Thursday, 25 February 2010

Exercise 6

What:The brief of this exercise was to experiment with fitting the frame to the subject by taking four photographs from different positions so that the subject fitting tightly in the frame, so that a small part of it can be seen, one where the subject only fills a quarter of the frame and one "snaphot" to use as a baseline.
Where: Within the grounds of a church in East Linton
When: Just after 10' O'clock. The weather was dry but cold with a bright low sun and scattered clouds
How: The first photograph was the baseline photo, and it was taken as I walked up the church path. I did not really think too much about framing or exposure I just lifted the camera up to my eye and took the photograph.

f/11 1/80 ISO 100 - Sunshine White Balance

The second photograph was taken from a different position where I could examine the building and fit all of it into the frame as tightly as possible.
f/11 1/125 ISO 100

The third photograph of the stain glass widow was taken just standign in front of it. I had a choice between the windows, the door or the victorian door hindges, but I settled on the window as I was able to frame it better in the viewfinder.

f/11 1/200 ISO 100 - Centre Weighted Metering of the light

The fourth photograph was taken in a position away from the church where I was able to fit it into only a quarter of the frame. I think I may have overdone it as it fits in less than a quarter of the frame.
f4.5 1/500 ISO 100

Very quickly on this exercise I learned about using the focus points on the camera viewfinder to help in the composition of a photograph. It came in handy in trying to fit something into a quarter of the frame as I was able to use the focus points as a horizonal and vertical guide in dividing up the frame.
This is probably the first time that I have ever done this, and the lesson here is really about concentrating on using the camera viewfinder to properly compose a photograph rather than bash off dozens of photographs and then look for a good one.

Looking back at the photographs, I am the most unhappiest with the first and the last photographs. The last one also looks a bit rushed and not composed well, I experimented with cropping some of the photographs on the computer and these crops at least makes it look a little better composed I feel.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Exercise 4 and 5

What:The brief of this exercise was to explore the interaction of moving objects at various shutter speeds. The exercise was broken down into two parts. The first part was to lock the camera off on a tripod to prevent movement and then photograph at varying shutter speeds (from 1 second to 1/4000 of a second) moving objects as it went through the frame. The second part of the exercise was to again photograph at varying shutter speeds but this time the camera would be held and panned with the moving object to keep it in the frame.
Where: At the side of the A1 road just outside Dunbar. The road at this point slows to a roundabout.
When: Just after 10' O'clock. The weather was dry but cold with a bright low sun and scattered clouds
How: Camera Settings were set to at speed priority and at ISO 100. There was still too much light to allow the camera to properly set the aperture, so I used a Neutral Density filter, this filter allows the reduction of light into the sensor without affecting the colours of the objects. This filter was an ND8, which meant that it reduced the light by 8 stops. The ISO was stepped up as necessary to allow the speed and aperture to be set as required. The camera was set on a tripod to stop any movement and I photographed the cars as they came into the frame.
I then moved slightly down the road to the edge of the roundabout, so that I would have time to see the cars as they came towards me which would allow me to frame them in the viewfinder and the take a photograph as the car passed, panning with the camera as I did.
I used an 18-55 kit lens, set at 31mm. The photos have had no software manipulation, just a straight conversion from RAW to JPG.
I have decided to do a slideshow of what I photographed today, as putting them all one after another on this blog would make it difficult to see. What I have done is upload them to my flickr page and put them under a collection called OCA in subsets. All the exercise 4 photographs can be found here

