Thursday, 30 December 2010

"It's the photographer" - Lens - New York Times

Joao Silva Photojournalist

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/its-the-photographer/

I came across this article in Lens by The New York Times which I have posted the link to above. The article by David Dunlap tells of the photojournalist, Joao Silva, who was working in Afghanistan alongside US army personnel and a unit of Afgan soldiers and police officers when he steps on an antipersonnel mine.


There is a slide show of the images taken from his memory card showing before the blast and amazingly 3 further shots after he had lost both his legs in the explosion. Mr Silva is recovering in hospital and funds are being raised for his treatment by the sale of some of his images. 

The interesting thing about the images is that they appear so innocuous. A local lad herds his goats down the street moments before, some locals pass on motorbikes the army personnel are quietly going about their job - and what a job! These young lads put their  lives at risk every day and we forget that, when we see images of war, there are photographers putting their lives on the line too  - for a photo to bear witness. Brave man. Hope he has a speedy recovery.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Assignment 1 - continued.

For this assignment I have put into practise the techniques learnt from part one of the teaching manual. The aim was to put together a cohesive set of images reflecting pairs of contrasts. All images were taken with a Canon 400d camera and either a Canon 18-55mm, 70-250mm or Sigma 10-20mm lens.

Each pair has been presented and mounted together to clearly show the contrasting concepts. As presenting each pair of images together side by side suggests that there is a relationship between the images you will find that each pair, whilst still showing the contrast, will also have something within the composition that is similar to its partner. E.g. In Light/Dark similar subjects were used, Transparent/Opaque similar tones and in Straight/Curved there is some similarity in the pattern.

Continuing with Assignment 1 these are the images for the next few pairs of contrasts.

Still

Still
This image was taken with a Canon 18-55mm lens at 43mm. Aperture f/5.6, ISO 400 and shutter speed 1/100sec was used. When I was thinking about the images I wanted to demonstrate the contrast between Still and Moving, my initial idea was to use flowing water or a still pond, however none of the images taken seemed to work out as I would have liked. In the end I have chosen this image of shop mannequins to represent Still.
Post processing
The highlights in the image were reduced slightly to minimise the reflection on the shop window. In hindsight these could have been reduced by using a polarising filter when taking the image. Although there are still some areas of reflection in the image I think the bright colours hold your attention enough for these to be less noticeable.

Moving
Moving
This is an image of traffic tail lights taken to represent Moving. Taken with a Canon 18-55 mm lens at 55mm and with the camera on a tripod. The camera was in Manual mode with an Aperture of f/5.6, ISO 200 and shutter speed 2.5sec. Again the idea was to have complimentary colours in both images so that the contrasts worked as a pair.

Rough
Rough
This image is a close up view of a decaying boat hull. It was taken in Aperture Priority with a 18-55mm lens at 55mm. F/11, ISO 100 and a shutter speed of 1/80sec was used. This is the only image for this assignment that I have taken from previously taken photos on file. The textures of the peeling paint and splitting wood seen on the hull were the reason I took the image in the first place and this picture immediately sprang to mind when thinking of ideas for this exercise. I particularly like the textures but also the triangular/diagonal lines created by the white stripe and wood panels.

Smooth

Smooth
In contrast to Rough is Smooth. Taken with a Canon 18-55mm lens at 55 mm. Aperture f/5.6, ISO 100, shutter speed 1/30sec. I used a shallow depth of field in this image as the idea was to show only a small area of the image at the tip of the iron in sharp focus. This is also where you can see that the fabric is smooth. I selected a striped fabric and placed it at angle to mirror the planks on the boats hull. The iron is placed on the top third of the image in the same way as the white stripe is present on the boat.

Liquid
 
Liquid
This image was taken with a Canon 18-55mm lens at 55mm and using a tripod. Aperture f5.6, ISO 400
and shutter speed 1/60 sec was used. Taken at St Andrews Botanical Gardens, the image shows a water drop suspended on a fern leaf. A shallow depth of field was used to blur the background.
Post Processing
The image was cropped to place the water drop on a line corresponding to the rule of thirds with the leaf itself forming a line diagonally across the frame.

