The Art of Photography

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Cloudy Weather and Rain

The first part of this exercise is to take two-three scenes and photograph them on a cloudy day and a sunny day. Each of the three sets below the image taken on a cloudy day is on the left and the sunny day on the right.  Each of these sets shows quite clearly how the clouds act a s a diffuser, softening the light and reducing the shadows cast.  I took all photos at roughly the same time of day.  The images taken on a cloudy day are also slightly bluer. I had used daylight setting for all images.  The available light is also reduced on a cloudy day, especially the image of the tombs on the sunny day the sun bounced off the stone making it incredibly bright. On the cloudy day I need to use a very high ISO as well as wide aperture and slow shutter speed.  The differences were actually greater than I had expected them to be.  However I do prefer the images taken on the cloudy day.  Rather fortunate living in London where we have more cloud than not.

         Cloudy - TV 1/40 AV f6.3 ISO 500                        Sunny - TV 1/160 AV f8 ISO 200

        Cloudy - TV 1/160 AV f8 ISO 500                          Sunny - TV 1/200 AV f8 ISO 200

        Cloudy - TV 1/40 AV f4.5 ISO 800                        Sunny - TV 1/250 AV f8 ISO 400

The second part of this exercise is to identify two photos in my library that would definitely not be better in sunlight.  The first I have selected is the beach scene below. On a bright sunny day with blue skies this picture would not have the same moodiness that it currently has.  the sand would be brighter, the atmosphere would be a totally different place. The sport would look out of place.

The second image would definitely be very different on a sunny day.  This picture was taken in the afternoon without any shade near by.  A sunny day would have given hard shadows on her face.  It was very overcast, perfect for such beautiful young skin. The slight blue cast was very welcome as she already has a lot of red in her skin. Sun would have increased the warmth and changed the gentleness of this image. I was very grateful for the cloud on this day.

The third part of this exercise is a photo in the rain. I love taking pictures in the rain so have used one from my library. This day I went out just to take pictures in the rain. It was particularly heavy rain. I'm always looking for that special shot that will really show the rain. I think this does give a feeling of a sudden down pour, although I still haven't captured the density of the rain I am after. there is a lot more reflection and glare in the rain so when there is wet pavements or pools of water on the pavement you have to make sure you don't get burnt out patches.  I now have a raincoat for my camera to let me out in this weather.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Dawn to Dusk

I haven't got the greatest images for this exercise but I do understand the concept we are to learn from this. I am tired of getting up at 3:30am to get the dawn shots.  (I'll never make a landscape photographer). Pity it isn't winter time when the days are shorter.  The first shot is 4:06am  the last 21:11.  Taken over several days where the weather was similar. ie not totally overcast with grey skies.
The area directly in front of the camera is where the sun sets.  So my dawn shots are reflecting the light from the sun. I like this type of light both at sunrise and sunset. As the sun travels through the day the light gets whiter. As I am facing straight into the sun that sets behind the buildings the sunset pictures are not as warm as they can be if the sun is slightly out of the frame.  In this group of pictures at this location the images I prefer are those taken between 8:30 am and 11:00 am (2nd row).  The sun gives a warm glow to the bricks. This will vary depending on the location and where the sun is in relation to the subject and what the subject is.  However the light is richer (and nicer I feel) closer to both sunrise and sunset.

I particularly love the light just before sunrise or just after sunset as in this image of St Paul's Cathedral (taken after sunset).

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Variety with a low Sun

For this exercise the brief was to take four photos when the sun is low using daylight white balance.
The results are image top left, front lighting. The result is harsh shadows on the models face. plus she is squinting as the sun is shining directly into her eyes.  The image top right has the sun behind the model.  harder for the photographer as you are shooting directly into the sun. I recall comments from a photographer when talking about his fees. Double if shooting into the sun. As the background was going to be burnt out I chose a very wide aperture to make it even less important to the picture. The sun behind  is more flattering to the model with no harsh shadows on her face.  The bottom left hand photo is using the sun to side light. This was also difficult with the grass on the sun side of the image burnt out and the models dark clothing losing detail. i do like side lighting for portraits but with a little more control so that the light is diffused. The final image, bottom right hand corner is using edge lighting.  I decided to take this image so that the edge lighting would not be burnt out. This meant that the rest of the image would be underexposed. To be able to see the models face I would need to use flash in this situation if I want to keep all the detail in the lighting around her hair.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Rise Above it All

No wonder I haven't had any feed back from my last assignment or replies to my emails.  My tutor is ditching me. Seems her interest is only in working with conceptual ideas at a high level.  Terrific. I'm told in an email that my new tutor will be in touch soon.  Should I point out that this news was delivered by someone who doesn't know the difference between there and their.  Feeling confident? Obviously I'm not. Thinking I picked the wrong school? You bet. I'm struggling to know if I should carry on with this course or ditch it now and put my effort into a few courses I have found that look really good. Feeling like I have wasted weeks playing around with research and reading to try and 'conceptualise' now feel annoyed that I could have been moving on and be up to date with exercises in the program.
Up and onwards will see how I feel in a week.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Dawn to Dusk

This exercise is proving to be troublesome.  I am exhausted getting up at 3:30 to get sunrise only to find the weather unsuitable. London is too cloudy!! I am becoming an expert on how much cloud and when it comes in, how fast, how long, what shape.  Think I will move on to the next exercise.  I'll have to come back to dawn to dusk when I can get better weather, which may mean outside of London.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Judging Colour Temperature 2

As for previous exercise these sets of photos were taken Midday Sun, Midday Shade, sun close to the horizon.  Three photos taken at each time with three different white balance settings.  AWB, daylight, shade.

Note the differences:
AWB in each set gives a slight blue cast.  Shade white balance gives a golden glow. A bit too warm for my liking.  At each time and condition I prefer the daylight setting.  (one I tend to mostly use as well).  I may have had a different outcome with a different subject and in a different environment.  London either has a lot of cloud which diffuses the light or if it is a bright clear day then there is a pollution haze.  Both tend to cool the colour and give a very slight cast.  Hence why I opt for daylight setting for most of my outdoor shots in London.  I will redo this exercise when I am out of London next.

Each set left to right are AWB, daylight, shade:

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Judging Colour Temperature 1

For this exercise 3 images were taken with white balance set to daylight. One in the middle of the day in full sun (top right) one in the middle of the day in shade (left) and the third when the sun is close to the horizon (bottom right).
The two images taken in the middle of the day show a huge difference. The sky was very blue and the sun very bright. In full sun the colours are white or neutral. In the shade there is a blue cast.  As expected the image shot at sunset is very warm with rich golden colours. The surprise for me was how black changed.  In full sun my model's black t-shirt is rather dull. A little better in the shade but it is the rich warm colours that have produced the richest black and closer to the real colour.
For portraits full sun is not flattering. Skin colour is rather washed out with dark and harsh shadows on her face.  The shade is better for skin but the blueness has made her grey hair seem greyer than in reality. The daylight setting at sunset has made her skin a little too golden.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Exhibition - Art in the Wild

Roger Hooper's wildlife photos are incredible. He obviously spends hours and hours in the wild taking these pictures. The work that I really loved was a joint effort. He black and white photos are hand painted in watercolours by his agent. These pictures reminded me of photos of my mother as a child. I want to do a bit more research on this technique would like to try it out.  He uses Hahnemuhle paper and only paints part of the image.  The effect is beautiful.