Exercise 1.2: Point

The Brief

A point is the smallest graphical element, if you join many points together you make a line. In mathematics, a point doesn’t have any weight at all, it indicates a place. So compositionally, a point has to be small within the frame and its position is generally more important than its form.

Take three or four photographs in which a single point is placed in different parts of the frame. When composing the shots use these three rules: the place of the point shouldn’t be too obvious (such as right in the middle), the composition should hold a tension and be balanced (the golden section or rule of thirds) and the point should be easy to see. Evaluate the shots according to these rules and select which one you think works best.

  Then take a few more shots without any rules, just being aware of the relationship of the point to the frame. Without the rules, how can you evaluate the shots? That will be a key question throughout the whole degree programme.

Add the photographs to your learning log together with brief observations.

Response

This was an intriguing exercise and there were a number of attempts at composing a set of images that I would be happy with. When framing any shot it is often looking to exclude points that interfere with the result I’m trying to capture. So the notion of framing something that should not be there was hard. Not surprising that such a battle should be contained within a simple metaphor of a game of chess (albeit not deliberate).

The first an third frames within this set work well creating the tension, a sense of not belonging, an invasion of the context of the frame itself have to be my favourites. The first fame I favour more not least because of the light interacts with the image as a whole, but the eye is drawn instantly to the placement of the lollipop. I believe the placement within the first three fames make good use of the point as form of invasive reference as opposed to the last three where the point acts a form of encroachment.

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 2 August, 2019
  • Focal length: 47mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/80s

  • Aperture: ƒ/5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 2 August, 2019
  • Focal length: 47mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/60s

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 2 August, 2019
  • Focal length: 47mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/30s

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 2 August, 2019
  • Focal length: 47mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/30s

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 2 August, 2019
  • Focal length: 47mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/30s

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 2 August, 2019
  • Focal length: 47mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/50s
  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 2 August, 2019
  • Focal length: 47mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/80s
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Exercise 1.1: The Instrument

The Brief

Take three or four exposures of the same scene. Don’t change anything on the camera and keep the framing the same.

Preview the shots on the LCD screen. At first glance they look the same, but are they? Perhaps a leaf moved with the wind, the light changed subtly, or the framing changed almost imperceptibly to include one seemingly insignificant object and exclude another. Time flows, the moment of each frame is different, and, as the saying has it, ‘you can’t step into the same river twice’.

Now bring up the histogram on the preview screen. The histogram is a graphical representation of exposure – the camera’s sensitivity to light. As you page through the images you can see small variations in the histograms. Even though the pictures look the same, the histogram data shows that in a matter of seconds the world changes, and these subtle differences are recorded by the camera. If you refine the test conditions – shooting on a tripod to fix the framing, moving indoors and closing the curtains to exclude daylight – still the histogram changes. Probably some of the changes are within the camera mechanism itself; still, the camera is a sensitive enough instrument to record them.

Add the sequence to your learning log with the time info from your camera’s shooting data as your first images for Part One.

Response

This created a little bit of a confusion as there are a number of auto modes on the Canon D6 Mark 2, Creative Auto, Intelligent Auto and Program Mode. Subsequently I have opted to use Program mode where Shutter Speed and Aperture are set automatically by the camera. I took four exposures of a glass tea light holder in our conservatory. Part of the rationale behind this decision was to try and manage the environment , in order to see how sensitive the sensor was in the camera. Whilst all exposures used the same settings, there are some noticeable differences in the histogram data for each exposure.

