Project 1

Imaginative Spaces

Project 1 – The Distorting Lens

 

Exercise 2.1 – Zoom

 

Brief

Find a scene that has depth. From a fixed position, take a sequence of five or six shots at different focal lengths without changing your viewpoint. (You might like to use the specific focal lengths indicated on the lens barrel.) As you page through the shots on the preview screen it almost feels as though you’re moving through the scene. So the ability to change focal lengths has an obvious use: rather than physically move towards or away from your subject, the lens can do it for you. But zooming is also a move towards abstraction, which, as the word itself tells us, is the process of ‘drawing things away’ from their context.

Zooming also allows you to capture details at higher resolutions and this has been memorably explored in cinema. The film Blade Runner (Dir. Ridley Scott, 1982) provides a prescient vision of the future of photography from just before the dawn of the digital age.

The blade runner Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) treasures his old, silver-based family photographs but, like us, he uses a screen for viewing images at work. With his ‘Esper’ machine he can navigate around an image in virtual three dimensions by using voice commands. The resolution is incredible (think Google Earth) but at maximum resolution where you would expect to see pixels the image just dissolves into film grain.

In Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow Up (1966), David Hemmings plays a disaffected young photographer (based partly on David Bailey) who accidentally photographs a murder. Hoping to understand the situation that he’d unwittingly witnessed, he frantically ‘blows
up’ the negatives to the limit of intelligibility, but the result is inconclusive. The frustratingly unresolved situation is a favourite motif of Antonioni as a comment on modern life.

‘Google Arts and Culture’ offer a digitally immersive exploration of cultural institutions around the world through a combination of very high-resolution images and Google’s own ‘Street View’ technology. While Holbein’s ‘The Ambassadors’ shot on a gigapixel camera is admittedly impressive, zooming in to it ultimately just resolves to craquelure and dust.

https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/about/users/

Taking inspiration from the examples above or from your own research, create a final image for your sequence. In EYV the important thing is to present your work in context, so make it clear in your notes what you’ve been looking at and reading. The focus here is on imagination and research skills rather than the technical aspects of zoom.

 

Initial Response 

After reading the brief for this exercise, I had an instant location to do my shoot, which I am familiar with as I used the same location for a shoot for my A Levels. There is a place in Dawlish on the seafront that has a similar sense of depth like the images produced in the brief, that I feel would be appropriate for me to take advantage of for this shoot. I have always liked experimenting with depth and to do a shoot to do with it will be fun.  

 

Mind Map

Here you can view my mind map for the first part of part 2. The mind map is very simple, and just helps me think and reminds me about various equipment and techniques in relation to the shoot.

Zoom Mind Map

 

Artist Annotation

Here are a couple of annotations I have done over Alfred Stieglitz. I have chosen to focus on him for part of my research as I feel that his images hold some grain and compositionally really affective. He was a huge influencer in photography as a whole. Hopefully, his images can spur me on, to take images head on, taking in consideration the foreground, midground and background. Please click on the link below to view them.

Alfred Stieglitz

 

Shoot Plan

For the exercise ‘Zoom’ I will be traveling to Dawlish as on the seafront there is a location that has a great sense of depth. I feel I could use this location to my advantage and feel it would work well for the shoot, to comply with the brief. I will use my mind map along with artist research to help guide me in this shoot to get similar results to what I am capable of producing. I need to remember to use the readings on the lens and also to use aperture priority for the majority of part 2.

 

Contact Sheet

As contact sheets take up a lot of memory on WordPress, I have put them on a word document instead to save memory. Please click the link to view the thumbnails.

Contact Sheet

 

Contact Sheet Annotation

Here you can view why I have chosen the selected few for my shoot.

Contact Sheet Annotation

 

Shoot

 

Image 1

IMG_11472

Image 2

IMG_11482

Image 3

IMG_11492

Image 4

IMG_11502

Image 5

IMG_11512

 

Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed

Image 1 –

Aperture: 7.1
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/100

Image 2 –

Aperture: 7.1
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/80

Image 3 –

Aperture: 6.3
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/80

Image 4 –

Aperture: 5.6
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/100

Image 5 –

Aperture: 5.6
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/100

 

Annotations

Here are my annotations for my shoot ‘Zoom’. Click on the link for a read.

