Project 1: The distorting lens – Exercise 2.5

Exercise 2.5
Find a subject in front of a background with depth. Take a close viewpoint and zoom
in; you’ll need to be aware of the minimum focusing distance of your lens. Focus on
the subject and take a single shot. Then, without changing the focal length, set the
focus to infinity and take a second shot.

The closer you are to the subject, the shallower the depth of field; the further from
the subject, the deeper the depth of field. That’s why macro shots taken from very
close viewpoints have extremely shallow depth of field, and if you set the focus at
infinity everything beyond a certain distance will be in focus.

As you review the two shots, how does the point of focus structure the composition?
With a shallow depth of field the point of focus naturally draws the eye, which goes
first of all to the part of the image that’s sharp. It generally feels more comfortable if
the point of focus is in the foreground, although there’s nothing wrong with placing
the point of focus in the background.


These two images were taken at the end of my road. The first focusing on the top nodule of a post box. This sharply focuses on the foreground and throws the background out of focus. The Second focusing on infinity puts the background in focus and throws the foreground out of focus.

They were all taken with:

  • Aperture priority
  • ISO 100
  • f/5.0
  • Fujifilm X30 equivalent 35mm focal length of:
    • 56mm
road-short-focus

Post box and up the road – Short focus

road-long-focus

Post box and up the road – Long focus

I can see that playing with the point of focus will effect the depth of field. This will be a useful technique to limit or restrict attention to elements within the image.

Project 2: Lens work – Research point

Research point
Do your own research into some of the photographers mentioned in this project.

Look back at your personal archive of photography and try to find a photograph that
could be used to illustrate one of the aesthetic codes discussed in Project 2. Whether or
not you had a similar idea when you took the photograph isn’t important; find a photo
with a depth of field that ‘fits’ the code you’ve selected. The ability of photographs to
adapt to a range of usages is something we’ll return to later in the course.

Add the shot to your learning log and include a short caption describing how you’ve
re-imagined your photograph.


Looking at the six recommended photographers, I selected one who demonstrated images with a deep depth of field and one who demonstrated images using a shallow depth of field.

First I looked at the work of Fay Godwin, especially those challenging the environment. I chose the image below from her work and one from my own that also shared a large depth of field and was also challenging what I had witnessed:

Fay08

“Countryside of Brassington Derbyshire” – Fay Godwin

Fly Tip

Fly Tipping – Perry Tatman

For my shallow depth of field example I was attracted to the work of Mona Kuhn. In particular the use of a tilt-shift effect that provided a sliver of shallow focus. My attempt at this type of shallow focus follows:

MK_GrandFalls_2013

“Grand Falls”  – Mona Kuhn

Lynmouth

“Lynmouth, Devon” – Perry Tatman

Reference

Imgc.allpostersimages.com. (2017). [online] Available at: http://imgc.allpostersimages.com/images/P-473-488-90/70/7033/JYDL100Z/posters/fay-godwin-countryside-of-brassington-derbyshire.jpg [Accessed 27 Mar. 2017].

Monakuhn.com. (2017). MONA KUHN. [online] Available at: http://www.monakuhn.com/collections/view/private-series/ [Accessed 27 Mar. 2017].

 

Project 1: The distorting lens – Exercise 2.2

Exercise 2.2
Select your longest focal length and compose a portrait shot fairly tightly within the
frame in front of a background with depth. Take one photograph. Then walk towards
your subject while zooming out to your shortest focal length. Take care to frame the
subject in precisely the same way in the viewfinder and take a second shot. Compare
the two images and make notes in your learning log.

As you page between the two shots it can be shocking to see completely new
elements crash into the background of the second shot while the subject appears
to remain the same. This exercise clearly shows how focal length combined with
viewpoint affects perspective distortion. Perspective distortion is actually a normal
effect of viewing an object, for example where parallel train tracks appear to meet
at the horizon. A ‘standard lens’ – traditionally a 50mm fixed focal length lens for
a full-frame camera (about 33mm in a cropped-frame camera) – approximates the
perspective distortion of human vision (not the angle of view, which is much wider).
A standard lens is therefore the lens of choice for ‘straight’ photography, which aims
to make an accurate record of the visual world.


