Assignment 5 – People and Place on Assignment

So this is the last assignment in this project of People and Place. Its been a long haul and one at times I have found very challenging. Taking images of people in the city of Dubai can be difficult, due to the cultures and often very sensitive nature of the region, with different beliefs and views on cameras with regards when, where they should be pointed.

But, for this final brief we are asked to perform the following criteria:

First decide on a notional client. Choose the kind of client (newspaper, magazine, text book publisher, advertising agency, television graphics, etc.), the purpose of the assignment (educational, informational, promotional) and how the images will be used (to illustrate a story, to sell a product etc). You choose. You then need to imagine what the basic brief would be, which will mean thinking from the other side of the fence — what someone commissioning a photographer might want. Write yourself the brief so that you can refer back to it. Having assigned yourself the brief, you now need to complete it. You need to submit between 8– 12 photographs. Accompany the final images with a short written assessment.

This should include:

• the ‘client briefing’ that you gave yourself

• a statement of how you set about planning the photography

• how well you succeeded, including the difficulties and opportunities you encountered that you had not anticipated at the outset.

It took a while for me to decide what I could possible take images of to cover this topic, and while one of my first thoughts was to cover part of the old town of Dubai, I knew this would be a time consuming mission and based on my type of work I was concerned I would have trouble covering all the areas i would have included, and some of this would be purely negotiating the traffic so again this would limit me to weekends, and I don’t often get weekends off.

As I was deciding what areas I could cover I came across an advert for the up and coming cycle event in Dubai called the ‘Tour of Dubai’. This consisted of the worlds top cycle riders covering parts of the emirates over a four day period. Based on this I know the challenge would be how to cover a broad area of the event that the so called client may ask of me, should I be a designated press photographer of sorts.

So the client brief would look something like this:

  • Cover a wide area of the event, including behind the scenes.
  • Include action shots.
  • Include images of the top riders including the winners and leader.
  • Include images of before, during and after the event on any given day.
  • Capture images of at least one winner crossing the finish line.
  • Colour and/or black and white images can be used.

This years Tour of Dubai (2017) is a road cycling event that takes place in Dubai between 31 January and 4 February 2017. It is the fourth edition of the Dubai Tour and is rated as a  2107 UCI Asia Tour. A total of 16 teams would participate which includes a team from UAE, the hosting country. The very best of riders from around the world will be taking part, which big prize money on offer to the overall winner.

This event would be hard to cover due to the various locations and the limited time I would have to cover the event. On the first day I went down to the start, which included all teams in preparation for day one of the five stages, each one totalling a distances from 109km to a full 200 km per day for stage 3.

Based on my brief I was keen to get some images of work going on behind the scenes both from riders, spectators and mechanics. The event has a massive amount of ground support, along with local companies such as Audi cars, who supplied all vehicles for the event, and local bike riders who volunteer to act as camera support bikes, not to mention the large amount of the volunteer local supporters who help in road assistance, police and civil defence support. Being a helicopter pilot for the royal air wing and specialising in aerial camera filming, I also had a hand in arranging our aircraft for the live TV camera work, of which I personally flew myself filming this event two years ago, so I know first hand what goes on before and during the event from the organisation aspects.

For this I intend to use my Sony A7KKi with either a medium focal zoom such as 28-75mm, or another more varied zoom I have which is a 28-250 zoom. This last option would give me more options for wide and long shots without the need to change lenses, and thus getting more opportunity to capture action shots.

So before going onto my final selection of 8 to 12 images, lets take a look at the images I did not select, and a brief explanation with a few as to why I dint add into my final 12 images. I am trying add these contact sheets at the suggestion of my tutor.

(click any image to enlarge)

Contact sheet 1:

[235], [236], [237], [238], [239], [240], [241], [242]

Above are the first examples of some images I thought about entering, but left out for individual reasons.

From top left to right:

The image of the police cars shows some of the support offered for the race. Dubai being Dubai, only here do we have super sports cars as police cars. These cars were actually used on the race showing the lead throughout the course for each day, followed by police motorbikes, TV cameras etc.

The support cars all have each individual bikes for each rider, and each car has their own team name for easy identification. I decided to use an image of someone working on a bike as a replacement.

The close up of the bike shows the latest technology offered on the bikes, from electronic gearing with some even having bluetooth which requires no cables between front gear change levers and rear gears.

The image of the riders placing the number tags on the shirts was replaced by another shot in the final set which shows a close up. According to my tutor I need to get closer at times…so I did.

The next two shots show images while I followed the race in a support car, which someone organised for my from race protocol. These both looked the same and although they show action, I felt there was a little too much of the riders being covered by car doors, motorbikes etc.

Finally the last two shots shows a rider getting fresh water, but due to the shutter speed he could have almost being standing still, and the last shot of the bike again show technology of what the latest bikes have to offer.

Contact sheet 2:

[243], [244], [245], [246], [247], [248], [249], [250]

Top left to right:

For these images the first two shots show action, but I felt due to the lighting and distance from the riders they were a little weak photographically. The second shot is too far away with too much distraction in the foreground with the safety barrier.

I wanted to show images of support from the crowds. And for the event there was a lot of support. People came from office blocks and houses to cheer the riders on. But one was taken from a fast moving car which was support for the riders, so it is a little blurred, the second was showing camera crew and organisers during the first day finish line, but I felt the image was all together too busy with not enough focus and lacking foreground elements.

A light hearted look at the people and the professionals, with a quick selfie shot and the presentation area in the background. I actually like this shot but thought that with only 12 images to choose from, this one just didn’t quite make it, but I do like it.

The next image shows the winner of the first day, Marcel Kittel, receiving his prize on the presentation stand. I felt it was a good enough image as it shows the people and surroundings, but felt it was a little too far away with Kittel being very small in the overall frame.

The next to last image shows the post race brief. I know this but decided the image could be taken anywhere, and didn’t hold enough weight and was a little too static.

