Category Archives: Assignment 3

Rework – Assignment 3

In preparing for assessment, I re-read my tutor’s feedback and re-visited Attenborough Nature Centre & Reserve to try and get more of an interaction between human and bird. I took some time to capture the moment before the birds took seeds from a little girl’s hand. I took about 80 shots – many were mis-timed as the hungry birds moved very quickly.

I also reflected on my tutor’s advice regarding framing and chose closer crops for these images.

These two images were the best of the set taken at the re-shoot, and they have replaced a couple of my previous weaker choices in my final set sent for assessment.

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My final set of images as submitted for assessment are:

 

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Feedback for Assignment 3

Between Assignment 2 and Assignment 3 I had a change of tutor and although I submitted Assignment 3 late (initially in October 2016, I didn’t receive feedback from my new tutor until early January 2017.

The wait was worth it. Whilst initially I felt a bit deflated by my tutor’s comments on the assignment, I received lots of guidance to help me think about what I need to focus on for my next submission. The feedback made my realise that I was being lazy in some of my approaches and that I really should think more about the creative side of my photography and not be lazy about my work.

The feedback is attached as a PDF document below, but the key things are summarised here:

  • I need to consider the micro element of my photographs – particularly the context’s work and my reading of my images
  • I need to review David Doublet’s work, and Garry Winogrand’s zoo
  • I need to work harder on my focus point when using long lenses with shallow depth of field
  • My self-evaluation needs to explain more ‘why’ something is interesting
  • I need to ensure the  images work as a sequence/narrative
  • I need to work on using a variety of viewpoints and framing
  • I should title my photographs

My tutor suggested additional reading by the following:

  • Terry Barrett – internal and external contexts
  • Joel Meyerowitz – ideas and framing

Some books were also suggested.

My tutor also commented on not being able to see my blog and contact sheets. This was a technical problem with my tutor’s device. My blog is viewable.

Following the feedback, I would like to re-work some of the images concentrating on the pointers made by my tutor. I will aim to do this after completion of Assignment 4.

Before receiving the feedback for Assignment 3, I had started work on assignment 4, but after reading my tutor’s advice I decided to re-think my ideas and push myself to use a variety of camera settings to show my understanding and use of the photograph as an art-form.

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Assignment 3 – 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 bokeh to emphasise the subject matter and 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.  All of the final shots were taken from the same level – using a mix of shooting from a higher position, lower position and the same level to the subject matter may have 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 of the shots.  I feel I’ve given more thought to the camera setting required for the shots I was after, but sticking to a fast shutter speed whilst waiting for an action shot meant that I didn’t re-think my settings for more static shots.

Demonstration of creativity

In completing this assignment I used a high shutter speed and the widest aperture available with my zoom lens, this led to many of the shots having a bokeh effect which works well.

My favourite shot is Image 1, where I feel I captured humour in the decisive moment. Image 6 where the interaction between human and swan is caught, is also a favourite.

Context

The work of other photographers was explored before beginning the assignment, however, aside from trying to capture a split second of a bird’s movement, I didn’t always give thought to the background or foreground of my shot as successful photographers appear to do. Before approaching assignment four, I need to read more photographs and practice more myself so that the ability to think about the whole scene is more natural to me.

Assignment 3 – The decisive moment

Submit a set of between six and eight high-quality photographic prints on the theme of the ‘decisive moment’. Street photography is the traditional subject of the decisive moment, but it doesn’t have to be. Landscape may also have a decisive moment of weather, season or time of day. A building may have a decisive moment when human activity and light combine to present a ‘peak’ visual moment.

You may choose to create imagery that supports the tradition of the ‘decisive moment’, or you may choose to question or invert the concept. Your aim isn’t to tell a story, but in order to work naturally as a series there should be a linking theme, whether it’s a location, an event or a particular period of time.

Whilst I admire the work of street photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, I felt I’d already had an attempt at street photography in Assignment 2 and so I want to explore a different area for my ‘decisive moment’ assignment. I’d taken a shot of a duck splashing its wings in a lake a year or so ago, and wanted to have another attempt at catching water birds at a decisive time.

Researching the work of famous  water bird photographers, I noticed that they appear to take different approaches to their style of shot, for example, Andy Rouse has some creative images taken at sunset so the scene around the bird, or the bird’s reflection is just as important as the bird itself, whereas photographers such as David Tipling and Rathika Ramasamy have their focus on mainly the bird – the scene around it is barely noticeable, it’s the capture of the action of the bird in flight or catching its prey that is important to the image.

I visited Attenborough Nature Reserve with my Canon 5D mk III and Canon 75-300mm lens hoping to capture some fun shots of ducks, geese and swans. The lens chosen has a widest aperture of 5.0, and as I was seeking action shots, I had my shutter speed defaulted to 1/2500, which meant having ISO between 320 and 640. I sat on a log not about 6 metres from the edge of the lake and observed the birds for a couple of hours. During this time I was lucky in that a couple of families brought stale bread to feed to the birds which enabled extra opportunities to take photos of movement of the birds.

I took more than 250 shots over a period of a couple of hours. The best of these can be seen in the attached contact sheets. On examining the shots I made minor sharpening and exposure tweaks in Photoshop and cropped a couple of the images to improve the composition before deciding on my final selection below.

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Image 1: 170mm, 1/2500, f/5.0, ISO 400.  Taken from a seated position.

I like this shot because it captures the interplay between the two geese as one runs away with a slice of bread. The choice of camera setting means the front of the birds are in focus, but the background has a bokeh effect.

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Image 2: 120mm, 1/2500, f/5.0, ISO 640.  Taken from a seated position.

This shot catches the gull midflight with wings elevated as a group of geese fight over bread below it. The background reeds and duck are slightly out of focus.

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Image 3: 200mm, 1/2500, f/5.6, ISO 640.  Taken from a seated position.

This shot catches a goose looking out for potential thieves of its slice of bread. The choice of camera setting means the bird is in focus, but the background has a bokeh effect.

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Image 4: 300mm, 1/2500, f/5.6, ISO 500.  Taken from a seated position.

I like this shot because it catches the moment a goose takes off for flight from the water. The choice of camera setting means the goose and the water movement in the water that it makes is in focus, but the foreground and background has a bokeh effect.

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Image 5: 190mm, 1/2500, f/5, ISO 320.  Taken from a seated position.

This shot captures the majesty of a swan at the moment it rises and flaps its wings. The choice of camera setting means the swan and its wings are in focus, but the background has a bokeh effect.

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Image 6: 200mm, 1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 640.  Taken from a seated position.

Here a man is hand-feeding a swan. The choice of camera setting means that the hand and swan’s head are in focus, but the background has a bokeh effect. The orange of the swan’s bill adds extra interest.

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Image 7: 80mm, 1/1250, f/6.0, ISO 200.  Taken from a seated position.

I included this shot as it’s different to the others and yet still part of the set. The older brother appears to be talking to his sister as they stand at the edge of the lake looking out at the ducks and geese. Again, the background has a bokeh effect.

 

Contact sheets

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Bibliography

Andy Rouse Photography. (2016) ARWP Ltd. At: http://www.andyrouse.co.uk/ (Accessed on 08 October 2016)