Category Archives: Part 2

EYV Exercise 2.6 revisited

I wish to re-visit my consideration of the work of Kim Kirkpatrick for two reasons.

First, In my feedback on EYV Assignment 2 ‘Collecting’, my tutor commented on my inclusion of Kim Kirkpatrick as inspiration for my taking photographs with shallow depth of field to direct the eye to the subject. He suggested that any shallow depth of field image could do this  and suggested instead that Kirkpatrick’s  images are significant for their perfect balance between foreground and background.

An example of Kirkpatrick’s work that I particularly like is this one:

Kirk patrick 1

Image 1. At: Kimkirkpatrick.com

On reflection, I agree that any shallow depth of field image could have provided the inspiration for my assignment. I just happened to really like Kirkpatrick’s work and my experience of other photographers was limited. I had looked at supermarket food and lifestyle advertising photographs but, although they use shallow depth of field to highlight their products, I can’t say I was particularly inspired by them.

Second, my tutor’s comments on my EYV exercise 2.6 on shallow depth of field suggested that I needed to simplify my foregrounds. I had taken my images deliberately to blur the background and with an awareness that the background was a large part of the image and should therefore be composed as such, but without thought to the balance in the overall photograph.

My first attempt of this exercise can be seen here

On a recent trip to the Isle of Man, I looked closely at the boats in the harbour and noticed, not just the boats, but the other details. I wanted to photograph something of the intricacy of the structures, and thought this was an opportunity to re-work my shallow depth of field images taken for exercise 2.6. Those initial images were taken at Stanley Ferry Marina so I felt that the continuation of the ‘boat theme’ would be useful for comparison.

Here is my second attempt at exercise 2.6:

harbour 2 Harbour 3 Harbour 4 Harbour 6 Harbour 7 Harbour 8

I think these images are more balanced not only in respect of the in-focus foreground and out-of-focus background, but also in terms of colour. Kirkpatrick’s images use a limited colour range, emphasising the connection between foreground and background, creating a streamlined and balanced image.

 

 

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EYV Exercise 2.7 Deep Depth of Field

The brief for this exercise as to use a small aperture and a wide lens to take a number of photographs exploring deep depth of field. Given the need for a small aperture, we were advised that we may need to use a tripod.

We were also advised that to create a successful image with a deep depth of field, foreground detail, in focus, should be used. Otherwise, an image can appear flat and without interest. A close viewpoint and the use of a wide angle lens can give the viewer the feeling that they are almost inside the scene.

Here are some of the unedited photographs that I took:

_DSC8371 _DSC8369 _DSC8367 _DSC8364 _DSC8361 _DSC8357 _DSC8354 _DSC8341 _DSC8343 _DSC8344 _DSC8345 _DSC8346

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the six images I liked the most:

View 1

View snip 1

View 2

View snip 2

View 3

View snip 3

View 4

View snip 4

View 5

View snip 5

View 6

View snip 6

View 8

I chose a small aperture, between f13 and f16, and focused about half way into my images, to try to ensure focus throughout.  I found that I did not need a tripod since my wide angle lens is light and my shutter speed was fast enough to avoid camera shake.

I can see that the first of my selected images seems a little incongruous since, at first glance, it does not seem to be an image of significant depth. I was attracted by the view straight through the house from the front window to the back window and out to the hills beyond and I hoped that my photograph would capture a sense of the distant view of the countryside at the back of the house.

I used a model in two of my images. This is a step forward for me since I have rarely photographed people. I feel that this adds to the foreground interest and gives additional meaning to my images by including an internal gaze in the form of a person looking towards the distance. I feel that in both these examples, the viewer is encouraged to look in the same direction.

My final picture, of the bucks in the field, has a significant foreground, yet a sense of depth is created by the distant hills and the blue motorway sign, which, I feel, also adds meaning to the image, and perhaps a little comedy.

My tutor’s support after the submission of my first assignment led me to the work of John Davies who uses deep depth of field to make images that contrast the beauty of nature with the industrial landscape. His photographs captivate me. The sense of depth and the high viewpoint gives a feeling of great space, providing a view that is rarely seen and that challenges my early preference for cropped and abstract images.

