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Assignment #3: Applying what you've learned so far (part 1)

The theme I decided on for this project was our trip “Down Under”.
After selecting a (quite large) number of images from the collection I whittled it down, with quite some difficulty, to just these 12.
I think they show a variety of techniques and the application of various aspects of photography learned so far in TAOP.

(all images Nikon D80)

Image #1
70/300mm zoom @300mm
1/750 sec
ISO 800
Aperture Priority
This image demonstrates how useful leading-lines can be, if it weren't for the fallen down tree pointing like a huge wooden arrow at the cormorant drying its wings the bird wouldn't stand out as clearly as it does.

Image #2
70/300mm zoom @85mm
1/2000 sec
ISO 200
Aperture Priority
This shot of the Perth skyline in unsettled weather contains both shade and sunlit areas. By slightly underexposing the image, overriding the camera's preferred settings, there is no loss of detail in the lighter parts of the sky.

Image #3
18/135mm zoom @135mm
1/1000 sec
ISO 400
Aperture Priority
The three young surfers looking out to sea are back-lit by the late afternoon sun, which will set over the horizon within the hour. F/8 giving sufficient D of F to keep the whole image sharp.

Image #4
18/135mm zoom @135mm
1/500 sec
ISO 400
Aperture Priority
This image of the huge dump-trucks in the “Super Pit”, Kalgoorlie was shot in the late afternoon light with the sun very low and frontal to the subject. The picture also has elements of horizontal and diagonal lines within it.

Image #5
70/300 zoom @155mm
1/750 sec
ISO 100
Aperture Priority
Antony Gormley's “Inside Australia” art installation on lake Ballard, a salt lake in outback WA is an amazing sight. 52 alien-like statues distributed over a huge expanse of dry lake bed.
This shot was take from the top of a large mound and displays the isolation of the individual statues, this one surrounded by sweeping curves of motorcycle tracks cutting through the thin layer of white salt to the red clay underneath.

Image #6
10/20mm zoom @10mm
1/60 sec (flash)
ISO 100
Aperture Priority
Back at the salt lake for sunset I forced the exposure down a few f/stops so as not to overexpose the colours on the horizon and then illuminated the statue with a Speedlight.
13th Nov 2009, 15:49   comments (0)

5. Natural Light - Project 48, Cloudy & dull weather

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Clouds, haze & mist are a kind of filter. Mainly they diffuse sunlight but can also reflect sunlight or mute colours.
The trouble I had in supplying photos for 5-Natural Light just goes to prove that, in our part of the world, clear sunny days are rather the exception than the rule. We need to be able to make best use of the lighting conditions that are available.
In this project I needed to photograph the same view in sunlight and in cloud. In the interests of progress in this course I'll come back to that part of the project if & when the sun decides to shine with a bit of cloud thrown in (on a day when I'm not dragging 44 tons of Volvo around the country).

Meantime here's a few from the archive that fit nicely.

The B/W skyline is of Perth WA, on a particularly grey morning. I'd got up very early to shoot the "spectacular sunrise" over the city, but it rained.

The rolling hills shot is better for there being no direct sunlight, the diffused light making the colours and tones less harsh, more subtle.

The birds, tracked through the air needed a fairly long shutter speed to get this effect and strong sunlight would have spoiled this.
13th Nov 2009, 14:40   comments (0)

5. Natural Light - Project 49, Graduated filters

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The problem with overcast or cloudy skies is that the sky is so much lighter than the ground/sea.
A graduated filter can help with this.
The first image was exposed for the overall view, not the sky. As we can see the sky is fairly bright, not a lot of "character" to those clouds.
Fitting the graduated ND filter and positioning the border between dark & clear plastic exactly on the horizon line, then taking the same shot, same settings (manual), shows an improvement in the overall image. The clouds have become much more dramatic, as they actually were.

Shooting directly into the sun will cause the whole system to shut down as tight as possible in order to correctly expose the lighter part of the image. This throws the rest of the image into very dark shadow.
The ND-grad filter acts like a pair of sunglasses to the extreme light and the camera will be better able to compensate for the image as a whole.

A smaller aperture will make the graduated edge seem sharper, as will a wide-angle lens.

A less well known use for an ND-grad filter is indoors. A room will often be unevenly lit through (large) windows on one side. Turning the filter on its side can be useful in darkening the "window - side" of the image down, thus evening out the overall exposure.
13th Nov 2009, 05:32   comments (0)

5. Natural Light - Project 50, Rain

(viewed 555 times)
Rain doesn't have to stop play in photography - we can dry off, the camera too.
Rain can produce interesting visual effects.

For this project I merely needed to go out in the rain and take some interesting pictures.

