Friday, 4 January 2013

Assignment 4 - completed.

Assignment 4 is complete and has been posted to my tutor. There's no point in me telling you how late it is or why.  If  you've read any of my previous posts you'll know I have only managed to send in an assignment on time once. The reasons for them being late or should I say excuses have been varied. 

Section 4 of TAOP course is very long and it takes a while to go through the various exercises. Not only are there quite a few exercises but some require particular lighting styles e.g. lighting from dawn till dusk which slows things down a bit.

In general this section of the course has been the most enlightening for me (no pun intended) - especially learning new techniques for lighting tricky objects like glass. The recommended text "Light, Science and Magic - An introduction to photographic lighting" has been invaluable and I'm sure I will return to it many times for reference. 

I feel like I went back to school to study science in this module, especially when reading through the required text, but it has been useful to refresh my knowledge of the physics of light. Lighting can make or break an image. It elevates something ordinary to something extraordinary. Sometimes a photographer gets lucky and great lighting presents itself when out taking pictures but even then you need to know how to make best use of it to create the best possible image. Artificial lighting also needs to be manipulated to create the best effect. 

In terms of the images for the assignment I had my usual quandary about which "object" I should use. I initially thought of staying away from some sort of still life set up as this was the easier option and had made a few experimental images using my daughter and studio lighting instead. A few of these images can be seen in the previous post. Looking at other students work showed that many had also created some sort of still life which was another reason I wanted to do something a little different.

In the end I happened to come across a comment made by an OCA tutor (not my own) on the OCA student site which referred to this assignment and stated that it should be possible to complete it within a morning. Really? I'm obviously putting way too much thought into it. So I went back to my original idea. As the assignments make up 70% of the mark given overall I would have thought a little more work than that was required. However elaborate or more inventive set ups take more time.

Aside from the exercises and assignment in this section I have been studying or reading about other photographers work constantly, either in books/magazines, at exhibitions or on line. Unfortunately not a lot of this other work makes it into my learning log/blog which is something I must remedy before I apply for formal assessment. I do feel however that I am beginning to look at images with a more considered eye and trying to "deconstruct" the images not only in terms of lighting or composition but also in terms of any meaning or emotional intent.

The images I have produced for this assignment are competent but not very creative or in any way developing an individual style. Not that I am aware of anyway. It will be interesting to see if my tutor thinks I am making any progress. 


  1. I found Part 4 difficult as well. If only my brain was more technical. No matter how many books I read the information hardly seemed to stay!

    Great that you've completed it and wishing you best of luck on the feedback.

  2. I'm sure you won't need it but best of luck!

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  4. Hi Vicki and thanks for the comment.

    I see your comment and understand where you're ooming from but it wasn't your blog I saw this comment on. The comment relates to advise given in a post on the OCA student forum and so I haven't "taken to task" your tutor who you obviously respect - and rightly so.

    As this is my first course with the OCA it's difficult to properly assess how well or otherwise and at how competent a level I am completing the coursework until it has been formally assessed. My comment on the tutors advice in this post is my own personal feeling on how suprised I was at the comment.

    I'm sorry if this has upset you but this was not the intention and my comment is not a reflection on the tutor who made the remark but is a comment on how it made me feel. I hope this makes sense.

    Good luck with the rest of your course.

    1. Hi Nicola

      Maybe I did go off 'pop' a little—sorry! Guess some of those stresses coming from the fact that I have been stuck on assign 4 for about 8 months. Agree that it is difficult to assess how long we should spend. I found the thread on the OCA forum and it was me that the tutor was talking to—but I did not listen! [As usual] Going to try and shoot it tomorrow—in a day—because my object is a real pig's head—so time is limited. Will let you know whether I manage it!

      Sorry about how defensive I got!

    2. Wow a real pigs head...glad your pics wont be "smellyvision". Your apology is gracious but not necessary.I understand completely how you feel. Looking forward to seeing your pictures they'll certainly be more interesting than my pumpkin!

    3. Hi Nicola

      Now put 2+2 together about the pumpkins. You commented on Flickr on one of my previous attempts when I tried pumpkins—and wanted it to rot. And waited ages and ages and then it just collapsed and I threw it out and am starting again. Have since been informed by another student Dave that this was because pumpkins rot from the inside—which was why I was seeing nothing. Hope you had better luck with yours and look forward to seeing them. Pigs head is still on order—did not arrive today so I'm getting stressy again!

  5. Hi Nicola, have finished and sent the fourth assignment and I believe this is what matters, to go on, to get your tasks done and continue with the following.

    In any case let me tell you that I admire you and other students like Catherine, for the amount of effort, enthusiasm, documentation and research, and ultimately work, that you obviously put in your blogs, exercises and assignments.......

    For some of us, studying has to be rightly prioritised with many other things (work, family, etc....).....the fact that we are able to cope with the whole thing is meritorious on its own.....don't you think so?

    kind regards

  6. Oh Leopin ..yes I do.

    There's never enough time. Glad to see you've started your next course...hopefully I wont be far behind. Set myself a goal for DPP this year...I see that's what you've started too. Hope you're enjoying it..

    1. Dear Nicola, I always try to find enjoyment in whatever I do (sloppy, left handed, chaotic, stubborn, hot headed,..... but always enthusiastic !!!).......hahahahaha!!!!