Digital Photography – Week 10

 

9 images of rivers

Week 10 – Contact Sheet

I am doing my best this week to muster some enthusiasm and failing quite miserably! I have just spent the last half an hour trying to find the contact sheet function in Photoshop CS4 only to find it does not exist. Note to staff: There is a contact sheet function in CS3 and Adobe Bridge but the instructions on the word doc don’t work with CS4. I generated my contact sheet in the older version and it looked crap. I could not control how and what order the images displayed in – because I chose to display images formatted with both landscape and portrait orientation, I needed to arrange a row of images with the same orientation. I also could not remove the file name. So I did it by hand, perhaps not the way if you were doing it every day but because I already had to slim the file size from my Lightroom export to the suggested 600px I just copy and pasted the re-sized files into new document.

I have not had much time this week to work on my final project, this is creating a little anxiety and I am thinking I may revert to a previous idea for the theme of the 10 images. I have taken a lot of shots this study period around the Bellinger and Kalang Rivers on the NSW north coast so I thought the theme of water would be a good one to revert to.

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Digital Photography – Task 8 Bill Brandt

I have been doing a little research into photo editing this week and have come to the conclusion that a little investment in Lightroom and Photoshop can mean the difference between an average picture and a good one or a good one and a brilliant one.

So my long held belief  – that to tweak an image after the exposure meant that there was something wrong with the exposure to begin with and to post produce an image was some how dishonourable – has been dispelled, or rather the ability to make my own photos look better is the perfect justification I need to ‘dishonour’ the original.

But is it really ‘dishonourable’? I have read someone say recently the idea of editing a photo is to enhance it, to make it better, so the idea that if you were not   dedicated enough to capture a subject correctly at time of exposure – you could, instead of getting up at 5 in the morning to capture a sunrise, just get up when you felt like it, slide a few sliders in Lightroom and not have to run on 2 hours sleep for the rest of the day is a myth. There is no way to enhance something that is not there – like if you leave the lens cap on Lightroom can do nothing for you.

rabbit and river

Bill Brandt inspired

I found the task for this week quite a challenge. I have always loved the work of Max Dupain and I do find his work inspirational but I have chosen to mimic the style of Bill Brandt, simply because I had an idea that suits his quite bizarre style. When explaining to my girlfriend what I intended to do I think it sounded quite strange and even now at the result, the picture still looks strange – therefore I think I have successfully replicated the unique high contrast, strange composition, black and white work of Bill Brandt. It took some thinking to come up with a way of positioning my pet rabbit in front of a jetty so everything in the foreground was not seen and so the rabbit would not run away. I ended up solving this dilemma by putting the rabbit atop of a wheelie bin and clicking away. I did not use a fill light but found I needed to modify underexposed sky in Lightroom. I am happy with the picture.

a chicken in a supermarket

An idea for a set of images for my final assignment

Digital Photography – Task 9 Still Life

The theme for my final assessment this week has taken yet another tack – yes, exhausting as it may seem and the extra work I will be creating for myself if I pursue this next idea has got me feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment. 10 photographs is one thing but 10 complicated collages is a different story.

The idea is to create a set of digital collages, all based around the idea of animals as a commodity. Yes, they are a commodity and have been for a long time and as long as consumers choose to eat animal products they will remain commodities. This I do not plan to dispute but rather I wanted to comment or invite reflection on the beauty the animals we eat possess before they are killed – perhaps this different perspective on chickens, cows, rabbits and kangaroos and the lives they live in wait of the kill will conjure some respect or even for some to think about the sacrifice being made by the animals we eat. I have a few images finished already the challenge will be coming up with different ideas on how to make original, visually interesting and maybe even provocative collage.

I found the task for this week relativity straightforward – having some experience in Photoshop helped. That said I like the result, I think the clouds look amazing. I was lucky to have a camera on the day I shot the clouds.

suclent with clouds behind

Task  9 – Still Life

farm animals in a skill tester style box

Idea for collage.

Digital Photography – Week 7 Panorama

I enjoyed the task this week – though it was not completed on the first shooting. I completed the first location of the panorama exercise without problems but at the second location everything seemed ok but it soon became apparent in Photoshop that the horizon on the left and right did not match and it was impossible to crop. Because I had the tripod in the water when photographing a Lilly pond it was difficult to get the camera to pan evenly. I went back the next morning and re-shot the pond but it was cloudy and consequently the water lilies which are in flower at this time of year could not be seen – they must open depending on the available light.