5th Nov 2009, 07:14   comments (0)

5. Natural Light – Project 47, Twilight

Twilight – the margin between day & night, night & day.

Mostly the view in the direction of the light is the best one. Silhouette & colour are the visual effects one can expect but it can be quite unpredictable.

Taking various shots, light, dark, balanced, silhouettes, wide angle landscapes, telephoto detail shots I shot a good number of pictures until I had to stop and actually go and drive onto that ferry.

1, ISO-400 f/16 1/125 Manual 38mm
2, ISO-400 f/22 1/125 Manual 20mm
3, ISO-100 f/13 1/180 Manual 10mm
4, ISO-100 f/13 1/180 Manual 135mm
5, ISO-100 f/13 1/125 Manual 85mm
6, ISO-100 f/8 1/350 Manual 70mm
7, ISO-100 f/8 1/350 Manual 35mm
8, ISO-100 f/5.6 1/45 Manual 48mm
9, ISO-100 f/5.6 1/180 Manual 70mm
10, ISO-100 f/5.6 1/60 Manual 28mm
20th Oct 2009, 03:46   comments (0)

5. Natural Light – Project 46, Choosing the moment

Light conditions can change by the minute. As the sun rises or sets the hour around that time contains a fast-moving light scenario and calls for swift adjustments and action, even by the landscape photographer.

This project explores this time-slot.

Having checked the location I had in mind for North/South orientation, i.e. the sun would rise in front of me and I would have a clear shot, I decided on the church in Oud Zevenaar, about two miles from my house. (see map).

Arriving early and setting up the equipment I made sure I had the right composition before the light started doing its thing. As it started to get light I realised that the glow was coming from away to the right, and not behind my subject (the Church) so I had to move around quick.

Taking a picture at the start of the “show” I then continued to take a shot each time I decided that the light had changed significantly. These are the results.

At the start, a reasonable show of colour, offset against the dark blue/black of the clear night sky.

Although here and there are a couple of nice little clouds drifting into shot there isn't much of a change going on. One of those boring, gradual sunrises with nothing really to write home about.

Using "manual" mode I of course adjusted the exposure as it became lighter, this seems to have produced six virtually identical images, the only slight difference being in the lightening of the road-surface and brightening of the sky.

Iso 100 (tripod, remote shutter release) Exposures between 8secs & 1/6th sec @ f/6.7

If any, I think my favourite of the bunch would be #3, a little cloud detail (which I know has nothing to do with the lighting conditions) and some detail beginning to show in the foreground.

I had expected better, better conditions, better colours, more of a change in lighting conditions, just unlucky to (be forced to) pick that particular morning, I guess.

An essential skill in outdoor photography is to be able to judge the way light and shadows will move, to be able to anticipate these changes.
I'll do this again if I have time, with a decent sunset, there's a better vantage point 180 degrees the other direction from here which should put the church in front of the sunset.

A little further on up the dyke and I shot this six-image panorama, which made it worthwhile going out there in the first place.
20th Oct 2009, 03:30   comments (0)

5. Natural Light – Project 45, Picture Count Part I

(viewed 493 times)
These images were collected and scanned into the computer from various sources. They all illustrate frontal, side, back and edge lighting.
Frontal; Rick Sammon
Side; Ron Reznick
Back; Richard Yot
Edge; SeraphimC
12th Oct 2009, 19:23   comments (0)

5. Natural Light – Project 45, Picture Count Part II

These ten images from “Photography, a concise history” are all illustrations of images where lighting is of prime importance to the image.

1. William Henry Fox Talbot’s “The open door” (1844) has harsh, frontal, midday sunlight.

2. John Thomson’s “Recruiting sergeants at Westminster” (1876) is backlit , with some edge-lighting visible. Figures are almost in silhouette.

3. Peter H. Emerson’s “A Winter’s sunrise” (1895) is a good example of early morning light.

4. Clarence White & Alfred Stieglitz’s “Miss Thompson” (1907) is predominantly light of tone.

5. Frederick Holland Day’s “The Vision” (1907) is predominantly dark of tone.

6. Werner Bischof’s “Flute player near Cuzco, Peru” (1956) has diffused, natural daylight, with almost no shadows.

7. Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s “El Umbral” (1947) is backlit, with bold, dark shadows.

8. Emmet Gown’s “Edith, Danville, Virginia” (1976) is side-lit from a natural source.

9. Kurt Benning’s “Musicians’ platform in a German farmhouse” (1975) is all about indirect, diffused daylight.

10. Heinrich Riebesehl’s “Schillerslager” (1979) is bathed in diffused natural daylight.
8th Oct 2009, 13:16   comments (0)