Project 1: The distorting lens – Exercise 2.3

Exercise 2.3
Choose a subject in front of a background with depth. Select your shortest focal
length and take a close low viewpoint, below your subject. Find a natural point of
focus and take the shot.
You’ll see that a very wide lens together with a close viewpoint creates extreme
perspective distortion. Gently receding lines become extreme diagonals and rounded
forms bulge towards the camera. Space appears to expand. The low viewpoint adds
a sense of monumentality, making the subject seem larger than it is, and tilting
the camera adds to the effect as vertical lines dramatically converge. Not the ideal
combination for a portrait shot!


The shots below were taken with my Fuji X30 at its shortest focal length of 28mm. This is wide but not extremely, so the shots while not ideal show some distortion. Unfortunately there were not any high buildings or objects so there is not much in the high background to demonstrate the distortion effect. But the low-lying object do show distortion and parallel lines demonstrate convergence. This does give an impression of grandeur and largesse. But not (as mentioned in the brief) very flatering for portraiture. Though this effect could be used to great effect to make someone look powerful or important if used with care, judgement and good lighting.

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).

V&A Visit – 24th August 2016

As well as going to the Science Museum on the 24th August I visited the V&A Museum (just across the road) to see what they had to offer by way of current photography exhibits. On enquiring at the information desk I was pleased to find that there were a couple of photographic displays;

  • The Camera Exposed – Gallery 38a
  • A History of Photography: The Body – Gallery 100

Both were also free, which was a bonus.


The Camera Exposed

This temporary (23 July 2016 – 5 March 2017) display was a collection of 120 images from a broad spectrum of photographers, with each image containing a camera in one form another. There was no restriction on photography so I took some pictures of the images that particularly drew my attention. These are shown below, with their accompanying display information:

abelardo-morell-infoabelardo-morell

andreas-feininger-infoandreas-feininger

calum-colvin-infocalum-colvin

don-mccullin-infodon-mccullin

elsbeth-juda-infoelsbeth-juda

henri-cartier-bresson-infohenri-cartier-bresson

john-a-walker-infojohn-a-walker

john-french-infojohn-french

judy-dater-infojudy-dater

louise-dahl_wolfe-infolouise-dahl_wolfe

philippe-halsman-infophilippe-halsman

richard-sadler-inforichard-sadler

tim-walker-infotim-walker

timm-rautert-infotimm-rautert

tosh-matsumoto-infotosh-matsumoto

weegee-infoweegee

weegee-2-infoweegee-2

(Victoria and Museum, 2016)

I really enjoyed this display and highly recommended to anyone wanting to see a marvellous display of themed images. The combination of the various photographers inventiveness, creativity and craftsmanship is evident throughout.


A History of Photography: The Body  (Victoria and Museum, 2016) 

This display is held in the V&A permanent gallery and currently concentrates on ‘The Body‘. The gallery introduction is shown below followed by a selection of prints that I liked:

intro

weegee-infoweegee

suzanne-r-dworsky-infosuzanne-r-dworsky

sophie-ristelhueber-infosophie-ristelhueber

rineke-dijkstra-inforineke-dijkstra

josef-koudelka-infojosef-koudelka

john-coplans-infojohn-coplans

herbert-bayerherbert-bayer-info

helmut-newton-infohelmut-newton-1helmut-newton-2

erhard-dorner-infoerhard-dorner

edward-weston-infoedward-weston

carl-fischer-infocarl-fischer

bernard-f-eilers-infobernard-f-eilers

alfred-lys-baldry-infoalfred-lys-baldry

adolphe-bilordeaux-infoadolphe-bilordeaux

(Victoria and Museum, 2016)

Again another very interesting and varied display, and another I would also highly recommend. I am only sorry that my snaps don’t these great images (in both displays) justice.

Reference:

Victoria and Museum, A. (2016) V&A · the camera exposed. Available at: https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/the-camera-exposed (Accessed: 12 September 2016).

Victoria and Museum, A. (2016) What’s on. Available at: https://shop.vam.ac.uk/whatson/index/view/id/2060/event/A-History-of-Photography–The-Body/dt/2016-09-12/free/1 (Accessed: 12 September 2016).