Lastly the image of the two pro riders was going to be used as a mention to the sport, in that it cannot proceed and run without the help of all the sponsors. Many sponsorship names can be seen on the back of the shirts of all rider teams, but I decided to leave this one out mainly because of not seeing the faces of the riders.

Contact sheet 3:

[253], [254], [255], [256], [257], [258], [259], [260]

Top left to right:

Another selfie shot, but this one was taken with what would turn out to be the overall winner, Marcel Kittel. This was taken during Kittel spending time at his sponsors vending area selling bikes and riding kit prior to the start.

Next is Mark Cavendish, one of the strongest sprint riders in the world, and hails from Isle of Man. I didn’t use this image as I would have liked Mark to be wearing his helmet, and the background is too distracting.

The event holds different prices with money within the event. Such prices and awards include sprint distance races, youngest rider, big of the mountain and others. These were the line up of this years shirts and each colour represents a certain award for the winner, and they are presented with the shirt at the end of each day, and the awards can move from rider to rider. Whoever wins can wear that coloured shirt the next day of racing. This was not used as it was not that interesting on its own and needed a rider wearing or being presented.

A UK Tv presenter from a popular Youtube channel called GCN, interviews a rider before the race. Not a bad shot but the other selections are better i felt.

The next two images on the bottom left show Mercel Kittel getting ready and adjusting his kit before the start of day 3, and another with him talking to Mark Cavendish on the start line. I like both images but again I had to decide on a final 12 and left these out.

Lastly is a shot I was thinking of using of the two team riders talking pre race tactics, and the official of the start ready to drop the flag. Both not used for the feeling of better images available from the final selection of 400 plus images taken over the 2 days I was able to cover the event.

Below is my final selection of 12 images for this assignment, or as it were for the client in respect to the brief I would have should I be doing this for a magazine, newspaper publication etc. I felt I could have submitted more than 12 images, as I feel with such a wide range of different shots possible a selection of 12 only may not be enough. Of course everyone would pick a separate set of 12 and the final choice would be the clients, and not mine. I would submit more than maybe 50 of the best shots and give the client time to choose the best 12 for whatever purpose they would see fit, based on the final choice of media it would go to.

(click any image to enlarge)

Main selection of 12 images:

[261]

This is freestyle cyclist Vittorio Brumotti doing what he does best, world record holder in freestyle stunt bike riding. Just prior to the professional racers signing on for the race, Vittorio shows the crowd just behind me his amazing ability and stunts that can be performed on a road bike. In 2012 Vittorio Brumotti got the Guinness World Record for having climbed the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, on bicycles, in exactly 2 hours and 20 minutes. [8] In the same year he was awarded the Prize to the voice against waste in the ninth edition of the Golden Leggio (ref: wiki). Here he gets the main presenter to lay down while jumping over him from a standing start, he then carry on the jump down off the stage which was about a 6 foot drop.

[262]

A new addition to the pro circuit this years sees a team entered from Abu Dhabi, representing the UAE. The team will make its race debut at the People’s Choice Classic criterium on January 15 and then ride the Tour Down Under, which begins a couple of days later on January 17. Britain’s Ben Swift will lead UAE Abu Dhabi along with Ulissi Meintjes. During the pre start of every race is a presentation of riders to the public, along with a signing of the officials board. On the right of the image the Tour of Dubai trophy can be seen, representing a modern shape of a wheel made in silver.

[263]

Preparation is a big part of any race event, and the Tour of Dubai is no different. Here we see one of the pro riders pinning his race number onto his shirt. They collect the race numbers just before the race and then put them on the shirt using safety pins. I always thought that this would be done in advance by some part of the support team, while the riders relax, but it seems all of this preparation is in the hands of each individual rider. At first I thought about submitting this image as a black and white, but decided to leave it in color as too much details seemed to be lost without colours. In the centre of the body we can see the heart rate monitor, which gives vital data to the rider and also to the support crew, which can help during the race and be analyzed afterwards with software.

[264]

I thought hard about weather I should submit this image, but I wanted to include an image which depicts the bikes, as these are the major part of equipment that each rider uses. These bikes are state of the art technology and can cost in the region of 15000 pounds and above. I race ironman triathlons myself and I can appreciate the technology and design features that go into each bike. Here we see the supply, or support bikes on top of one of the team cars at the start, with the Dubai palms in the background. Should a bike fail during the race, the support cars are close at hand to each rider of the respective team, and bikes can be replaced in a matter of seconds, so not losing too much time on the race and being left behind the other riders.

[265]

Support and maintenance of these expensive machines takes skill and understanding of the needs of each individual rider. Each team has a number of mechanics who can take a bike apart, put it together and make the slightest adjustments to rider position, wheel choices based on type of riding conditions for the day, as well as daily maintenance and repair. Here we see one mechanic check the true spinning angle of the wheel to ensure nothing is left to chance that could cause a failure, and to ensure the bike runs at optimal speed and performance. State of the art carbons composite materials are used both on the wheel rims and the bike frame, and a set of wheels can cost over 3000 pounds for 1 set.

[266]

Before the start of each race all the riders have the photo session and also need to sign the race board as proof of arrival. A rider cannot race without the signing of the official competitor board. Here a rider from Italy, number 45, steps up to the race board to make his mark. For this shot I was in an area closed to public art from official photographers. As I had contacts with race organizers, I managed to get behind the board during this signing process. The crowds can be seen behind watching the other riders arrive on stage which also requires the ‘signing in’ on an official book.

[267]

While waiting during one of the race starts, I was up close to Marcel Kittel, who became the overall winner. Here we can see the focus in his face as he prepares his kit, and gets his radio mic set up inside his shirt. The riders have two way radio communication with the race team who follow in the support cars. Information can be relayed such as race stats, leaders, or if assistance if required for the rider.

[268]

Here we can see the riders pushing hard up a hill section which goes through a marina area. In front is one of the strongest bikes sprinters in the world Mark Cavendish. Other teams follow close behind as the weaker riders try to catch up. This is a grueling sport and many riders may not finish the race. This could be because of the environmental conditions such as heat, strong winds or mechanical failure of the bike. Teams try to stick together and help one main strong rider based in each team to cross the finish line. This is done for a major part of the race by protecting the strong rider, such as here, then allowing the strong sprinter to cross the finish line.

