Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Project 40: Using a Meter

This is a large project which consists of two parts. The aim of the project is to understand the reasons for bracketing photos and the importance of careful scene metering in outdoor photography. I have used the in-camera meter for all of these photos, as they were taken before I had my handheld meter.

Part 1. Examples of photos that are purposely under or overexposed.

Photo 1: Forest in NW Scotland
A slight underexposure to emphasise the dark nature of the forest, and to deepen the rich greens and browns in the photo.
70mm, f/6.7, 1/180s, ISO400, -1/2EV

Photo 2: Leaves & dappled light
A slight underexposure to allow the bright dappled light to shine through and highlight the leaves.
70mm, f/4, 1/60s, ISO320, -1/2EV

Photo 3: Spiky stem & leaves
Back-lit by strong sunshine, this unusual plant was very appealing! I have overexposed by 1/2 stop to capture the contrasting greens and spikes on the stem.
32mm, f/4, 1/180s, ISO320, +1/2EV

Photo 4: Frozen Lake
Slight overexposure because the surface of the lake is light and highly reflective, and the light was quite bright. I wanted to capture this light feeling.
24mm, f/9.5, 1/180s, ISO200, +1/2EV

Part 2: Sets of photos with varied exposure - ie bracketing examples. Top photo - 1 stop underexposed, Second photo - 1/2 stop under, Third photo - 'correct exposure' as calculated by camera, Fourth photo - 1/2 stop over, Bottom photo - 1 stop overexposed.

Set 1: Amsterdam, Canal View
In this situation (which cries out for bracketing), the 1/2 stop overexposed image is the best, because it contains detail in the shadows and the boat is correctly white.
30mm, 1/125s, ISO200

Set 2: Shadow on Beach
In this example any of the photos works, though I think the 1 stop underexposed is the best.
70mm, f/9.5, ISO320

Set 3: Icecream van at Cramond
The sky is quite dramatic, so the underexposed versions of the photos are better. I think the 1/2 stop underexposed is the best as there is still detail in the people in front of the van.
25mm, f/11, ISO200

Set 4: Night-time view of building
The sky is interesting & deep blue colour in this set, so the underexposed images are better in terms of colour.
40mm, f/8, ISO400

Set 5: Snowy lake with hills behind
This is a light bright scene which I would think would most benefit from overexposure. Interestingly though, I think the 1/2 stop overexposed and 1 stop underexposed (due to the interesting sky and bright reflections on the water) both work equally well in this example.
54mm, f/9.5, ISO200,

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Project 14: Vertical & Horizontal Frames

The aim of this project was to photograph the same scene, in landscape and portrait orientations, and compare the differences. I have taken my time with this project, and put together here examples from the last few months.

Detail of gravestone.
In this strongly graphic example, both orientations are interesting.

Yellow Berries.
The strong vertical line of the tree makes the portrait orientation stronger.
Self-portrait reflection.
The placement of the red decoration in the landscape orientation works slightly better.
Path with snow.
The graphic element of the winding path is emphasized more in the portrait image.
Another strongly graphic image, the portrait orientation works better.
Green Gravestone.
Works in both orientations, though the portrait version is slightly more interesting.
The large gravestone is more distinctly the subject matter in the portrait orientation, which makes for a stronger photo than the landscape shot, which has a 'record' feel to it.
Castle & Graveyard.
There is more context in the landscape orientation, combined with the dominant horizontal lines of the walls and gravestones.
Castle view from Princes St Gardens.
As the castle is the main point of interest in the photo, not the trees in the foreground, the landscape version is stronger.
Berries, with city view behind.
The landscape orientation with strong lines from cross-cutting branches works slightly better in this example.
Wall, Pentlands.
This snow covered, sunlit wall works in both orientations. I slightly prefer the portrait orientation, as the grasses are placed at 'rule of thirds' location and this makes the image stronger.
Snowy trees, Pentlands.
The zoomed in view of the branches is more interesting, though the tall trees suit the portrait orientation also.
Frozen Lake, Pentlands.
Both orientations make for effective, interesting photos. The portrait orientation follows the 'rule of thirds' more closely with the reeds filling more space at the bottom of the image which I think is more interesting.
The landscape orientation includes more of the building, and makes for a stronger photo.
Notre Dame, Paris.
The landscape shot is more interesting in this case because the lamppost is an interesting feature.
Venice, boat.
The tall tower in the portrait orientation, slightly off-set to the left, makes for a stronger photo.
Venice, Canal.
The horizontal lines of the boat make the landscape orientation photo stronger in this case.
Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy.
Both images work in this case, though I think the portrait image is slightly stronger, with the long line of the rooftop combining with the bridge to form a 'zigzag' through the photo.
Boboli Gardens, Florence, Italy.
The landscape orientation works slightly better - the strong clouds in the sky are more interesting than the green foilage in the foreground of the portrait photo.
I think this project strongly emphasises the need to take photos in both orientations where unsure, and always at least consider using another orientation to make photos more interesting/effective.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Project 47: Twilight

