Exercise 20 – Busy traffic

This exercise is to show people in a busy place. We are asked to take some time in the area we choose, which can be indoors or outdoors. Time should be taken to research the space and how people flow around the space. We can take a slow exposure if needed to show some type of movement in the people.

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This is a busy street in York near an area called The Shambles. You can see how the people are in close proximity to each other, but all have their own agenda be it walking down the street, looking in the shop windows, searching for items in a bag or talking to partners. The tight street forces people to be very close and this in effect makes everyone slow down as rushing in this tight space may not be possible. Adding to this the old street is bending towards the middle which also brings people closer together, making the flow more into the centre part of the street.

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This shot of a York market shows the numerous types of buildings in the area, from old brick on either side, more modern buildings in the car and temporary market stalls. The people in the image have plenty to look at as they walk down the cobble street, from flower markets, stalls and even a place to take a break and have a pork sandwich. The area is very open in the centre, but it can be seen to filter into tight spaces as one enters the stall market area. Thankfully the closed roads will allow pedestrians to make use of the cobble street while taking in the sights. This makes the main flow of the people take to the street before branching into the enclosed stall market.

 

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Exercise 19 – A single figure small

In this first exercise leading up to assignment 4, we are asked to take a photo (the notes do not mention how many images)  of a single figure which is in the image, but at first may be so obvious to the eye. Such a shot maybe inside church or such a place that shows the size of the building or area.

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For this first of two images showing a person (or people) in a large space I have taken this image from a building in Glasgow called The Kremlin. I am standing at the top of the stairs looking down and the persecutive make the the viewer first look around the wooden banister or handrail, then as the eye searches the rest of the image we fall down to almost dead centre at the two figures walking across the centre floor. This is very subtle but although the figures are very small they could almost become the focal point of the image altogether.

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This second image again in the Kremlin building in Glasgow, we can see the main focal point is the building with leading stairs, and the large lion head which is almost the size of a person. As we look around the image the eye is drawn to the high colour red, which then turns out to be  a person looking at something with her back towards the camera. Although very small in relative size to the overall image and lion head, the future is still very noticeable due to the colour and just being offset slightly on the rule of thirds.

Exercise 18 – How space changes with light

In this last exercise before the main assignment, we are asked to take a series of photographs for one or two locations that we can visit at various tines of the day.I was in Wales recently staying with family so I decided tot are shots from morning till late in the evening for the front lounge area, from the same location within the room.

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For this first image we can see the morning sunlight just about to break through the front lounge of this cottage house. The lack of deep shadows means as the sun has not yet risen the light is very much diffused giving an overall soft light.

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This second picture is seen taken mid morning as the sun has risen high from the mountains over the Welsh border. You can see the bright sunlight coming in very strong from the front door area, along with a second smaller window just out of view in the background lighting up one of the leather chairs. I did no heavy editing to the image so to show the bright highlights on the floor mostly as the eye saw the image.

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Taken just after lunch time the light from the windows has now moved further west and harsh light has now gone, with a very slight diffused light starting to form on the wooden floor area. The camera is now able to pick up more shadow in the background towards the fire place.

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This final shot is taken after the sun has gone down and we are left with artificial light to show the room without the need for a long exposure. AS can be seen no sunlight is coming through the door on the right side of the frame as before. The room looks a lot colder now we only have artificial light, with heavy highlights around the wall lights and deep shadows under and around the furniture.

Conclusion:

This was a fairly easy exercise to complete than i first expected, even though I had to pick my timings over when it was best to take shots of the room while it remained empty. I left the camera pretty much in the same location and angle for the shots to make the comparisons easier. I would like to do this again given the opportunity with outside buildings and possibly include moving objects such as cars and/or people.

Exercise 17 – The users viewpoint

The task for this exercise is to choose from two or three buildings designed for a particular activity, and attempt to capture the area from the users point of view. This could be with the use of focal length and various viewpoints, either low or from a different angle.