[269]

I was fortunate enough to get a ride in one of the support are on day one of the race. These cars follow the riders and assist in changing bike, flat tires etc during the race. The cars are also responsible for carrying the food which the riders require during the race which can normally last between 3-4 hours. Here not long after the start, we can see the riders all close together breaking through the pack of support cars. I happened to look back to catch this image which shows the riders close together in teams, and trying to gain an advantage by drafting, thus saving energy by protecting themselves behind the riders in front. This drafting technique is common in pro cycling.

[270]

This action shot was shot in the desert area of Dubai, while the riders came around a fast corner. I was still traveling in the support car, but as the car stopped, I jumped out and ran across the road to get this shot. Although the images does not really show the speed, these ridders are approaching 40 kph. I left the shutter slightly low in order to try and capture some movement of the wheels and legs, giving a sense of speed. I was too far away to use fill flash.

[271]

Due to the nature of the sport, the riders cannot stop during the race for any breaks such as food. Therefore the support cars will supply food, and the riders will also take small amounts of energy bars and water on the bikes and in shirt pockets. Here I was riding in the support car and I leaned across the driver to get this shot of these two riders in the chase, all the while still taking time out to get some energy into their bodies. Despite the high physical efforts needed to sustain 45-55kph its important to try and get replenishments into the body to carry on to the finish without the risk of running out of energy.

[272]

This is what it all boils down to. Crossing the finish after over 3 hours of all out effort, and all the while being chased by approx. 100 other riders behind, all trying to cross the finish line for the grand price. This was taken on day one, and this final sprint would take place for another four times indifferent locations across the UAE, and the final winer of the  whole event would be based on the quickest time overall. Here Marcel Kittel crosses the line, and he does so again three times to take the overall winners trophy. Behind Kittel we can see the world strongest sprinter Mark Cavendish in the black kit trying the pass Kittel, only to be beaten by a few feet. Often the finish can be so close it would require a photo to decide the winner. I thought about making this image closer to the winner crossing the line, but I wanted to include the overall atmosphere of the fins inline which includes spectators, cameramen and the other riders fighting for the finish-line.

Conclusion:

This concludes my final assignment for People and Place. As part of the closing brief, the OCA notes mention the following:

 State – How well you succeeded, including the difficulties and opportunities you encountered that you had not anticipated at the outset.

My whole approach from the start was to try and include images giving a view and feel of both the main event, and behind the scenes. The sport of pro cycling is a team event and one which requires a mass of support for many areas. I have included both the riders, in profile and during race conditions, as well as the support crews who help make the riders reach the finish-line. The images submitted are also intended to try and show some of the characters of the sport, who are the best of the best, and the dedication and effort required to compete.

I found the images hard to capture, as its a type of event you only get one chance to get. The riders travel at such speeds during the race that it is not only hard to get the image due to road closures etc, but due to the vast amount of kilometres the riders cover, once they pass your camera lens it could be too late to catch them up for other shots. One of the reasons for this is all public roads are closed for the riders so there is no way to overtake and stop on the side of a road and retake another shot.

I was very lucky to get invited into a support car which was not planned, which allowed me to have multiple chances to get images of the riders. This also allowed me to travel ahead of the race pack at times and gets images such as the race finish, as the support cars are allowed to follow the riders on the same roads without issue.

I have tried to cover a large cross section of the event, as the brief would have suggested, which includes images of the start, preparation, during and after the race, as well as what happens as part of race preparation that the public may not normally see. I would have liked to include more images but as the brief was for 8-12 images I have tried to cover the clients needs in all of the 12 images submitted.

I found the use of having the camera switched on and ready to fire a great help, as an event like this would not allow a photographer to be turning the system on and off, as the image would simply be lost by the time the camera was ready to take a picture.

Finally I am happy with the images and have included them in sequence to act as a sort of story or narrative, which takes me onto my next assignments, and to help the viewer see an event like pro cycling unfold from beginning to end.

Thank you.

Ref:

https://www.dubaitour.com

http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/dubai-tour-2017/

http://www.steephill.tv/dubai-tour/

https://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=it&u=https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vittorio_Brumotti&prev=search

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/uae-abu-dhabi-team-reveals-its-new-colours/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/38844632

http://cvndsh.com

 

Assignment 3 – Buildings in use

Its been a while since my last assignment submission, mainly due to work issues and getting all the material put together for this assignment.

The OCA brief seems simple on first read which states ‘ Choose five or six buildings and for each produce between two and four images that describe effectively and attractively the way in which these spaces are used’. Further to this the brief requires the student to do the following ‘ You can choose to include people in the images, or not. For each building, it is important that you conduct some research beforehand, either archival or personal (or both), so that you have:

• a good understanding of how and why it was designed in the way it is

• an opinion on its effectiveness as a usable space.

Try to encompass variety in your choice of buildings, including in size and purpose. Write a short statement in your learning log demonstrating your understanding of the function of each building, the way in which it was designed to achieve that, and how well you believe it succeeds. In addition, describe briefly how you initially set about showing the important features of each building photographically, and what you learned during the course of shooting the assignment.

After whats seemed like an eternity thinking of what buildings I could use for this assignment, it became apparent that this may not be as simple as first thought. Of all the choices of buildings I could use, how am I going to break this down to five buildings and within that, submit only 4 or 5 pictures to demonstrate what the brief requires?

So after thinking of which buildings to use where I can complete the full brief, I set out to break down my final choices. My section of images will have a brief description on why I think it works for the required criteria, accompanied with brief metadata and any relevant technical details on how the image was captured.

I’m based in Dubai, and capturing a set of images with an average outside daily summer temperature of between 35-42 degrees is difficult. As not all of the images would be taken indoors I not only had the heat to deal with, but the risk of burnt out highlights as the sun rises very quickly here, so timing would play a big role in catching the right light.