Bibliography

Davies, J. (2017). John Davies Photographer – home page. [online] Johndavies.uk.com. Available at: http://johndavies.uk.com/ )(Accessed 19 Mar. 2017])

EYV Exercise 2.6 Shallow Depth of Field

The brief for this exercise was to use a combination of a wide aperture, long focal length and close viewpoint to take a number of photographs with shallow depth of field.  Further, since the out of focus areas of a photograph can be a significant part of it, we were asked to give careful consideration to the composition of the blurred areas.

Here are some of the unedited photographs I took.

Stanley 12 Stanley 11 Stanley 10 Stanley 9 Stanley 8 Stanley 7 Stanley 6 Stanley 5 Stanley 4 Stanley 3 Stanley 2 Stanley 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the six images that I liked the most:

Stanley Ferry 1

F5 1/500 ISO:125 55(82)mm

Stanley Ferry 2

F6.3 1/100 ISO:125 210(315)mm

Stanley Ferry 3

F7.1 1/400 ISO:125 55(82)mm

Stanley Ferry 4

F7.1  1/800 ISO:125 110(165)mm

Stanley Ferry 5

F7.1  1/250 ISO:125 107(160)mm

Stanley Ferry 6

F6.3  1/400 ISO:125 210(315)mm

I used my 55-210mm telephoto zoom lens. Its maximum aperture at the shortest end is f4.5 and, at the longest end f6.3.

My inclination during this exercise was to use my widest aperture for every image. I was genuinely surprised, when I looked at my file data, to see that I had used my widest aperture in only two of the six photographs.

I have a camera with a digital viewfinder. This means that I have a continuous live view and can instantly see how a change in my camera settings will affect the final image. I often use this facility as well as checking the aperture setting, when setting up my photographs. The learning curve on this course has been significant, and I am aware that when concentrating on a new skill area, I have a tendency to forget to check everything else. So, here, I was concentrating on composition and, while my attention was also on creating a shallow depth of field, it seems that I forgot to ensure that I at least considered a wider aperture.

However, in all these images, I have achieved a shallow depth of field, and consequently a blurry background, and I have attempted to create a recognisable background that locates the subject without detracting from it.

I like how a shallow depth of field emphasises the main subject and guides the viewer to look at a particular part of the image. Creating a soft background separates the subject from the background and in my photographs, it provides a soft and dreamy feel appropriate to a relaxing life on the water.

I really like Kim Kirkpatrick’s use of extremely shallow depth of field in his images, and the way that this technique highlights specific subjects. He uses an extremely shallow depth of field to direct the gaze to previously hidden and un-noticed beauty in his surroundings.

Footnote:

I have reworked this exercise following my tutor’s feedback. He suggested that I should try to simplify the foreground in my images to improve the balance between foreground and background. My revised images can be seen here .

Bibliography

Kimkirkpatrick.com. (2017). Early Work. [online] Available at: http://www.kimkirkpatrick.com/GalleryMain.asp?GalleryID=97163&AKey=FGWAF5R9 (Accessed 19 Mar. 2017).

 

 

EYV Exercise 2.5 Depth of Field

This exercise involves finding a subject in front of a background with depth and taking two shots from a close viewpoint and using the same focal length. The first photograph should focus on the near object, and the second should be focused to infinity.

This is my first image, focused on the grass in the foreground:

Yellow boat 2

My second photograph is focused on the boats in the distance:

Yellow boat 1

This exercise shows that the depth of field is narrower when the subject is close to the camera. The further away from the subject, the deeper the depth of field.

In this case, I prefer the first image although the depth of field is so narrow as to almost totally obscure the background. The eyes are drawn to the grasses since they form the clearest part of the image and it is actually quite hard to tell what is in the distance. However, there is a sense of the background being a deliberate composition because it looks quite pretty. I think I like this image because the colours work nicely, (blue and yellow are opposites on the colour wheel and therefore harmonious) and the out-of-focus masts seem to add an abstract effect that is quite appealing. However, for this shot to be more successful, I think the grasses would need to be more interesting as a subject.

