Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Softening the Light

As this part of the coursework is related to light in photography some of the exercises need to be completed indoors as still life shots and others are taken outdoors or require specific weather conditions. For that reason the exercises in this section up to Assignment 4 may appear in random order.

Softening The Light
Exercise - 2 photographs 

For this exercise a still life arrangement is used to demonstrate the effect and compare the differences between using a naked or diffused light source.

Both of these images were taken using a single desk lamp and with the camera fixed to a tripod. The light source was at a 90 degree angle to the right of the flower and slightly higher angled downwards.

Image 1 - Hard Light

Naked Light source - Hard Light
The image above was taken with the naked light source. There are obvious areas of dark shadow and very bright highlights with the shadow areas having hard defined edges which are particularly noticeable on the left side of the plants stem. The side lighting does show a degree of depth to the subject but I find it too hard in this instance.

Hard lighting produces high contrast in an image because the light rays hit the subject from approximately the same angle. Personally I think the lighting is too harsh here and distracts the viewer from the delicate nature of the subject. The highlights are overexposed which could have been adjusted in camera or by moving the light source further away from the subject.

Image 2 - Soft Light

Diffused Light - Soft Light
This second image was taken with the light source and camera in exactly the same position but with the flower inside a light tent. The shadow areas are clearly less dense and the edges softer. The contrast is reduced in this image due to the diffused light. Although there are still areas with some shadow and highlights they do not dominate the image or detract from the delicate details in the subject. In this instance I prefer the diffused light however this may not be suitable for every subject. Again the image would have been better with the light source further away from the subject to reduce the bright highlights further.

Some images, perhaps in monochrome for example, might have more impact as high contrast images with deep shadows. It is also possible that the shadow is the subject of the image and therefore hard lighting may be required.

Being able to pre-visualise the effect of lighting on a subject is an important tool in photography and as I continue to read through the text of "Light, Science and Magic" it seems that there is a recipe for most lighting situations and subjects which can be used and is related to learning the physics of light itself.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Assignment 3 - Tutor Feedback

Blimey, he's quick my tutor. 

I have received his report on my third assignment and overall I am very pleased. He has commended me on my "enquiring and inventive approach" and also "experimentation" in relation to the refracted light images which I was most concerned about. 

There are only three images that I may need to consider improving on..two are accent colour pictures. 

1 - Green Trainer - he felt the green was too large in the frame to be considered an accent. This comes back to the same question in relation to a single point in Assignment 2. When is something too large in the frame to be considered a point or a colour an accent? I may be better using this image as an example of a complementary colour combination and finding another subject for colour accent.

2 - Buoys and Nets - again the orange is too large to be regarded as an accent.

3 - Purple Cabbage Flower - here my tutor feels that the colour combination is complementary rather than contrasting.  In hindsight I have to agree. Magenta falls between red and purple on the colour wheel and is therefore opposite yellow/green.

Overall he commented on a " good variety of images" and my notes that accompanied the images were "comprehensive". After the weeks and months of struggle with this assignment I am pleased that there are so few negatives in his report and that I can concentrate on something else for a while.

As with all the other Assignments to date I am leaving any amendments to the images until I am required to submit them for the final formal Assignment. I feel a bit of breathing space between the subjects and time for reflection on the course as a whole might result in different images being submitted than if I rush to amend them now.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Part 4 - Light

"Lighting is the language of photography." "Light, Science and Magic - An Introduction to Photographic Lighting" by Hunter, Biver and Fuqua.

Introduction to Part 4 - Light

One of the texts that is required reading for this course is "Light, Science and Magic - An Introduction to Photographic Lighting" by Hunter, Biver and Fuqua.

The initial chapter of the book discusses the three basic principles of the behaviour of light that never change and once learnt are the tools that can be adapted to realise your own creative style. My understanding of these are that:
  1. The most important decision or consideration is the effective size of the light source as this has an effect on the shadows produced.
  2. There are three types of reflection.
  3. The angle that the light strikes a surface has a direct bearing on the type of reflection produced.
Like everything else in photography learning to use the tools correctly is what allows us to become better photographers.

Learning to use these tools creatively is what allows us to become good photographers.

Final few images for Assignment 3 - completed.

Assignment 3 has finally been completed and posted to my tutor. I have a few notes to write up on some of the photographers work that I have been looking at throughout this section of the course but otherwise that's it done and dusted until I receive his response.

These are the final four images I included. 

The Spectrum of Colour

The following images show abstract designs of diffused and refracted light through soap bubbles using a table top set-up. An angle poise lamp was placed at a 45 degree angle to the camera which was set on a tripod. I placed black card alongside the lamp at approximately the same angle to narrow the spread of the light.

Then using a solution of soap bubbles and a metal wire shaped into a circle I attempted to take very close up images of the colours as they appeared in the bubbles. Initially I attempted to pre-focus on where the bubble should appear but this failed as the positioning of the wire to the lamp and also the camera was critical to seeing the colours of the refracted light. Eventually I succeeded in achieving some pictures correctly exposed and in focus. They looked a bit like this:

As I don’t own a macro lens I had to work with the lenses I have and therefore have had to crop the images quite closely to isolate different colour combination. Each shot showed a huge combination of colours and pattern. By selecting only a small area of each image the combinations are endless. The four below are the images with colour combinations or patterns that appealed to me the most. 

I suppose these are a bit like Hermann Rorschach’s ink blot tests although more colourful and not symmetrical. If you look at the images for a period of time you begin to see pictures or shapes evolving.

This image has combinations of the colours yellow, magenta, blue and green in the same frame. If you isolate small areas you can see combinations of similar colours e.g. blue/green and contrasting colours e.g. yellow/blue.

These final two images I have shown as a diptych as the colour combinations are similar. 

The combination of colours in these four images are ones that appeal to me and may not be to every ones liking. In this series they are all very vivid highly saturated colours. With some digital post processing it would be possible to create some very interesting colours and patterns - perhaps less vivid or bright.

In this instance, as the project is colour I wanted the images to be dramatic so decided to include them as taken. All were shot as raw files with no alteration to hue or saturation.  

I have taken a risk including these in my assignment but hope they show my tutor that I am trying to be a bit more creative and at the same time improving my camera skills.

Fingers crossed....