Tag Archives: Michael Freeman

Assignment 5: Applying the techniques of illustration and narrative

The brief:

In this final assignment imagine that you are about to illustrate a story for a magazine. You have a cover to illustrate, and several pages inside (create between 6 and 12 images – you can choose). Even though there may be no text, you should write captions (of any length) to explain and link each picture.

The cover picture will need some of the techniques of illustration that you have been experimenting with. The picture essay will be more of a narrative. This means that, as you will be using several photographs to illustrate the main body of the story, you will have the opportunity to spread the load of the story telling among them. Different images can deal with different aspects of the subject, or you might choose to nsert a linked series of photographs that show something happening in sequence. Remember that some of these photographs will be seen together on the same pair of pages. You can use this to set one image off against another, sometimes the juxtaposition of two appropriate images can be telling.

Any theme which has a narrative element could be a suitable subject for this project. … Remember that a narrative will contain the element of time – hours, days, weeks or maybe even just seconds.

I have had the idea of photographing Finn Slough ever since my friend mentioned this unique place to me around the time I was busy with Assignment 2. I had never been to the place, had no idea what to expect and just put it on the backburner. While I was working towards Assignment 4 the idea of shooting in this location really started to percolate with me and I decided to do a bit of online research into the place.

Finn Slough is really off the beaten track, not a tourist destination at all and I was actually surprised to learn that many people who have lived their entire lives in this city have absolutely no idea that this place exists. The information I found on it was scant to say the least. Just a a historical write up on a couple of sites and one or two blogs I came across. I have included a map of the location as a reference, but this is not part of my narrative. It is simply there for a bit of context.

I have omitted EXIF data under the photographs as they do not form part of a narrative. However, the information is available here in a table for references purposes. For the same reason I have not provided a commentary on each image as I have done in the past. If it is necessary, then I’m happy to add it. I have included a PDF of the images below and have been cognizant of Clive’s remarks in the OCA fora that it is best to keep the layout simple. I am not a graphic designer, nor a layout expert, so I am taking that advice on board.

My post processing was mainly confined to highlight, shadow and contrast adjustments, a little bit of clarity and vibrance, setting of white and black points and lens corrections and of course sharpening.

Finn Slough

Finn Slough


 

Finn Slough

a memory of how things were

Finn Slough at high tide just prior to sunrise

Finn Slough at high tide just prior to sunrise

In the 1890’s a group of Finnish immigrants came to the city of Richmond and settled at the junction of what is now called No. 4 Road and Finn Road. The immigrants initially worked as loggers and coal miners while they were saving up money to buy land that had access to the mighty Fraser River so that they could fulfill their goals of becoming fishermen.

Richmond is an island that is below sea level and at that time the dykes were all hand built. The land where the Finns initially settled was close to the Fraser River, but not situated next to it. However, houses had to be built on pilings due to the levels of the high tide where the levels of the river would rise and flood the farmlands.

The drawbridge at Finn Slough which provides access to Gilmour Island. During high tide residents going out in their fishing boats have to remove the vertical planks in the middle of the bridge to enable the boats to pass through to the other side in order to exit to the Fraser River.

The drawbridge at Finn Slough which provides access to Gilmour Island. During high tide residents going out in their fishing boats have to remove the vertical planks in the middle of the bridge to enable the boats to pass through to the other side in order to exit to the Fraser River.

The Finns eventually moved next to the river to what is now known as Finn Slough. The Finns needed places to store their gill nets and built net sheds next to their new houses on pilings.

By 1910 more Finns and Scandinavian immigrants had settled in Finn Slough. The second wave of immigrants was not as wealthy as the original settlers as they had fled the repressive regime of Russia in poverty stricken Finland. As a result they were not able to buy large parcels of land and many either slept on their boats or in the net sheds.

The settlement originally comprised of about 70 dwellings, but has dwindled to about 30 in present times.

Finn Slough is a swampland and has been designated as a wetland, with some of the dwellings being situated on the nearby Gilmour Island. The residences on Gilmour Island are accessed by a drawbridge and access to the houses is via a boardwalk that has been built over the swamps.

What is left of Finn Slough today is a memory of how things were1, but more importantly it is now an example of how a community can self regulate itself and co-exist with nature in harmony.

 

Western view of Finn Slough at high tide just prior to sunrise

Western view of Finn Slough at high tide just prior to sunrise

A Finn Slough resident tends to her pot plants on her deck in the early morning hour.

A Finn Slough resident tends to her pot plants on her deck in the early morning hour.

High tide and sunrise over Finn Slough, with the Cascade Mountain range in the distance.

