Category Archives: Part 1

EYV Exercise 1.4 Frame

For this exercise I used my wider-angle lens (16-55 cropped sensor) at its shortest length to allow me sufficient space in the viewfinder to compose my image in just one quarter of it. I used the viewfinder grid and actually found it easier than anticipated to forget about the rest of the frame.

I noticed my tendency to concentrate my images in the top part of the frame, particularly in the top right and, throughout the exercise, I had to consciously try to compose my images in the other quarters of the viewfinder.

I took many images but will not show them all here. I cropped each image to show my initial framing within a quarter of the viewfinder and I show this image alongside the whole photograph.

Quarter snip 14

Quarter 14

I composed this image in the top left quarter of the viewfinder, positioning the tree at an intersection of thirds and using the path as a leading line into the image. I think it works quite well and although sky takes up a large proportion of the picture, it is quite an interesting sky. In the full image, the sky takes up a smaller proportion of the image and I feel the picture is consequently more balanced horizontally. The sense of depth created by the longer path and the foreground grasses gives a feeling of space. I think this image would be improved by positioning the path further to the right, perhaps beginning at the bottom right corner, to encourage the viewer to look at the whole image. Currently, my eye wanders up the path to the tree, then it  stops, and I have difficulty then, bringing my gaze to the rest of the picture.

 

Quarter snip 13

Quarter 13

This image was taken in the top right quarter of the viewfinder. I positioned the vehicle at an intersection of thirds and again used a path to lead the eye into the picture. The trees, which I had hoped would provide foreground interest, provide context but also dominate the image. I think the full image works better. The sense of scale is improved and the sense of space encourages the viewer to create a story around the vehicle as a focal point. I feel that the appearance of the telegraph posts and electricity cables spoil the tranquillity of this scene.

Quarter snip 7

Quarter 7

Again, top right. I noticed this interesting shape in the branches and positioned the hole just off centre. Again, I quite like the image, but I feel it is improved when viewed as the full photograph. The hole now is positioned at an intersection of thirds and the viewer experiences a sense of context and size emphasised by the low viewpoint. In addition, the appearance the tree trunk and leaves add texture and colour.

Quarter snip 9

Quarter 9

This image was taken in the bottom left quarter.  I composed this image to include the leaves as foreground interest, and the view through the gate to give a sense of depth and story. I like how the viewer gets a sense of looking into something forbidden or secret. I have not edited these photographs at all but feel that although I quite like the composition, the image would benefit from straightening. I don’t think the second, full, image works here. The gate-post chops the picture into two vertical halves, which gives a disjointed feel. The right side of this image lacks interest and the error in exposure is exaggerated.

Quarter snip 10

Quarter 10

Bottom right quarter.  Both these images could work. I focused on the flowers here as a splash of colour in an otherwise green border.  I think the first may have worked with particularly beautiful flowers or some other additional interest, and would have benefitted from an off-centre positioning. I think the full image emphasises the flowers by showing them in the context of a colourless border, and the wall adds further interest.

This exercise hasn’t shown me exactly what I expected it to. I had imagined it would show me how important careful composition is by an analysis of the un-composed larger images. While it did show me this in some of the images, I found that it mostly reminded me that a wider view often provides a more balanced image with a sense of space and context. The smaller images appear cropped in comparison.

On starting this course, I favoured a cropped, zoomed in, style, and this was apparent in my Square Mile assignment. My tutor commented on this. I can see from this exercise how much more interesting a wider view can be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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EYV Exercise 1.3 (2) Line

This second line-exercise uses lines to flatten an image rather than create depth.

In the 1980s, developments in camera manufacture gave photographers the freedom to take images without the use of heavy tripods and therefore the freedom to explore different creative techniques. The recognition of the photograph as a flat surface rather than as a window through which to view the world, similarly, allowed developments in creativity (course notes p 24-25)

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy used high viewpoints to create pictures with a flat abstract quality –  (course notes p 25). I intend to look further at some of this photographer’s work, and will report my findings in my learning log.

I decided to find a high vantage point to take my images. From the top of a multi story car park, I could look down onto railway lines and I decided to try the effect. Here are my two images of the railway lines:

Tracks 1

Tracks 2

I was unable to get an absolutely perpendicular view. However, I liked the multiple lines running across these images and I appreciated the fact that these lines, whether largely  straight-horizontal or diagonal, are not leading lines in the same way as in images in exercise 1.3 (1). These lines do not lead the eye towards something within the frame; in fact they go out of the frame. However, they do not upset the viewing of the images because the eye seems to remain within the image.

In both these images, my eye wanders across the whole image, taking in the patterns and colours. I am conscious of the frame, and conscious of the fact that these images could have been taken elsewhere and anywhere on this, or any, line of track, but, I feel there is enough detail and enough composition and contrast, to make these images feel abstract and modern and interesting. I tried these photographs in mono since I liked the image Boats, Marseille, (1927) by Laszlo Maholy-Nagy (course notes p25), and I felt mono might emphasise the ‘flatness’ of the picture. However, I decided I preferred the narrow colour range here which gives additional interest and contrast.

