Saturday, October 23, 2010

Exercise 8 - Sequence of compositions

It was quite difficult for me to decide on the place where to take pictures for this exercise. It had to be some public place, where  people are not necessarily willing to be photographed. At first I thought about some sport event, like basketball match, as I could sit close enough to the subjects and there would be enough time to take a lot of pictures. Unfortunately, in last couple of weeks there were no such sport events at my place.
My final choice was a shopping center, where I found a nice shooting point on the highest floor. My first picture I have taken just to get an idea of what is there below, what objects would be interesting to shoot at a closer distance.
The group of people that was sitting close to the center seemed to be most interesting. I zoomed it from 20mm focal distance to the maximum possible with my Tamron lens - 250mm.

The small boy eating chips looked funny, and I decided to concentrate on him. However, the best what I could do in the end was a vertical shot, quite dark and not really interesting in composition.

I decided to change the initial view in the viewfinder and take picture of escalators with people standing on them.

 I had to take quite a few shots of escalators before I finally got a sharp enough shot to figure out a subject for the closer distance shot. I just accidentally notice three guys sitting behind the tree in the bottom of the picture.

I did not like this shot, two many objects an details. Because I liked the colors of the guitar, I decided to focus on the guy with a red guitar. The best shot I could make was the one below.

I like the combination of colors and shadows here. Though, the composition could be better. E.g it would probably be good to catch the face of the guy playing the guitar.

From this exercise I learned quite a lot and up to this moment it was the most difficult exercise for me. First of all, I learned that it is not that easy to find a place full of people, where it would be convenient to take pictures. Secondly, it is quite a complex task to figure out the interesting object, when you do not know, what exactly you need to picture. There is too much choice given and choice is not equal in distance, movement, lighting.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Exercise 7 - Object in different positions in the frame

The task today was to take 4-5 shots of the same object putting it into different areas of the frame. Here is my stone that I have chosen for this exercise.

The first picture is with an object in the centre. The shot has been take at f/8 aperture and shutter speed 1/200s. Focal length - 26 mm.

Here is the second version. The stone is a bit to the left. Settings were the same as for previous shot.
The third shot with a stone closer to the right bottom angle. For this shot I changed settings a bit: f/8, shutter speed 1/3200, foal length changed to 26mm.
And the forth option with the stone in upper left corner. Aperture f/8, shutter speed 1/1600s as the angle of light has changed and focal length 26mm.

Looking at all four shots, I would conclude that I like the composition of the third one the most. The stone itself is not very exciting object to put in the middle of the frame. The second shot makes me nervous on some subconscious level. It does not put emphasis on the object and attention is driven from the background as well.  The fourth shot shows a bad choice of the background (sand in this case is not very nice thing to look it), and the stone would look better if it was put a bit lower in the frame. Te third shot looks the best to me. It does not take attention completely from the stone, but shows beautiful sea on the background as well. It might be that if I had put stone a bit upper, it would look slightly better, as it would be exactly two thirds rule.

Exercise 6 - Fitting the frame to the subject

As an object for the series of 4 shots I have picked up an advertising tower next to the nearest supermarket. It was actually an accidental choice. I was taking pictures of the office building nearby. But when I  looked at the pictures on the computer screen, I decided that the tower looks more attractive and came back to it later to finalize the exercise.

Here is the first shot. As it was just before sundown and I did not have a tripod with me, I was taking pictures with a largest aperture of 3.5 and shutter speed 1/500, and focal length for this shot was smallest possible with this lens - 18mm.

For the second shot I tried to fit the subject as much into the frame as possible, as according to the task.
To do this I had to zoom focal lens to 26mm, the maximum possible aperture was 4 and shutter speed slowed accordingly to 1/400s.
The next picture shows only the fragment of the object, made on a largest possible zoom of my Tamron lens - 250mm focal distance. The aperture is in this case also on it's maximum f/6.3 and shutter speed 1/80s.
To make the forth shot of this exercise I had to come back next day, because the lightning a day before did not allow me to take a shot without shaking a camera. So, here is the last shot taken at18mm focal length. In this case I did not need to keep the biggest aperture figure, because it was a sunny day and I put aperture on f/8 to emphasize the surrounding more. Shutter speed is 1/3200s.

From this exercise I learned, that it is always worth taking several shots of an object to figure out, whether object itself or some detail of an object represents the most interest. Or maybe it is subject together with surrounding, what makes the shot interesting.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Exercise 5 - Panning

The same as for the previous task, I decided to take a picture of another my niece riding a bike. The difference compared to the previous exercise is that in this case my camera is not fixed on the same spot. Instead, I move it slightly according to the movement. There is even a special word to this technique - "panning". Now, let's see what is the difference compared to the shots in the previous exercise.

1. Shutter speed 1/100; f/16

2. Shutter speed 1/80; f/16

3. Shutter speed 1/60s; f/22

4. Shutter speed 1/50s; f/18

5. Shutter speed 1/40; f/25

6. Shutter speed 1/30; f/24

7. Shutter speed 1/25; f/25

 8. Shutter speed 1/25; f/29

It is seen that at a shutter speed 1/40, the object is still sharp. The background shows movement. I quite liked this technique, it is good to show the object moving. Compared to the previous exercise it is the other way around, object is sharp and the background is out of focus, because I have physically moved the camera following the object. If I was choosing among shots from these two exercises, I would say that I like the one taken at a shutter speed 1/60 using panning technique the most. The object is in focus and movement is clearly shown by the background. However, if I wanted to take a picture of 'movement' as opposed to 'moving object' (e.g. cars driving in a dark city) I would use a technique from the previous exercise.

The other thing that I noticed is that, because I was moving camera and the aperture has been adjusted in a different way than in the previous exercise, where one step in shutter speed equal to one step in f-number to compensate the exposure.

Exercise 4 - Shutter speed

When I read the task "fix your camera in front of something that moves several times or continuously across your view", I immediately thought about two my nieces. There is nothing that can move as endless playing children. I asked them to go with me for a walk and take their bicycles with them. The weather was lovely and I allowed them to press the button on the camera themselves and look through viewfinder, because they were so curious about this. This kept them interested and I could take a good number of shots to complete this exercise.  So, here are the shots taken with different shutter speed all at 26mm focal length:

1. Shutter speed 1/40s, f/22

2. Shutter speed 1/50s; f/20

3. Shutter speed 1/60s; f/18

4. Shutter speed 1/80; f/16

 5. Shutter speed 1/160s; f/11

 6. Shutter speed 1/250s; f/9

7. Shutter speed 1/320s; f/8

8. Shutter speed 1/500s; f6.3

9. Shutter speed 1/800; f/5

10. Shutter speed 1/1250; f/3.5

To conclude, at 1/250s and aperture f/9 the image is still sharp. With slower shutter speeds the movement is seen more and more. The interesting thing that I noticed is that at longer shutter speeds the object shows movement, while all background is frozen and in focus. This nicely comes together with previous exercise on aperture (the smaller is the aperture, the more area of the picture is in focus. This is a good to know thing, as sometimes I want to take a picture of moving object but keep background focused.
Now I know that I need to have a small aperture and a longer shutter speed for this. Cool! I want to try this next time I will take picture of night city.