Below are 2 shots I took near the South Bank Friday lunchtime with my Fujifilm X30 compact camera. The pair of images are framed on the sign. They were all taken with:

  • Aperture priority
  • ISO 100
  • f/5.0
  • Fujifilm X30 equivalent 35mm focal lengths of:
    • 112mm
    • 28mm
focal-length-112mm

Tenison Way – Focal length 112mm

focal-length-28mm

Tenison Way – Focal length 28mm

The difference in the view between these two images is striking considering the fact that the subject occupies the same space in the frame.

Project 1: The distorting lens – Exercise 2.1

Exercise 2.1
Find a scene that has depth. From a fixed position, take a sequence of five or six
shots at different focal lengths without changing your viewpoint. (You might like to
use the specific focal lengths indicated on the lens barrel.)

As you page through the shots on the preview screen it almost feels as though you’re
moving through the scene. So the ability to change focal lengths has an obvious use:
rather than physically moving towards or away from your subject, the lens can do
it for you. The other immediate difference between the shots is the ‘angle of view’,
which also depends on the sensor size of your camera. Use the sequence to try to
get a feeling for how the angle of view corresponds to the different focal lengths
for your particular camera and lens combination. Which shot in the sequence feels
closest to the angle of view of your normal vision?

Does zooming in from a fixed viewpoint change the appearance of things? If you enlarge and compare individual elements within the first and last shots, you can see that their ‘perspective geometry’ is exactly the same. To change the way things actually look, a change in focal length needs to be combined with a change in viewpoint.


Below is a sequence of 5 shots I took on the South Bank Friday lunchtime with my Fujifilm X30 compact camera. The sequence does give the appearance of travelling through the image. They were all taken with:

  • Aperture priority
  • ISO 100
  • f/5.0
  • Fujifilm X30 equivalent 35mm focal lengths of:
    • 28mm
    • 35mm
    • 50mm
    • 85mm
    • 112mm

Of all the images taken, the image taken at a focal length of 50mm appear to me the closest to normal vision.

focal-length-28mm

South Bank – Focal length 28mm

focal-length-35mm

South Bank – Focal length 35mm

focal-length-50mm

South Bank – Focal length 50mm

focal-length-85mm

South Bank – Focal length 85mm

focal-length-112mm

South Bank – Focal length 112mm

 

 

Assignment 2 planning part 4

Texture blending

I thought I would try some of the images I took on Friday blended with a texture layer. I have been collecting a great number of image resources from photo magazines for the last few years, these include a number of textures. Looking through my collection I chose to experiment using the texture below.

texture

I added the texture as a separate layer to several of the station images. I tried several of Photoshop’s blending modes and settled on using ‘Vivid Light‘. This blend process is described below:

Vivid Light

Burns or dodges the colors by increasing or decreasing the contrast, depending on the blend color. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened by decreasing the contrast. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened by increasing the contrast.

(Incorporated, 2016)

The six images I created are shown below.

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I am pleased with the results and would really value other people’s opinion. I used the same texture and blending mode on each of the images for a degree of consistency. Not sure whether to try a different texture and blending mode with each image. Personally I think that this will just appear rather random and muddled.Further experimentation could be made using a different single texture and a different single blend mode.

Reference

Incorporated, A.S. (2016) Blending modes. Available at: https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/blending-modes.html (Accessed: 24 October 2016).

Assignment 2 planning part 3

Hmm… Well I spend few hours at Waterloo and Euston Stations Friday afternoon and used the tube to get between them. There were a reasonable number of people about at each location and less down the tube. I took quite a number of images, but on reviewing them when I got back home I was less than happy. Most were blurred manly down to camera shake and me trying to focus on moving people. Lighting was very mixed and shutter speed increase was a contributing factor. I might have had better (noisier) results if I had used a higher or even auto ISO.

I really want to photograph larger crowds, so I will really have to be there during rush hour. I was also very concerned about getting stopped or quizzed by station staff or security so didn’t make use of the tripod I had with me. However hindsight being a wonderful thing I thought I would check online exactly what Network Rails policy was towards photographers and photography was. I was actually pleasantly surprised and wish I had read it before now. The following link explains it in-depth:

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/777.aspx

An extract from the information page is shown below which may be of interest to fellow students:

Photography
You can take photographs at stations provided you do not sell them. However, you are not allowed to take photographs of security related equipment, such as CCTV cameras.

