Assignment 2: Elements of Design

Assignment Brief

The idea behind this assignment is to incorporate the insights you have learned so far on the course into a set of photographs directed towards one type of subject. You should produce at least 10 photographs, all of a similar subject, which between them will show the following effects:-

Single point dominating the composition
two points
several points in a deliberate shape
a combination of vertical and horizontal lines
distinct, even if irregular, shapes
at least two kinds of implied triangle

Single Point Dominating the Composition

The first attempt I made at undertaking an image of a single point was of a lion statue decoration on top of a manor house, but I felt that the actual composition once I’d reviewed it wasn’t right, while the subject did dominate in the frame, it wasn’t recognisable to me as a single point, I felt that the subject needed to be smaller with more space around it, possibly positioned more to one side too.

The final image that I’ve submitted was of a cast iron sign on a wall. Following on from the exercise where I had to position a point in the frame, I tried to position the sign in the centre of the frame, but I felt that it lacked the impact I wanted. My second framing was then positioning the ‘point’ to the right hand side. I feel that this worked well as the point takes up just half of the images, giving it a stronger feel of domination. The background of bricks is quite neutral so their effect draws the eye in and forwards to the point.

Camera Model  Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time       27/04/2011 08:06:32
Tv (Shutter Speed)          1/160
Av (Aperture Value)       8.0
ISO Speed           500

Two Points

I found that I struggled with this to start with, I was clear about what I wanted to achieve, but I found it hard to find points that were isolated enough or were interesting enough to the viewer.

My first attempt was framing a lamp post and a window; while the image was technically correct, I felt that it didn’t stand out or grab the viewer’s eye and I wanted to produce a series of images that could stand up together to provide a sense of interest. I tried the composition in both landscape and portrait and it didn’t work as I wanted it to so I looked for another subject.

My second attempt was of two stone posts at diagonal angles, again this worked technically but visually it didn’t meet the requirements that I had in mind. The image that I’ve submitted isn’t as clearly defined as I’d wanted, but to crop it on just the globe lights which is my standout ‘point’ would distract the eye. I framed the image to make the black globe lights stand out in the top of the frame, with my positioning at an angle to take the image ensuring that there is an invisible but direct line between the two globes. Emphasising the globe points is the colour difference, as the statues blend into the background so again the eye is drawn first to the globes.

Camera Model  Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time       05/05/2011 08:59:09
Tv (Shutter Speed)          1/250
Av (Aperture Value)       9.0
ISO Speed           100

Several Points in a deliberate shape


This was one of the first images that I took for the assignment and I’ve been quite happy with it I began by taking images of the red brick manor house looking to meet some of the other requirements. The three chimneys grabbed my attention with the same shape but different brick patterns, the shapes are very distinct but together they form to make a rectangular shape.

Looking at the image now, I’m aware that it’s not necessarily as squared off as a true rectangle but I don’t want to crop it as I feel that it would spoil the tone of the image. I also feel that the dark borders of the chimney help to frame the deliberate shape.

Camera Model  Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time       25/04/2011 13:47:00
Tv (Shutter Speed)          1/1000
Av (Aperture Value)       10
ISO Speed           1600

A combination of vertical and horizontal lines

I had in mind a very specific building for this, there is a site in the town centre that has a very definite criss cross pattern which met the requirements of both vertical and horizontal lines.
I took some images of this standing face on to emphasise the lines running in both directions. I focused close in to the building so that the focus was very much on the lines and not on the fact it was a building, I wanted to avoid distracting the eye. I composed the images in both landscape and portrait and reviewed them to see which worked best. I wasn’t happy with my first attempt as when viewed on my PC it wasn’t as sharp as I wanted it to be. I revisited the site and replicated the images; this time I’d increased the f stop from 3.5 to 13 to ensure that more of the image was sharp. As well as replicating the composition in both landscape and portrait, I also tried a different side on view. I liked the strong impact of the vertical lines that stands out and grabs the eye first, and then you follow along the horizontal lines, which are also echoed in the lines on the windows.
While I liked my original straight on composition, I really like this image as it’s such a different take on the building and avoids the converging verticals that I’d had with the face on images.