My next two images are taken from a position facing straight on rather than from above. However, I feel that the effect of the lines offers a further illustration of the impact of lines that do not create depth. Again, these lines do not create a sense of looking through a window onto the world or being able to walk into an image. They instead create an abstract ‘flat’ image that also contains the eye. These images feel ‘cropped’ in the sense that they are clearly part of a bigger picture, but, as a viewer, I feel encouraged to look at whatever is inside the frame rather than the frame itself. The contrast of colour and clear shapes provides the interest. In the first image below, I m reminded of the ‘point’ exercise since the green ‘point’ grabs my attention and then encourages me to look over the whole image. The reflections in the window add some interest and something of a sense of looking ‘into’ the image, but overall, I feel that both these images suggest the  photograph as a flat and two-dimensional object.

Window 1

Car Park 1

I include this final image since I particularly like cityscapes or ‘roofscapes’ like this and I believe it shows numerous different lines all of which enhance the image without compromising it significantly as an abstract ‘flat’ photograph.

Roofscape

I am aware that the background (upper right) provides context – we can see that this is an image of city buildings against a wider horizon. However, I don’t feel that the eye is drawn to that part of the image, or to any obvious specific focal point since there is no real use of the techniques that create depth. There are no specific lines leading the eye to a point in the photograph, there are no objects diminishing in size to illustrate distance, and the diagonal lines (of the foreground roofs for example) don’t obviously lead the eye to a particular point. There are diagonal lines, vertical and horizontal lines, lines that lead out of the frame, curved lines, and lines that stop and turn back on themselves (centre left) and although the image is not two-dimensional, it feels more abstract and flat than especially deep.

I really enjoyed this exercise. I had initially found it difficult to imagine what I might photograph, but it is quite amazing what can be seen ten storeys up.

Footnote

Please see my posts:

EYV Assignment 2 reflection- Maholy Nagy

Bauhaus and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

 

 

 

Exhibitions and Photographers: Bauhaus and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

EYV Exercise 1.3 (1) Line

The brief is to ‘take a number of shots using lines to create a sense of depth’.

A photograph is a two dimensional object, a flat piece of paper – Alec Soth’s exhibition ‘Gathered Leaves’ referred to his collection of images as, literally, leaves of paper gathered together.

However, a sense of depth in an image can be created, to give the impression that you are looking through the photograph, to the real world, like looking through a window.

Eugene Atget (1857 – 1927) created images with a strong sense of depth. They encourage the viewer to see the images as reality, like you could walk into the photograph, and therefore suggest that an image can be three dimensional.

Please see my post on Atget’s use of techniques to create depth, here.

Here is my photograph of the M1 viaduct in Sheffield:

Lines 10

I had thought that the viaduct was a perfectly straight road from which you could see the roundabout at each end at the same time. However, my photographs clearly show that there is a distinct curve to the road. This curve, I think, leads the eye into the picture. The eye starts at the foreground fencing and travels to the point near the centre where the parallel lines of the roadside converge. In this example, I feel that the eye then travels back towards the centre right of the image following the brighter area seen through the spaces in the construction.

The converging of parallel lines is one way in which a feeling of depth is created in this image. The diminishing length of the white lines in the road and the use of a wide angle lens (16mm cropped sensor) to increase the length of the diagonals also helps to persuade the viewer that they are looking at a three dimensional representation.

This railway line, starting at the bottom corner of this image and leading they eye to the centre and then further to the buildings at the right, encourages a feeling of depth through the same techniques. I think the two parallel lines of the tracks, being narrow and more isolated than the road in the image above, makes the effect more dramatic.

Lines 7 Lines 3

This image of this tunnel also uses diagonal and converging lines to create a sense of depth. The small square of light at the far end of this tunnel provides a clear point of focus that appears to be at some distance. The low shooting position emphasises the length of the tunnel and so creates more depth.

I took the photograph below intending to use it in the next exercise on shooting a two dimensional image. I shot this from quite high above, believing that the circular lines and the high vantage point would create an image without a sense of depth. However, I was surprised by the effect of the diagonal line in the ‘well’ and the sense of looking down into a deep pit. I felt it better illustrated the creation of depth within in an image than the creation of an abstract image, but in a different way to my previous images. There are no converging parallel lines and no obvious objects of diminishing size, yet, because the photograph is taken at an angle, and because the curved lines within the well diminish in size, a sense of depth is achieved.

Lines 2 Line 1

This final image above, uses the diagonal lines of the terrace on the left and the diagonal and converging lines of the road on the right, to lead the eye to the focal point of the power station in the centre. This is a busy image yet the lines are clear enough to draw the viewer into the image. The large size of the foreground containers compared to the distant hills in the background, emphasis the feeling of depth.