The final set of five buildings (locations) Ive chosen are:

  • Masdar City (Abu Dhabi)
  • Mall of the Emirates (Dubai)
  • Arcadia Preparatory School (Dubai)
  • The Last Exit Food Truck Stop (situated between Dubai and Abu Dhabi)
  • Madinat Souk (Dubai)

All images were taken on a Sony A7MK II, with a 16-35mm Zeiss ZA OSS lens. Some artificial lighting was used were needed. Software for post processing was Lightroom CC. All references for each location are presented at the end of this blog. Relevant metadata can be found under each image.

(click on any image to enlarge)

Set 1 – MASDAR CITY – ABU DHABI, UAE.

Mazda City is based in Abu Dhabi, which is approx a 1 and a half hour drive from Dubai. All I knew of the area before deciding on this location was it was detailed as one of the most sustainable eco friendly cities in the world, and had many areas of invention and pioneering attributes which were worth exploring. What I may find to photograph before my visit wasn’t sure, but thought the journey would prove worth while.

On the website the first statement reads “Seizing The Next Decade. Our goal over the next 10 years is to strengthen the role of clean energy in the global energy mix”. Master is part of the Mubadula Group of companies, and the city was built in Abu Dhabi in 2006.Masdar is working to advance the clean energy industry in Abu Dhabi and around the world, and it is a catalyst for the economic diversification of the emirate.

Masdar is focussing on clean energy deployment, sustainable real estate and independent research. Within Masdar City are graduate university were students can reside during term, offices, shops, an underground driverless car transport system, as well as one of the largest solar panel projects in the world.

[190]

1/640sec, F9, ISO 800

The first image above show modern buildings of varying shapes and sizes. Metal and concert structures almost touch each other in maze of curves and straight lines. I feel that the closeness of each building has a purpose, and that is to shield the residents and work people from the intense summer heat that can touch 50 degrees centigrade in this part of the world. The image shows how the buildings create shadows and shade for those that dare to venture outdoors in the summer months. Each building is designed in its own unique way to reflect the heat while giving a pleasing futuristic look without appearing boring. At the top of the building one can see the massive solar panels which trap and collect energy in this modern futuristic city.

Converted to B&W to enhance the lines and curves of the buildings so as to now allow colour to be a distraction, with leading lines of the sink drain bringing the eye to the figure crossing the street which helps give depth and a measure of size the the buildings.

[191]

1/1250sec, F9, ISO 800

Situated in the background of this image is the Institute of Science and Technology. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research. Once again the building is contracted in a way to reflect heat with specially constructed spiked tiles. The central rest area is protected again by other sand coloured buildings which are part of the residence of the students, with overhangs to give shade. Just out of view to the right of the image is a coffee shop from a famous worldwide brand, as well as a small supermarket and restaurants near by. The trees and rocks give a feeling of being in the country or park, when in fact just behind the buildings is open desert. Rich desert colours are often used on many of the buildings.

[192]

1/30sec, F6.3, ISO 800

Within Masdar City is a prototype ‘Rapid Transport System’, also known as the Personal Rapid Transit ‘PRT’, which is a system of driverless cars, or ‘Pods’, which can transport 6-8 people at a time around a the city. At the moment the system only travels 800 meters from the central location within one of the main buildings to the car park. The system in place at the moment is fully operational, and I took ride in the pods. You simply sit in the car and press a play button on a centre console. The doors will close and take you to the destination without an tracks or electric wires connected to the car. If another car is on the track they will wait for each other to make space. The system was due to be increased in size to many more pods, but the current project has been put on hold. The pods are electric and while they sit waiting for passengers they are charging the batteries in the dock.

The image taken above is within the main building, is was fairly dark so I waited for passengers to leave the station so not to act as a distraction. I placed my camera on a bench and took a set of shots to allow a slow exposure and reduce blur. The leading lines of the floor and square tiling on the ceiling bring the view towards the pods sat waiting for the next passengers.

[193]

1/3200sec, F9, ISO 800

This image is taken on the drive towards Masdar City, and is just on the entrance to one of the major car parking areas. One can see the many shapes of the various buildings and the attempt at the greenery on the approach with hedges and gardens which surround the city. I thought of including a shy in the image but thought it best to show how the area looks without any over post processing.

Set 2 – LAST EXIT – ABU DHABI/DUBAI BOARDER, UAE.

On my back from Abu Dhabi after taking images of Masdar City, I came across a new outlet which at first looked like a normal petrol station or some abandoned rest stop. I pulled in and drove back into the desert away from the main highway, to find this new rest stop come food outlet which I had heard nothing about. The new project turned out to be a new food truck park, complete with the american type food trailers known as ‘Airstreams’ and indoor eating centre. it opened only this summer 2016, and had multitude of caravan type food outlets. One of the comments on a review states ” This is not bland – or cheap – fast food. Last Exit is a gourmet pit stop with something to please every palate – from falafel and Mexican cuisine to seafood and burgers.”

The stop has an obvious car and motor vehicle theme, as can be seen when you first drive into the car park with old cars stacked on top of each other, and an old VW Beatle sat on top of the main building. You can drive through or take time to look around and eat indoors or outside in the winter months.

[194]

1/3200sec, F8, ISO 800

This first image is an example of how the building interacts with people from the car park area to walking inside the food court. I noticed after a short while that all the items used are either recycled, or looked to be recycled. Look at how the bike stands are made from old barrels cut open to allow the bikes to fit. The corrugated materials used to make the main building give an industrial feel to the whole area.

The image was taken to show the separate items used for the visitors, and how everything is laid out in a spacious way while encouraging recycling. Image is closely cropped to remove the featureless sky.

[195]

1/250sec, F6.3, ISO 800

1/250sec, F6.3, ISO 800

Once inside the truck stop food area, you are met with a multitude of car parts, metal dealing made of aluminium, door handles made from petrol pump fillers and tables made from recycled industrial cable wire barrels. This building has done a great job of supplying the customers with a place to eat using all the recycled materials available, while giving it a bright feel with colours and bright open windows. Notice how the light shades are made from recycled wheels and spokes.

