I have just spent a very busy weekend working through the contrast assignment, I had spent the previous week or so thinking through the different options for each category. I tried to treat each subject as photographically as possible, so I photographed the peaches for the Soft picture on a wide aperture in natural light for as soft a finish as possible. I then photographed the brick using flash for a hard finish to enhance its solidity.

For the tree in the Large picture I used a wide lens as close to the tree as possible to make it look as large as I could. I have tried to use as many different styles and techniques to make the pictures varied and interesting, I think the Liquid and Few pictures have the appearance of product or advertising images whereas the Transparent and Intermittent pictures have more of an art feel.

I have very much enjoyed taking these pictures but I did find it quite hard work deciding on the subjects, I made lists of all the categories in my notebook a few weeks ago and wrote my ideas as they came to me under each heading. I tend to find that ideas come to me when I’m thinking about something else completely so I find it handy to keep my notebook handy to jot things down when they occur.

I have also started carrying my compact camera around with me again to use as a visual notebook of locations and also to pick up pictures like the Opaque image in this set. I travel quite a bit in my job so it is handy to be able to take  a quick snap to remind myself of a location.

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Final piece, large & small
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fast crop

panoramic crop

Square crop

I have taken three previously taken images and tried to improve them by cropping. The parkland image with the trees I have cropped as a square  to remove the wasted space on the left of the picture and draw more attention to the texture of the trees and the patterns made by the shadows, which is what drew me to the scene in the first place. I feel this has made the image more dynamic, if a tree can be dynamic.

The second landscape image I have cropped as a panoramic to cut out extraneous sky and draw attention to the silhouetted trees.

The karting image I have cropped to increase the feeling of speed, I think that the long narrow crop concentrates attention on the kart and the space left in front gives the kart somewhere to race into. By cropping the background it leaves behind a nice edge of speed blurred red and white tyres.

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Positioning the horizon

This copse of trees caught my eye whilst looking for a landscape subject, I prefer simple images.Of the five images I feel that the two with the horizon in the bottom half of the frame are the most successful as they reinforce the graphic quality of the trees against the sky, also with the plain grass there is no foreground interest in the images with the higher horizon.

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Positioning the horizon

horizon as low as possible

horizon 2/3rds down

horizon high as possible

horizon 2/3rds up

horizon at mid-point
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Focal lengths and different viewpoints

I have used Hylands house, which is where the V Festival is held, for this exercise as I wanted to see how the change in focal length would affect the relationship between the columns and the front of the main building. At 200mm the house is very much as you would expect it to look, everything is nice and straight, but there is no real depth between the columns and the house, it is quite compressed.

At 24mm the most obvious difference is the distortion because I am now standing close to the building and still trying to fit it all in, but the benefit of this closer image is the sense of depth, it feels as if you could walk around the base of the columns.

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Focal lengths and different viewpoints


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Focal lengths

I was drawn to this scene in my local park by the patterns made shadows of the trees and the relationship of the three tress receding in size, I thought it would interesting to see how this relationship changed as the focal length lengthened.

I find the 24mm pleasant enough, if a bit boring, the light is quite nice. I think the images at 50mm and 70mm are the most successful, they have some depth as they show the receding three trees to best effect.

Once we get to 105mm and 200mm the images become much flatter and the 200mm image with just the tree trunk and the shadow across the bottom is the most graphic of the set.

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Focal lengths






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Panning with different shutter speeds

I decided to combine this exercise with a trip to the local indoor go karting track for my daughter and her best friend. the main problem I encountered was that being indoor the light levels were quite low, so that even on high ISO settings I could not get a shutter speed above 1/125s which would have meant I could have really frozen the action, but it did mean I had to really concentrate on my panning technique.

I felt the image taken at 125/s, which was one of the first taken, did not give any real sense of speed. So the next few frames were taken at 1/20s, this gave more sense of speed but but the girls heads were blurred and I wanted to make them recognizable so that I could print some pictures for the girls as a souvenir. Therefore I upped my shutter speeds to between 1/30-1/60s and I found this gave me greater control over the final images, by keeping my focus point on their helmets I could get a nice speed blurred background and recognizable faces, if only to us parents.

I also found that by angling the camera it added an extra dynamic dimension which increased the feeling of speed, I especially like the image where the girl is leaning forward in her seat, willing her kart faster.

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