High tide and sunrise over Finn Slough, with the Cascade Mountain range in the distance.

Virginia, one of the residents, decorates her house with found flotsam and jetsam items that come in on the tide. She recycles as much as she can, reusing wooden beams from houses that have fallen into disrepair.

Virginia, one of the residents, decorates her house with found flotsam and jetsam items that come in on the tide. She recycles as much as she can, reusing wooden beams from houses that have fallen into disrepair.

Residences east of the drawbridge. The brown building on the left is named “Sisu” which means “persistence” in Finnish.

Residences east of the drawbridge. The brown building on the left is named “Sisu” which means “persistence” in Finnish.

A reminder that the past has caught up with the present, as a Seaspan ferry boat makes an early morning voyage past Finn Slough to one of the harbours on the mighty Fraser River. The fishing boat, Eva, lies moored safely to its dock. Eva is 28 feet long and was built in 1937.

A reminder that the past has caught up with the present, as a Seaspan ferry boat makes an early morning voyage past Finn Slough to one of the harbours on the mighty Fraser River. The fishing boat, Eva, lies moored safely to its dock. Eva is 28 feet long and was built in 1937.

Sign on drawbridge: Enter at your own risk. Finn Slough was built as a working fishing village (1890) and was not designated as a tourist destination. Please beware (be aware) uneven walking surfaces and other potential dangers. www.finnslough.com

Sign on drawbridge: Enter at your own risk. Finn Slough was built as a working fishing village (1890) and was not designated as a tourist destination. Please beware (be aware) uneven walking surfaces and other potential dangers. www . finnslough.com

A couple sits on the deck in the afternoon spring sunshine. The gentleman is sharpening his axes, while his wife is enjoys a snack and reads the Sunday newspaper.

A couple sits on the deck in the afternoon spring sunshine. The gentleman is sharpening his axes, while his wife is enjoys a snack and reads the Sunday newspaper.

The Mermaid III fishing boat lies abandoned amongst other debris at high tide.

The Mermaid III fishing boat lies abandoned amongst other debris at high tide.

The fishing boat, Eva, lies stranded on the mud in front of the Dinner Plate Island School house at low tide.

f8, 1/250, 26mm, ISO 100
The fishing boat, Eva, lies stranded on the mud in front of the Dinner Plate Island School house at low tide.

The entrance and exit to Finn Slough and beyond the might Fraser River that provides a livelihood to thousands of people along its banks. At low tide no boats are able to exit the Slough. Since this is a tidal area, fishermen have to think ahead when the fishing season starts.

The entrance and exit to Finn Slough and beyond the mighty Fraser River that provides a livelihood to thousands of people along its banks. At low tide no boats are able to exit the Slough. Since this is a tidal area, fishermen have to think ahead when the fishing season starts.


The PDF version of this narrative can be seen here. The wide image (A reminder that the past has caught up with the present, as a Seaspan ferry boat …) is intended to be a double page spread.

ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Demonstration of technical and visual skills (materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills)

My equipment used for this assignment were my 18-55 mm, 55-200 mm and 70 – 300mm lenses and tripod. I have tried to use elements of all previous assignments in this assignment, from contrasts to elements of design, colour and lighting. I did not use any artificial lighting in this assignment, but relied on natural lighting. I was able to varying my exposure times as I was shot just prior to and during sunrise on one day, so used long exposure during these times. It was a bit nerve wracking standing and moving in the dark on an old narrow bridge with no railings, the boards of which were dotted with holes just the perfect size for a tripod leg to fall through.

Quality of Outcome (content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas)

I am rather pleased with my set of images. Ideally, I wish that I could have submitted 15 images for the narrative, as I feel that certain key elements would have been more clearly interpreted. Finn Slough is a place that has a lot of story to tell and I did have to leave some good story telling images out. What I wanted to illustrate right from the start was the difference in appearance of this location during the tides. I have therefore, repeated an object, namely the Eva boat in high and low tide settings as the low tide image with the thick mud was what I most wanted to convey and this vantage point was the only one that really lent me that opportunity. I did find that with each visit to Finn Slough, new ideas popped up, not to mention new material to shoot. I chose not to apply a linear approach to this narrative as I think mixing up the low tide, high tide, sunrise and afternoon shots create more of an engaging dynamic to the narrative and lends a bit more mystery to the story. As mentioned above, I have been mindful of Clive’s comments in the OCA fora and his advice given on Flickr to keep the presentation simple. I am not a journalist or graphic designer so have chosen to follow his advice on this and have kept my narrative’s layout very simple. I think my narrative’s text and captions reads well and have tested it on a few colleagues to see if my idea was communicated.