Camera Model  Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time       05/05/2011 07:45:43
Tv (Shutter Speed)          1/160
Av (Aperture Value)       13
ISO Speed           500


I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to use for diagonals. I’d previously taken an image of a large staircase in Liverpool, which when converted to black and while, had quite an impact with different lines leading the eye in. Knowing that I wanted to photograph a staircase again to give strong diagonals, I looked for a suitable subject. The first attempt was of a three floored staircase inside a glass building, I took the image from the outside to get a side on view, however the reflection of the glass meant that the strong view of the staircase I wanted wasn’t there.

My second attempt which I’ve submitted here was of the ornate steps leading up to the front of the town hall. I focused in to ensure that only the stairs filled the frame and positioned the camera so that I got contrasting diagonals, drawing the eye in from one to the other. The diagonal of the railing is also echoed by the diagonal of the steps with an implied triangle on the left hand side also pointing to the diagonals. I processed the image in Photoshop where I converted it to black and white to give it more visual impact.

Camera Model  Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time       27/04/2011 07:49:35
Tv (Shutter Speed)          1/800
Av (Aperture Value)       3.5
ISO Speed           640


I struggled somewhat with finding a good subject for this. I’d previously taken some images of covered buildings at Liverpool One but I was very conscious that I didn’t want to take the easy route and replicate something that I’d already done. I’d attempted this with some subjects such as curving balustrades and stone archways but they just didn’t seem to have the subject impact and spell out curves as I wanted.

I was out at a steam gala in North Yorkshire when I came across a metal engine shed with a shaped, covered roof. The silver of the metal and the bright blue sky made a great contrast and I took several different images from different angles of the building. My favourite image which I’ve submitted here is of the end of the building to emphasise the curving of the metal even more, the neutral background helps to draw the eye to the subject.

I feel that I’ve achieved what I wanted to, as with this image it’s a definite curve but the metalwork lines also add to the image as they lead the eye through the curve.

Camera Model  Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time       29/04/2011 09:06:42
Tv (Shutter Speed)          1/6400
Av (Aperture Value)       6.3
ISO Speed           400

Distinct/Irregular Shapes

I didn’t have anything specific in mind for the subject of distinct or irregular shapes so I just spent some time with an open mind looking for something different or some unusual detail. I walked past an old building that had a series of vents in the wall, which were a rich red terracotta colour and had a really unusual cut out design in it which really grabbed my eye.
I focused in close onto the tile to try and frame out the border and emphasise the shapes. I was using an f stop of f/8 as I felt that I wanted the pattern to be sharp at the top of the frame as I wanted to draw the viewer into a very specific spot of the full ‘arch’ pattern. I think I achieved my goal of finding distinct and irregular shapes. I like the image and feel that the vivid colour that I boosted slightly using Photoshop gives it some punch.

Camera Model  Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time       27/04/2011 08:06:06
Tv (Shutter Speed)          1/160
Av (Aperture Value)       8.0
ISO Speed           2000

Two Kinds of Implied Triangle


I struggled with this one quite a bit as where I was looking for implied triangles, I just kept finding ‘real’ triangles. I took a few attempts at photographing implied triangles on different subjects, including a pointed design on a cast iron gate. I nearly submitted this image but after showing the images to my husband for a neutral opinion, he could see the implied triangles in them quite clearly so my final two were of buildings and rooftops.

My first image above is of an old building that’s partly derelict and had wire fencing around part of it. I focused in on the corner of the building to avoid the fencing and to position it in the frame so that there was an implied triangle contrast with the sky and background. The corner of blank space has some tree branches in it which can be seen as an implied triangle, the rest of the sky can be seen as an implied triangle and there is an implied triangle within the brickwork. I’ve highlighted on the images where I see the implied triangles. I converted this image to black and white to tie into the other implied triangle image and to provide contrasts between the building and the sky.