Solid
Solid
In contrast to Liquid is Solid. Taken with a Canon 75-250mm lens at 75mm. An Aperture of f/11, ISO 320 and shutter speed 1/500 sec was used. This image shows frozen snow and icicles formed by dripping water drops. The blue highlights on the icicles are reflections from the sky.
  

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Frustration

I'm beginning to get really frustrated about my lack of progress in Assignment 1 and wish I had just e-mailed the images to my tutor and not bothered with the idea about printing them out and mounting them. I dread to think how much it has cost in ink, paper, mount board etc and, I know this is going to annoy others, but I am even more positive now that e-mailing them would have been the "easy" option. And by that I'm not suggesting that any less effort has gone into producing the images or that others are not working hard-that's really not what I mean and I don't want anyone to be offended.

It's not just the expense of it either. I can process an image on the PC and its exactly as I want it - come time to print it out and the monitor and printer need calibrating, the type of paper I have at home doesn't show off the image to its best or it's 101 other technical things. Do I print in all matt paper or glossy so that the whole assignment is cohesive and sits together as a whole or do I experiment with multiple papers on multiple images? Do I even
need to print the pictures at all? after all it says in the course notes that e-mail is acceptable.

It's not helped by the fact that both the kids have been off all week for "snow days". You try working at home with a gaggle of bored teenager friends. Can't even get out to take any pictures............... 

Why did I decide to print them out? Probably because I'm a bit old fashioned and old school and this technical thingy called the internet still gives me problems. I have no idea how I would present the images and accompanying text by e-mail. That for me is the more difficult option.

I am determined to get this assignment finished before Christmas. It was expected by my tutor in September so I'm way behind. I'll be out this week taking pictures even  if I have to dig myself out...........

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Assignment 1 - continued

These are the images for the next 2 pairs of contrasts for Assignment 1.

Few


Few

For this image I used a Canon 18-55mm lens at 28mm and set my camera on a tripod. A sparse bunch of grapes was suspended by a thread in front of a white card background. Only natural window light was used to avoid casting a shadow on the background. An aperture of f/7.1, ISO 400 and shutter speed 1/80sec was used.
Post Processing
The image was slightly cropped to ensure that the grapes were placed 2/3 into the frame vertically. I then used Photoshop to clone out the hanging thread. I wanted to leave as much empty space in the image as possible to accentuate the feeling that there were only a few grapes.

Many
Many
In contrast to few is many. This image was also taken with a tripod and Canon 18-55mm lens at 46mm. These sprats were placed end to end on a plate and the image taken using natural window light and fill in flash. Aperture f/22, ISO 100 and a shutter speed of 0.6sec was used.
Post Processing
The image was tightly framed to ensure that, in contrast to Few, there was no empty space within the image. This gives the impression that the fish continue beyond the edge of the frame and that there are more just out of view. The shadows within the image were also lightened to make the fish eyes more prominent.

Transparent

Transparent
This image shows upturned clear wine glasses photographed with a white card background. A tripod and Canon 18-55mm lens was used at 44mm. Only natural window light was used as using flash caused a bright spot on the glass and unwanted reflections which distracted from the transparency of the glass. Aperture set to f/5.6, ISO 400 and shutter speed 1/60sec.
Post Processing
Very little adjustment was made to this image. Only a small area of bright reflection was removed from the glass as it was important to show the glass as clear as possible. Although the image reflects transparency, in hindsight I think the image may have worked better had something been placed behind the glass e.g. a coloured card or another image to be seen through the glass.

Opaque


Opaque
This image represents Opaque and is a row of trees taken through heavy mist. Aperture f/10, ISO 400 and shutter speed 1/200 sec was used with careful focusing on the distant trees. As a pair of images both Transparent and Opaque have little colour and only varying tones and highlights. Although they are both colour images they appear monochrome.