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This image is taken from the inside of a University. The close crop to the left makes the viewer wonder where the stairs lead to, and what may lay behind the archway. I waited for some time for a person to walk down or up the stairs but no-one came through. The image was converted to B&W to bring out the strong lines and shades only B&W can show.

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At first glance this image may seen like any normal front living room, but after a closer look the first thing that appears different is the furniture and decor is old. As the eye leads up the stairs we can see a person sat on a chair. Is the owner of the house, apartment, or a guest? The low viewpoint helps the eye scan into the image and then up the stairway. This si in fact a museum situated on the Wales, England border. I had to wait for some time for other visitors to leave the room so I could get a clear shot. However I couldn’t do anything about the lady on top of the stairs, but later thought this would make an interesting addition to the shot.

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A normal stairway? Maybe not. We can see the pictures on the wall are very old and in fact are antique. Taken in the same museum home as the previous photo, this is a stairway leading up to the main bedrooms. The old wooden carved banister leads the eye down the stairs while taking in the large pictures of what seem to be family members of the household from time gone by. Where do the stairs lead down to, and what is on the next level leading up to the left side? An old wooden chest on the stairway makes you wonder what may lay inside and what treasures maybe hidden, if any. Again I had to wait some time for the stairs to become clear of foot traffic. I found a high viewpoint looking down the stairs worked better than standing at the bottom looking upwards.

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This is a stairway taken in a small village in Wales, which is a residence area into a set of apartments and houses. The bright red stairs leads the eye up into a series of doors, with each set of stairs taking the person to separate levels. I like the colours of the red stairs and blue door which seem to compliment each other, and the large red balcony on the top seems to balance the red stairs on each side of the frame. I thought of taking this shot from front on, but I liked the lines of the steps from this angle better than a flat shot. A low shot would have made the converging verticals too severe so I remained at eye level for this one.

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This shot taken in a gallery shows a lot of negative space, which leads the eye to the person situated in the background of the frame. The eyes are helped into the frame with the wood grain of the floor, which brings the eyes onto each statue piece and then finally onto the framed pictures on the wall. I would have liked the person in the shot to be not so central, but the figures in the picture on the left of the wall help the viewer to look back in to the frame as they seem to be looking at the person walking. One wonders what the central statue piece is on the floor, is was in fact a figure of a dead horse.

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Taken in some office buildings, I waited for my friend to walk by while I placed the camera in a low position on the floor. I didn’t have a camera with a tilt up screen as I was using a Canon 5DMK3, so I set the camera to what I hoped would be a medium DOP at F11 in the hope it wouldn’t focus on the floor nearest the camera. I took a few shots as the two people walked by towards the doors ahead. I positioned the camera so the black squares on the floor would lead towards the figures walking.

Conclusion:

An interesting exercise and at times found the viewpoints hard to decide on. I was sometimes unsure if I would be able to take images of something that was situated outdoors, such as the shot of the red stairs, but after looking at some other students images this seemed to be acceptable.

 

Exercise 16 – Exploring Function

Brief:

“This exercise will help teach, first, a way of approaching a space and thinking about it that focuses on how it was intended to be used and whether or not its design was successful, and second, translating this thought process into an image. Choose any interior space, either domestic or public, and consider it from the point of view of its function. Who uses it or will use it? What is it intended to be used for? And how many different aspects are there to that activity? You are analysing the purpose of the room/space, and the process of doing this is the same for a dining room as for a more complex large area such as a public library.

First note what you think the space ought to be doing — a short list. Then consider how well you think it succeeds. This is all before attempting photography, and it hinges on your own, personal point of view. Forming a point of view is important, because it will influence how you decide to photograph the space.

Having made your analysis, make a carefully considered photograph of the space in order to put across the way it works — or should work — for the people who use it. If you are uncertain as to how best to do this, don’t be overly concerned. The rest of this section will help you to consider different techniques of approach and composition”.