I have been waiting until a suitable sunset to undertake this project. Luckily for me, yesterday (yes, Christmas Day) turned beautiful in the afternoon, so we drove to Blackford Hill to take some twilight photos. The lovely light remained for about an hour, which gave me enough time to photograph the snowy Pentlands with different focal lengths, bracketing as necessary to show colour in the sky, and also some silhouettes. The different focal lengths really show different features, and also varying degrees of colour. The super-wide angles (17mm) have a lot of sky in the photo, and thus show not only the sunset colours of red, pink and orange but also the pale to deep blue of the late afternoon sky. The zoom shots (200mm) show the snowy hills with soft clouds behind lit with pastel oranges and yellows. I've arranged them below by focal length, not time, as the light didn't change dramatically while I was shooting.

While the wide-angle shots may have more range of colours, the intensity of the colour is stronger in some of the telephoto shots. I think this project well demonstrates the need to try different angles/viewpoints/focal lengths in difficult light conditions such as twilight.

17mm, f/8, 1/125mm, ISO200, -1EV
17mm, f/8, 1/250s, ISO200, -1EV
17mm, f/8, 1/125s, ISO200, -1EV
24mm, f/8, 1/250s, ISO200, -1EV
24mm, f/8, 1/500s, ISO200, -1EV

24mm, f/5.6, 1/180s, ISO200, -1/2EV
24mm, f/5.6, 1/180s, ISO200, -1/2EV

70mm, f/8, 1/180s, ISO200, -1EV

70mm, f/8, 1/180s, ISO200, -1 1/2EV

70mm, f/9.5, 1/125s, ISO200, 0EV
70mm, f/9.5, 1/90s, ISO200, +1/2EV
98mm, f/8, 1/125s, ISO200, -1 1/2EV

105mm, f/8, 1/250s, ISO200, -1/2EV

110mm, f/8, 1/180s, ISO200, -1/2EV

135mm, f/8, 1/125s, ISO200, -1EV

140mm, f/8, 1/90s, ISO200, -1/2EV

180mm, f/8, 1/180s, ISO200, -1 1/2EV

200mm, f/8, 1/250s, ISO200 -1/2EV

200mm, f/8, 1/350s, ISO200, -1/2EV
200mm, f/8, 1/250s, ISO200, 0EV

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

People and Places

I have enrolled in another OCA level 1 course - People & Places. Taking photos of people would have to be the one area of photography where I often feel out of my depths. However, it's an area I'd like to improve at, especially because our family will be expanding in February when I'm expecting our first baby... now that will be a challenge!!

As a start, I found this article which has some interesting views on 'what is portraiture?'

More to follow!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Assignment 3: Edinburgh Canal - the final mile

I have chosen to photograph the final mile of the Edinburgh Canal for Assignment 3, the focus of which is natural light, which I walk along daily to and from work. I have seen the canal in many lighting conditions, and it was a good challenge to photograph its different aspects, trying to avoid the typical views (boats and birds) to capture some of what I think makes the area diverse and interesting. Thus I have focussed on some of the colourful grafitti and unusual views of the canal.

Silhoutte view along canal
f/8, 28mm, 1/250sec, ISO 250, natural light, graduated neutral density filter, tripod.

Construction Site
f/6.7, 38mm, 1/125sec, ISO 320, natural light, tripod.

Bridge with people
f/5.6, 70mm, 1/10sec, ISO 200, natural light, tripod.

Autumn leaves with concrete
f/4.5, 34mm, 1/60sec, ISO 400, natural light, tripod.

Bridge over canal with rust
f/6.7, 70mm, 1/60sec, ISO 200, natural light, tripod.

Reeds and Pontoon
f/22, 25mm, 2sec, ISO 200, natural light, tripod.

Leamington Lift Bridge
f/5.6, 64mm, 1/20sec, ISO 200, natural light, tripod.

Autumnal colours
f/5.6, 51mm, 1/45sec, ISO 200, natural light, tripod.

6mph with cyclist
f/22, 24mm, 1sec, ISO 200, natural light, tripod.

Steps into canal
f/22, 24mm, 1sec, ISO 100, natural light, tripod.

Cyclist with wall
f/4.5, 45mm, 1/30sec, ISO 200, natural light, tripod.