[196]

1/125sec, F4.5, ISO 800

1/125sec, F4.5, ISO 800

Along the corridor which connects two of the food eating areas, is made to feel like some sort of garage. The stools are made from old wood and the foot pegs are made from cycling pedals. Old tool boxes are situated as counter tops with stainless steel road signs on the roof which point in the directions of each location. Pipes are used to hold up the wooden shelf areas and buckets are the light shades. This adds to the whole feel of being a motor theme.

[197]

1/10sec, F4.5, ISO 800

1/10sec, F4.5, ISO 800

This image of the males rest rooms was a little hard to capture, not just because of the low light, but because it had an attendant cleaning the floors and helping guests with towels etc, plus I had to wait for the area to become clear. I felt a bit strange standing outside a male toilet waiting to take a few pictures like some stalker. I asked the attendant if I could take a few pictures as I liked the theme of how they had designed the room. You can see the wheels and car tires used for the wash basins, and the car number plates use for the lamp shades. The pipes are real with water coming from underground and to make the water come out the taps (which are petrol pump handles) you stand on the accelerator pedal on the floor. The urinals (I spared you the picture on this one) just out of view on the left of frame are made from old buckets. Personally I thought this was the best example of how a room or building could be made unique and still function perfectly, that Ive ever seen. Very clever.

All three above images indoors were taken into Lightroom and given a grungy feel and deep colours with high clarity to enhance the items used in each room, and to bring out the vivid colours. They looked good in B&W but I felt the colours helped better and added separation to each item, as there were so many to see in such a small area.

SET 3 – MALL OF THE EMIRATES, DUBAI, UAE

For my next building I decided to use a shopping area, or mall, as this is a little different to some of the normal malls that are available to the public in the UK. Different as in the area is designed to give a feel of being outdoors while being inside due to the high temperatures we experience here in Dubai. But while talking of high temperatures it also boosts a Ski slope. Yes….a Ski slope! The only Ski slope in the middle east.

Mall of the Emirates was opened November 2005. The multi-level shopping mall currently features more than 630 retail outlets, 7900 parking spaces, over 100 restaurants & Cafes, 80 luxury stores and 250 flagship stores, and as mentioned has the only Ski slope in the middle east.

[198]

1/400sec f6.3, ISO 800

I decided to take my first image of the mall from the outside, as this massive structure overhangs the car park and entrances to part of the mall. This is Ski Dubai which is situated at one end of the mall. It has a black slope for the most experienced of skiers so height and length is required while space is at a premium with over 25,000sq meters of space. Signs are posted around the parking area to located certain areas for foot traffic, as well as electronic parking meters showing what number of spaces are available in each parking lane.

This image shows how buildings can be placed around each other to accommodate people and traffic, while space is at its most premium. Parking is still available underneath the Ski structure making use of every available space.

[199]

1/200sec, F7.1, ISO 800

1/200sec, F7.1, ISO 800

As mentioned in the opening text, Mall of the Emirates consists of more than 100 restaurants and cafes. Making use of space again in this example, we can see how natural light is able to cover the whole area which in this area is on the top floor of the mall. The visitors are able to enter down the escalator to be met with a combination of shops and eating outlets. The building has air conditioning ducts around the sides of the shops (long black grills) which keep the area cool. Just out of view in the far left corner is the worlds largest Apple store.

The image was converted to B&W to enhance the ones and steel window light structure. The escalator rails help bring the viewer into the image and act as leading lines.

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1/200sec, F7.1, ISO 800

1/200sec, F7.1, ISO 800

This next image shows the central part of Mall of the Emirates. The building is designed in four different levels, each with interlacing stairs, lifts and escalators to transport visitors easily between each floor. Expensive marble is used on the flooring which reflects light back up from the natural skylight reducing the need for bright lights and thus saving power and the planet.

As per the previous picture, this image is converted to B&W white show the lines and sun rays from the above skylight. The lines of each level help take the viewer into the photograph.

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1/100sec, F8, ISO 800

This area is near one of the main entrances to the mall. The shoppers and visitors are welcomed with a bright area, again from the massive natural skylight above, and fountain features and greenery which is detailed to give the feeling of being outdoors. Each restaurant table around the horse feature fountain has short hedges and flower arrangements to enhance the outdoor feel. The building is designed to bring the shoppers to an open area from each level. Escalators just behind the image view help to transport shoppers to each level.

This image worked best in colour due to the flooring. The image is taken from a viewpoint of creating circles within circles, from the tiling floor, fountain and the balconies.

SET 4 – SOUQ MADINAT, DUBAI, UAE

For my last set of images for buildings in use, I decided to take a trip down to Souq Madinat, which is situated next to the famous Burj Al Arab hotel. Its owned by the Jumeirah group of hotels and consists of 24 restaurants, a waterway which takes passengers from restaurant to restaurant, or restaurant to hotel and other locations within the souq area, as well as  a number of high end hotels. The Madinat souq is also home to a Turtle sanctuary and a 442 seat Theatre which is available for live shows and movies. Visitors who are not staying in the hotels can take an Abra ride around the waterways. All parking is based underground.

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1/1000sec, F14, ISO 800

1/1000sec, F14, ISO 800

One of the main entrance points of the Souq Madinat is used for pick up and drop off for visitors. Surrounding the entrance we can see the theme of the soul which is in the form of the old arabic wind tunnels, along with the sand coloured walls giving an authentic feel to the building on arrival. Palm trees greet the disembarking passengers adding to the arabic theme.

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1/100sec, F5.6, ISO 800

1/100sec, F5.6, ISO 800

Once inside the souq you are transformed into a different world, as if you have been taken back in time to the early days of Arabia. The ceiling and decor are all copies of an ancient world of the Arabian markets or ‘souq’. A total of 75 shops and stalls are scattered around the interior, with more shopping areas located outside in allyways. Large high wooden beams make up the structure of the building with cold concrete pathways giving a feeling of yesteryear. Along the central walkway above is antique style lighting.