Camera Model  Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time       27/04/2011 08:08:19
Tv (Shutter Speed)          1/160
Av (Aperture Value)       8.0
ISO Speed           1250

For the second image, I was walking through the town centre early one morning looking for subjects to use when I saw two rooftops at conflicting angles. I framed the image looking up at the rooftops, with the top of the left hand building touching the top of the frame. I feel that there are three implied triangles in this, the left hand building, the right hand roof and the sky between the two. I converted this image into black and white as it emphasised the differences in the rooftops with the different shading and made the implied triangle of the sky contrast with the building and the rooftops.
I feel that this worked out reasonably well, even though the subject area isn’t quite as strong as the rest of the images in this series.

Camera Model  Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time       27/04/2011 08:03:37
Tv (Shutter Speed)          1/160
Av (Aperture Value)       8.0
ISO Speed           500


For rhythm, I found this to be one of the more easily findable subjects. My first image was of a row of windows in an old factory building. However when I looked at it printed out, it didn’t seem to flow as well as I’d thought for rhythm and wasn’t as I envisaged.

My second attempt was of a jagged edged fence at the side of the canal so the image was half grass, the shape of the fence which had a hexagonal pattern to it and then the canal. While it was quite an interesting shot, it fitted better into the shapes or lines requirements as opposed to having rhythm. I then attempted to capture the image on a row of concrete posts, and a row of stone balustrading. I’ve submitted both of my attempts here as I like them both equally and feel they show different aspects of rhythm.

The first image is of some concrete posts on the pavement at the side of a road outside the museums and art galleries of William Brown street in Liverpool. To take this image I got a low viewpoint and cropped in to focus on the leading line and to remove the view of the road with traffic passing by. I then converted the image to black and white as the colours were quite muted and I felt that it flowed better in monochrome.

Camera Model  Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time       05/05/2011 09:05:25
Tv (Shutter Speed)          1/250
Av (Aperture Value)       9.0
ISO Speed           320

The second image I’ve submitted for rhythm is my favourite one, and one that I had very clearly visualised before I took the image. The stone balustrading runs along the length of the Walker Art Gallery and to get this image, I knelt down and zoomed in to fill the frame. I experimented with focusing on the first vase shape, then in the middle of the shapes and then compared them to see which drew the eye in more. I decided to use the first image where the focus point was right at the first shape as you were drawn in from left to right. I found that the focus point in the middle made the eye to that and not look at what was around or came before this. I didn’t undertake any processing apart from a simple raw to jpg in Photoshop.

Camera Model  Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time       05/05/2011 09:06:28
Tv (Shutter Speed)          1/250
Av (Aperture Value)       9.0
ISO Speed           500


This was the first image that I took for the assignment. I’d seen some unusual tiles on the side of a house so I took two images. The first one was a wider shot where the side of the house and the rooftop was visible, but I didn’t feel that it conveyed pattern well enough. I then reframed the image and zoomed in to fill the frame with the tiles. For me it’s quite clearly a smaller piece of a larger pattern which is signified by the diamond patterns stretching off to the side of the image.

Camera Model  Canon EOS 7D
Shooting Date/Time       24/04/2011 16:28:35
Tv (Shutter Speed)          1/200
Av (Aperture Value)       11
ISO Speed           160


In summary, I enjoyed this assignment; I feel that I’ve learnt a lot about the components that can contribute to a good image. I’ve also learnt that I need to take my time and if I’m not happy with the subject area I’ve chosen, or I’m not getting the results I want then I’ll stop, re-assess and start again to get the work I want to submit as opposed to just something that matches the brief. I’m looking forwards to the other assignments coming up and increasing my knowledge.


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