of the frame on the right and therefore the viewer’s eye is immediately drawn to it and follows it from left to right and thereby starts with a complex structure and ends with a simple horizontal.

Fig. 3 Men on Beach - 1/400 at f/5, ISO 100, 70-300mm lens at 175mm

Fig. 2 Men on Beach – 1/400 at f/5, ISO 100, 70-300mm lens at 175mm

Fig. 2 is an alternative image of the same scene (not a crop of fig.1). It still has the pier at the vertical centre but by being out of focus and, perhaps because the sea creates a strong triangle, it is less dominant. I think it continues to provide stability to the image and there is still a sense of calmness in the overall scene.

Fig. 3 - Winchester Cathedral - 1/100 at f/6.3, ISO 25,600, 50mm prime lens

Fig. 3 – Winchester Cathedral – 1/100 at f/6.3, ISO 25,600, 50mm prime lens

For my second image using horizontals I want to look at multiple lines as a graphic element. In fig. 3, which was taken inside Winchester Cathedral, I was attracted to the rows of empty pews and the depth that is created by choosing such a low angle. I captured this image as an example of horizontals and am keeping it in this section but in reality it underlines the point that the horizontal line is weaker than a diagonal because I feel quickly drawn into the background of the photograph by the converging verticals of the chair backs. This effect is more dominant than the stability of all the horizontals.

Fig. 4 Rusty Steps - 1/100 at f/22, ISO 560, 24-70mm lens at 24mm

Fig. 4 Rusty Steps – 1/100 at f/22, ISO 560, 24-70mm lens at 24mm

Fig. 4 is another example of multiple horizontals but where more impact is achieved by far fewer converging verticals . These old steps just outside Southsea are on the wall of a short pier and probably date back to a time when there were more small fishing boats operating from the town. I was attracted to the decay and the bright colours of the rust but the horizontals created by the rungs and the wall are an important compositional feature.

Fig. 5 Ship at Portsmouth - 1/250 at f/10, ISO 100, 24-70mm lens at 24mm

Fig. 5 Ship at Portsmouth – 1/250 at f/10, ISO 100, 24-70mm lens at 24mm

My penultimate horizontal is perhaps too complex a composition to meet the requirements of the exercise with the small boat on a diagonal to the large naval vessel. I took a number of shots of ships in Portsmouth harbour and although some were simpler they were also rather dull. I feel that the dominant feature here is the relationship between the sky and the sea and therefore the horizontal created by the horizon which is hardly broken by the ship and the port buildings.  The yacht adds some foreground interest and balance.

Fig. 6 Dawn Sky - 1/1250 at f/5.6, ISO 100, 70-300mm at 200mm

Fig. 6 Dawn Sky – 1/1250 at f/5.6, ISO 100, 70-300mm at 200mm

The interesting part of this exercise was to actively look at the landscape for lines and to recognise them as design elements. I saw the image in fig. 6 on a Tuesday morning whilst driving to work but had no time to stop. Luckily the banded clouds were repeated on the following saturday morning and I captured the shot. As with most, if not all, of my images for this exercise there are more than just horizontal lines in this picture but I see the horizontals before the verticals and the soft diagonal. There is a strong base in the horizon which is low in the frame. I am wondering whether this position makes it more solid and more of a foundation for the image. Then there are two bands of cloud creating two horizontals and a shallow diagonal and the top of the trees which is another near horizontal. I think the distance from the camera and the dark cloud leaves the impression of horizontal lines even when they are slightly diagonal. I have processed the image to keep everything in silhouette to create a strong graphic design and added a warm filter to bring a hint of sepia to the scene.

A small landmark for me is resisting the temptation to clone away the telegraph pole on the right. Leaving it creates a sense of scale which is probably a little exaggerated as part of the pole is below the horizon. Anyway I think it should be there.