I have come to enjoy my online learning blog and I think it has come along quite nicely. I am still struggling with the physical log, trying to remember to carry it with me, but I have mainly been using it for inspiration images that are copyrighted which I can’t replicate on the online blog along with study notes.

Demonstration of Creativity (imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice)

I have tried to show the location in all its facets, at low tide with the muddy swamp land dotted with skunk cabbages and grass and at high tide when the waters of the Fraser River push new life into the Slough.

I feel that this set of images (as well as the other 370 odd images I took at this location) is probably one of my most cohesive assignments. I visited the location on four separate occasions at different times of the day and during different weather patterns so I was able to experiment with different natural lighting conditions.  I would have liked to shoot from some other positions along the river banks, but due to access restrictions and swamp shrubbery I was not able to do that. I did engage with one of the residents for quite a while and asked whether I could make a portrait of her outside her quirky house, but unfortunately she declined and did not want to be photographed.

Looking back over the course of this past year, I can see that my photography style has changed and is maturing. I have begun to insert myself into my work as can be seen in the narrative exercise at the beginning of Part 5.

Context (reflection, research, critical thinking)

I have touched briefly on my research into the subject of Finn Slough in my introduction and my research items are listed below in the bibliography. I also made sure to research the tide tables so that I had a clear idea of when high and low tides were on the days that I went to shoot. As it happens these tables also provided sunrise and sunset times, which was a very handy tool.

I was very pleased that I was able to attend more exhibitions during the time leading up to this assignment than in previous ones. The exhibitions that I attended were:

Due to the Capture Photography Festival there have been a few good documentaries on TV on photography which I have watched. I have only reviewed one thus far:

I did an online course on Narrative Photography which I found rather useful in that various workflows were explained in some detail:

The photographers that I researched for this assignment were:

I am extremely grateful to David Hlynsky and Alan Henriksen who both gave me permission to use some of their images for my reviews and also for their encouraging words to me.

Book Reviews:

I feel rather as if I’ve been caught up in a whirlwind during this assignment. I have been so busy going to galleries, taking trips out to the location, doing research and plodding through Sontag. I even usurped two walls in my office and put up my photographs so that I could “live” with them during the edit down process.  This actually proved to be quite useful as colleagues would stop by my office to look at the photographs and pass comments, some of which were quite helpful. It’s with mixed feelings that I come to the end of this course, The Art of Photography. Sad because it is the end of a long road that was both enjoyable and frustrating at times, yet happy and eager to move on to the next course and new discoveries.

References

1. Dorrington, David A Small History of Finn Slough [online] Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society http://www.finnslough.com/

Bibliography

2015 Tide Table for Steveston, British Columbia for fishing [online]. Available at http://www.tides4fishing.com/ca/british-columbia/steveston [Accessed 9 March, 2015]

Finn Slough. [online] Biodiversity of Richmond, British Columbia. Available from: http://ibis.geog.ubc.ca/richmond/city/finnslough.htm [Accessed 30 March, 2015]

Finn Slough Heritage Area Online Heritage Inventory [online] City of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada http://www.richmond.ca/plandev/planning2/heritage/HeritageInv/details.aspx?ID=167 [Accessed 30 March, 2015]

Freeman, Michael (2012). The Photographer’s Story: The Art of Visual Narrative. Lewes, England: The Ilex Press.

Ho, Megan (2013) Visit Historic Fishing Village Finn Slough [online] Inside Vancouver. http://www.insidevancouver.ca/2013/08/05/visit-historic-fishing-village-finn-slough/ [Accessed 30 March, 2015]

Short, Maria (2011). Basics Creative Photography 02: Context and Narrative. Lausanne, Switzerland: AVA Publishing SA.

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Exercise: A narrative picture essay

The brief:

This project requires you to set yourself an assignment and then photograph it. Based on what you have learnt so far, tell a story of any kind, in a set of pictures numbering between 5 and 15. You could photograph an event that you have researched, or you could choose something closer to home and more accessible or controllable. It could even be something as simple as the preparation of some food….

The way in which you lay out the final selection of photographs is very important. In dealing with a number of photographs, it is not simply a matter of deciding on the shape and size of a single image. The whole reason for shooting a variety of images is so that, when seen together, they work together as a set….

Write a short caption under each picture, describing what it shows.

Ever since I was working towards Assignment 4, I have become so cognizant of shadows and the play of light that I have taken to photographing things I would not normally have bothered with before. Which I think is a good thing. I think Kumi Yamashita made more of an impact on me than I realised.