I have been steadily working on a portfolio from which I will take 10 images for my final assignment. Last week I mentioned I was developing what I wanted to say – as if I felt something needed to be said, some kind of bold, insightful or disturbing commentary on life, pain, the world perhaps. I don’t want to present something pretentious or something weird for the sake of being weird, I don’t want to take an anti-art, Dada style stance and I don’t want to draw upon my experience as a social outcast living a hedonistic, masochistic and horrible life until recently. I feel if I do create something expressive the nature of my being or me being the product of my experience will ensure the message being received is one not contrived and designed for mass appeal – it will be genuine. I have given this some thought this week and part of the theme I want to explore will be to do combining opposites, expressing the duality of my own personality, of man. How I will do this exactly I am not quite sure. I have long being intrigued by the writing of Descartes and his philosophy relating the mind, body split – I think this worthy of photographic investigation.

looking from under footbridge

Urunga footbridge in the early morning

Panorama of Lilly pond

Panorama of Lilly pond

panorama of footbridge in the morning

Panorama of the Urunga footbridge

 

I have uploaded three panoramas – I believe the first two to be the best but they were at the same location so I have included the Lilly pond.

Digital Photography – Week 6

 

Having just seen the lecture entitled Making Strange I feel the theme I have chosen to explore this study period boring and mundane – rather not the theme its self but they way I had envisaged expressing it. I had planned my theme around the element of water and the images I have created so far are predominately landscapes. I know landscapes don’t have to be boring and I did not consider any of mine to be boring but by juxtaposing nature and industry or nature and made objects I could extract greater comment on the effect of civilisation on this planet both positive and negative.

Not totally in keeping with my new theme, this week I have borrowed a Cannon EOS 600D with a 55 – 250mm zoom this has enabled me to photograph birds and has bought me great pleasure. I have found this pursuit most therapeutic. To be able to be present in the moment regardless of what else is happening in my life is almost meditative. The telephoto lens and x2 converter I have borrowed this weekend has offered me special insight into the life, behavior and movement of especially small birds. Colors, actions and even habitat can not fully appreciated by the naked eye. Like a sharp shooter in a video game I feel a powerful sense of accomplishment when I think I have captured something fantastic – and like the sense of excitement when watching an image materialise out of developer solution back in the day, I experience a similar feeling when arrive home and wait for images to appear on my screen after inserting the SD card into the machine.

 

Blue bird

Superb Wren

colorful bird eating an insect

Rainbow Bee Eater

So perhaps I will combine through montage some images of birds with other things to comment on mans relationship with his environment. I don’t want the comment to reflect the usual Left Wing hippie point of view. I am currently developing exactly what I want to say.

Digital Photography – Task 5 Rodchenko Style

4 pictures of girl in apricot colored shirt

Set up – 1

girl in apricot colored shirt

Set up – 2

 

Week – 5

This week I have been experimenting with time-lapse photography. I have borrowed a Hähnel Giga T Pro II from the student learning centre in Coffs Harbour. It attaches to the hot shoe of the camera and through a remote control allows the photographer to control delay and exposure – when dropped into Lrtimelapse the photo sequence is rendered into a video file.

I have been frantically snapping this week – driving around the countryside, endeavoring to produce at least two good images a day. If I get home and find I have not captured exactly what I thought I wanted – I try again and again until the image looks perfect to me. Though this is the case the most exciting images I have produced thus far have been the ones that just happened. I am learning that the ability to let go of how I think I want a photograph to look is an absolute asset. I am still obsessed with technical perfection – correct exposure, sharp images and good composition but when I am able to allow a certain spontaneity and let go, I produce better photos.

For example last week I noticed a tee tree swamp on the way to Bellingen – I thought that would look good photographed at night, I wanted to capture the truly spooky feel of the environment. Perhaps I achieved this or maybe not but with the light failing and my shutter open for at least two seconds I captured the red tail lights of passing car from the left of the frame to the right – this ended up looking so different to the scene I intended capturing. Better or not I am not going to judge but more in keeping with the theme I have chosen to pursue – defiantly!

 

dark trees with streaking headlights

one possible variant

trees in swamp

the way i imagined this shot

This week I have been inspired by Instagram along with the works of Giacomo Brunelli,  Dayna Bartoli and Marcella S. Davis.