Annotation 1

 

Blow Up Shoot

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The brief states to do a final image for your sequence after the first part of the exercise. Well instead of a final image, I did two. Taken from inspiration from the film ‘Blow Up’ mentioned by the OCA, I decided to explore zoom a little further. Whilst the brief quotes ‘The focus here is on imagination and research skills rather than the technical aspects of zoom’ I kind of did a bit of both. I wanted to clearly show the affect zoom can have, and as you page from one slide to the next, focusing on the central tree, you can see that the zoomed in image shows detail, hard to see with the naked eye from my positioning. The point being that in the film ‘Blow Up’ he found it hard to distinguish the puzzle, because of grain, although zoom can play a role in that too. Zooming can help capture detail further into an image that cannot be seen from the original position. Therefore, I have gone to my local park, like he did in the film and done a shoot. Although, zooming back in those days would have still been grainy.
I could have done one on grain, but felt that talking about the zoom was more beneficial. I like the idea of zooming and how it can make images and all kinds of framing and positioning can come from using the zoom.
So, for my final images to my sequence, I have learnt from the film ‘Blow Up’ that it is important to capture every detail, whether dealing with grain, or zooming.

 

Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed

Image 1 –

Aperture: 4.5
ISO: 400
Shutter Speed: 1/200

Image 2 –

Aperture:  5.6
ISO: 1600
Shutter Speed: 1/200

Reflection

I feel that this exercise was rather beneficial and helped me learn more about the technical aspects of zoom and about grain. My resources varied more, compared with previous exercises and watching a film mentioned in the brief really helped me with the work.
In terms of locations for my shoots, I feel that they were very well planned out and executed to the best of my ability, I feel I complied well with the first part of the brief, but found the second part more challenging as I lacked ideas for what to do to finish my sequence, because I wanted it to be relatable and also imaginative. Although, I do like my explanation for the shoot and how it came about.
Compositionally, I feel my shoots were good and the quality was above standard. I applied my current experiences and knowledge with the exercise and used what I know to help execute shoots for my work. I feel that I showed good communication with the brief and made sure that I completed what was asked.
I thought I could have been more experimental with my shoots, and if I had a wider range of equipment, show how different lenses work etc. in relation to zoom, I thought that would be cool.
I feel that I should have documented more of my research, even if I only scammed over it quickly and didn’t look at it in real depth. Although, I did feel I did two good bits of research.
Overall, I am happy with how the exercise panned out and that I have learnt something I didn’t previously know.

 

Exercise 2.2 – Viewpoint

 

Brief

Does zooming in from a fixed viewpoint change the appearance of things? If you enlarge and compare individual elements within the first and last shots of the last exercise you can see that their ‘perspective geometry’ is exactly the same. To change the way things actually look, a change in focal length needs to be combined with a change in viewpoint.

Select your longest focal length and compose a portrait shot fairly tightly within the frame in front of a background with depth. Take one photograph. Then walk towards your subject while zooming out to your shortest focal length. Take care to frame the subject in precisely the same way in the viewfinder and take a second shot. Compare the two images and make notes in your learning log.

As you page between the two shots it can be shocking to see completely new elements crash into the background of the second shot while the subject appears to remain the same. This exercise clearly shows how focal length combined with viewpoint affects perspective distortion. Perspective distortion is actually a normal effect of viewing an object, for example where parallel train tracks appear to meet at the horizon. A ‘standard lens’ – traditionally a 50mm fixed focal length lens for a full-frame camera (about 33mm in a cropped-frame camera) – approximates the perspective distortion of human vision (not the angle of view, which is much wider). A standard lens is therefore the lens of choice for ‘straight’ photography, which aims to make an accurate record of the visual world.

