Sunday, 18 April 2010

Exercise: Focal lengths and different viewpoints

For this exercise, I did not venture very far - the primary subject is a statue, in Braintree, of a young boy holding a shell with sea lions around the base, sculpted by John Hodge.  The statue was commissioned by W J Courtauld in 1937.  In the background is St Michael's Church.

I endeavoured to try and match the size of the subject in both photographs.  I took the photos using my 24-105mm lens.  This allowed me to, exagerate the effect of the differences in perspective caused by changing the focal length and re-positioning the camera.

The first photograph, below, was shot at 105mm focal length.  This gives a reasonably natural look, though the perspective is somewhat flattened and very little can be seen of the church in the background.

In the second shot, below, I moved in close in order to be able to have the statue of a similar size to the previous shot.  The effect is quite staggering, in particular with the extreme compression of the background emabling the whole of the church steeple to be seen as well as the distortion of the subject due to the proximity of the lens.  Considerably more of the surroundings can be seen and it is much clearer to the viewer that the subject is part of a larger fountain and that, in the background, there is a church.

Exercise: Focal lengths

This exercise is used to demonstrate the difference in angle of view as the focal length of the lens is changed.  For this exercise I chose to use my 28-300 mm lens as I considered this to have a wide enough range to demonstrate the objectives of this exercise. 

By not moving the camera in between frames, I used a tripod to fix its position.  This exercise also shows that the perspective has not changed through the series of shots even though the main subject of the series increases in size as the series progresses.


This series of photographs was taken at one of my favourite places, which is just a short drive for me - Duxford.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Exercise: A sequence of composition

When on a week's holiday in Majorca at the beginning of February, I took the opportunity to tackle this exercise knowing that there would be markets within easy reach, almost every day.  Like others before me, I found that I ended up with a series of smaller sequences, rather than one long sequence.  Mostly because of the very short timespan which characterises the shopping people do.  Curiously, it was not as easy as I imagined, moving around in the market as there were several natural barriers - the stall and other shoppers are good examples of this as well as the need to get in close.

I am including two sequences in this blog, the first being in the fish market area of the Mercat de l'Oliver in Palma and the second being a rather rambling outdoor street market in Llucmayor.

Overall I feel pleased with the sequence in the fish market - I found this type of photography really quite stimulating and challenging and I found myself more into "telling a story" rather than concentrating on the task in hand.  The lighting was harsh, but I have left that alone as it is part of the atmosphere of the market.  The camera certaily performed well, shooting at ISO 1600.  By the time I published these Lightroom 3 Beta 2 was released with absolutely stunning luminance  noise removal which I played with on this sequence of photos.

This was rather interesting - the market trader and his customer were totally engrossed in the sale / purchase, so I was able to do an entire 360 around them.  The close-ups were in the middle of the sequence, but I also felt it was important to have them "placed" in the overall environment, hence the wider shots.

Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable experience.  The sequnces included were two of many - some successful, some not so.  It is certaily something I shall be doing much more of.

Exercise: Object in different positions in the frame

For this exercise I went to the town of Thaxted in Essex as I felt that the mill there may provide a suitable subject for illustrating how the positioning of the object in the frame.  I then took a sequence of 9 photos, positioning the windmill along the edges and in the centre of the frame.  Not all of these I have reproduced here, but, starting with the windmill positioned centrally, here are my results.

This really does not do much.  I find that with the object positioned centrally, it all seem rather static.  Ironically there are diagonals from the clouds and the lines in the field, however they lead away from the object.

Positioning the object to the right of the frame, in this case, seems to put it in greater conflict with the field and cloud diagonals which lead the eye to the left.

With the object in the bottom right, the conflicting diagonals are still impacting on the photo, though it sits more comfortably in the corner.  The large expanse of sky, though does not neccessarily add to the composition.

Now, with the windmill positioned to the bottom left, this becomes much more pleasing, with both the field lines and the clouds leading the eye to the object.

Of this sequence, I think this is the most successful positioning, though a more panoramic cropping may improve it as I'm not sure that the large expanse of field is adding anything to the photo.  Certainly, the windmill is more dominant.

This tighter crop has improved the composition providing greater impact to the windmill.