 

Digital Photography – Task 4 Depth of Field

girl on balcony

Depth of field exercise – shot 1a and 1b. 18mm, left F16, right F3.5

girl on balcony

Depth of field exercise – shot 1a and 1b. 70mm, left F11 right F4.5

girl on balcony

Depth of field exercise – shot 1a and 1b. 50mm, left F11 right F4.5

girl on balcony

Depth of field exercise – shot 1a and 1b. 70mm, left F11 right F4.5

 

Week – 4

I have been obsessed this week – I am obsessed most weeks but this week I have been obsessed with the process of image making. I have had the SCU Canon EOS 650 for a few days and now where ever I go, what ever I see I imagine how it would look through the viewfinder. I have been trying to capture the extra ordinary or if the subject lends itself to the ordinary –  I try to include something extra, something different. Being really aware of clichés and knowing I don’t want to perpetuate the production of super clichés has had me looking for something that has the potential to turn an OK image into a fantastic one. Shooting in the early morning or at night and modifying my theme to include commentary on mans relationship with his environment are both ways in which I feel I can break with the mundane. Macro is another and a way also to introduce the abstract form to a genre of photography that usually relies upon figurative imagery.

 

Dark Clouds Over Bellinger River

I was driving north down the Pacific Highway on my way to return a DSLR to the university in Coffs Harbour when i noticed ominous clouds looming on the horizon. I took the Waterfall Way exit quickly parked, jumped a fence and set up my time lapse in a paddock over looking the river.

My heart was racing as i watched darkness fall over the river and the intensity of the lightning striking very near to the telegraph pole to my right.I saw the cows in the middle ground run for the cover of near by trees and i thought about retreating to the relative safety of the car, but no – ‘a few more exposures’ i told myself.

Hail started to fall and i could see the size of the stones catching in the t-shirt i used to protect the camera from the water. Feeling confident i had captured the essence of the scene i started running back to the car – once safe inside the heavens opened, the wind howled and so began the race to protect the car from golf ball sized hail stones.

Digital Photography – Task 3 Shutterspeed

person twirling in circle

shot on left at 1/125 – on right 1/30th of a second.

person walking

on left at 1/30th and right 1/125 of a second. Raimond, plant is standing in for person.

person jumping in the air

on left at 1/250th and right at 1/15 of a second

person running with blury background

panning- track shot at 1/30th of a second

Week – 3

The task for this week has me a little frustrated at the moment. I have shot the jumping subject at 1/250th of a second – the exposure is good and the subject is captured in the act of jumping. Part b of this shot asks us to take the same shot at 1/15th of a second – as you would expect the subject is blurry as the movement of the jumper is obviously faster than 1/30th of a second. My problem is the second shot is over exposed. As the camera is set to shutter priority I would expect it to shut down the aperture to compensate for the longer exposure, but if it has, it has not done it enough. I will re-shoot and try to sort it out.

I have just set up my blog with WordPress.com and it looks really good. I am glad we have been asked to create a blog as I have wanted one for a while. I have up loaded my first two tasks and am well happy with the way it all looks! I have decided to go with my first idea and centre my images for this study period on water. This will allow my to photograph at a range of locations including rivers, swamps and the beach.

Digital Photography – Task 8 Bill Brandt

I have been doing a little research into photo editing this week and have come to the conclusion that a little investment in Lightroom and Photoshop can mean the difference between an average picture and a good one or a good one and a brilliant one.

So my long held belief  – that to tweak an image after the exposure meant that there was something wrong with the exposure to begin with and to post produce an image was some how dishonest – has been dispelled, or rather the ability to make my own photos look better is the perfect justification I need to ‘dishonor’ the original. Though i still look at crazy attempts at ‘enhancement’ on my Instagram feed and think ‘what were they thinking’.

But is it really dishonorable? I have read someone say recently the idea of editing a photo is to enhance it, to make it better, so the idea that if you were not dedicated enough to capture a subject correctly at time of exposure – you could, instead of getting up at 5 in the morning to capture a sunrise, just get up when you felt like it, slide a few sliders in Lightroom and not have to run on 2 hours sleep for the rest of the day is a myth. There is no way to enhance something that is not there – like if you leave the lens cap on Lightroom can do nothing for you.

I found the task for this week quite a challenge. I have always loved the work of Max Dupain and I do find his work inspirational but I have chosen to mimic the style of Bill Brandt, simply because I had an idea that suits his quite bizarre style. When explaining to my girlfriend what I intended to do I think it sounded quite strange and even now looking at the result, the picture perhaps does have a surrealist feel – therefore I think I have successfully replicated the unique high contrast, strange composition, black and white work of Bill Brandt. It took some thinking to come up with a way of positioning my pet rabbit in front of a jetty so everything in the foreground was not seen and so the rabbit would not run away. I ended up solving this dilemma by putting the rabbit atop of a wheelie bin and clicking away. I did not use a fill light but found I needed to modify overexposed sky in Lightroom. I am happy with the picture.

rabbit and river

Bill Brandt inspired

a chicken in a supermarket

An idea for a set of images for my final assignment