Image 1: ISO 400, 70mm, F/4.0, 1/80 sec 

Image 2: ISO 400, 70mm, F/4.0, 1/80 sec

Image 3: ISO 400, 70mm, F/4.0, 1/80 sec

Image 4: ISO 400, 70mm, F/4.0, 1/80 sec

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Taken: 4 June, 2019
  • Focal length: 70mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter speed: 1/80s
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Square Mile

In our earliest years we know a patch of ground in a detail we will never know anywhere again – site of discovery and putting names to things – people and places – working with difference and similitude – favourite places, places to avoid – neighbours and their habits, gestures and stories – textures, smells – also of play, imagination, experiment – finding the best location for doing things – creating worlds under our own control, fantasy landscapes. (Professor Mike Pearson)

Photographers and artists have always found inspiration in their immediate location. There is a concept within Welsh culture called Y Filltir Sgwar (The Square Mile), described above by Professor Mike Pearson. It is the intimate connection between people and their childhood ‘home’ surroundings. Use this ‘sense of place’ as the starting point for your first assignment.

Brief

Make a series of six to twelve photographs in response to the concept of ‘The Square Mile’. Use this as an opportunity to take a fresh and experimental look at your surroundings. You may wish to re-trace places you know very well, examining how they might have changed; or, particularly if you’re in a new environment, you may wish to use photography to explore your new surroundings and meet some of the people around you.

You may wish to explore the concept of Y Filltir Sgwar further, or you may deviate from this. You may want to focus on architecture and landscape, or you may prefer to photograph the people who you think have an interesting connection to the square mile within which you currently find yourself. You’ll need to shoot many more than 12 photographs from which to make your final edit. You should try to make your final set of photographs ‘sit’ together as a series. Don’t necessarily think about making a number of individual pictures, but rather a set of photographs that complement one another and collectively communicate your idea. You may wish to title your photographs or write short captions if you feel this is appropriate and would benefit the viewer.

Think of this assignment as a way to introduce yourself to your tutor. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to respond to this brief, as long as you try to push yourself out of your comfort zone in terms of subject matter. Try out new approaches rather than sticking to what you think you’re most successful at.

Initial Thoughts

I was filled with dread as I felt beyond a place that I call home, that I had little or no connection with the area. I spent much of my younger years overseas with my father being in the armed forces. Any connections I had as a child were punctuated by moving from one place to another and starting all over again. The same for the area of Doncaster where I have lived for nearly 20 years with my wife, spending much of my time on the road travelling for work with my time split between two towns. Initially I considered using the allotment as a piece but given the time constraints I have experienced it would prove to be a much bigger task organising. In the end I settled on the roads within the area where I live as they have been at the core of my journey and my connection to home.

Research

As part of the research undertaken for this assignment, I looked at the works of Gawain Barnard. There were aspects of Barnards work I struggled to connect with such as “maybe we’ll be soldiers” whereas there were others that struck a chord with me, in particular was the sequence “journeys by train” which likened itself to the images of my own life and travel being as much a necessity for work as it was to connect me with my family.

https://www.gawainbarnard.com/section713958.html

Approach

For this sequence I took an early morning walk with a Canon 6D with a 24mm-70mm lens mounted. I chose this time of day as it often represented the time, I would normally travel home, wherever I was travelling from.

As I shot this sequence in RAW format, I used Adobe Lightroom to set the white balance (cloudy), convert the images to black and white along. I also selected a lens correction for the lens used on the shoot.

Reflection and Further Development

There are several things I should have done here to improve the sequence. Technically I should have set my ISO to 100 as many of the images were set to auto and my F-stop should have been at the higher end such as F18 or F22 for a greater depth of field.

There are a couple of areas I could revisit with this, the first being to decide on framing the photos in either portrait or landscape mode to give a feel of continuity throughout the set. Another thought I had was whether I should have opted for a more singular approach by continuing the set on foot or retracing the whole subject from the in-car perspective.

Thumbnails

Final Set

Tree Lined

Intersection

Under Development

Home

The Long One

Looking Back

Moving Forward

Refresh

Decisions, Decisions

Postal

Can’t Stop

Home Stretch

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Intro

Good Evening, I finally have this site setup ready to record my thoughts, ideas and assignments as I work my way through my Art Degree through the Open College of the Arts.

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