I have been working a lot on this assignment and trying to create different atmosphere in different settings. Since I'm on a holiday, I was able to photograph my children and holiday home a bit for this exercise. I've also practiced filming on my new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, which has been a lot of fun.
Here are a first set of images taken on the beach. I wanted to show the different atmosphere and how the sense of depth changes when changing focal length. I realised that a lot also depends on where you place the subject and from which angle you photograph. First a few images from the interior from the cottage.
The first image was taken with a focal length of 50 mm, so it shows you about what you see yourself. Because there is only natural light, there are more shadows and clear highlights, which accentuate the lines of the window and table, bringing depth in the image and balancing the interior and exterior. Because the eye is led to the window, there is even a stronger sense of depth. I would categorise the image as refined/mature and reasonable, because it has a bit of a calming effect.
In the second image i used the same focal length, but with the flash to make the light flatter. because of this, I immediately feel more locked inside and the image is much flatter and duller. It also has an oppressive effect, since the viewer is not so drawn to the exterior anymore.
When taking the third image I wanted to create a complicated and confusing atmosphere by changing the angle, use a flash and opening up my lens. Because of this the lines are a bit distorted and the sense of depth is confusing because even though the diagonal lines point more towards a certain point in the image, because of the flat lighting the eye doesn't really know where it has to go.
Next are images of the same house, but from the outside:
Again the differences in focal length and angle change the atmosphere of the place. I took the first two images with my lens as wide open as possible. With the first image, I stepped back and shot the house straight, creating a refined and reasonable view on the house. The second image was taken with the same focal length, but because it's taken from an other angle and closer by, the house looks a bit more daunting and has more dynamics to it. In the third image I took the photo with a longer focal length, giving the terras an oppressed feeling, because the space it covers gets more compressed. The house doesn't look half as spacious as it does in the first images. I purposely stepped a bit forward, to not show the side of the the house, which closes up the scene even more. In the fourth image, which I took with a 50 mm focal length, the stifling feeling is already less and the image is much more exciting and shows more depth because of the strip of grass in the foreground. Finally, the last image was taken with a 50 mm lens, but I choose to photograph it straight on and not showing too much of the sides of the house. I find this view is the most uncomfortable and does't give a spacious effect at all.
Here are a few images taken on the beach. I tried to use the same principles of lighting and use of different focal lengths.
In the first and last image you can see how there is not much depth in the image because of the usage of the long focal length, even though the subject in the foreground does create a sense of depth. I would like to categorise these images as refined/mature/reasonable, because the eye is totally focused on the subject and not distracted by the background. This focal length is a good way to focus on the characteristics of the subject and focus on this. In the next image there is also just one subject in the foreground, that I also lit with a flash. Because of the wild angle and the lighting, there is a sense of depth, but still the main focus is on the subject. I do think the image has an adventurous feel to it. The third image has more depth, because of the other people in the background, which also takes away the focus on the boy in the foreground. I still find this image very dynamic, because there is a lot going on. Looking at the 4th image it shows that the angle and placement of the subject also plays a decisive role, it immediately looks less adventurous than the others, even though the sense of depth is still there, it all seems much closer by. I find this image a bit more confusing to look at.
The first and last image show how the colour and contrast also have an effect on the atmosphere. The first image is much duller and doesn't have as much contrast as the other one, giving it a much duller feel to it. When I compare the 4th and 5th image, even though they have the same colour scheme, the contrast of the horizon and water brings a lot more dynamics to the image than the one taken with the longer focal length and therefor only showing the sea in the back.
Overall, I think I can conclude that in order to create depth in an image, one has to find the ideal combination of using a wide angle lens, different colours and textures and contrast in the lighting. An other important factor is the placement of the subjects and whether the eye is able to roam around the picture from one place to the other. A telephoto lens really compresses everything together and in order to get the right atmosphere, I really have to make conscious decisions with the placement of my subjects and lights in order to get the right sense of depth.