For this first exercise in the new assignment called Building and Spaces, I used a room as the given example above which I have in my home.

The room in question is actually not a room that one would use for anything in particular, but an open space on top of the landing which splits into each of the three bedrooms. When we looked at the house to buy we liked the idea of this open area, and thought at the time it would make a good area for an office, without the need to take up a bedroom.

The open area can be seen to be used as an office by the computer desk and chair. it could be mistaken for an office within an office block at first, but the brown doorway which leads to a bathroom and the chest of draws (which is for sale and there temporarily) give it away as to been a home location.

The area could be used with nothing more than a few pictures or standing home pieces to fill in the area, or it could be an ideal area for a play area for young children, or a gym or exercise area.

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The large windows add ambient light make it an ideal area for study, writing or other studies. The blinds can be closed when using the computer for editing photos and video if required.

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The bookshelves add to the office feel, and the guitar in the corner suggestions an area for some recreation also when not at work. The fact no pictures are on the wall could mean this is a fairly ew new area to move into, with no time to date to place any hangings on the wall. In image 175 another doorway to a bedroom can be seen.

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The reason we can see two chairs on the floor is we had two computers, and one was sold. This suggests the desk was shared at some point. The fact no books are on the shelfs to the right again means this could be a new location, or the area is in the middle of being cleared and moving out, or new books to be purchased and the bookcase is new. The fact is we are selling the book cases so all books have been taken off and relocated to the new bookcase on the left.

Conclusion:

I was wondering what space I would take for this exercise that would be easy to work with, but would be interesting enough to ask questions. After taking the images of our area in the home upstairs, I think this area worked fairly well. It certainly could be used for a number of activities or for nothing and to be just left as an open area, or in this case an office. I took a number of images form various heights to give an overall impression of the space in question.

Tutor Feedback – Assignment 2 People Unaware

After completing the second assignment, I was a little disappointed to here my current tutor is no longer going to be working with the OCA.

My next allocated tutor stated the following as an opening statement for my submission on People Unaware ‘ Thanks Andrew for submitting your second assignment, after recently transferring tutors. I can see from your blog that you are working methodically through the course materials. Keep pushing yourself into new areas and techniques, taking risks in order to develop your skills and learning through your degree pathway.’

The comments go on to say ‘ You have reflected well on the event itself and your process in order to capture these images. It would be also useful to reflect on the success of the images and think about how they sit together as a group. You have certainly captured a good impression of the activities at the event, taking sensitive shots of people unaware. Your shots are carefully composed and well lit clearly showing your technical skills.

One comment was to try and make use of contact sheets. I look through other students work and to be honest is something I see little of. I can understand the use of contact sheets to see how the student is working, and thinking through images for submission and why, and also why other are not suitable. I think however though that unlike the older days of film, where these images can be marked and crossed for a possibility that the digital side can take a lot more work. I will see how can incorporate this in future assignments.

I feel I am not getting as much of an overall confidence boost from this new tutor, and that I am being told only what images need work and for the reasons why, but Im not getting any comments on what images have worked which does little for my confidence.

However I will press on and hope to improve where I can based on comments received.

Exercise 15 – A public space

“For this final exercise, transfer your attention from an organised occasion to a semi-organised public space. Some of the most accessible and usable from a photographic point of view are public parks. A public beach is another possibility. Instead of a single event, there will be a variety of things happening, even if not all of it is particularly active or focused”.

For this last exercise before my main assignment I took photos of a Donkey Derby event. I wasn’t sure if the event was going ahead as rain was forecast, but I took my camera along and although we did get some rain in parts, I managed to complete the exercise.

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Spectators and organisers arrive at the Donkey Derby event, and despite some local rain all were happy to prepare the donkeys for the first of the mornings race…all in good fun of course.

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One of the events among the donkey derby was a warm up followed by a demonstration of Judo from one of the local clubs. While the instructor showed some of the children students how its done, and they soon got a chance to get their own back!