Image was shot to show the structure of the building, with a portrait frame to help highlight the high ceilings and wonderful wooden beams. Some areas of the image were lightened to bring out the shadows.

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1/2000sec, F11, ISO 800

1/2000sec, F11, ISO 800

Once outside the souq we have buildings designed in the old fashioned stone, with wind towers (or wind catchers) high above the ground. These wind towers are still used today and help reduce the temperature of buildings which have no electricity or available air conditioning. On first impression you may think you have been transported back in time, but clues that you are in the modern world are highlighted by the modern food chain sign on the door, along with the popular coffee shop chain and the menu on the right lower corner of the image. Wooden stairways are situated around to help visitors to each level.

Image was taken low to enhance height of the buildings and converted to B&W to give an old fashioned feel, with subtle composition to show the food chains. The positioning was made to bring the highlight of the sun through the palm trees.

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1/1000sec, F11, ISO 800

1/1000sec, F11, ISO 800

The final image of this set show the Abra and the waterways which surround the Souq Madinat. These Abra boats can take passengers to various restaurants, bars and hotel rooms. Visitors who are not staying in the hotels can still take a paid trip around the buildings and souq areas. The buildings are located facing each other, so we have restaurants on one side with hotel rooms on the opposite of the waterway. The water is brought in through channels from the nearby sea. The construction area also has a certain number of bridges (as can be seen in the distance) which also connect hotels to the shops and souq. All the areas outside are scattered generously with Palm trees and other flowers and landscaping.

This image was taken showing the various elements of the building and its surroundings. from the buildings on the right which encompasses the restaurants and tables to the waterways with the passing Abra, to the hotel locations on the left side, while leading the eye into the frame to the Burj Al Arab hotel in the distance.

Conclusion.

Comparison with assessment criteria.

DEMONSTRATION OF TECHNICAL AND VISUAL SKILLS.

For this third assignment I decided to include images with and without people. I have chosen to use a number of different camera angles to enhance the image when ever needed. Lighting was mainly natural as I feel most of the images didn’t require any artificial lighting given the subject matter. I have a camera with built in OSS so I was able to up the ISO and then reduce any noise in Lightroom CC.

QUALITY OF OUTCOME.

I found the final choice of buildings hard, and also the type of images required didn’t allow me to be so creative in the image. Therefore no post processing to any high degree was used like I may have used in past assignments. I feel I have covered a cross section of building that show clearly how they interact with people, even though we as the end user may not notice this in our daily lives.

DEMONSTRATION OF CREATIVITY.

I have used leading lines in certain images to take the eye into the frame and this was chosen carefully. At times I was carful and patient to wait for a person to move into a certain spot within the frame, thus helping give the image weight and to show a feeling of size. With other images I choose not to include any person or people so to concentrate on the image itself. I have used a full cross section of buildings from shopping malls, industrial and schools. Where needed I have used B&W if I thought this was relevant to the image, so colour would not be a distraction, allowing the viewer to concentrate and appreciate the lines and contours within the frame.

CONTEXT.

Research was done on each building well before the images were shot, so I had a feel of what I wanted to capture in my head. It turned out that looking back at the final selection I pretty much took images of what I had in mind prior to the visits. I had read a number of other student sites and submissions and did my best to not copy or emulate others images, as I wish my images to be personal to me with my own creativity and thought. The assignment was harder than at first thought, as I felt I couldn’t be so creative with the images and that I stood a risk of the images becoming boring. I tried to chose different viewpoints to keep the images interesting with write-ups on each which would give interesting information to complement each photograph.

References and research :

Set 1 – Masdar City:

Set 2 – Last Exit

Set 3 – Mall of the Emirates

Set 4 – Souq Madinat

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.

Click on any image to enlarge.

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img_1217

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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img_1357

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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untitled-89

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.

Assignment 2 – People and Activity

OCA Brief: ‘The object of this assignment is to plan and execute a set of images of people in some form of meaningful activity. This could be work, sport, a stage performance (music, drama), or at a social event.

You should produce a set of approximately 10 final, selected images, and you can choose between depicting the same person (or small group) at different kinds of activity, or different people at the same single activity or event.

Concentrate especially on two aspects: on telling moments, and on ‘explaining’ the activity (which means choosing viewpoint, framing and timing to make the actions as intelligible as possible).

In your learning log:

• Critically assess your finished work. Consider each piece individually.

• Identify what has worked well and what has been less successful and analyse the reasons for this’.

For this assignment we are tasked with taking images for submission which may include actual people who are aware, which was a little confusing to me at first, based on the main titles of all other exercises which are for people un-aware.

I had to be very careful how I picked my event based in Dubai, taking images of people can be rather sensitive. After looking around on the web sites and events magazines I came across a local photography and video show which was coming up called Photography Live. So armed with just my Sony A7 MKii and just two lenses so I would not be so conspicuous I set off for the event.

I needed to make sure I was careful in the image taking during the event, so to blend in I attended a couple of seminars and took the advantage of learning at the same time. After a while and two seminars later I started to take pictures in the most casual way, but all the time carefully constructing ideas in my mind of what I wanted to capture.

Even though the subjects for all previous exercises have been for people un-aware, I decided I would combine a mixture of people both aware and un-aware for my final submissions in Assignment 2 People and Activity, as this was not clearly stipulated in the brief. Overall the I spent more than 5 hours at the event over the course of late afternoon into evening.

All images are taken with a Sony A7 Mkii, with Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS and Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA lenses. All images edited in Lightroom CC only and uploaded as JPEG. ISO was high due to low light and not wanted to opt for flash, so as to remain unnoticed as much as possible. All images shot in RAW in camera.