This exercise clearly illustrates how photographs with a sense of depth can be created.

‘…the physical photograph itself appears to be transparent – you look through it at the world’ (Course notes p 24).

 

 

EYV Exercise 1.2 Point

This exercise was more difficult than I anticipated. I think this was due to the fact that I was aware that the images I captured were solely for the purpose of the exercise and that I did not actually like them very much as a consequence.

However, I was also aware of the learning within this exercise as fundamental to my development as a photographer and was therefore very keen to persevere.

I have been using the ‘rule of thirds’ in my photography for a while and understand that the placing of a focal point on one of the intersections of a grid line dividing the image into horizontal and vertical thirds usually produces a more pleasing image.

I had not, until now though, given composition a lot more thought, and had not considered how the eye travels across an image. This new way of thinking about composition and the experience of the viewer will, I hope, impact on my photography.

I attempted this exercise a few times, since I found it quite difficult to find a pleasing outcome in terms of the appeal of the final photographs. In the end I decided to largely ignore this in favour of this as an academic exercise.

I placed my point in a number of positions within the scene so that I could then consider the impact of the different placings.

Here is my first attempt:

I had been experimenting with taking photographs of the view through this motorcycle wheel when I noticed that the piece of white wood by the fence caught my attention. I had deliberately blurred the motorbike itself.

I took only two photographs: one with my point in the centre and one with the point on a ‘rule of thirds’ intersection. I would have taken more but the race was about to start!

However, I decided to include these images in the exercise because I found the outcome rather significant.

Exercise red 1

Exercise red 3

I acknowledge here that I moved the camera rather than the point and the images consequently show different angles of view. I also acknowledge that the image is busy and there are potentially a number of possible points. However, to me, the white piece of wood is the most clear point.

When viewing the first image, with the point in the centre, I found that I looked at the point but then at little else within the frame. I have marked a dotted line to illustrate a half-hearted look around the image, first to the cow (possibly because this could be seen as another point), and then downwards towards a bright area of the photograph.

The second image surprised me in its contrast to the first. The point was situated on an intersection of thirds. I am aware that this is generally a more pleasing placement. However, I was surprised at the different viewing experience this presented. My eye travelled naturally much further around the image, taking in a much larger proportion of the photograph.

Given that these images were busy and had different viewpoints, I wanted to attempt the exercise again using a fixed camera angle.

Here is my second attempt:

Park red 1

Park red 2 Park red 3

Park red 4

The first image, with the ball in the centre, was the least interesting and encouraged the least eye movement. I show an upwards movement with a dotted line since this wasn’t an entirely natural response.

The other images show the ball in various locations within the image. They all differ in terms of the response of the viewer, but all show a much more significant viewing experience than does the first image.

One thing I noticed here, and this is due to my choice of subject, is that my eye did not naturally travel outside the frame created by the goal posts. I have created an additional frame, secondary to the image frame.

EYV Exercise 1.1 Histograms

For this exercise I first hand held my camera to take three images of the same scene. On looking at my photographs I can see that there are slight variations where I have moved the camera between shots. However, they are very slight differences, and at first glance, my images look alike:

_DSC7839

_DSC7840

_DSC7841

The histograms for the above photographs are shown below. The change was far more significant than I expected. Even though my eye can’t see a significant difference between my photographs, my camera can, and this exercise has shown me just how sensitive it is. It has also encouraged me to see my camera as a light sensitive instrument, emphasising how it ‘sees’ and interprets light on the sensor. I am more aware of the camera reading the light in an image rather than seeing the image as I do and this knowledge will make me look at light in a different way as I try to consider how my camera interprets a scene.

Hist 1

Hist 2

Hist 3

I took the second set of photographs, also hand held, to include people walking slowly through the park to see the impact of movement upon the histogram:

_DSC7842

_DSC7842

_DSC7844

I expected to see a more dramatic change in the histograms of this second series of photographs, simply because there was movement affecting the light.

Hist 4Hist 5

Hist 6

This was not the case. The changes seen in this exercise are less obvious to me than the first and this forced me to consider the histogram further in order to arrive at an explanation. My conclusion is that the tonal range remained largely unchanged despite movement within the image. However, these histograms are not identical and clearly this is a reflection of some change in the light.  Movement per se, though, appears not to be particularly significant.

I am more aware, as a consequence of this exercise, of the photograph as a snap-shot in time, a ‘one off’ record that can never be re-created exactly, and appreciate it more as a historical record of a specific time. I value also the photograph as a unique piece of art.

I would be interested to re-do this exercise using a tripod to minimise changes due to camera movement. However, I expect that, however minute, there would be some change, since nothing stays the same from one moment to the next. Life is something of an ever changing pattern, and more interesting as a result.

‘You can’t step into the same river twice’

Course notes p 21