Having set myself the challenge of not just photographing straight things but to find horizontals in the landscape and for each image to have some value I found this exercise quite difficult. However that difficulty led me to gain a better understanding of the relationship between graphic elements. The most significant horizontal was usually the horizon, whether that was the natural horizon or a horizon created by a dominant structure such as the pier but other elements were needed to create a satisfying image. The horizontal on its own was uninspiring.

I have selected black and white where I believe it helps to emphasise the graphic elements.

Sources:

* Freeman, Michael. (2010) The Photographer’s Mind, Lewes, Ilex Press

Exercise 14 Positioning a Point

Fig. 1 Power Boat & Fort 1/500 at f/9, ISO 100, 70-300mm lens at 120mm

Fig. 1 Power Boat & Fort 1/500 at f/9, ISO 100, 70-300mm lens at 120mm

The first exercise in part two of TAoP, Elements of Design is about positioning a single point.

I have used the first set of exercises in this part of the course as an opportunity to experiment with composition and processing. As this part of the course is about design I want to try to use the design elements rather than just photographing them, i.e. not just photograph a diagonal line but to use a diagonal line to introduce dynamism.

Michael Freeman (2007)* states that there are three positional zones:

Central – static, and usually dull

Close to the Edge – mildly eccentric, needing some justification

Slightly off Centre – moderately dynamic, without being extreme.

In fig.1, which is admittedly made up of two significant points, I am leaning towards being close to the edge. There needs to be a significant expanse of water to show that the boat and the fort are distant from the shore. I wanted the boat to be moving into space to provide movement and this dictated its position left of centre. I have chosen to include this image with the fort because the dark mass of the fort provides a counterbalance to the sea in the foreground and to the boat.

Fig. 2 - Swan 1/100 at f/5, ISO 250, 24 - 70mm lens at 24mm

Fig. 2 – Swan 1/100 at f/5, ISO 250, 24 – 70mm lens at 24mm

With Fig. 2 I am seeing the swan as a single point because of its bright white tone in a landscape of predominantly dark tones. It is positioned somewhere between close to the edge and off centre. The choice is about the relationship between the swan, the river and the band of light that leads the eye to the distance bridge. It is looking into mid-stream so I am suggesting the route it will take but by positioning it so far from the destination I am leaving some doubt. If I had waited for the swan to move to a more central position in the river its destination would have been more certain and it might have appeared to be drifting rather than determining its own course.

I processed this image to be quite dark (although it looks darker as a web image than in high resolution) to maximise the contrast between the swan and the river and the line of light in he river.

Fig. 3 Walkers on Beach 1/160 at f/9, ISO 100, 70 - 300mm lens at 300mm

Fig. 3 Walkers on Beach 1/160 at f/9, ISO 100, 70 – 300mm lens at 300mm

The walkers on the beach in fig. 3 were an idea for horizontal lines but there were not enough waves to create the number of lines required. When I reviewed the image it was apparent that it was a single point. Again the single point is positioned towards the edge. There are two dynamics, firstly that they need to walking into a large space to create a sense of the subjects being alone on the beach, a winter beach scene that is underlined by their clothing. Secondly the sea was intended to be an important part of the image with the horizontal lines leading the eye to the walkers and creating a calm scene.

Fig. 4 Watching 1/400 at f/5.6, ISO 100, 70 - 300mm lens at 70mm

Fig. 4 Watching 1/400 at f/5.6, ISO 100, 70 – 300mm lens at 70mm

The last image, fig. 4, is the most extreme positioning. The man looking out to sea is in the top corner of the picture. I wanted him to be the subject but he had to be firmly in the context of the great rocks and the worn sea defences. I took the photo from a low angle to exaggerate the  size of the rocks and the height of the platform he is standing on. The whole scene is also foreshortened by the telephoto lens. The sea defences point towards the hint of the sea top left and by positioning him as a small subject to the far left it seems to suggest that he is looking into the far distance.

I have processed all these images in black and white to enable me to focus on the design elements rather than the colours.

Sources

*Freeman, Michael (2007), The Photographer’s Eye. Lewes, The Ilex Press.

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