Amendments to Assignment One
As I am now approaching the end of Part Three, Colour I thought I should revisit my tutor’s (at the time José Navarro) comments from the previous two assignments and make the suggested improvements, before I commence Assignment Three. This will help me to organise my thoughts and work whilst also learning techniques and tips that I can apply to future projects. In this entry I will focus on Assignment One.
My tutor noted that the Diagonal image, perhaps because of the enhanced graphic quality of B&W, showed straight lines, not just diagonals making it more like a Straight & Diagonal composition. This was something I was aware of at the time but had thought that the dark tone and number of the diagonals made that feature dominant. I replaced the colour to see if that would help, however the straight lines of the walls and steps were still visually strong.
I decided to select another subject to illustrate diagonal. I chose this image showing an existing section of Dubai city wall. The wall is made from coral and shell rubble and has no longer sits with a level top but has deteriorated into a diagonal. Above the wall, and placed at an angle, sits a wooden pergola and above this we see the wall of an adjacent building. The diagonal lines created by the top of the pergola and building wall converge downwards and overlap slightly. These lines contrast strongly against the clue sky. creating a triangle of blue sky. Use of a wide-angle lens set to 22mm (33mm efl) has helped to strengthen the linear perspective, and subsequently the diagonals in this photograph. This image also contains a ‘straight’ element (the pillar of the pergola) however positioned off-centre they almost appear to have become part of the frame and do not dominate the image. I experimented with some black and white conversions, but decided to keep the colour version, as I liked the contrast of the blue sky against the orange/brown hues of the stone and wood. The colour ratios do not match the desired complementary proportions of orange 1: blue 2 but I think it still works well with the blue sky acting as a colour accent to draw the eye.
For Rough and Smooth my tutor noted that the contrasts were not immediately obvious but were there.
He wonder if a close-up of the palm tree bark in Rough, with no detail in the background, would have put more visual weight on the textured surface of the bark? I decided to heed this suggestion and took a series of close-up palm tree bark photographs. After experimenting I decided a vertical format worked best as the bark already had strong horizontal markings to draw the eye from side-to side. An irregular pattern can be seen within the bark as diagonal shelves protrude at intervals creating an uneven surface texture. I applied a slight crop to the bottom of the frame to work better illustrate this. Further texture details can be seen in the cracks, flakes of bark and tufts of fibres that are also visible. I decided to keep the image in colour as the orange/brown of the bark suggests heat and dryness (Freeman, 2005, p50), associations appropriate for the subject.
After sometime reflecting I agree that the image for Smooth is not visually obvious. I spent sometime considering what fabrics or materials could best convey the concept of smooth. I experimented with some photographs of a marble hammam whilst on a recent trip to Morocco but the light was low and the images ended up quite noisy. I decided that glass was would illustrate smooth well as it usually has no visible texture and that reflections would also show smoothness. I decided to set up a still-life arrangement with coloured glass bottles. I quickly realised that when shooting side-on my reflection was in the shot. I tried shooting from above and this worked better. In addition to the smoothness of the glass the image shows smoothness in the shape of the bottles. However, I deliberately put a square format bottle into the arrangement to avoid smooth becoming ‘round’ or ‘curved’. Although I used coloured glass bottles I decided a black and white conversion showed the smoothness of the bottles better as this avoided coloured reflections. I used a ‘scenic landscape’ conversion in Photoshop Elements 11 as this showed a good range of tones between each bottle’s hue: red, dark blue and light blue.
My tutor also noted that a few of my photographs appear a little dull and would benefit from further post-processing. We discussed this during a Skype tutorial and Photoshop Elements 11 was recommended as software that would help with this. Having purchased this and taken the time to explore the tools and undertake some Adobe online tutorials I have since adjusted the exposure on a few photographs as recommended.
High-My tutor described this image as rather dull and suggested levels and/or curves adjustment. I made some slight adjustments to levels and to the colour saturation to brighten up the image.
I have also applied further post-processing to Curves in order to brighten the overall shot.
Overall I am pleased with the feedback given for Assignment One. It was both comprehensive and constructive. Post-processing is fairly new to me, particularly the detailed adjustments. However, I have spent a considerable amount of time reading the Photoshop Elements 11 reference book, trying out the various adjustments available and working with the tutorials on the Adobe website. I will continue to do this in order to understand the software possibilities and therefore use it to my advantage in future.
Freeman, M. (2005) Digital Photography Expert: Colour. Lewes: ILEX