Progress towards assessment criteria 2
On successful completion of this course you’ll be able to:
- Demonstrate an awareness of the principles of composition when planning and taking photographs using a suitable camera, lenses and other equipment
Looking at each design element individually helped to focus my attention and this meant that I fully understand their individual strengths. Helpful, not only in composition but also when looking at photographs. An example of making certain design elements work effectively in composition could be the ‘curves’ shot in Assignment Two. This illustrates the elegance of the subject, the urn, while utilising the smooth, flowing curved line to carry the eye to the minaret of Dubai Grand Mosque, in the background.
When composing photographs I now like to experiment with different viewpoints, focal lengths and position of subject in the frame to note the difference in outcome. I recently read On Being a Photographer by Bill Jay and David Hurn (1997) and noted that Hurn advised that the two most important decisions a photographer makes is where to stand and when to release the shutter. With this in mind I am trying to anticipate potential shots and wait for the best time to press the shutter button. ‘A combination of vertical and horizontal lines’ in Assignment Two, would be an example of this.
I have been trying to use my 70-300mm telephoto lens more and have found I can get reasonable results with it, without a tripod, if I don’t extend it fully. Perhaps this is the ‘sweet spot’ I have read that each lens has?
- Demonstrate a knowledge of the different qualities of light, both natural and artificial, and the properties of colour, using methods of control to pictorial advantage.
I have continued to work on getting the ‘right’ exposure and routinely check my camera histogram, adjusting exposure compensation as required.
My attempts at metering have had varying degrees of success. My main problem seems to be identifying a mid-tone to spot-meter from. Freeman’s ‘The Photographer’s DSLR Pocketbook’ (2010, p72) explains The Zone System and describes Zone V, the mid-tone, as typical shadow value, as in dark foliage, building, landscapes and faces. Identifying the mid-tone as a concrete object seems to make the concept seem less elusive for me so I will approach future shoots with this in mind.
Feedback from Assignment One noted that a few of my images appeared flat and would benefit from exposure adjustments in editing. Following a discussion with my tutor I have now upgraded my editing software to Adobe Photoshop Elements 11. I have spent sometime exploring the ways in which this can be used to enhance my photographs and, in particular, adjust the exposure in RAW editing and through Levels. As I converted all the photographs produced for Elements of Design to grayscale I haven’t yet explored the Photoshop Elements 11 colour adjustment tools. I look forward to doing this while learning about the properties of colour in TAoP, Part Three, Colour.
For Assignment Two, I visited the same street scenes at three different time of the day and found it interesting to note how the light behaved differently, emphasising textures, casting shadows and influencing colours. I found that the light in early to mid-morning worked best as it was softer and colours seemed brighter. Mid afternoon resulted in many photographs with blown highlights, which when retaken in the morning light, were okay. It will be interesting to note how this will change as summer quickly approaches.
When lighting still-life arrangements at home I have been experimenting with a very basic desk lamp, baking parchment to soften the light and tin foil to reflect it. I realise that it would be advisable to invest in some lighting equipment, however I am reluctant to do this before undertaking Part Four of TAoP, Light, as I realise that what I learn will influence my choices. ‘Light Science and Magic’ by Hunter at al has been useful in giving me some insight into lighting basics.
- Show a basic knowledge of the principles of graphic design in photography, conveying information by means of a photograph or a series of photographs
The graphic elements discussed and explained in Elements of Design, provides an effective set of tools that I can apply to graphic design.
Hopefully, the images I produced for Assignment Two illustrate my awareness of the qualities that each element holds. When discussing a few of the images I have also made reference to a combination of elements and how it has contributed to the photographs composition. (A single point, Several points in a deliberate shape, Implied triangle 2)
When composing a photograph I apply more effort to achieve the outcome I want, whether this involves revisiting a scene, repositioning objects or waiting for the right time. I’m also more aware of balance in an image, mentally disregarding some scenes or viewpoints for being too static or considering ways to add dynamism to them.
Being aware of graphic elements has also helped me to look at the work of other photographers and ‘read’ their images. This was the case when I wrote about a Marc Riboud exhibition I attended recently. Awareness of the graphic elements has also helped me understand and explain why I like a particular photograph or am drawn to a scene.
- Reflect perceptively on your own learning experience.
I have been writing about my practical experiences with the camera and thoughts on the photographs viewed, exhibitions attended and reading undertaken in my learning log. While, this can, at times, take quite a lot of time I do appreciate the value in doing this as it helps me to organise my thinking and consolidate my learning thus far.
I have begun to read and reflect on some of the core texts and have found certain aspects are beginning to influence my thinking. An example of this would be, when recently viewing photographs on http://lightbox.time.com, I began to think of the themes that Charlotte Cotton (2009) uses to discuss contemporary art photography and consider if, and in what way, they could be applied to the images I was viewing.
I shall continue to write reflectively on the learning that I undertaken.
Cotton, C. (2009) The Photograph as Contemporary Art (2nd Revised ed). London: Thames and Hudson Ltd
Freeman, M. (2010) The Photographer’s DSLR Pocketbook. Lewes: ILEX
Jay, B. and Hurn, D. (1997) On Being a Photographer, 1st Kindle Edition 2010. Washington: LensWork Publishing
Hunter, F, Biver, S, Fuqua, P (2012) Light: Science and Magic. An Introduction to Photographic Lighting (4th edition) Waltham: Elsevier, Inc