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2. The Frame - Project 7, Objects in different positions in the frame

The first shot in this series of images is a general impression of the situation as the “P&O; Pride of Hull” prepares to leave the dock at Rotterdam and the attending tugs get ready to assist if necessary.
We’re thinking about positioning the subject within the frame here, from my elevated position and various zoom lenses, giving me a wide choice of focal lengths, I was able to put the tug boat(s) in a few different places within the picture’s frame.
Image #2 places them central in the frame. I find this rather static, quite functional. Here are two tug boats sitting in the water, that’s it.
The third image puts the subjects off-centre in the frame. This gives plenty of room to show the huge ferry boat preparing to leave the birth. Placing the subject at the edge of the image allows for context within the image.
With the subject placed in the corner of the frame the picture becomes more balanced. This position also lends itself to showing more of the surroundings and, in my opinion, is more pleasing to the eye.
25th Apr 2009, 13:11   | tags:,,comments (0)

2. The Frame - Project 6, Fitting the frame to the subject

(viewed 492 times)
18-135mm zoom lens, Nikon D80
Four different photographs of the same subject here.
In the first shot I have quickly taken a picture of the barge coming towards me on the Ijssel river, near Doesburg, NL. No real thought went into this shot, just a quick capture as it comes into view.
The second image in this series took a little more thought. The subject is frame-filling, dominating the picture from edge to edge and showing little or none of the surroundings. It forces the viewer to focus on just the subject, there is little or no suggestion of context within which the subject finds itself.
Image #3 shows just part of the subject. Zoomed-in as it passed by I tried to capture some of the detail within the subject, the ship’s name, the anchor. It is still evident that the subject is a ship here and, due to the glimpse of the building on the opposite shore, that it is on a canal or river, not the open sea.
The final image shows the subject better in its surroundings. By including the bridge in the shot I think the viewer has more of an idea about the freight carrying function of the ship as it passes under its freight-carrying colleague/competitor driving along the road above.

Article on composition
25th Apr 2009, 13:06   | tags:,,comments (0)

Book review

(viewed 425 times)
24hrs in Amsterdam
isbn 0 500 97328 8
Thames & Hudson 1986
Photographed by;
Hans v.d. Bogaard
Ad v. Denderen
Willem Diepraam
Bert Nienhuis
Eddy Posthuma de Boer
Han Singels
text by R.Ferdinandusse

Found in a second hand book shop in Apeldoorn, this book is a collection of black & white images all captured in one 24hr period in Amsterdam. A number of photographers contributed to this book and the forward as well as the image titles and descriptions are in three languages; English, Dutch and German, presumably to appeal to the tourist market.
I found the images in this book interesting but not remarkable, some were very much flawed, some (too) obvious "dodging" going on in the faces of some of the individuals depicted. I also wondered about whether there had been a "model release form" signed by many of the subjects in some of the images who were very recognizable.

This is a project that I've been planning to do myself for some time now (not necessarily in Amsterdam). My angle would be rather different to that of this book however. I would have a stricter chronological sequence, i.e. starting at say 08.00hrs on a Saturday, collect a selection of images from each, and every, hour throughout the day; as the town wakes up, people go to work, go about their business. Shops open up, traffic and pavements get busier. Later in the afternoon things tail-off, streets become quieter, shops close up for the weekend. The evening crowd emerges, first the diners and the cinema goers, then the night club revellers. Closing time, people heading home. Early hours, empty streets, the aftermath of the night before and then the Sunday morning joggers, the church goers, dog walkers, the city re-awakens.
24th Apr 2009, 10:23   | tags:,,comments (1)

1. A way of seeing - Project 5, Panning with different shutter speeds

18-135mm zoom lens, Nikon D80

This project was carried out in a similar fashion to P4 but this time
"tracking" the subject as they passed by.

Once again starting at a 1 second exposure and each time decreasing the
exposure time and compensating with aperture setting and ISO to allow for a
correct & constant exposure.

Panning at very long shutter speeds (1sec, 1/2sec) is quite difficult
because when the mirror flips out of the way you are, effectively, blind. I
quickly learned that it was smart to look through both eyes and see
"through" the camera in order to keep an even track on the subject. These
are the shutter speeds used in each of the ten images;

1. 1sec, f22, iso 100
2. 1/2sec, f18, iso 100
3. 1/4sec, f13, iso 100
4. 1/8sec, f9, iso 100
5. 1/15sec, f6.3, iso 100
6. 1/30sec, f4, iso 100
7. 1/60sec, f5.6, iso 400
8. 1/125sec, f4, iso 400
9. 1/250sec, f3.5, iso 640
10. 1/500sec, f3.5, iso 1250

At 1sec (1) shutter speed the image is quite easily discernable as a horse &
rider though the background is just a series of streaks.

At 1/2sec (2) the rider is already in fairly sharp focus but the horse's
legs going backwards & forwards are moving, relatively, much faster, as is
the horse's nose as his head goes up & down and are therefore still blurred.

Only by 1/15sec (5) is Linda quite sharp, Jim reasonably so, but his legs
are still blurred with movement.

At 1/30sec (6) both Jim & Linda are quite sharp with only the horse's feet
still showing movement blur, and the background of course.

At 1/60sec & 1/125sec (7,8) almost everything is in sharp focus, only Jim's
left/front foot shows some movement blur as he lifts it off the ground.

At 1/250sec (9) they could almost be standing still were it not for a little
movement at the very bottom of the feet, and at 1/500sec (10) everything,
including the background, is frozen.