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The races were held all in good spirit, with some fierce competition even though this was all in good fun and for charity. (No animals were harmed during this event!)

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Part of the charity event included dogs chasing a false rabbit on a pulley which was hand turned. Straw was used to stop the dogs crashing into the machine should they catch the rabbit.  While some couldn’t manage to hold on, some other fury friends didn’t want to let go.

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Some of the local folk having a blast and a chin wag. Then after its all over what better way to end the day with a nice picnic, along with a few cups of English tea in the fields before the rain returns.

Conclusion:

This was in interesting event to photograph. I included photos in order of the event from start to end, although I never saw and presentation for the winners of the actual Donkey Derby so I couldn’t take any photos for that portion. All images were taken without the knowledge of the people involved. I had a medium zoom lens which enabled me to be as close or far away from the subjects as needed.

 

 

Exercise 14 – An organised event

“For this exercise you will need to research and prepare in advance. Look for an organised event at which there will be plenty of people and in which you can confidently expect to be able to photograph freely and with some variety”.

I was due to attend an off road motorcycle course at a future date, but the organisers and one already arranged prior to my start date, so I decided to go along and take photos which was in every way an organised event, with plenty of opportunity to take lots of action pictures of people unaware.

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Riders arrive at Hatta Fort Hotel, near Dubai. Bikes are prepared for the off-road course held by BMW which requires removal of wing mirrors, windshield, bike side boxes and other small parts that risk getting damaged during the two day course.

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After a full safety brief and discussion on riding techniques and handling, the riders took to the trails, lined up at the start and prepared for a hard day of off-run training.

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Some of the off road techniques proved difficult and dirty work at times. Some found it hard so all that was left is to push..not easy with a 240kg bike. Others gained confidence showing off some of the gained skills with a thumbs up after a hard first session.

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While the riders had a deserved break, the instructors showed how to move a bike on the side stand, as well as some preventative off road maintenance should it ever be required. Then it was back on the bikes for part two…the mountain stage.

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The riders were briefed on the mountain stage and the techniques required to negotiate hills and rocks. Before the start the riders walked the course in remove any loose rocks that may cause falls or bike damage, and to plan out the best course of action.

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A tough section of the course caused some of the riders to lose control and fall…all part of the learning process! As the riders tried to lift the bikes, an instructor came over to demonstrate how best to lift a 240kg bike from the ground without hurting body or bike.

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The final hours after two days proved a great improvement for the riders, seen here by showing off with a hands-off control manoeuvre and a ‘wheely’ from one of the instructors. A final group picture ended the course with very happy riders and a certificate to take home with new off road experiences gained.

Conclusion:

This was an exciting project for me as I love my off road biking also. Because I was not due on the course until a later date, it gave me time to take the photos and as the course was taken in a closed off location, I could easily move around without getting in the way of the riders. Various focal lengths were used during the picture taking process and some post processed into black and white for different effects.

 

 

 

 

Exercise 13 – Standard focal length

The brief. “The concept of ‘standard’ and ‘normal’ in lens focal length is that the view approximates to what you would see with the naked eye. This is a very loose idea, as a camera image is fixed and framed, while our eyes are constantly scanning and we have an awareness of a much wider area around the part of a scene that we are paying attention to”.

So why use a standard focal length lens?

They’re cheap, very cheap compared to many other high end lenses. They are usually very small and light, making them easy to carry in a small bag or pocket. Apertures can be small such as f1.2, f1.4 etc giving a nice depth of filed or ‘bokeh’. Due to the low f-stop they are a great lens for low light photography.

Field of vision is very close to the human eye so the image is as we see it to the naked eye in terms of composition.A lower focal lens would need to be used on an APSC sized camera due to the approx 1.4 to 1.6 x increase.

Below are some images taken with a standard 50mm lens on a full frame camera.