 

Initial Response

This caught me off guard, and I was surprised that it is so simple to see the differences in the images in the brief. I never actually processed it in that way and the differences zooming in and out and slight change of viewpoint can make to the framing of the image when focusing on the same subject is rather extraordinary. Hopefully the shoot I do for this exercise will conclude in similar results.

 

Mind Map

Here is my mind map for this exercise, please click the link to view.

Viewpoint Mind Map

 

Artist Annotation

For this shoot, I have researched Joel Meyerowitz who is a huge influencer in my opinion when taking into consideration viewpoint. To read my annotations, follow the link. You can read more about him on my research page.

Joel Meyerowitz

 

Shoot Plan

For this shoot, I will be in Dawlish, as the location I used for ‘Zoom’ was a very good location, and would work well also for ‘Viewpoint’. Here I will use my dad as the model and try and emulate from the images in the brief. I hope to produce a shoot with a similar outcome, so it can show that I can take on board what is asked of me from the shoot and to go out there and to create my own images demonstrating me working the lens. In relation to my research, I need to remember that viewpoint is very important when focusing on the same subject.

 

Conatct Sheet

To view my contact sheet for this shoot, click the link below.

Contact Sheet 2

 

Contact Sheet Annotation

Below you can see why I selected certain images for this shoot. I should have taken more images for this shoot but I thought I captured two really good ones which demonstrated and worked the brief.

Contact Sheet 2 Annotation

 

Shoot

 

Image 1

img_11612

Image 2

img_11652

 

Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed

 

Image 1 –

Aperture: 5.6
ISO: 200
Shutter Speed: 1/80

 

Image 2–

Aperture: 5.6
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/60

 

Annotations

 

Please click on the link below for a comparison of the two images selected for my finals for the shoot.

Annotations 2

 

Reflection

For this exercise, I went to Dawlish with my dad to do a shoot in relation to the brief. I feel that the shoot itself went rather smoothly, although I did not take enough pictures to provide a large enough selection to choose from. Even though I felt that I did what was required and managed to capture a good shot, I should have still done more in case I managed to capture an even better set. Other than that, I have enjoyed the exercise and have accomplished the exercise.

When zooming in from a fixed viewpoint it does change the appearance of things because it includes and excludes certain objects from the frame and makes the object you are focusing on take up more of the frame. That’s why zooming helps when changing viewpoint as you can achieve similar results at different lengths, but will always be slightly different.

In terms of research, I found hard to gather inspiration for the shoot. Using the images in the brief as guidance, I went for a similar execution in terms of framing as I felt that this was a good approach. When it did get around to the research, Joel is a photographer that has caught my attention before and is a great professional. Although, his work was slightly different to what I was focusing on, it was still relatable and still helped hugely with my shoot. This is because he still focused on viewpoint. Just on a larger scale, and using location and buildings instead but still created the same concept. The building he would focus on would be shot from various other locations, still focusing on that one building but would have many other surroundings making each photograph vastly different. With mine, same location, same person, just a slight change in viewpoint and then the photograph includes and excludes certain objects within the frame. 

 

I used aperture priority throughout the shoot as stated at the beginning of part 2. I used an angle that was beneficial to complete the exercise too. I feel that I communicated ideas well throughout the shoot and the planning of the shoot. I feel that it lacked experimentation and that I could have enrolled some of Joel’s style within the shoot or if I was to expand on this shoot. In terms of research quantity, I am feeling that it was slightly minimal and could have done with some more documentation on findings. Although, after I thought of Joel I was pretty much raring to go. I also had the idea that in the future that it would be beneficial for any research I do that doesn’t quite work out to document that as well as it will help me for future practice and to state why it didn’t work out etc. I feel this would be beneficial (I didn’t do it this time as I only did Joel).

Overall, the process of the exercise went swimmingly and I have completed another exercise, I may revisit in the future, time dependant but I feel that I may have written enough, but may not have produced enough physically to satisfy my standards.

 

 

Exercise 2.3 – Focus

 

Brief

Find a location with good light for a portrait shot. Place your subject some distance in front of a simple background and select a wide aperture together with a moderately long focal length such as 100mm on a 35mm full-frame camera (about 65mm on a cropped-frame camera). Take a viewpoint about one and a half metres from your subject, allowing you to compose a headshot comfortably within the frame. Focus on the eyes and take the shot.