Again I noticed the reciprocation between shutter speed and aperture as I set the camera up and the requirement to change the “light speed” of the ISO to allow me to keep the shutter speed and aperture within the expected specifications
When I checked the cameras screen I quickly noticed that the cars were just not appearing in the photographs where the shutter speed was set at about 1 second, all that was captured was a very light blurring within the frame. The cars were invisible to the sensor as they were in and out of the frame before the shutter closed again.
I had an expectation that the vehicles would not start to show their form until the shutter speed was at 1/160, but I was surprised to see that vehicle shapes were recognisable at 1/20. The text on the sides of vans was recognisable at 1/125.
I prefer photograph 062 as this still shows movement as the wheels are blurred but the car is clearly shown and this gives a sense of speed. Once the photographs shutter speeds go above 1/320 the cars are completely frozen and this doesn't fully allow you to see that the car was a moving object.
In the panning photographs, I am drawn in two different directions, while I like the photograph 0116 as the car is sharp and clear and the blurring of the wheels and the background show that the car was moving at speed even though the photograph was taken at 1/30 as I had assumed that this shutter speed would be too slow to give a clear sharp image.
I am also drawn to the more abstract shapes and colour created in the slower shutter speed photos where I also panned the camera as shown in 0147 and 0149.I was pleasantly surprised to see that in the panning photos that the cars were very recognisable down to quite a slow shutter speed. I had through that speed

I have learned that shutter speeds can be used to freeze action to a complete standstill, or the shutter speed can be used to create the impression of movement, especially when used with the panning movement.
I also learned that if I have the requirement to reduce the amount of light coming into the sensor and that I cannot get the camera and lens to "go slower" that the neutral density filter can be used. The filter just stops down the light by the filter number, i.e. a ND2 filter will have the effect of stopping down the light by 2 stops, a ND4 filter will stop down light by 4 stops, and a ND8 filter will stop down light by 8 stops. These filters can be combined to reduce light by their combined numbers, ND2+ ND4 equals a 6 stop deduction.

Just a side note on todays exercise; always keep some form of identification on you as you may be stopped and questioned. I had someone stop their car on the side of the road, walk back to where I was standing and demanded to know why I was photographing his car, he was quite bolshy and kept asking why, even after I gave him a careful explanation.
Funnily he never identified himself and he was quite pushy even when I showed him my student card and the exercise text.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Exercise 3

What: The brief for this exercise was to examine the different depths of field produced at different apertures. The brief states that at least three photographs must be taken at different apertures, i.e. Widest middle smallest f/stops.
Where: In the back garden
When: After 1 O'clock in the afternoon
How: The camera was set on a low tripod and locked off so that it could not move. I then focused at the main object for the photographs which was a small piece of stone and dirt half way up the garden. Then three photographs were taken at the differing apertures. The camera was set to ISO400, I was using a 55-200mm lens set at 55mm.

Once I had set the camera on Aperture Priority I noticed straight away that the every time I stepped down on a 1 f/stop the camera adjusted the speed 1 stop down.
After I had taken the photographs, I then examined each photograph and highlighted a rough area where the image was at it's sharpest. The circles show the depth of field, however I have added the arrows to show that the depth of field should be considered as a column rather than a 2 dimensional circle.
f/4 1/250 ISO 400

f/10 1/40 ISO400

f/22 i/8 ISO400

One of the first things I have learned from this exercise is, location, location, location.
The first group of photos I took for this exercise turned out to be very disappointing in that I had covered such a wide area of ground that it was almost impossible to differentiate the area of focus. I had obviously chosen to far away a midpoint.
I have noticed one thing with the two kit lenses that I used; in both the the failed attempt and the photographs that I uploaded, that it is that the lenses did not create the sharpest of images at f/22. The middle photo at f/10 or f/11 produced the sharpest images of all. This may be down to the manufacture of the lenses and them not being of the highest optics.
My main learning point of this exercise is that the depth of field is really a sort elliptical cylander shape. For some reason I was under the impression that the depth of field for a photograph was like a flat oblong.

This exercise has left me with a couple of questions.
1. Why at f/10 did the camera set the speed to 1/40th of a second but at f/22 the camera set the speed at 1/80th? I would have though that the camera should have stepped the speed down, not up? The amount of light did not change between photographs.
Answer; I did not read the Exif information nor my log book correctly. I shoudl have noted 1/8th of a second instead I read of 1/80th. My mistake, next time I'll double check. Dyslexia sucks. Error Corrected.
2. Why is f/22 not as sharp as f/11? I would have thought that at f/22 the total depth of field should be the sharpest and the clearest.

