Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Exercise 2.2 - The relationship between points

Similar to the previous exercise, I have chosen different objects with different types of background to show different relationship between the two points in the frame.

1. Two stones on the white snow were chosen for the first type of composition. Remembering the exercise on the balance, I have placed a bigger stone closer to the center than the second one. I have also placed two objects so that there was a diagonal between them.

2. For the second shot I have chosen objects of the same size and placed on the same plane. As both objects are of the same size, I have placed them almost equally from the center of the frame. To make image more dynamic, I showed a clear diagonal between two objects and addition diagonal created by the reflections on the background adds up to the the dynamics of the picture.   


 3. For the third shot I have chosen more complicated points (the chimney and the lantern) as well as more complicated background. The image itself is quite dynamic, but I don't think the two points attract enough attention, when looking at the picture. It seems that the chimney is a bit too close to the edge. Generally speaking, the building looks more like a central object of the picture here, than lantern and the chimney.

This exercise proves that placing two points against each other as well as against the background is more complicated, than working with a single point in the frame. When changing the position, it is often that either the angle of one of the points or the background does not work. More variables makes the process of putting together the composition more complicated.

Exercise 2.1 - Positioning a point

For this exercise I have chosen objects with different kinds of background to see how the object would be positioned.

1. At first I have taken a picture of the leaf on the plain white snow with no other objects on the background. As the leaf is the only object on the picture, I have placed it on the left side, but vertically in the middle of the picture. I that grains of snow from a bit blurred white to clearly focused are driving the attention to the center of the leaf. Though, it might make the composition a bit static. I tried several other options. Placing the object vertically closer to the edges, leaves too much white background. Placing the point centrally, makes composition really static.      

2. For the second shot I have chosen an object with a little bit different background to see, which composition will work better in this case. The trees on the background are clearly dividing the frame. And I decided to place the point horizontally on the right side and vertically in the center of the remaining frame. I am not quite sure that this composition works, it might be worth putting the point vertically a bit closer to the edge...

3. For the third part of of the experiment I have chosen the background other than snow. The office building with some lights and a lantern on this background seemed to work well. I have placed the object exactly on the line with windows. The light from the building slightly moves attention to the lantern. The small reflections in the bottom part of the picture seem to complement the composition.   


Summarizing the exercise, I would say that though there are no clear rules for placing the point in one or another part of the frame, the central position is very unlikely to be justified. At least, none of my objects worked centrally. Generally, placing the point within the frame is highly driven by the type of the background. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Assignment 1 - Contrasts

As described in the course materials, the first assignment was to come up with 8 pairs of photos that would represent the contrasting elements. Here they are:

1. Liquid/Solid.

I am not quite sure, that these parts are only liquid and solid contrasts. I decided to make the liquid picture black and white, as it became more interesting. The picture of solid piece of ice on the contrary is colorful and I did not want to change it, because I liked the colors surrounding the object. I don't like the focus on the first pictures...To  be honest it looks a bit out of focus...and th composition is rather strange...

2. Big/Small

Here I used two Christmas tree toys in the snow. The big one is filling in the frame, it seems that he could hardly fit in there. The texture of the material  and the posture of the bear are saying that he is big. It is the other way around with a small one. He is in the center of the picture and all his posture and eyes make him look like a baby-bear.

3. Hot/Cold

The frozen berries look really cold on the snowy background. I have also tried to make coffe look as hot as possible by putting more focus on the smoke that is coming out of the cup.

 4. Straight/ Curve

For this pair I have chosen the different parts of the same pbject, which was my guitar. As a 'straight'  object I have take n a picture of strings, that always leave an impression of perfectly straight object. And the body of the guitar has a curved part, which I have shown on the second picture. I don't lie the reflection of the light on the second shot, but it was the best I could achieve.


5. Black/White

For black and white pair of pictures I have taken necklace from white agate and a black stone from northern part of  Russia - shungit. I am quite happy with a picture of the necklace, but I am not quite sure that the black stone leaves an impression of a black object.

6. Little/Much

For this contrast I have chosen a picture of some rice on the mirror. I like the reflections and the colorful background on the mirror. The picture of  'much' rice is quite doubtful in compositin. But I am not happy at all with these two pictures as a pair. They are two different to represent few/ many contrast. But anyway, here they are:

7. Dark/Light

It is really dark in the building of the old prison. And it is dark, not only because of the little light. It is the whole building, material and the hight of the room, that is giving impression of darksness. It makes people feel uncomfortable and lost.  The bright winter sun on the contrary would make everybody feel the freedom of the nature and gives positive emotions. I think, this pair works well for this assignment on contrasts.


8. Wide/Narrow

Here I have chosen widely open and narrow smiling eye as a contrasting pair. I am not very happy with focus on the narrow eye. It should be sharper than it is. the angle at which both pictures have been taken could also be better.

9. Light+Dark
This is a final picture representing both light and dark at the same time. I was also thinking to name it hard/soft, because of the softness of the sky, but decided that the branch looks not hard enough.
Both sky and white clouds leave a good impression of the light and the branch itself could not be darker than it is on this picture.

