Friday, 24 February 2012

Pencil Vs Camera!

Pencil Vs Camera - 57Pencil Vs Camera - 59Pencil vs Camera - 61Pencil Vs Camera - 62Pencil Vs Camera - 36Pencil Vs Camera - 7
Pencil Vs Camera - 58Pencil Vs Camera - 34Pencil Vs Camera - 412 - Pencil Vs Camera for Art Official ConceptPencil Vs Camera - 601 - Pencil Vs Camera for Art Official Concept
Pencil Vs Camera - 40Pencil Vs Camera - 35Pencil Vs Camera - 30Pencil Vs Camera - 52Pencil Vs Camera - 32Pencil Vs Camera - 22
Pencil Vs Camera - 49Pencil Vs Camera - 12Pencil Vs Camera - 4Pencil Vs Camera - 56Pencil Vs Camera - 51Pencil Vs Camera - 6
Pencil Vs Camera!, a set by Ben Heine on Flickr.
If you have a minute to spare check this out! Visual artist - Ben Heine. His work can be seen on flickr and is a mix of photography and art. His pictures are amazing - I don't think you will have seen anything like it before.

He also has a web site at
You'll be amazed at the technical accuracy and imagination in his work.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The lighting Angle

Exercise - 11 photographs

The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate and compare the effect of lighting from various angles on a subject using a single diffused light source.

For this exercise my camera is mounted on a tripod and a light tent used to diffuse light from a desk lamp which was moved around the object being photographed. All other lights in the room were turned off to maximise the effect of the lighting and prevent any light spill from ambient lighting.

Image 1 - Back lighting

Image 1 - Back lighting

Back lighting shows the strong outline of the subject but has limited depth of field. The statue is totally in shadow with no texture or detail visible. In some instances this form of lighting would be dramatic. To avoid overexposure spot metering and a -2.0 exposure value was used. This ensures the statue records as a silhouette and that the cameras metering system does not attempt to render the shadow as mid grey resulting in an overexposed background. 
Image 2 - Back lit at an angle
Image 2 - Back lit from an angle

With the light source now moved to a position at an angle behind the subject a little more is revealed.  Whilst there is still strong contrast between the light and dark areas some sense of the form of the statue at the extremities appear with more detail and texture visible. Technically this image shows an area of overexposure at the position of the light source despite a -0.2 exposure value being used in camera. To avoid this in future the light source could be moved further away from the object being photographed or positioned at an angle outside the cameras field of view.          

Image 3 - Side Lighting 

Image 3 - Side lighting 90 degrees
This image shows how side lighting produces strong shadows and highlights. There is more depth to the image here with textures and detail in the statue being more clearly visible. With side lighting care would be required to ensure that the shadows were not so deep as to obscure any textures and the highlights overexposed. The shadow cast by the object cannot be clearly seem here but with this form of lighting it would be dense and at the opposite side to the light source. To change the level of contrast in the image the strength of the light source could be adjusted.

Image 4 - 45 degree angle to the side
Image 4 - Side lighting at 45 degree angle
Similar to side lighting this position brings out more of the texture and detail in the statue. There is more depth to the image compared to straight back or front lighting and the shadows areas are less dense than side lighting at a 90 degree angle. This means there is the possibility of more detail being visible in the shadows. Lighting at a 45 degree angle is widely used in portrait photography.

Image 5 - 45 degree angle from above and in front
Image 6 - 45 degree angle from above and behind

Image 5 - Lighting above and in front

Image 6 - Lighting above and behind
Both of these images show the form of the statue but the details and textures to a differing degree. The lighting coming at an angle from the front of the subject produces less shadows and contrast in the image with the details clearly visible although care is required to avoid overexposing these. Moving the lighting to an angle above but slightly behind the subject increases the shadows and contrast in some areas of view. The lighting overall is softer and the choice here would be to decide which area of the subject is the focal point and illuminate accordingly. In the two examples above Image 6 - shows more depth to the image and also more detail in the lighter areas. However the dark areas would benefit from some reflected or fill light to bring out the textures and detail. 

Image 7 - Front Lighting

Image 7 - Front lit

Front lighting results in less contrast and reduced shadows in the image. Although the object can be well seem there is reduced depth in the image and the lighting is flat. The shadow area is directly behind the statue and will show little detail. This is one of the least flattering styles of lighting if used in portrait photography.
Image 8 - Overhead Lighting

Image 8 - Overhead lighting
When lit from above the top of the statue is highlighted and the shadow area is directly below the object. The shadow area will be dense and therefore any detail lost however, as with the other lighting angles that produce dense shadows, a reflector or fill light could be used to minimise these. There is still some depth to the image as the form of the subject is still visible.

Image 9 - Overhead to the front
Image 10 - Overhead to the rear
Image 9 - Overhead lighting to the front
Image 10 - Overhead lighting to the rear
Similar to side lighting from either in front or to the rear - where the highlights and shadows fall will be different in each and which light position is used will depend on the focal point of the image and the desired effect. I feel there is less contrast in both these images than with directly overhead lighting.

Image 11 - Front lit from below

Image 11 - Front lit from below
For me this is the least pleasing image. The shadow being so obviously visible behind the statue is distracting.  Although the statue is well lit in that it can be well seem the lighting is too harsh and flat. This has resulted in the textures of the statue becoming less well defined.

In this instance and for this particular object my preferred lighting is seen in Image 4 - Side lighting at a 45 degree angle - although it would benefit from a little fill light to the left hand side. Although the form and texture can be seen in the subject the face is a little dark and lacks detail as does the leg area.

In this exercise the composition has remained unchanged with the focal point being the face and torso of the object. With a different subject or with a specific purpose in mind the preferred angle of lighting may be totally different. Understanding the benefits and qualities of each will help improve the final image.