Category Archives: Assignment 2

Assignment 2 – Feedback

I received feedback for assignment 2 back in May, but due to health and work commitments have been unable to focus on my studies since then.  My situation has now changed (I’ve left my job) and I am now committed to the course again.

Reading back through assignment 2 feedback from my tutor at that time (I now have a new tutor), I’m pleased with the feedback given especially as Mike seemed happy with my work.

I take on board the advice given to do more work on my blog and practice implementing more of the techniques that I am observing in other photographers. I also recognise that I need to put more observations of others’ work on my blog and write up more exhibition visits that I make.

At this point in time, I don’t intend to re-work assignment 2, but do intend to focus on completing assignment 3.

 

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Pre-assessment, I re-visited this assignment and added two images that featured a group of friends posing for a selfie, and a friend taking a photo of an artist in conversation via her mobile phone.  These are the images:

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The final set of images as submitted for assessment are:

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Assignment 2 – Reflection

Reflecting against the recommended criteria, I have the following observations

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

The majority of the images demonstrate the use of depth of field to add interest to the shots. Whilst composition wasn’t always perfect in the original shot, the use of Photoshop enabled cropping to improve on the original framing.  Using a mix of shooting from a higher position, lower position and the same level to the subject matter added interest to the series.

Quality of outcome

I feel my assignment gives a good balance of the technical aspects of my shots, alongside my observations and the mini-stories I’m telling with the shots.  The evaluation at the end is honest and demonstrates where I think I need to improve – ie more planning as to the camera settings I need when I’m trying to capture the moment.

Demonstration of creativity

In completing this assignment I developed a confidence in taking photos of strangers in a public place.  Initially I was self-concious and anticipated questions or suspicion from the public, but once I relaxed and felt comfortable in the spots I chose to shoot from, I felt part of the background and enjoyed the experience. As a result, I’ve been able to think more about the vertical level I need to be at in order to get an interesting shot.

My favourite shot is Image 7, where I’ve learnt how using light from a less conventional source can be used to create a great effect.

Context

The work of other photographers was explored before beginning the assignment, however, in trying to capture the moment, I tended to forget what I had read and learnt and just pressed the shutter in order to get the shot – sometimes this worked, many times it didn’t. Before approaching assignment three, I need to read more photographs and practice more myself so that the ability to capture the decisive moment is more natural to me.

Assignment 2 – Taking photos

Collecting

Create a series of between six and ten photographs from one of the following options, or a subject of your own choosing:

  • Crowds
  • Views
  • Heads

I tried several different ideas (people waiting for the tram, people with umbrellas, people texting whilst something else was going on), before arriving at my final decision of collecting photographs of people taking photos. I  reached this choice by realising that my favourite shots from my attempts at other themes involved people either taking photos with cameras or with their mobile phones.

Before setting out, I looked at the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eric Kim, Joel Meyerowitz for inspiration on capturing “the decisive moment” in street photography, and Martin Parr for inspiration on humour in photography – particularly in terms of capturing the public in the act of doing something we see every day, but might seem odd to someone who, for example, had never seen a camera phone before.

My images were taken over a period of two days in Nottingham city centre with variable weather of rain and bright sun. I used my Canon 5D mkIII and a Canon 70-300mm lens with a 1.4 teleconverter for most of the shots.  This lens set-up gave me the zoom I needed to frame the subject matter as closely as possible. Photoshop has been used for minor exposure, contrast, sharpening and clarity adjustments, as well as to crop the images more closely.

The final selection of images are as follows:

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Image 1: 98mm, 1/80, f/22, ISO 2000.  Taken from the top of the Council House steps.

This image of a wedding photographer patiently waiting for the bride and groom to emerge from the Council House was taken after a downpour of rain.  The image looks very monochrome apart from the vividness of the red of the Canon strap, and the pink bow on the handle of the wedding car’s door. The aperture setting wasn’t chosen intentionally – I had set my camera to shutter priority to take a photo of the bride under the dark shelter of the Council House’s entrance. Shooting from above the photographer

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Image 2: 420mm, 1/125, f/8, ISO 400. Taken from a seated position.

Here, I caught the male showing the female the image he’d just taken.  I caught their smiles as she reacted to the image.  I successfully made use of depth of field to ensure the background was blurred. Adding clarity to the image helped to enhance the red trim on her bag.

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Image 3: 280mm, 1/125, f/11, ISO 400. Taken from a seated position on the same level as the subject.

Here, I caught a woman taking a photo of her piece of Oreo cake before eating it – a popular hobby of Instagrammers! Being on the same level enabled me to capture the reflection of her orange nail varnish on the back of her mobile phone.  Again, exploiting the zoom lens enabled the background to be blurred, whilst the nails and cake are sharp.

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Image 4: 119mm, 1/125, f/18, ISO 400. Taken from a seated position.

Here, I captured two lads resting on their bikes, one taking a photo of a pigeon using a mobile phone, whilst the other watches the pigeon.  I like that I caught the shadows of the pigeon and bikes and the bright pink of the front wheel trim in the centre third of the frame. The background isn’t as out of focus as I’d have liked.

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Image 5: 133mm, 1/125, f/29, ISO 400. Taken from a seated position.

This image captures a woman concentrating on taking an image of the Council House using her mobile phone whilst oblivious to the fact that a dalek is being wheeled past her (not an everyday occurrence in Nottingham!) The framing of the photo places the dalek as the primary object of interest, whilst the woman taking the photograph appears secondary in the right third of the image.

