Saturday, 24 January 2009

Project 12: Positioning the Horizon

For this project I needed to find a location with an interesting landscape and an unbroken and clear horizon. I went to nearby Blackford Hill which has a nice view over Edinburgh and Arthurs Seat. I had to consider the different locations of the horizons in the frame. Since there was a nice hill sloping down in front of me, I thought it would make an interesting foreground, and then have Arthurs seat in the background. I also saw that there were great clouds gathering in the sky which would make an interesting photo with just a hint of Edinburgh at the bottom. I put on my widest lens at 17mm and the tripod to get a flat horizon.

Photo 1: I started with the horizon at the top, which I think is quite effective. I really like the shadow on the ground, and the grass has some interesting texture.
17mm, 1/13sec, f/16, ISO100, Tripod

Photo 2: Horizon now about 1/3 from the top, which means there is some nice blue sky and clouds.
17mm, 1/13sec, f/16, ISO100, Tripod

Photo 3: Horizon just above the centre, photo not that interesting...
17mm, 1/13sec, f/16, ISO100, Tripod

Photo 4: Horizon just below the centre line. This is more interesting than Photo 3, because the clouds are more interesting than the foreground hill.
17mm, 1/13sec, f/20, ISO100, Tripod

Photo 5: The horizon is now about 1/3 from the bottom, I really like the clouds covering the sky and the little bit of foreground, and the sky getting more blue towards the top of the photo.
17mm, 1/13sec, f/20, ISO100, Tripod

Photo 6: I think this photo has lost the balance by removing the foreground. There is a lack of depth in this photo compared to the other shots.
17mm, 1/13sec, f/20, ISO100, Tripod

Photo 7: I put Arthurs Seat at the bottom of the photo so it's mostly the clouds. I thought this would be really effective, but there is no balance in the shot and little interest apart from the abstract nature of the clouds.
17mm, 1/13sec, f/20, ISO100, Tripod

I think Photo 5 is the most interesting, because there is good depth in the photo, and interesting clouds and the horizon is a good position.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Project 9: Focal Lengths

Project 9 was pretty similar to Project 1 really: one location, a variety of focal lengths to see how the scene differs. The point was, that as you change focal length, obviously the field of view changes, but the relationship between objects in the photo remain the same. This compares with Project 10 (coming up soon!).

Photo 1: I chose a location on North Bridge, looking towards Carlton Hill, with the roof of Waverley Train station in the foreground, and some nice blue sky and fluffy clouds too. The light on the buildings is quite beautiful, and there is enough detail on the roof even though it's in the shade, to keep it interesting. This photo was the widest angle I have, at 17mm.
17mm, 1/160sec, f/14, ISO 200

Photo 2: I zoomed in a little (to 23mm) which feels close to a 'standard' view to me. It lacks the punch that Photo 1 has.
23mm, 1/160sec, f/13, ISO 200

Photo 3: I zoomed in again to 35mm, and now Carlton Hill is obviously the focal point, which makes this image just a bit more interesting than Photo 2. It's still not very interesting for me.
35mm, 1/160sec, f/13, ISO 200

Photo 4: Now moving to 50mm, Carlton Hill almost fills the frame, with just a hint of the roof. We see more detail which is visually interesting, and the variety of shapes on the horizon are good.
50mm, 1/160sec, f/13, ISO 200

Photo 5: The final photo is at 100mm, it's again interesting because I couldn't fit the whole hill in the frame and decided to choose the most interesting composition from my viewpoint location. The light is lovely against the old buildings, and I really like their shapes against the skyline. It's rich in detail which is really nice.
100mm, 1/160sec, f/13, ISO 200

These five photos all taken from the same location are all really different, though contain similar elements. We see the large difference here between the first and last photos, but the elements of the photo are essentially still in the same positions and it's really just a zoom in.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Project 8: Recording a Sequence

I decided to visit Edinburghs Christmas (German-flavoured) markets on a fairly sunny (cold) day for this project, the aim of which was not a perfect photo but to capture the sequence of events and motions I went through in trying to find that perfect photo. I found it quite challenging to photograph the people at the market, and sometimes felt a bit self-concious about it too. When I was shooting I didn't think I took any good photos, but on looking later I think a couple capture the essence of the markets - Christmas, German Food, Trinkets etc. It was fun!

