Part One: The Frame

PROJECT: LOOKING THROUGH THE VIEWFINDER

Exercise #6:  Fitting the frame to the subject (4 photos)

Once again I have used two diferent venues for this exercise and in the end I think that I generally prefer the more tightly framed photographs.  This is probably because it focuses more on the subject that I am concentrating on and does not contain the other somewhat distracting elements.

When taking the fourth photograph of the train I tried to include the old junction mechanism buut the grass was quite long around it and detracts from the mechanism itself.  In this photograph too there is an old overhead structure with a vertical piece hanging down that is very distracting.  This could I am sure all be photoshopped out but for this exercise I have left it in.

From these I created two cropped versions effectively zooming in further.  I think that these make more interesting photographs.

   

Ultimately, the two cropped images have more impact.

Exercise #7: Object in different positions in the Frame (4 photos)

This exercise was initially not to my satisfaction and I looked for a number of subjects that would be suitable.  Below is a selection of the images with a final set of four on the beach that I felt measured up to what I wanted for this exercise.

I had seen this burnt tree in the burnt field and thought that it warranted a study.  The day was wet and misty and I wanted to show it in its desolate surroundings.   The main problem is that small tree to the right.  It simply detracts from the bigger tree.  Images with the tree centred were simply not effective at all and with the tree placed lower right there is too much empty sky.  So, in terms of placement of the subject, on the edge of the picture is definitely more effective.

   

Next was isolating a small wild flower.  Central – the word used in the notes probably describes this best – the flower ‘punctures’ the image and the eye does not know where to look.  The flower upper left does not work well either but lower left is not too bad in terms of image placement.  The main thing that detracts from this image are the blades of grass.  So, on to the next!

     

The lonely fisherman – with him central it did not work as his fishing rod cut the picture in two.  With him on the right was better.

   

I now tried some trees in a field.  The light was vary variable at the time which mad it more difficult to capture comparable images.  Once again the images with the trees more to the edge worked better.

   
   

Finally, the beach umbrella set!  Once again the centrally placed subject does not work.  I then took three others placing the subject on the intersection of thirds lower left, on the midline but to the right and on the intersection of thirds on the lower right.  The lower left image is not too bad at all and resembles the lower right but does not seem to work as well.  When the subject is to the right but on the midline the line of the sand seems to cut the image in half so does not really work well.  However, the final image with the subject on the lower rights works well as ones eye travels most easily from the left of the picture to the rights where the umbrella party is placed.  Apart from the positioning of the umbrellas per se, the sand line is almost along the lower 1/3rd line and the horizon close to the top 1/3rd.

     

Although I spent quite a lot of time on this exercise it was probably worth it and gave me more insight into the positioning of my subject in the frame.  I am sure I have not conquered this fully but know that I am at least on the path.

Exercise #8: A Sequence of Compositions (20 – 30 photos)

I have done this exercise in two venues although on the same day.  The first was at a farmers market in the early morning and the second was at a garden show later that day.  The photographs I enjoy looking at the most are of people and in particular faces.  However, I find these really difficult to do and will have to practice more.  Inanimate objects are far easier as they are not likely to complain.  I think also in South Africa people are not used to being photographed in public places and are quite averse to it.  However, I did spend more time thinking about my subject and what I want to include in the frame and I guess this is the learning point.  I did take some general shots and then some that were more focused on the subject.  I am sure that even though I would still struggle I would do better if I were to repeat this exercise again.  This exercise was really difficult for me!

Morning Market

       
       

Garden Show

     

The final picture was taken of a lady at one of the stalls. As I had no flash I had to increase the ISO to 3200.

PROJECT: FOCAL LENGTHS

Exercise #9: Focal Lengths (3 – 10 photos)

This exercise and the next are aimed at showing the effect of a change in focal length and position affect the perspective of the photograph.  In this exercise, although the size of the lighthouse increases as I move from a 16 mm to 200 mm lens, the perspective of the lighthouse remains the same.  In Lightroom I cropped and enlarged the 35 mm image and compared it with the 200 mm image.  Although there the people on the beach had changed, the perspective of the lighthouse remained the same.

16 mm

35 mm

70 mm

200 mm

Exercise #10: Focal Lengths and Different VIewpoints (>2 photos)

29 mm

35 mm

70 mm

170 mm

The 35 mm image is different from the others and is included more for interest as it has some foreground interest.  In the 29 mm, 70 mm, and 170 mm I kept the size of the lighthouse approximately the same as required for the exercise.  This is maybe not a great subject for this exercise due to the distortion that one has when close to the base of the lighthouse.  However on the other hand it does clearly demonstrate the different perspective, which is most evident in the way in which one sees the platform and light on top of the lighthouse.

The sky was grey most of the time making it generally uninteresting.  However, I think that this area is worth another visit.

PROJECT: DIVIDING THE FRAME

Exercise #11: Balance (6 photos)

ALthough I have selected my images and know what I want to indicate I am struggling to add the ‘balance scale’ pictograms to my blog.  I have therefore added the images and will work on adding the pictograms and then update this section.

 

And as a final image for this exercise, I have a view from above of a cycad plant that shows radial symmetry.  The palm frond in the top left corner is a distraction but I was unable to position myself to avoid this.  What I found valuable was not so much taking the photograph but the fact that I recognised the symmetry.

Overall this exercise has been interesting in looking at my photographs in a different way.  What is clear is that the elements that make up the balance are not always so obvious, at least to me at the moment.

Exercise #12: Positioning the Horizon (6 photos)


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PROJECT: FRAME SHAPES AND SIZES

Exercise #13: Vertical and Horizontal Frames (20 photos)

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PROJECT: CROPPING AND EXTENDING

Exercise #14: Cropping (3 photos)

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