Monthly Archives: June 2017

Reflection

Reflecting against the recommended criteria, I have the following observations:

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

For this assignment I tried a variety of settings in order to get differing depths of field. Being only allowed at the site during daylight hours, and visiting on a clear, sunny day meant natural lighting conditions were excellent. Whilst composition wasn’t always perfect in the original shot, the use of Photoshop enabled cropping to improve on the original framing.  A variety of shooting positions were used to vary the viewer’s perspective.

Quality of outcome

I feel my assignment gives a good balance of the technical aspects of my shots, alongside my showing of the multiple aspects of the character of the Major Oak and its interaction and popularity with the public.  I found the use of printed contact sheets useful in order to shortlist down to a final 20 images before settling on my final 10. Many of my images didn’t show enough of the Major Oak itself (they could have been taken anywhere) or were too ‘obvious’.

In order to choose my final 10, I printed the shortlist of 20 and asked opinions of peers. I then played around with the ordering of the final 10 in order to give the best ‘story’ of the Major Oak.

Demonstration of creativity

In approaching this assignment I tried to look at the Major Oak in a different way to how it’s usually shown in regular stock images. Consequently, few of my images show the whole tree, instead I chose to concentrate mainly on elements of the tree and in some cases only very small parts of it in order to show it in context of other things going on around it. I varied my perspective of standing, crouching and sitting on the floor to achieve the views I was seeking.

Context

It was important for me to show the many features of the Major Oak in this assignment – from its weaknesses to its strengths, from its historical importance as a tourist attraction to it being just a tree in the background of a picnic area, and from its pathetic nature being held up by metal stilts to it still budding new life.

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Assignment 5

Take a series of 10 photographs of any subject of your own choosing. Each photograph
must be a unique view of the same subject; in other words, it must contain some ‘new
information’ rather than repeat the information of the previous image. Pay attention
to the order of the series; if you’re submitting prints, number them on the back. There
should be a clear sense of development through the sequence.

What is it about? (300 words)

The Major Oak is famed for being the tree where Robin Hood and his Merry Men are rumoured to have hidden in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. The tree is believed to be 800-1000 years old, has a canopy of 92 feet and is oddly shaped. Due to its historical significance and the public’s love of the tales of Robin Hood, it is a popular tourist spot with many people visiting it each year. As well as tourists from further afield, locals like to pass it whilst taking a walk in the forest, or to relax in the picnic area whilst children play.

The days of being able to go inside the tree, or indeed being anywhere close to touching the tree, are long gone and it is fenced off to stop anyone approaching it too closely. What was once a majestic oak, is now a tree that looks like a sad old man – seemingly alone, wizened in part, with many metal props holding up its once strong branches. If it were human, the Major Oak would be in a care home seeing out its final few years, no doubt recounting how things have changed over the years and how much more lush Sherwood Forest was back in the day.

Nevertheless, the Major Oak remains standing proudly amongst a forest of younger trees. If it could, it would have many tales to tell those many years younger – be it stories of Robin Hood or of the millions of visitors that visit each year. However, no matter how old it looks, to prove it has still got life in it, the Major Oak continues to have new buds sprouting each spring.

Bibliography

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_Oak [last accessed: 01/05/2017]

Technical info

All images were taken on the same afternoon with a Canon 5D Mkiii and either a Canon 16-35mm lens or a Canon 75-300mm lens. The shots of the buds on the tree additionally used a 1.4X teleconverter. All shots were handheld, and a mix of standing and seated shots were taken to give different perspectives. Minor adjustments and cropping have been made in Adobe Lightroom.

Annotated contact sheets

Final set of images

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The big old tree dominating a forest of young trees

Settings: 16mm, f/4.5 , 1/640s, ISO 200

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Metal bears the weight of aged limbs

Settings: 220mm, f/9 , 1/160s, ISO 200

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The spirit of Robin lives on

Settings: 300mm, f/11.0 , 1/200s, ISO 200

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Yet another photo…

Settings: 300mm, f/5.6 , 1/1000s, ISO 200

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So much to learn

Settings: 196mm, f/7.1 , 1/400s, ISO 200

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Youth admires the aged

Settings: 98mm, f/6.3 , 1/800s, ISO 400

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One for the family album

Settings: 112mm, f/13.0 , 1/320s, ISO 400

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Not barren yet. The cycle of life continues…

Settings: 420mm, f/13.0 , 1/320s, ISO 400

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The alternate angle

Settings: 20mm, f/9.0 , 1/200s, ISO 200

EYV5_StephanieWebb_329A4166Watching over families picnicking

Settings: 35mm, f/16.0 , 1/200s, ISO 200

Exercise 5.3

Look again at Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photograph Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare in Part Three. (If you can get to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London you can see an original print on permanent display in the Photography Gallery.) Is there a single element in the image that you could say is the pivotal ‘point’ to which the eye returns again and again? What information does this ‘point’ contain?

Include a short response to Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare in your learning log. You can be as imaginative as you like. In order to contextualise your discussion you might want to include one or two of your own shots, and you may wish to refer to Rinko Kawauchi’s photograph mentioned above or the Theatres series by Hiroshi Sugimoto discussed in Part Three. Write about 150–300 words.

I find it hard to believe that Henri Cartier-Bresson couldn’t see what he was taking when he shot ‘Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare’. The timing of the man’s jump is perfect and would have been hard enough to catch whilst looking – let alone shooting blind.

My eye is initially drawn to the white star formed by the man’s legs, the reflection of his legs and the ladder. This point illustrates the gap between the real and the reflection. Following that, my eyes are drawn to the reflections – of him, of the cemetery railings, of the man in the background and of the buildings to the left of the image. The blurred image of the man himself leaping is one of the final things that I notice.

My response is of a young lad running along the side of the Old Market Square in Nottingham. I could see what I was taking, and timed my shot to get the boy’s foot landing on the ground. My reflection isn’t the full length of the boy, and I have a ‘tick’ shaped gap between the real and the reflection. The boy is oblivious to what’s going on in the background – his main concentration being on his bag of crisps he’s eating.

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