Thursday, 27 November 2008

Project 3: Focus with different apertures

Eugh, this was difficult. I recognise the reason we need to do this project but nonetheless I found it hard to find a subject that was interesting enough to have both just part of the image in crisp focus (and background blurry) and also have the whole thing in focus. I also needed to choose my lens carefully to make sure the results would be obvious. I don't really think these photos below are excellent photos, but they show the point of the project (I think) which was to show the difference between different aperture settings (while matching appropriate shutter speeds of course). I used a tripod, cable release and converted to B&W in the GIMP during post-processing.

Photo 1:
24mm, 1/200sec, f/2.8, 400 ISO, Tripod, B&W in GIMP

Photo 2:
24mm, 1/30sec, f/7.1, 400 ISO, Tripod, B&W in GIMP

Photo 3:
24mm, 1/3sec, f/22, 400 ISO, Tripod, B&W in GIMP

This project was good for me to carefully think about a subject and then to execute it.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Project 2: Focus with set aperture

The depth of field study. I thought this one would be easy but finding a good subject that would make an interesting photo was more of a challenge than I expected. Due to short daylight hours here in Edinburgh I decided to take some photos indoors. I chose a present I recently gave my husband, a bottle of nice whisky! I arranged it so that there would be some depth in the photo, and our curtains (not very interesting) behind it.

First Photo - focus on the box at the back of the photo. This is a strange looking photo because of the large objects out of focus in the foreground:
50mm, 1/15sec, f/2.8, 400 ISO, tripod, colour edit in GIMP

Second Photo - focus on the bottle itself. Much more balanced and a nice looking photo - this is the best one IMO and is the right focus for this composition:
50mm, 1/15sec, f/2.8, 400 ISO, tripod, colour edit in GIMP

Third Photo - focus on the detail at the foreground of the photo. Not bad but not as good as the second, the detail is interesting but not the point of the photo:
50mm, 1/15sec, f/2.8, 400 ISO, tripod, colour edit in GIMP

Overall this was an interesting exercise because it made me really analyse each of the different photos and think more about why I use DOF, instead of me just choosing an aperture and going for it!

Project 1: Focal Length and Angle of View

The first project seemed simple enough, but I wanted to choose an interesting subject, one that will provide good photos for the 3 different focal lengths. Given the short daylight hours (and inclement weather!) at the moment this was a challenge. I decided to go to the Canal in Edinburgh today as the sun was shining. I found a spot with an interesting building and some autumn foliage which I thought would provide good subjects for the 3 different focal lengths.

I started with the 50mm, which on my camera is equivalent to 80mm, and tried to choose an interesting composition. This is the lens I use the most, so I'm quite comfortable with it.
50mm, 1/100sec, f/16, ISO 200

Next I put on my wide angle lens, with 17mm equivalent to 35mm.
17mm, 1/100sec, f/13, ISO 200

And finally my 200mm, equivalent to a massive 320mm!! I found it hard to handhold (it might have been sunny but it was windy) as I didn't have my tripod with me. I must take it with me next time I'm using this lens.
200mm, 1/250, f/11, ISO 200

It was great to go out and just take a few photos with a very specific purpose.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Starting a new course

Well I decided to try out a course at OCA to improve my photography, instead of just taking random photos and trying to make them look good in post-processing. Reading books has helped, but I thought the course guide for 'the art of photography' sounded interesting and would help guide me to a more robust photographic process which I can apply to both my film and digital work.

According to the online guide, The course helps students to:
• visualise and select images and translate them into photographs
• make successful use of composition, exposure, lighting and other forms of image control
• analyse and apply the conveying of information through visual means
• develop observational skills through a wide range of projects.

So hopefully it will be useful and interesting. I'll keep this blog up to date as part of my journal for the course, so please feel free to comment etc if you want to.

Just as an introduction, I'm an Australian who currently resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. I've been an amateur photographer for about 8 years on and off, and have been shooting with a digial SLR (Canon 30D) for the last 3 or so years. I use the GIMP (free photo editing software) for all my post-processing work on the computer. Earlier this year I did a B&W film developing and printing course so I also shoot medium format B&W with my Bronica ETRSi.