Article on shutter speeds
18th Apr 2009, 20:53   | tags:,,comments (1)

1. A way of seeing - Project 4, Shutter speeds

18-135mm zoom lens

For this project I went to our local stables where Linda, a friend of mine,
keeps her magnificent Shire horse "Jim".
Linda exercises Jim there every day and I knew she'd be doing a number of
circuits of the big hall which has an ideal background though the light
levels were rather on the low side.
Setting the camera up on a tripod approximately 5m from the wall I let Linda
& Jim pass from right to left through the field of view.
With the camera in manual mode and starting at a 1 second exposure I halved
the shutter speed each time they passed by, as follows;

1. 1sec, f22, iso 100
2. 1/2sec, f18, iso 100
3. 1/4sec, f13, iso 100
4. 1/8sec, f9, iso 100
5. 1/15sec, f6.3, iso 100
6. 1/30sec, f4, iso 100
7. 1/60sec, f5.6, iso 400
8. 1/125sec, f4, iso 400
9. 1/250sec, f3.5, iso 640
10. 1/500sec, f3.5, iso 1250

(1) I started at iso 100 with a closed down aperture to enable a much longer
shutter speed (1sec) This produced an indiscernible blur across the image
with the background in sharp focus.
(2-6) As I decreased the shutter speed each time they passed by I increased
the size of the aperture to compensate and keep a consistent & correct
exposure. Only after 1/15sec (5) does the blur become identifiable as a
horse & rider.
(7-8) At 1/60sec (7) it became necessary to increase the iso to 400 to allow
me to continue decreasing the shutter speed. This led to no visible "noise".
At (7) 1/60sec the subject is almost in sharp focus and at (8) 1/125sec most
of the subject is in sharp focus, only Jim's left-rear foot is moving
relatively quickly, therefore still showing a little motion-blur.
(9-10) Continuing to increase the iso to 640 & 1250 respectively allowed me
to shoot last two passes at (9) 1/125sec and (10) 1/500sec. At (9) 1/125sec
all movement is frozen, perhaps a little down around the long hair at the
feet (Fetlocks? Hooves? Sorry Linda, not up to speed on the terminology) but
at 1/500sec all is completely still.
If this had been a racehorse I'd have been in trouble because I was running
out of iso.

Article on shutter speeds
18th Apr 2009, 20:51   | tags:,,comments (0)

1. A way of seeing - Project 3, Focus with different apertures

The set up for this project was similar to that of P2.

Using a tripod, I ensured that the framing of the subject never changed

The camera remained focussed, manually, on a spot in the centre the images
during this exercise.

With the aperture set to its widest position (f 3.3) for this lens (35-75
zoom) I took the first image, then I set the aperture to f9 , and
compensated for exposure by adjusting the shutter speed, and took the second
image. Next I set the aperture to its smallest opening (f22 ), compensated
for exposure by adjusting the shutter speed, and took the final picture.

The differing extent of depth of field in each image is quite clearly
visible. In the second set of three illustrations I have marked out the
extent of the DoF, specific to each image.

Article on DoF
18th Apr 2009, 20:46   | tags:,,comments (0)

1. A way of seeing - Project 2, Focus with a set aperture.

This project required a subject that would lend itself to demonstrating
depth of field. I chose this row of knotted trees close to my house because
of their repetitive nature and the fact that the line extends from quite
close to the camera to a reasonable distance away.

I took three pictures, all at the widest available aperture (f3.3 ) for this
lens (the 35-75 zoom). Each image is focused on a different section of the
row of trees; front, middle and rear.

The large aperture gives a fairly shallow depth of field. It is clear to see
in the three images where the area of sharp focus begins and ends. In the
second set of three images I've marked it out for clarity.

I much prefer how the photo with "front focus" looks. It shows the gnarled
structure of the closest tree in sharp detail. While isolating it from the
background the context of the tree being part of a whole row is still very

Article on DoF
18th Apr 2009, 20:17   | tags:,,comments (0)

1. A way of seeing - Project 1, Focal length & angle of view

(viewed 922 times)
The object of this project was to find the standard focal length for my camera.
I used my Nikon D80 with it's "kit-lens", the 18-135mm zoom.
I have a 10-20mm and a 70-300mm lens in my camera bag but decided 18-135 would be enough range for this exercise.
Three images, all taken from the exact same spot (in my back garden on a grey Easter Monday morning).
ISO set at 100.
Tripod used for stability & consistency.

The first image was taken at the widest angle of view, 18mm (f3,5 1/13)

The second image was the natural, standard, focal length. I judged this by looking "through" the camera with both eyes open, comparing the image seen "live" with one eye and the image as seen through the viewfinder with the other eye, while adjusting the zoom setting. When the two images matched for size I noted down the focal length markings on the lens (about 55-60mm, I thought), the metadata showed 58mm (f5,3 1/6).

The third image was taken at 135mm (f5,6 1/5), the furthest telephoto setting for this lens.

After these images have been printed (at A4 size) I'll go back to the exact same spot and continue the exercise as dictated in the course notes, adding the results and my observations to this post.
Having just received the three images back from the printer's I went back out and held up the photo's in front of my face, each in turn and at a "correct" distance to match the scene for size.
The 18mm image had to be held quite close to my face for a match, at about 10cm.
The 58mm image was correct at about arm's length.
The 135mm version had to be held by my partner at about 2m in front of me for it to match up.
13th Apr 2009, 07:42   | tags:,,comments (9)