Never Rely on Technology

As an IM person , I always ask "And what about your backup". Today I have had had a range of technologies fail on me, including my main laptop and my TFT monitor. Luckily I have a backup old slow PC under my desk and a CRT monitor, so I can continue just now. But it's a real pain as I now have to check my colour calibration on the CRT before I can continue with my coursework.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Exercise 2

What: The brief for this exercise was to explore how the eye can be directed to parts of an image by using a shallow depth of field. This was done by setting the camera at its widest aperture and without moving the camera take three photographs of the same subject moving the focal point of the image from the front to the back, this should ensure that the depth of field can be moved
Where: In the house
When: After 4 O'clock in the afternoon
How: The camera settings were set to manual, ISO 200, and f/2.8 which is the widest focal length this particular lens can achieve. This time I used a beanbag tripod as I was inside and it allowed me to maintain a low angle and allow the photos to be taken without the camera moving around. I used three mah-jongg tiles from a set that I brought back from San Francisco on holiday. The photographs were taken under normal tungsten lights and so are white balance corrected.

Image 1 105mm, f/2.8, 1/6, ISO 400

Image 2 105mm, f/2.8, 1/6, ISO 400

Image 3 105mm, f/2.8, 1/6, ISO 400

Looking at the three photographs, I feel that in the first photograph my eye is being drawn away from the sharpest clearest tile to the two out of focus shapes due to the blurring of the colours and shapes.

In the second photograph it appears that the middle tile is being pulled out of position and that it appears to be floating in front of the first tile.
I am happiest with the third photograph as my eye is drawn through the photograph past the blurred shapes and colours until it comes to the third tile which is sharpest.

What I learned from this exercise is that the viewers eye can be directed from one part of the photograph to another by the simple use of depth of field, making only the subject and anything else on the focal plane. The photographer has to be aware of this as if a shallow depth of field is used, it may sometimes not suit the final image causing the image to "jar".

The one question I do have is this, do “we” see things in a certain way? Do we naturally not pay attention to images in which the depth of focus draws the eye away from the subject?

Exercise 1

What:The brief of this exercise was to explore the focal length of the camera, the angle of view and the relationship between a camera lenses focal length and the eye. This was done by taking three photographs, one at a wide angle, one which aligns to what can be seen by the eye and one which had been zoomed in on a feature of the subject.
Where: Medieval Dovecot beside the physic garden in Haddington
When: Just after 11 O'clock. The weather was dry with a bright low sun and scattered clouds
How: Camera Settings were set to an aperture of f/11 and ISO 200. The camera was set on a tripod to allow the changing of lenses without losing position. I used 2 lenses a 18-55 and a 55-200, both of them basic kit lenses. The photos have had no software manipulation, just a straight conversion from RAW to JPG.

Image 1 18mm,f/11, 1/250, ISO200

Image 2 52mm, f/11, 1/320, ISO200

Image 3 130mm, f/11, 1/400, ISO200

This final image is a rough approximate comparison of the three focal lengths all together.

My first learning point is that I had not considered that the focal length of 52(ish)mm on a camera aligns with what the human eye sees as standard. I achieved this point by looking past the camera at the subject and moving the lenses focal length up and down the scale until what I could see side by side was aligned. This focal length is around about 35mm in print once the crop factor of the sensor is taken into consideration.

It was not until I printed out the photos that I noticed that the zoomed photo has become flattened through loss of perspective at the longer focal length, something that I had not really look at or for before.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

The Art of Photography - Level 1 - Introduction

Hi, my name is Leonard Scott and this blog will be my learning log for the Open College of the Arts Level 1 course - The Art of Photography.

My hopes are, at the end of the course that I will have a better understanding of the composition, design and creation of better photographs.

My inital thought on opening the course and looking over it is that I may cover be covering elements of photography that I have already "taught" myself. However once I started to think about the course, I believe that covering these elements will help confirm what I have learned and fill in the gaps in my knowledge.

The focal lengths for this learning log will be the actual focal length as noted and selected on my lens.