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Image 6: 133mm, 1/125, f/14, ISO 400. Taken from a seated position, below the subject.

Another shot of a woman taking a photo of  food before eating it. This one captures the awkward position the woman’s knees are in to balance the doughnut for the photo. I also like the fact the guy on the right who is perpendicular to her has a similar head-down pose as he texts on his phone.  Both are oblivious to other shoppers in the city centre.

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Image 7: 75mm, 1/100, f/2.8, ISO 2000.  Shot from same level. Unlike the others, this image was shot with a Tamron 28-75mm lens.

This shot of a young girl in a cafe taking a photo with a fellow photographer’s camera captures the joy of the girl as the image on the back of the camera literally lights up her face. Shooting from the same level enabled me to get the perfect angle as her face lit up as she moved the camera away to see the image she had taken.

As a series, the images captures some of the facets of modern day photography – from the professional patiently waiting for their shot, from the instagrammers taking photos of their food, through people excited to see pigeons in the city centre, to people so engrossed on that they’re taking an image of they miss something as interesting, to the pleasure experienced from seeing an image on the back of a camera screen.

The  use of different shot perspectives adds interest to the series, as does taking advantage of depth of field by blurring the background and keeping the subject matter sharp.

It could be argued that the final shot (Image 7) doesn’t fit the series as well as the others as it’s taken indoors. Equally, Image 3 could be seen as an outlier in that it doesn’t show the photographer’s face. However, my view is that using different setting and framing enhances the series.

My least favourite shot is Image 4 as it shows less technical expertise in using the effects of depth of field.  I’d like to be able to catch a similar shot with a blurred background.  I’ll be bearing this in mind before assignment number 3!

(994 words)

Assignment 2 – Initial Thoughts

Collecting

Create a series of between six and ten photographs from one of the following options, or a subject of your own choosing:

  • Crowds
  • Views
  • Heads

My initial thinking for this assignment was to leave my comfort zone and take photographs of the crowd at a non-league football club where I’m involved as a board member. However, the game I chose to take my photos at, I forgot to take a charged camera battery!   Rather than wait until the following week, I spent a Monday evening rush hour at a Nottingham city centre tram stop, sitting on a very cold stone bench taking 140 photos of the people waiting for their transport home.  Hardly crowds, and most of the people were looking at their mobile phones – presumably either choosing music for their travel, texting people or catching up on their social media activities.

On examining the shots, I was disappointed in my achievements and didn’t feel the images showed the range of field of depth that the course material required. However, I was pleased with the point of view achieved by sitting down. Here are my favourites from that shoot.

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Image 1

Here passengers are moving to get on the tram whilst sorting their tickets. The two passengers closest to me are in focus, whilst the two in from of them and the tram are not in focus.  I’d have liked this more if the brown coat had been out of focus.  I like the reflections in the tram window, and the reflection of the tram’s light on the green bag.

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Image 2

Here we have two passengers using their mobile phones in different ways (calling and texting). The two are seemingly oblivious to each other and almost have their backs at right angles to each other. Their leading feed point 90 degrees away from each other. I’d have preferred this image more if I’d framed it better so that the poster in the bank on the left wasn’t so distracting, and the person on the right was further from the edge of the frame.

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Image 3.  This image lacks the depth of field I’d wanted, and it doesn’t capture the pace of the traveller validating his smartcard quickly in order to catch the waiting tram. I do like the diagonals of the tram leading away from the front that do add depth, and  like the splashes of brightness with the tram’s lights and the tag on the suitcase.

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Image 4

Here, two passengers are engrossed in their phones, whilst another has headphones on gazing toward the coming tram. This image is one of many I took that show that people travelling home from work often don’t interact with each other.

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Image 5

This image contracts image 4 in that we have two pairs of people. On pair appear to be mother and daughter (with the daughter checking something on her phone!) and the other two are seated kissing, with the male gripping his tram ticket in his left hand, whilst his right arm is around his girlfriend.

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Image 6

I like this one with the flash of red from the lady’s scarf. I like that she’s engrossed in the content of her phone whilst unaware of the tram stops beside her.

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Image 7

Here a passenger is using her phone to photograph an oncoming tram.  I purposely focused on her hands, meaning that her face, the passer-by behind and the background are all out of focus.  It was a lucky catch to get the passer-by looking at the phone!

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Image 8.

I love the expression on the girl’s face.  Is it disgust at something she’s just read on her phone? I like composition and use of depth of field on this one more than on others.

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Image 9.

I nearly left this one out as it’s another image of someone engrossed in their phone whilst the tram is stopped near them. I kept it, because it demonstrated good use of depth of field. I would straighten this image if I was submitting it.

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Image 10

Here three passengers are, again, on their phones.  A passer-by behind is walking and her right foot is blurred showing that movement against the static nature of the phone users. If I were to submit this shot, I’s straighten it so the verticals were vertical.

All shots taken with a Canon 7D (crop-sensor) and 70-300mm lens, on the widest aperture (f/4-f/5.6 depending on focal length), on aperture priority mode.  As it got darker, I altered the ISO from 200 to 400 so that the shutter speeds were usable .

Two weeks ago, I went on a trip to Oviedo in North Spain and took quite a few photos on that trip.  I’d travelled light with a Canon 400D and a 18-55mm kit lens, and had tried to take a few interesting urban images, in addition to traditional ‘postcard’ style shots as memories of my visit.  I had processed them in Photoshop to enhance clarity and contrast, rather than spend any more time trying to master crowds at this point, I am considering submitting a set from those images instead for Assignment 2.