Summarizing this assignment, I would say that I am not very happy with my own work for several reasons.
First of all, I could probably have chosen better pairs for representing contrasts. Secondly, I could have put more efforts in setting up compositions. 
The post-processing could also be done in a way to stress the contrasts of the pairs, instead of. aiming at imroving every single picture.  
Anyway, it just means that I am still having a lot to work on. I am  looking forward to learn further and improve my skills.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Exercise 14 - Cropping

For this exercise I have picked up three different pictures to see how cropping would influence them and why cropping would be needed there or not.

1. Let's have a look at the first pair of pictures. The lighting was not perfect when taking this pictures, and it resulted in a bit blurred left side trees (though they were supposed to be sharp and too white sky in the right top corner. That is why, I have cropped these two elements that I did not like. I think the composition has even won from this, as there is now more attention to the bridge, which became more central than on the initial picture.

2. The nose and eyes of the seal were from the very beginning planned as central object. As it was not possible to come closer to the object than it is, I centralized and cropped the needed details. I also decided to leave some waves and bubbles to save the movement effec

3. For cropping this shot I referred to the exercise on the positioning the horizon. As it was advised there,  placing the horizon line exactly in the center makes the composition static. Also there was nothing really interesting in this sky to make it half of the shot. That's why I decided to cut some sky. I have also sacrificed some sand in the bottom to make the shot look more like panorama and attract  more attention to the grass and reflections.

Summarizing this exercise, I can conclude that cropping is a tool that should not be forgotten, if you are not very happy with the composition of a shot or some details are rather irritating.  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Exercise 13 - Vertcal and Horizontal Frames

To complete this task I decided to go to the old town, as there are plenty of interesting objects: buildings, trees, patterns, statues. I did not have a detailed plan, but I knew that I wanted to try different kind of objects in vertical frame. I decided to take pictures as pairs at the same time and then analyze them by pairs.

I decided to start from outside objects and took some pictures of the church and the monument.

1. The first two pairs of pictures are tall objects. All four prove that when taking a vertical picture all attention is paid to the object itself and when trying to take a picture of the same object, but vertically, the background should be considered as well. It was quite a sunny day and I decided to use a polarizing filter, which was a mistake. It seems that the sun in winter does not need to be polarized, though it seemed quite bright. The sky looks rather grey,  while it was actually blue.


2. The next pair of pictures is the same church, but from the closer distance. Both shots taken from the same distance. The horizontal one looks surprisingly more interesting. Two gothic windows that appeared in the frame when I took a horizontal shot make the picture look not as boring as a vertical one. 
Honestly, I don't like none of them. 


3. Out of next two shots vertical definitely looks more attractive. Though maybe there are too more details on the background. And the same problem as with first shots - polarizing filter did not make much sense on these shots.   

4. For a single icicle on the next shot, vertical composition works better. However, I can imagine that in case of the whole row of icicles, horizontal would be more preferred.


I moved further into the old town, and turned to the colorful buildings with balconies that look particularly nice in contrast to the white snow.

5. The pair of blue building shots looks almost equal. But I would prefer the vertical composition more, as it looks more like some kind of creature with eyes, nose and mouth.


6. Out of these two shots, I would say - horizontal wins. I just found details of the statue more interesting than the vertical composition with different levels of snow.


7. Out of grey balconies shots, the single balcony one looks more balanced. I think, it has something to do with an angle of shot of the vertical picture. Also, there is no reflection in the second window, which makes second balcony look empty and disrupts the balance. In case of the closer distance shots of the same balcony. The vertical one looks better, because there is more frame given to the reflection, than to the balcony, as it is on the horizontal one.   


8. Both shots of yellow building look fine, though I would prefer the horizontal one, because of the focus on the tree. This detail makes shot more attractive.


After I finished with these buildings, I am going further to the Christmas market. For taking some pictures there change my Tamron 18-250mm F/5.6-6.3 lens into Tamron 90mm F/2.8 Macro, because I wanted to take some shots of small souvenirs there.  

9. My conclusion regarding next three pairs of shots would be that both horizontal and vertical frames work for such objects. It is only a matter of right choice of distance and angle of view. E.g in case of the third pair, the vertical shot would look better, if the black background was not there. 




10. As my Tamron 90mm is also good for portraits I decided to experience on vertical and horizontal portrait. In this case, vertical frame definitely looks better, as a portrait. Horizontal frame would make more sense,  if there was some panorama on the background. 


11. To continue experimenting, I decided to take some shots of interesting patterns.  In all three cases it is clearly seen, that it is highly dependent on the object shape, whether vertical or horizontal frame works better. Even if the whole object does not fit in horizontal or vertical frame, it is worth trying single parts of the original composition (as it is, for example, in case of metal candlestick).   




Summarizing this exercise, I would say that although the choice of the vertical or horizontal frame is rather intuitive, it is always worth taking both shots. Picking up some detail on the original composition or adding some background to the shot might give unexpectedly interesting results.