Monthly Archives: January 2011

Ready to start assignment 1: Contrasts

Well i’ve now undertaken my first lot of exercises and have already begun to think about the first assignment of contrasts. I’ve been thinking about which 8 pairs i’ll focus on for the assignment and i’m beginning to think of the following:










I’ll also bear in mind the other pairs as the right image might come to me for those, but these are ones i’m planning to work on.

Have also been able to pick up some more postcards and art cards for inspiration and hopefully to help with further parts of the course.

Quite happy as I got a copy of The Photographer’s Mind by Michael Freeman with my xmas book voucher 🙂

Exercise: Cropping

This exercise required me to use 3 photographs I’ve already taken, of different subjects and to crop them into a portrait format.

All the images I sampled, I took them specifically with the landscape format in mind, however after cropping them I was quite pleased with the new results.

I don’t think the crop of the duck worked as well as I feel that in the landscape format you get a sense of the surroundings and I feel that it needs a bit more space in front of the subject.

Duck CropDuck original


The next two subjects worked better, the original Salt Cellar image taken in landscape to capture the setting was one of my favourite images, but having cropped it, I feel that its got more punch to it and shows the rocks to its advantage, as well have having foreground interest leading the eye in.

Saltcellar cropSaltcellar original

I felt the original landscape of the lion was a good shot, showing off the animal well in its enivonment, but after cropping it, I was surprised by the character that the close up crop gives. The exercise has certainly made me think about revisiting some images, ideally I will use the positioning that suits the subject, but in some cases a further crop also gives a good image.

Lion cropLion original

Exercise: Vertical and Horizontal Frames

For the task of taking 20 images in portrait format followed by the same images in landscape format, I decided to go to Liverpool where there is an area of museums and art galleries all close together so I knew that there would be plenty of subjects to use.

I found this a really interesting exercise to undertake, it got me thinking about how I usually frame my images, and what situations are different. Thinking about it, using portrait came quite naturally to me, and in the situation of art galleries, statues, indoor subjects, I would either use portrait or use landscape but zoomed in for tight detail. Whereas if I was out at a wildlife location, I’d tend to use landscape and show some of the area around the subject.

I found this a really interesting exercise to undertake, it got me thinking about how I frame my images and what situations are different. Thinking about it, using portrait came quite naturally to me, and in the situation of art galleries and indoor subjects I would either use portrait or use a tight zoom in from landscape to capture detail. Whereas if I was out at a wildlife location, I’d tend to use landscape and show some of the area around the subject. As opposed to having all the images printed into my learning log I’ve focussed on 2 different sets of images to discuss. Of all of the images taken, I feel that the majority of them worked better in portrait mode, with a couple of images such as the cherub Puck, working equally well in both compositions, although I feel that’s more to do with a captivating subject than anything else.

The portrait version of Puck works well for me as you can see who he is and get a sense of the whole character, it has the context of him sitting on the mushroom which you didn’t see in the landscape version. With the landscape version you get more of a focus on the figure and its left to the viewer to consider who he is and what he is doing. So the difference in composition also affects the viewer’s perception of the subject.

The second example that I have is of a statue of Prince Albert on horseback. With the image taken from a landscape composition, it allows the viewer to see the setting and take in more of the background of where the statue is. The comparison with the portrait image is that it focuses mainly on the subject and ensures that it’s grabbing the viewer’s eye. Also there is a colour contrast between the green of the statue against the beige of the building that helps to make the subject stand out.

1 Landscape1 Portrait2 Landscape2 Portrait3 Landscape3 Portrait4 Landscape4 Portrait5 Landscape5 Portrait6 Landscape6 Portrait7 Landscape7 Portrait8 Landscape8 Portrait9 Landscape9 Portrait10 Landscape10 Portrait11 Landscape11 Portrait12 Landscape12 Portrait13 Landscape13 Portrait14 Landscape14 Portrait15 Landscape15 Portrait16 Landscape16 Portrait17 Landscape17 Portrait18 Landscape18 Portrait19 Landscape19 Portrait20 Landscape20 Portrait21 Landscape21 Portrait

Exercise: Positioning the Horizon

For this exercise I went to a local marina/estuary and took a series of six images with the horizon placed differently in each image from right at the bottom of the image to close to the top.


After looking at all of the images processed together, I find the first image where the horizon is quite high in the image, is my preferred one. I find that this placing gives more for the viewer to look at and the foreground interest grabs the eye and draws it. I’d certainly favour this positioning if there was some subject of interest in the fore and the middle ground.

I found the image where the horizon was in the middle quite dull, there wasn’t enough of an impact  to interest the viewer- I think this would work depending on the subject area, but not in this case. The image that worked least for me and the one I didn’t enjoy composing, was the horizon right at the bottom of the image.

Exercise: Balance

For this exercise I’ve scanned the pages of my journal so you can see the scale examples as well as the areas where I’ve identified the balance areas.

The brief was to take half a dozen of your own already taken photos, to decide how the balance works, sketch the main elements and sketch the ‘weighing scales’ for each.

For this exercise I randomly picked 6 images that I’d printed out for a previous photography course. I didn’t look to pick images that were easy to identify the balance on, and with hindsight i think more consideration when selecting the images would have helped with this exercise. However the photos I chose are indicative of my style of photography.


Exercise : Focal Lengths and Different Viewpoints

Again my plans to find a perfect location was thwarted by the snow, so I decided to try this on a close up of a bird table in the garden. For the first images I zoomed in with a 100-400mm lens to tightly frame the subject. I then changed to my 24-60 wider angle and walked forwards to get the subject to fill the frame. This wasn’t as easy as I expected. I had to get quite close and I was concerned that I might end up closer than the minimum focusing distance- however I managed to fill the frame and still focus.

I feel looking at the images that with image 1, through the zoom lens, you get a sense of distance from the subject, and vice versa with the close up image. Image 1 has more character as I feel you get a better sense of perspective and the setting. I certainly look at subjects and gauge the most appropriate lens for the situation


Exercise: Focal Lengths

For this exercise I decided to try and find an appropriate location. I had in mind something similar to the example of the landscape with the lighthouse, however my plans changed with the heavy snow so I had the make the most of my local area in order to progress. I undertook this exercise twice, both from viewpoints within my street, there was depth in the image, from close up features, to mid range cars and then further details in the distance. I used two lenses for this, a 28-200 zoom on different focal lengths, and then I compared that to the results with the widest angle lens I had- a Sigma 24-60mm.


The images start from the widest zoom to the closest zoomed in on the tree.


Working away

Been doing plenty of work on the course. I’ve just got some updating to do in my written journal before I can copy it all onto here.

I’ve just been working on the 20 images in portrait and landscape. Went into Liverpool on Saturday so got to go through all those and convert them from RAW.

Have been looking everywhere for inspiration, I’ve got two folders, one for inspiration and examples for the first project and another for images that I like but can’t use as inspiration to anything particular at the moment. I’m going through as many magazines as I can get my hands on to get ideas and going around museums and art galleries, taking inspiration from anywhere not just photography. I’m looking at everything almost with fresh eyes now and its great.