Flash photography on platforms is not allowed at any time. It can distract train drivers and train despatch staff and so is potentially very dangerous.

Tripod legs must be kept away from platform edges and behind the yellow lines. On busy stations, you may not be allowed to use a tripod because it could be a dangerous obstruction to passengers.

(policy, 2016)

Now that I know this I could have used my tripod providing I had taken care! To quote Alanis Morissette “Isn’t it ironic!“. Therefore I shall treat this visit as another scouting trip and plan another trip. Though as already mentioned I would see larger crowds during rush hour times. So timing is critical (07:00 – 09:00 and 17:00 – 19:00), and with a larger amount of people even greater care when using a tripod. Also trying different positioning to get more faces and crowds coming towards camera would be better. I know that on the underground tripods are a no-no and only small camera photography is permitted. They may well classify my SLR as a large camera and get all official, so would have to be careful.

I did have a play around with stacking and merging some of the images I took to try to get the effect in the images I wanted. I want to have elements in the composition in focus and others in movement. Not just a slight blur but a stacked blur to really emphasise the movement.

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I may also try blending textures to achieve my desired outcomes.

Reference

policy, c. (2016) Railway enthusiasts. Available at: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/777.aspx (Accessed: 23 October 2016).

Assignment 2 planning part 2

Time, oh time where does it go? Flowing through your fingers like sand…  Guess I am getting kind of wistful due to the creative malaise I have been in and my subsequent disappointment at my lack of progress.

Inspiration

As with my previous assignment I started a Pinterest board based on Crowds and can be found here:

Several of the pinned images covey the sense of claustrophobia and panic that I want to try to convey in my images. I have never suffered from claustrophobia or panic attacks, however in the last few years I have found that I am considerably uncomfortable and irritated when in crowds. I grew up in London and left in the 80’s, but now commute in everyday to work. Though I am fortunate that do not need to use the bus or tube. I wish I could fathom why I feel this level of discomfort, it is disconcerting. Maybe it is a sign of age and me becoming a grumpy old man. Or maybe there is something else, something more subliminal. Though I guess it is down to the depression I suffer and cope with.

What defines a Crowd?

noun: crowd; plural noun: crowds

  • a large number of people gathered together in a disorganized or unruly way.

synonyms: throng, horde, mob, rabble, large number, mass, multitude, host, army, herd, flock, drove, swarm, sea, stream, troupe, pack, press, crush, flood, collection, company, gathering, assembly, assemblage, array, congregation, convention, concourse

  • an audience, especially one at a sporting event.

synonyms: audience, spectators, watchers, listeners, viewers, onlookers, patrons, house, gallery, stalls

  • informal derogatory

a group of people who are linked by a common interest or activity.

synonyms: set, group, band, circle, company, fraternity, clique, coterie

  • the mass or multitude of ordinary people.

noun: the crowd

synonyms: majority, multitude, common people, populace, general public, mob, masses, riff-raff, proletariat, rank and file, the commonality, the hoi polloi, the canaille, the great unwashed

  • a large number of things regarded collectively.

(Google, 2016)

Intended Action:

Tomorrow is Friday 21st October and I am not working that day. It is my intention to take a trip into London and make a start on some of the images for Assignment 2. In my previous scouting mission I have tried to seek out some of the vantage points that I may use to take images from around the station:

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As can be seen in the images above there are not great amounts of people, but it shows that I would be able to take images from above, at eye level or even low down if required.

I have this vision of crowds of people like a forest or crashing waves, masses of; heads, feet, bodies and belongings. Making it hard to progress or move as one would wish. Almost like an elemental force. I can very much imagine that mass hysteria in very large groups can appear like that. Psychological, hormonal and primal drives can take hold of people resulting in great behavioural changes. This is not to say that I will be able to obtain a full range of images, but I will try to produce something that will convey the essence of a crowd.

I also hope to move down into the tube station and the surrounding Waterloo Station area to help me fulfill my brief. I intend to use common compositional devices and basic camera techniques such as; “Rule of Thirds”, leading lines, aperture to control depth of field and shutter speed to imply movement. Also if possible to try to use a tripod and remote shutter release to help maintain steady well exposed images.

Reference:

Google (2016) Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=crowd%20definition (Accessed: 20 October 2016)