It is clear in the second image that the boats are the subject. The eye is initially drawn to the yellow boat and then to the others, and on to the masts. I am not sure that the grass adds anything at all to this image, though it perhaps helps to add a feeling of depth. The grass is so blurred that it probably confuses the viewer who may be unable to tell what it is. Had the grasses been more substantial, or I had used flowers instead that were more obvious, this may have added something to the image.

 

EYV Exercise 2.4 Portrait

This exercise involved situating a model at some  distance from the background and using a wide aperture, slight telephoto focal length and a viewpoint close to subject to take a portrait photograph giving a flattering, slight compression to the features, and a shallow depth of field to separate the subject from background.

Adele 1

I am not used to doing portrait shots and I found it quite difficult to read the light. I took a couple of shots indoors that did not flatter my model and since I felt that this was largely because of the harsh shadows I changed my location and tried an outdoor shot that I think worked a lot better.

I actually had never taken a portrait shot before and since I don’t like having my own photograph taken, I was acutely aware of respecting my subject and I checked with her that she was happy with my photograph before publishing it here. I was reminded of Les Monaghan’s commitment to fairness and the contrast of his work with that of  Bruce Gilden who takes his photographs of people indiscriminately and without their consent.

I am pleased with this as my first portrait; the narrow depth of field results in a background that doesn’t compete with the subject for attention, while providing a pleasing backdrop.

EYV Exercise 2.3 Perspective Distortion

This exercise shows how a low viewpoint and wide-angle lens creates extreme perspective distortion. ‘Gentle receding lines become diagonals and rounded forms bulge towards the camera. A low viewpoint and tilting the camera makes subjects seem larger than they are and vertical lines dramatically converge’. (Course notes p44)

I shoot in both raw and jpeg. Part of the processing of a jpeg image in-camera involves correction for lens distortion but in the raw image any distortion is visible.

Here are two images. The first is the jpeg I saved from the raw image without editing. The second is my camera’s jpeg image after in-camera processing. I include both images so that the effects of camera distortion are clearer.

Deer 1

Deer 2

You can see that in the first image, the gate is significantly bowed and the fence post appears bent. There is a clear ‘bulging’ of the image, as the lens makes the image appear convex. The jpeg image created by my camera has corrected these distortions so the second picture appears more as it did in reality.

EYV Exercise 2.2 Focal Length and Viewpoint

This exercise considers the impact of focal length and viewpoint. The brief was to first select a long focal length and compose a portrait shot then walk towards the subject and take a further shot at a short focal length. By doing this, two variables have changed, the focal length and the point of view and the difference this makes to the perspective distortion can be easily seen.

I chose my 55-210mm lens (cropped sensor) at its longest and shortest focal lengths.

The first image here is at 210mm and I am standing at a considerable distance from my subject. I chose F8, 1/320 and ISO 250. I didn’t want a wider aperture because I wanted a recognisable background but couldn’t go narrower because I did not want to slow the shutter further.

Phil 1

The second image is at 55mm. I am positioned much nearer to my subject. I stayed with F8 and ISO 250 but the shutter is now 1/500

Phil 2

Notwithstanding the obvious clues here, these images could have been taken at different locations. In practice, my model did not move. However, the backgrounds are very different. In the first image, the objects in the background are brought very much closer by the effect of the long lens, which has flattened the perspective. The second image has  much greater sense of depth, more objects have appeared in the scene and more sky is visible.

Stephen Shore, in his book The Nature of Photographs says:

Any change in the vantage point results in a change in the relationships (of objects in the image) (Shore 2010: 42)

and:

Anyone who has closed one eye, held a finger in front of his or her face, and then switched eyes knows that even this two-inch change in vantage point can produce a dramatic difference in visual relationships (Shore 2010:42)

..take one step and something hidden comes into view; take another and an object in the front now presses up against one in the distance’ (Shore 2010 p48)

I was interested to try this exercise again using a full body shot. Here are my images:

Phil 4 Phil 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

210mm, F10, 1/250 ISO 250                                                                     55mm, F10, 1/320, ISO 250

The differences here are even more dramatic since changes in the foreground are now more apparent. The lengthening of the path in the second image increases the sense of depth. The background now reveals many more vehicles, making the paddock look deeper, and look at the change in position of the yellow flag. The yellow tent, not in the picture at all in the first photograph, is in the distance in the second.