Wide apertures create shallow depth of field, especially when combined with a long focal length and a close viewpoint. In human vision the eye registers out-of-focus areas as vague or indistinct – we can’t look directly at the blur. But in a photograph, areas of soft focus can form a large part of the image surface so they need to be handled with just as much care as the main subject.

Don’t forget that the camera’s viewfinder image is obtained at maximum aperture for maximum brightness and therefore at the shallowest depth of field. Use the depth of field preview button to see the actual depth of field at any particular aperture. It’s surprising to see the effect that a single f stop can have on the appearance of an image.

 

Initial Response

When reading the brief for this shoot, I was left rather puzzled, and it took me longer to get my head around this one than the previous two. Sure, I understood that it had to be a long focal length and good light etc. and understood what to do, but felt slightly more challenged to pull off a good shoot, with a little less confidence than my previous two. But never the less, my dad would love to be a model again!

 

 

Mind Map

Click below to view the mind map for this shoot, this mind map is fairly similar to the last couple as it has been focusing on similar outcomes.

Focus Mind Map

 

Artist Annotation

Please click on the link to view my artist annotations for this shoot. I have decided to focus on Dorothea Lange as I feel she does very strong shots of portraiture.

Dorothea Lange

 

Shoot Plan

In this shoot I will use my dad, again, as the model.  I am going to try to comply with the brief by making sure I am using a plain background, good lighting and meeting the eye within the image. A demonstration image in the brief is always very useful as you can tell what kind of image you are taking even if you don’t fully understand what is being asked of you. Even if you do, it is good to see what your images could look like.  Location isn’t particularly relevant in this shoot, just the backdrop and technical skills. As like the previous shoots, I will be using aperture priority, with my 18-55mm lens on my Canon 77D.

 

Conact Sheet 

Please click the link below to view my contact sheet.

Contact Sheet 3

 

Contact Sheet Annotation

Contact Sheet 3 Annotation

 

Shoot

 

Image 1

img_11742

Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed

Image 1 –

Aperture: 5.6
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/80

 

Annotations

Click below to read my annotation for this shoot.

Annotation 3

 

Reflection

When I first read the brief to this exercise, I felt that I understood what was being asked of me but didn’t feel so confident on the execution of this shoot. After planning and then executing a shoot, I am much more impressed with the outcome than I expected and I am very pleased with the shoot. I chose an area that had good lighting and focused on the brief and managed to snap a few shots that really stood out and looked good.  I felt that I executed the technique well and completed the exercise in good fashion.

I felt that this wasn’t a shoot for real experimentation and felt that to really get a good shot you had to do exactly what was asked. 

In regards to my research, I feel that there could have been more, but doing an artist per shoot isn’t loads, but then again is enough to help inspire me for each shoot. The artist I researched really helped with the positioning of my subject within the image.

Overall, this shoot went well and I managed to get some really lovely images. 

 

Exercise 2.4 – Woodpecker

 

Brief

 

Find a subject in front of a background with depth. Take a very close viewpoint and zoom in; you’ll need to be aware of the minimum focusing distance of your lens. Focus on the subject and take a single shot. Then, without changing the focal length or framing, set your focus to infinity and take a second shot.

 

As you review the two shots, how does the point of focus structure the composition? With a shallow depth of field the point of focus naturally draws the eye, which goes first of all to the part of the image that’s sharp.

Achieving deep depth of field might appear easy compared to the difficulties of managing shallow depth of field. We’re surrounded by images made with devices rather than cameras, whose short focal lengths and small sensors make it hard to achieve anything other
than deep depth of field. The trick is to include close foreground elements in focus for an effective deep depth of field image. Foreground detail also helps to balance the frame, which can easily appear empty in wide shots, especially in the lower half. When successful, a close viewpoint together with the dynamic perspective of a wide-angle lens gives the viewer the feeling that they’re almost inside the scene.

