In my practice to set up good still life photography, I've been googling and looking at a lot of images to get a feel of all that has been done out there. There are a few images that really stand out for me, one of which is 'Red Pepper #30' from Edward Weston.Read More
Exercises part 2
It takes a bit of thinking to differentiate rhythm and pattern. The reader says that rhythm is to do with movement across a picture and pattern with area. In taking pictures I found that some subjects can have both, while others only display one or the other.Read More
As I have mentioned a few times in my lasts posts, this part has been pretty challenging for me. I have learned a lot about how to position subjects in the frame, to look for lines and shapes in a scene and frame an image so that these can add an extra dimension and sense of professionalism to the picture. Since I find setting up a scene much more difficult than framing an already existing scene, I thought I'd better start looking at other photographer's work and practice until I started feeling more sure about what I was doing.
Last September I bought a new camera for this course. Especially in still life photography I am a bit disappointed in the results. The images are not sharp and not focused correctly. I read on Nikon forums that I'm not the only one with this problem, so I'll have the camera checked as soon as I can. In the meantime, I'm trying to get the most out of it, which in a way is also a way to learn to deal with boundaries and perfect the things I can do.
There are a few different themes I have been researching, but I still haven't decided which one I'm really going to work on and send in as my final work. Here are a few examples of the themes.
The island of Goree
This is an island of the coast of Dakar, with a lot of old houses, picturesque places and beautiful people. I have already used quite a lot of this serie in my exercises. If I choose to send them in for the assessment I will go back and perfect them.
Still life of my 'inheritance'. These items used to be my grandparents, who were all born around 1900. Having been inspired by early twenty century photography, I thought it would be nice to set up still life scenes and create the same kind of atmosphere. Easier thought than done!
There's a small forest in Dakar and I really like going there. Since most of the trees grow out of the swamp, there are beautiful reflections on the water. Because the trees are very close together, I find it difficult to really show patterns and lines. The images are all a bit too messy. I would like to learn how to improve the design of an image under such circumstances.
Kitchen utensils, flowers and food. I experimented a bit with shapes and shadows. It's fun to move everything around and see the effects on the dynamics of the picture. I would like to send these in, but feel there are not enough options to meet all the different requirements of the assignments, if I would only choose flowers, or kitchen utensils for example. I also struggle with getting everything sharp an well lit. But I find that these kind of exercises really force me to get all the details right and I'm sure that these exercises will enable me to take much better pictures when the circumstances are not all set and planned.
I'll make a decision soon!
This part doesn't call for doing a specific exercise, but while I was looking for the other shapes on the island of Goree, I found a few fascinating rectangles. As the reader suggests, rectangles tend to be enclosing and sort of putting an other frame in a frame. One might find this too static, but I feel that they can make one specific part of the image really stand out, or show that there is a world behind the flat surface.
As mentioned in the reader, once you start looking for triangles, you'll find them everywhere! The reader mentioned that triangles bring a sense of activity and dynamism in a picture. Looking at my pictures, I see this is true, although I find that if all lines of the triangle are of equal distance, the picture gets a more static feel to it, then when the corners aren't exactly 45 degrees.Read More
This project shows how shapes in photos define the subject, and how these shapes can be implied by sunlight, or the way subjects are positioned. Page 86 shows two very interesting photos in which the the sunlight shines from different angles on the subject. from the front, in this case the image of the the Parthenon, it tends to highlight the pattern of the subject, while when something is lit from the back, the silhouette, or shape of the subject is much more visible. I took the picture above at about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and especially being near the equator, the light was very intense. It helped in contrasting the shapes through the lights and shadows. Because the view through the peek hole is brightly lit, it gives it a strange effect. It feels as if the back is more in front and vise versa. It is interesting to experience how light can play tricks on your brain!
I used to be surprised by the things that I saw afterwards in the photos that I'd taken myself. Probably because when taking the photo I was focusing on something, I wasn't aware of other parts in the image that were interesting as well. To a point I think there is nothing wrong with it, but especially in terms of design I find that I need to look more closely into a scene before just shooting away and hope for the best. I like the line on page 82 of the course book:
"One of the uses of design in photography is to organise a picture in such a way that another person will be encouraged to look at it in the way you want.'
I'm still in the process of discovering how I want the picture to be looked at, or even more basic, discovering how I look at pictures myself. This chapter has been a great help and has made me more and more aware of the processes that take place when looking at an image and the active part I as the photographer can play in how a scene or subject is perceived through the design.
This exercise starts with having a look at two photos with a lot of movement and decide which direction the subjects are moving. Here they come!
I looked through some of the pictures I have taken in this past week. With some I had this exercise in mind, with other pictures I discovered the line after seeing them on my computer screen.
The next photo wasn't particularly planned as it is asked for in the exercise, but I took it when I got off the ferry. The lady in the back had been sitting there, constantly looking down, as if she was trying to ignore somebody. Then the passengers got off the ferry and walked past her and I could see her curiosity taking over. You can just see her looking up at the man in the red shirt. In the meantime the people passing are focused on getting off the ramp. I really like the eye lines in this photo.
One thing I really need to work on is setting up similar lines in still life scenes. I find that so difficult! So more on that in an upcoming blog.
This is the ultimate stair photo. I read that Mr Evans spent hours in this cathedral, just watching how the incoming sunlight changed the shadows in the building. Evans had photographed this stair already a few times before coming to this result. Because of the use of telelens, there is not much depth in the image, making you feel as if the stairs are coming towards you like a wave and giving a flowing sense of movement. (Photography - The whole story, pg 201)
This picture is a great example of how lines and shapes bring movement and direction in an image. I have taken a few stairs photos myself and find it very difficult, up till now actually impossible to bring this sense of life in an otherwise solid object. It does take a lot of time and observation to get it just right. I need to practice being patient and become more persistent in getting the most out of objects, places and people in my images.
Before reading the part about curves, I had never thought about the curved shapes that can be implied in images and how they pull the eye in. I like the smoothness and elegance that curves bring to images and was excited to take some of these pictures on the island of Goree.
It is true that diagonals are easier to create than vertical or horizontal line. When using a wide angle lens, it is actually pretty hard to let those lines not become diagonal! In taking these pictures I have looked for real diagonal lines, lines that are diagonal because of perspective and diagonal because I changed position from where a picture was taken.Read More