(click on any image to enlarge)

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People and Faces of the world

People and Faces of the world

For this opening image, I had to keep coming back to the location for a number of reasons. Either people looking at the images would move out of the way when I brought the camera to my eye, or they would simply walk away in case they just didn’t wish to have their photo taken. So I waited for some length of time before I got this image. I like the way the image is composed showing every photo of faces look at the man. Not one image on display has a face looking away, even to the point of the old lady on the top left looking down at the man. In addition the main man looking at the images seems to making direct eye contact with the man with the Falcon in the image, as is the lady in the very top of the frame placed on the ceiling looking back into the frame. I played with turning this to B&W but thought the colours added to the overall image. 1/125sec, F6.3, 24mm. ISO 2500

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Hot and Cold

Hot and Cold

As I walked around the show I came across this guy looking at his phone while on a stand. What caught my eye was his orange hair. Then after looking at the stand I saw it was called Hot and Cold Studios, which seem to match his hair in orange (hot) and the contrasting black sides (cold). I walked passed him a number of times and kept looking back, until finally I knelt down and took one shot and walked away so not to annoy him. He did look at me when I took the shot but just got back to his phone so all was good. I think the colour of his skin matches his hair and the writing on his shirt, and the black t-shirt matching his black hair and writing on the wall as well as his watch. 1/80sec, F6.3, 144mm. ISO 2500

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Clean up

Clean up

During the show I came across this Sony stall. They were offering a free sensor clean and firmware update for all Sony cameras. As I was using a Sony A7MKii I left the camera with them and returned after around 30mins. When I took my camera after the service update I asked the guy if I could take a couple of shots of him cleaning a camera. So this was a staged shot, and in fact he just picked up a camera that had already been cleaned and posed for some quick shots. Some images I couldn’t use as you could see my reflection in the lamp, as well as the girl in the background looking at me. So I choose a close crop and turned into B&W for a contrasty look. 1/80sec, F4, 24mm. ISO 2500

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Gorilla Pod

Gorilla Pod

Once again I felt a little bit like a stalker, following this guy around until I could get the right shot. When I first walked passed him what stood out for me was the Gorilla Pod with the long legs sticking out in front of the camera. I guess he was using them as a balance as he seemed to be taking video. While he was talking some video I walked up fairly close and took a few shots without him having any clue. I then looked in the other direction as if I was interested in something else so not to arise any suspicion. The idea of the shot was to show action while incorporation the surroundings. His facial expression shows one of concentration. 1/200sec, F4, 55mm. ISO 2500

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Coffee break

Coffee break

This was a little cheeky shot I took while I sat and had a coffee in the make shift break area. While I sat at a table, still looking for prey, up came across these two people, one of them a host speaker according to his badge. As I had my drink I noticed the guys fuzzy hair and hoped that the two would remain in the same area so I could get a few shots of them. At first I made out as if I was taking some shots of the flower arrangement that was on my table. The two just carried on talking without any idea they were in fact the main stars of the show! Finally I took a few more shots just as the guy noticed me. He gave a grin and carried on while the girl I think had no idea what was was taking place. I like the flowers in the foreground that lead into the two people and the plain curtain background helps distinguish the hair and both faces well. 1/60sec, F5.6, 55mm. ISO 2500

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Admire me

Admire me

This was taken during a demonstration of lighting techniques at the Sony stand. I stood to one side and looked for interesting compositions that would be a little different. As the girl model was in-between takes she prepared for the next shoot, and I saw in the background purely by chance that the two guys, one with his hand on his heart, and the other with his hand on his face, looked to be admiring the girl, almost as if they were in love with her. The fact that the model could almost be saying to herself look at me and admire me helped the overall shot. The white area behind her looks like a hat, but in fact is a beauty dish. The girl in the front and the two guys in the back bring in a nice triangle to the composition. If the two guys in the background had been looking in any other direction the shot would not have worked. I transferred to B&W to remove any colour distraction to help concentrate on the faces. I would have liked to remove the person just to the left of the models head, but I wanted the image to be as close to in camera as possible and not over edited it in post. 1/250sec, F3.2, 55mm. ISO 2500

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Quick shot

Quick shot

During my walk around the show I kept passing this lady, who I thought was very pretty. Some ladies in the middle east wear the local dress even if not local, so I’m not sure if this person is local or from another non muslim country. Here you can see the  hijab or ḥijāb which is the name for the head dress worn by females, and the name in Arabic means ‘screen’ or ‘curtain’. I was looking at a demonstration of a DJI Phantom 4 drone been flown in a closed area. I was watching the drone and looked next to me to see this lady again, taking some video on her phone. I liked the pleasing side profile of her face and how the black and white of her dress and background separated each other. I also thought the position of her hand on her chin was very eloquent. The original image out of camera was almost full length, so I cropped to just above half to focus on the face and hand. I left this shot in colour as I liked the skin tone. 1/320sec, F3.2, 55mm. ISO 2500

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Pay attention

Pay attention

From all the images I took during the photo exhibition, without doubt this one comes in as the most sneaky. While sat listening to a talk on social media, I turned around to see who else was attending. I noticed these two sat directly behind me, and at first they were spending time on their mobiles phones and sorting things in the white bag in the centre. After a short what I decided I would place my camera on the seat and face it behind me. Then with just pointing the camera up hoping it would be the right angle, took some shots without knowing if they would come out or not. I took about ten shots and later looked and managed to get one or two that I was pleased with. I like the fact the two people are not looking at the camera and the photo of the man with a view across his face is also looking into the frame at the two people. Again another example of composing a triangle. 1/400sec, F3.2, 55mm. ISO 2500

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Afghan eyes

Afghan eyes

As the title suggests, after I reviewed this image the first thought that came into my head was the famous shot of ‘Afghan Girl’, by Steve McCurry. Not that for one moment I’m trying to compare this image to Afghan Girl in terms of quality or composition, or copy the same, but the striking eyes of the child in the centre photo just brought back memories of the image by McCurry. This is one for my favourite images from my selection of 10, as I like the elements of the two boys looking into the frame, while we have a nice balance of three elements looking back into the image from right, left and centre. The man waving is very surreal, and the old lady on the left of frame looking in is just inside enough to be seen, and to help, that image had blur which was a train passing, so all we can see is the old ladies face with no other distractions. The images on display were for judging, hence the more the stickers the better the image for gaining points for the overall winners. 1/1250sec, F3.2, 55mm. ISO 2500