Again without moving the camera, select a very small aperture (perhaps one stop above the minimum to avoid diffraction) and find a point of focus that will give you acceptable sharpness throughout the entire field, from foreground to infinity. Take a third shot and add it to the first two to make a set.

The exercise is also a way of thinking about attentional focus. According to some of the most recent thinking in neuroscience, the left hemisphere of the brain attends more to detail while the right hemisphere attends more globally. It’s rather like a woodpecker pecking an insect out of the tree while at the same time keeping an eye out for predators. In photography, you could say that having a good grasp of detail allows you to master the technical aspects while seeing the connections between things makes meaning. You’ll return to this point in Exercise 3.3.

 

 

Initial Response

After reading the brief, I feel that this exercise seems to be very challenging, especially the third shot as I have never done anything like this before. I am looking forward to the challenge and hopefully the weather holds up so I can do a shoot. I have had a few ideas of places I could go to get this shoot but I am not sure how well they would comply with the brief, mainly because I cannot remember them that well.

 

Mind Map

To view my mind map, click the link. This helps me to think of important parts for the shoot that I need to remember.

Woodpecker Mind Map

 

Artist Annotation

To view my annotations of Paul White, please click the link below. You can read more about him over on my research section.

Paul White

 

Shoot Plan

For this shoot, I will be attempting to comply with the brief and will look to take various pictures using depth of field as the main focus. I feel that a duel carriageway bridge would be a good location for me to shoot as this provides a suitable depth of field with a good subject in the foreground. Using my knowledge and skills, hopefully I will be able to get a good range of images that I hope will clearly show the differences in the shots and the effects that can happen from the same positioning, just a change in focus.

 

Contact Sheet

To view my contact sheet, please click the link below.

Contact Sheet 

 

Contact Sheet Annotation

To see my reasoning for the selected few, follow the link below.

Contact Sheet Annotation

 

Shoot

 

Image 1

img_14241

Image 2

img_14251

Image 3

img_13361

Image 4

img_13371

Image 5

img_13411

 

Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed

Image 1 –

Aperture: 5.6
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/250

Image 2 –

Aperture: 32
ISO: 640
Shutter Speed: 1/80

Image 3 –

Aperture: 5.6
ISO: 160
Shutter Speed: 1/200

Image 4 –

Aperture: 5.6
ISO: 160
Shutter Speed: 1/200

Image 5 –

Aperture: 25
ISO: 2500
Shutter Speed: 1/200

 

Annotations

To read the annotations for this exercise. Click the link below.

Annotation

 

Reflection

In this exercise, I was meant to shoot three images, instead I shot 5. Simply because I had trouble with focusing on the whole field as part of it. I feel that this helped me though to an advantage as it shows close in and further away and how I worked the depth of field and how it has different effects on each of the shots.
One thing I feel I did well was that I managed to do the exercise and pick a location that has a good sense of depth of field which helped with my work.
One thing I feel I could improve upon is to spend some more time getting use to using depth of field and try getting in close and blurring certain parts of the image and really try getting some great photos using it!
Compositionally I feel my shoot was good, and used various techniques and modes on my camera to comply with the exercise. The quality of my photos, I feel are good enough to go down in this exercise and show I have used my photography skills to produce work like the exercise brief has explained. I feel I could have utilised my research more and could have done more in terms of research in my images, but felt they held good pattern and lines and symmetry like White’s images and is a good starting point to have based myself on, coming into this new area of learning.
Experimentation was key in this shoot as I didn’t want to leave the shoot empty handed, I shot loads of images, some good, most bad, but this helped me prepare myself for a good couple of shots that lead to them being my finals.
Overall, I thought this exercise would be challenging as I have never done depth of field in this much detail, although found it very hard to get the 3rd shot as it wouldn’t focus on the whole of the frame, I used various techniques and settings to try and allow it to. This included lens settings, but it didn’t like how close in I was. When I took a step back it worked, but I prefer the images that were closer in as felt they complied better with the exercise brief.

 

Bibliography

Bibliography

© Lewis.Gibson.Photography.2019

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