Photo 1: I started at this stall, trying to capture the seller and buying. unfortunately the background is a bit washed out, but there is some good balance between the two people.

Photo 2: I moved to a high point to try to get an overall feel for the market here. This photo does show a lot going on - people out shopping, drinking, etc, but doesn't have the oomph I'm looking for - there is also a large blank area bottom right which I don't like.
Photo 3: I turned around to shoot this shot on the other side of the market, but again the background is quite bright, though does show some context as to where we are.
Photo 4: I moved in closer to the mulled wine/ beer stall, but managed not to actually get any drinks in the shot! So it's quite dull really.
Photo 5: Then I thought I'd try to get someone eating (a common activity at the German markets!), but unfortunately no one is looking up, and the composition is not terribly interesting.
Photo 6: So I moved to a stallholder where I thought the light might be a bit more even too. She looks very serene which I like, and you can see the produce, but it doesn't really capture the essence of the market.

Photo 7: I moved to the stall next door and snapped the hanging decorations, which are fun, but not really capture the market either. It would have been better with a person looking at the trinkets perhaps?
Photo 8: I went close to these lovely lights which look great and colourful in my photo. I like the narrow depth of field, and these certainly look Christmassy, though not really very German...

Photo 9: I again turned around to this time focus on a food stall. I quite like this shot, it shows the two workers preparing food, obviously at a market in the cold, you get a good feeling from this shot. It's nice and warm too with the reds. The people look interesting but relaxed too.
Photo 10: I've captured a woman eating (she might not like me for that!). I like her look of concentration and the busy market in the background.
Photo 11: Back to mroe produce for sale, this time more classically German - sweets! I like the womans hand in the shot, it gives a bit of context, and all the different packets look good.

Photo 12: I moved a bit to get the womans face in the photo which I think works well, though perhaps if I could have moved more it might have been better (but there was a stall in the way!). It is quite interesting, and looks like a market with German produce.

Photo 13: I moved on to the sausage cookers. I quite like the steam rising on the glass near the sausages here, and how the photo is broken in two by the counter. I like the balance in this shot, and the narrow DOF works well.
Photo 14: Staying with the sausages, but I don't think this one works as well, the background (woman) is not as interesting this time.

Photo 15: I moved to the Hot wine stall then, and tried to capture people enjoying their hot wine, but some were a bit shy and moved away or tried to move out of my photos! It's hard to be inconspicous with a massive camera! However I do like this photo, with the blurred lights in the background and the mugs.
Photo 16: I tried again with another group, who didn't move away, but this shot still doesn't really work, and just looks like a snap shot to me...

Photo 17: I thought the menu board with some people in front would be interesting, but it doesn't work too well.
Photo 18: I went back to the sausage sellers to try to get another version there. I was rewarded with them actually serving, and some food on the counter, which is quite effective.

Photo 19: Another version, which I think works better (needs the larger DOF really).

Photo 20: I tried to get this woman eating her sweet donuts, but she looked down just as i pressed the shutter! But it's not that interesting a composition anyway.

Photo 21: I finally got some people enjoying their wine. I like this shot, but it would be better if the people were engaging with each other, instead of being a bit static. I didn't feel really comfortable standing there snapping away though, so didn't stay to take more shots.
Photo 22: I like this photo of a woman about to enjoy her German meal. You can see the lights behind her of the market and othe people walking by, and she is all rugged up in bright colours.

Photo 23: I really wanted to capture the busyness of this stall with all it's bright trinkets, and get the stallholder in the background (I focussed on her). I think it works quite well, it's very busy but colourful and interesting. There is some balance between the top third and bottom two thirds which works well.

Photo 24: For this final shot I stood behind one of the stalls to look out onto the market, and get some nice lights (sold at the stall) in the foreground. This worked quite well I think, it's nice and colourful and shows where we are (at a market).
I found this a very challenging project! To photograph people without asking permission is a bit strange, but of course I was just documenting the market really. I like some of the shots but might try to redo this project some time if I find the right occasion, and maybe take my time a little more. I should take more photos! And try not to be too shy... ;-)

Favourites: I really like 19, the sausages jump out the photo at you! And 22 is another favourite I think.