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In wonderland

In wonderland

Fully dressed in Alice in Wonderland outfit, along with matching props, I saw this girl posing for shots during the exhibition for people to try out camera that were on display. I walked around for a while and felt a little embarrassed if I’m honest as she always looked directly at each photographer that took photos of her. So I walked away from the area a few times before gaining a little courage to go back and make a few shots. At first I only took shots while the girl was looking at other cameras, but when I viewed the final images I had taken I preferred the one were the girl is looking at my camera. I moved around a little to see what viewpoint I liked the most, and this came out to be the best of the selection. Above the chair out of view was two bird cages, but I found that the face came away too much from the rule of thirds, and almost placed the models face dead centre of the frame..’dead centre is deadly’ as they say. So I opted to remove the top area of the frame and close in to bring the models eyeliner on one top left third. This image would not do justice in B&W with all the lovely colours in the chair, dress and background. 1/400sec, F5.6, 55mm. ISO 2500

Comparison with assessment criteria.

DEMONSTRATION OF TECHNICAL AND VISUAL SKILLS.

For this second assignment I have worked to cover both people aware and un-aware. The brief does not actually mention if this should be one or the other, even though the whole exercises have been mainly people un-aware. During the event I wanted to use a number of lighting conditions, such as flash or LED lighting, but the conditions have not provided for this type of additional lighting, as this would have brought attention to myself, and affected the subjects as they would have become posed, or not wanted any images taken of them, thus reducing the element of surprise and candid shots. I worked with the light I had available so adjusted camera settings as required, as well as white balance for colour  correction and skin tones.

QUALITY OF OUTCOME.

The assignment was hard to complete due to the location and cultures I am faced with in the Middle East. Picture taking of people in this area can be difficult and is a sensitive subject. I felt I did gain images which are natural and not posed, unless intentional. To gain these type of images was hard under what was a fairly enclosed area, unlike an open outside area such as a markets or street, were my actions with a camera would have been less noticed. I find taking photos of people when they are aware a little difficult, and prefer to be unnoticed whenever possible.

DEMONSTRATION OF CREATIVITY.

My ideas going into this assignment were to create as many natural shots as possible. This was achieved by making myself blend into the surroundings with the rest of the people which took time and patience, which in turn helped me to capture images from various angles. I hope the images include a broad section of what the participants were experiencing. I also wanted to give a sense of character to the people in the images.

CONTEXT.

Having read a number of blogs, readings in both web and books, such as Steve McCurry, Michael Freeman, Tom Ang and more, I have included a cross section of colour and black and white which hopefully compliments the image for affect to the viewer. Images were all colour corrected and cropped and other corrections such as noise, saturation and histogram adjustments were made. All images have the camera data under each for reference, and a brief description of how the image was captured and why in the explanations.

I have found this assignment hard due to time constraints, and taking images within the middle east can be difficult, due to local cultures and how many view picture taking in public an invasion of personal space. I find taking pictures of people a little hard, maybe because of my location in the middle east and am always concerned people may become offended. However I pushed through and without any issues..I’m pleased to say.

REF:

Hijab   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijab   [Accessed 25/05/16]

‘Afghan Girl’. Steve McCurry http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2002/04/afghan-girl/index-text    [Accessed 25/05/16]

Tom Ang Photographer  http://tomang.com [Accessed various dates]

Michael Freeman Portraits   http://www.michaelfreemanphoto.com/-/galleries/the-galleries/stories/portraits   [Accessed various dates]

 

Henri Cartier Bresson review

I’ve known of Henri Cartier Bresson of course before I started my OCA degree, but never took a closer look into his work until I came across a BBC documentary on then history of photography. It was only then that I saw the famous work of this french artist who lived form 1908 until 2004.

His most famous work maybe well know for his book The Decisive Moment, were he takes  some of his best work from around the world into 126 images, and was printed in 1952.

Bresson’s book  The Decisive Moment

After looking through his images its clear to see they are both artistic, with many images having people jumping which I saw as a common theme. They are also sad and violent, with images from war zones around the world, both with images of people after and even during death.

Breton makes the statement  “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms that give that event its proper expression.” Thes fraction of a second can be clearly seen in a number of images, again from the famous image of the man jumping the water, to the asian photograph of people seemly getting shot, and with one even looking like he has an arrow in his chest. 

Bresson apparently never cropped his photos, he believed that all of the image in camera was ‘the decisive moment’. ‘For the rest of his life, Cartier-Bresson’s approach to photography would remain much the same. He made clear his disdain for the augmented image, one that had been enhanced by artificial light, dark room effects, even cropping. The naturalist in Cartier-Bresson believed that all edits should be done when the image was made. His equipment load was often light: a 50mm lens and if he needed it, a longer 90mm lens’.

His images are dark, punchy, with very high contrast, and one of his comments was intact “You know William, colour is bullshit”. His Leica camera with only two lenses made it easy for him on the street, as well as situated in war zones. No heavy equipment to carry and always ready for the unexpected shot.

His images of people from all ages appeals, from the young playing in the streets to the old, poor and at the end of life bring emotion into the picture. He seems not to care almost for the risk of getting the shot, which brings the questions ‘ Does he ask for permission before taking the shot? Is it posed, or is the non posed shot really posed? How close to real life did it really look? Did he get the kids to play in the street or was it luck?

He truly was a master of People and Place.

Henry Cartier Bresson

Henry Cartier Bresson

 

REF:

Henry C. Bresson [Accessed 27 05 16]

https://steidl.de/Books/The-Decisive-Moment-0516515559.html  [Accessed 28-05-16]

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.

(click on any image to enlarge)

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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.

(click on any image to enlarge)

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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.