I found this exercise very interesting. The choices made by the photographer in terms of lens and vantage point have a significant impact on the final image. If the yellow flag had been the end of race chequered flag, and my image one of the rider winning the race, his position in relation to the flag would have been even more significant.

References:

Shore, S, (2010). The Nature of Photographs: A Primer. London: Phaidon Press 

 

EYV Exercise 2.1 Focal Length

For this exercise I initially used my 55-210mm lens (cropped sensor) and decided to use the specific focal lengths indicated on the lens barrel. I chose aperture F13 for a deep depth of field and auto-focused about half way into the distance. To ensure my viewpoint position was maintained throughout, I used a tripod. The shutter was slow so the use of a tripod also helped with avoiding camera shake.

Although I am now trying not to rely on this lens so much,  I felt that it best suited this exercise because the range of focal lengths would provide a better analysis. However, in hindsight and in reviewing my images, I realised that I had made a mistake.  From my standing position I could, in reality, see much more than the widest of my initial images (the 55mm end of my lens is equivalent to 82mm on a full frame camera and is therefore really a telephoto), so I had failed to take an image that resembles the range of view of the human eye. I decided, therefore, to re-visit this exercise by returning to my location to take further images using my wider (16-50mm) lens.

I will show my second set of images first for coherence, since my image-set as a whole suggests a sense of moving through the scene when viewed from the widest angle to the narrowest.

Path new 16mm

16mm (equivalent to 24mm on a full frame camera)

This angle of view is wider then my eyes could see. The stone wall on the right, and the post to the left were at the margins of my vision in reality, and blurred. However, this lens captures a much wider view.  In terms of perspective, this image makes the path and the distance from my camera to the arch, appear longer than it was in reality. Wide angle lenses lengthen the perspective, making the distance from front to back within an image seem longer. This is the Jpeg version of this image, and my camera has corrected much of the distortion created as a consequence of the wide angle. The raw image, however,  shows considerable bending of the vertical lines, particularly seen in the post of the road sign, and a rounding of the image towards the front.

Path new 33mm

33mm (equivalent to 50mm on a full frame camera)

This angle of view is more like my experience of the actual view in terms of its perspective. The arch is now more in line with my perception of it in terms of distance from my camera. In terms of angle of view, this image is perhaps closest of all my images to the angle of view of my eyes. However, although I couldn’t see all of what is visible in my first image, I feel that I could see a bit more than in this one. I could see more of the stone wall and the post (which is not visible at all here) albeit not in focus.

Below are my images from my first attempt at this exercise, using my 55 – 210mm lens:

_DSC8212

55mm (equivalent to 82mm on a full frame camera)

At this length, the lens is a short telephoto, and the effect is to bring the scene closer. The arch appears closer to the camera than it was in real life and I also notice that the path is beginning to appear shorter: in reality, this was a longer walk than it seems here.

_DSC8213

69mm (equivalent to 103m on a full frame camera)

At a longer telephoto, the foreground becomes closer and more prominent. The perspective is shortened further, bringing the end of the path nearer to the beginning.

_DSC8214

104mm (equivalent to 156mm on a full frame camera)

In this image, it appears that the viewer is actually walking through the arch. The path is further shortened by the compressing of the perspective by the long lens.

_DSC8215

136mm (equivalent to 204mm on a full frame camera)

Here, the arch has all but disappeared and the walk along the path seems very short indeed. The perspective has been ‘squashed’ and it now bears little resemblance to what I actually saw.

_DSC8216

210mm (equivalent to 315mm on a full frame camera)

This final image is at the longest end of my telephoto, with a strong zoom effect. I have unfortunately not maintained focus in the foreground. However, it is clear that this image is a distorted view of what my eyes saw since it is now hugely compressed from front to back. I feel that I could walk the length of the path in a couple of strides.

I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise, and my tutor’s comments on my Square Mile assignment make even more sense to me now. By really thinking about and properly looking at what I could see, and by considering the effect of different focal lengths on my images in a way that I haven’t really done before, I feel that now, I will be able to take a far more considered approach to my choice of lens and what I actually want my photographs to look like.