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Here are three examples of people taken with a standard lens. Each one taken in a different environment, i.e., indoors, outdoors and outdoors at night.

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These images show people at work. The first is a workman with a blow torch in the streets of Dubai. The second is workmen loading a dhow on the waters of Dubai Creek. The last its the camel riders working out the camera before a morning race. Some of these images may work better with a longer lens, but again this shows the viewer how the images looked to the naked eye.

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The last set of images show people posed. These images are taken in the mountains of Hatta and by the ocean in Fujeriah.

Conclusion:

The 50mm lens, or sometimes known as ‘the nifty fifty’ can be a go to lens for just about any type of photography. It can be used for portraits, landscapes, street photography, indoor, close up (ok maybe with a close up adapter or lens kit) and night due to its low aperture setting of around f1.8 or lower.

It can be carried with little required storage space and is very light. It also makes the photographer move his/her feet. Sometimes we can get very lazy and find it better to just adjust the zoom ratio rather than look around and change perspective.

Many pro photographers state we should just have only a standard lens fitted to our cameras for a month or so and go out and take photos. This is a great way to teach us viewpoints, angles and gets us out of the lazy way of taking photos that is so easy with zoom lenses.

Exercise 12 – Close and involved

The brief is to “Switch lenses (or adjust focal length) to the widest angle that you have. A true wide-angle, judged from its visual effect, is around 28mm or less. One of the uses of a wide-angle lens is to be able to cover a large subject area in one shot, but here concentrate instead on using it close to people, and try to achieve a sense of putting the viewer right inside the situation — as you will inevitably be! From the point of view of comfort and confidence, this is quite a challenging way to shoot, but try your best. As with the previous exercise, note down both the problems and the advantages created by working with a wide-angle of view from very close to the people you are photographing”.

I have added a selection of images after looking through my Lightroom images, with a search for 10-20mm lenses.

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These two shots of Elaine show how you can use a wide angle lens to get up close, but care has to be made that you don’t put facial features or limbs out of proportion.

In the close up photo of Elaine on the chair, if I had got any closer it would have made her face and nose look two enlarged. Also any limb such as hands or feet in the frame would look enlarged if positioned in the foreground.

The photo of Elaine getting ready to ride her road bike was taken from a low angle to make more use of the foreground as the sky was grey and boring. Not getting too close while using a wide lens has brought the car and path into the frame giving a sense of place.

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The use of a 20mm lens is able to shoot the surroundings of this image of Dave relaxing by a beach. Although you cannot see his right hand fully, the items on the table such as the coffee and the cigarette packet give clues as to his choosen relaxing activity.

Donna on an Abra on Dubai creek brings you into the picture with the use of a 12mm shot. Being careful not to get so close again as to put any part of the body out of proportion means we can see and feel the landscape and location.

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At first look this may seem like just a photo of a truck. But looking closer you can see the feet of two workmen who have decided to take a quick afternoon nap in the back of the truck. Again the angle of the lens shows the location and where the truck is parked, tucked into a corner of the street.

Elaine was standing next to these Arabian horses in the desert. The 18mm view has allowed Elaine to be shown close to the horses and riders, thus bringing the viewer up close an personal with the subjects.

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I like these two images of a talented artist taken in Lincoln recently. The artist was painting in a local art shop and signing ltd edition copies of some of his paintings. The wide angle lens brings the viewer into the frame as if standing next to the artist. I particularly like image [118] where the wide angle has allowed me to include one of his paintings, a girl who is looking down at the artist signing an order form.

Conclusion:

In comparison using a wide angle lens on landscapes, interiors, architecture etc is easy. Bringing people up close however is a little more difficult, as we need to ensure we don’t position the lens close to limbs or faces which would bring them out of proportion.

I don’t normally use a wide angle lens on people so close, but prefer to use a longer focal length allowing me to keep my distance such as in an earlier exercise in this blog. But this exercise has pushed me out of my comfort zone and give me working knowledge of what does and does not work.