This past month has been rather traumatic for me for personal family reasons which I won’t go into here, but my life has been through some dark patches during this time.  I’ve chosen to do this photo narrative in an abstract form (really stepping out of my comfort zone here) to reflect this period of my life as a means of catharsis. I’m calling it “Shadow Diary of My Day”.

 

the day begins ...

the day begins …
f5.6. 1/500, 35mm, ISO 100

Kitchen Shadows

and so does the daily routine
f5.6, 1/500, 35mm, ISO 100

and the worries

… and the worries
f5.6, 1/250, 55mm, ISO 100

morning perspective ...

morning perspective …
f5.6, 1/640, 55mm, ISO 100

a pause - one last look back ...

a pause – one last look back …
f8, 1/200, 50mm, ISO 100

... off to the hospital

… off to the hospital
f8, 1/320, 42mm, ISO 100

an uphill battle ...

an uphill battle …
f8, 1/250, 65mm, ISO 100

afternoon perspective ...

afternoon perspective …
f8, 1/250, 110mm, ISO 100

Home at last

home at last
f8, 1/250, 145mm, ISO 100

It was my birthday last week

… it was my birthday last week …
f8, 1/60, 80mm, ISO 200

and now we wait ...

and now we wait …
f8, 1/200, 26mm, ISO 100

... the day draws to an end

… the day draws to an end
f8, 1/60, 50mm, ISO 100

I have also created a PDF book for the photo essay (Ex 41 Narrative and Illustration Shadow Diary book reduced). Its nothing fancy, but I just wanted to convey the linear flow a little better.

Very little post processing has been done. It was mainly confined to adding and/or removing a little contrast and adding some clarity. On the two images containing grass (“a pause – one last look back …” and “… the day draws to an end”) I have reduced the vibrance and desaturated the images slightly to better fit in with the muted shades of rest of the set.

Bibliography

Freeman, Michael (2012). The Photographer’s Story: The Art of Visual Narrative. Lewes, England: The Ilex Press.

The Photographer’s Story: Michael Freeman

The Photographer's Story: Michael Freeman

The Photographer’s Story: Michael Freeman

In preparation for Assignment 5, I decided to read Freeman’s The Photographer’s Story. It is a book all about the art of the visual narrative.  He begins by giving a background to the photo essay and explains the classic narrative formula in depth, the importance of establishing a rhythm of both an emotional and visual variety, to the pacing of the story, and how captions help photographs.

The classic example used for a photo essay is W. Eugene Smith’s The Country Doctor, which was featured in Life Magazine in 1948 and Freeman spends a lot of time covering the theme, agenda, preparation and planning of this shoot, then moves on to the layout and discusses the key shots. Figuring out the rhythm, pacing and opening and closer shots are key ingredients to a successful photo essay and probably the most difficult for a photographer who is his/her own editor as well.

The Country Doctor Layout

The Country Doctor Layout

Freeman then covers the different kinds of stories that occur and how best to treat each category. While some of the criteria are the same for each category, there are criteria that do obviously differ depending on the subject.  There are people stories, location stories, stories about how things are made, commodity stories, stories about activities, collection stories, institution and concept stories.

The final sections of the book are devoted to the picture script which is a visual plan of the shoot covering items such as location, setup, expected activities to shoot, arrangements with people regarding permissions, lighting, interviews and so on.

After making the images, one has to naturally edit the shoot. Freeman discusses the various methods, linking back to the classic example given earlier in the book and then covers the layouts. Progressing on from this he talks about the big photo books and how to work with those and break them down into logical chapters.

Finally he covers the new media methods of presenting a photo essay by using a slideshow. He goes into a lot of detail on how to rework the story for the internet, as the sequencing of the story on the web is linear and thus has to be treated differently to that of a printed essay.

This book is definitely going to serve as my handbook for Assignment 5. Well worth a few rereads as well for all the nuggets of valuable information in it.

References

Cosgrove, Ben (2012). W. Eugene Smith’s Landmark Portrait: ‘Country Doctor’ [online].  Life (Life Photo Essay). Available from: http://time.com/3456085/w-eugene-smiths-landmark-photo-essay-country-doctor/ [Acessed 21 February, 2015]

Freeman, Michael (2012). The Photographer’s Story: The Art of Visual Narrative. Lewes, England: The Ilex Press.

Capturing Light by Michael Freeman

Capturing Light book cover by Michael FreemanI finished reading Capturing Light by Michael Freeman on Christmas day and what an inspiring and enlightening book it was! Freeman opened my eyes to the different kinds of light out there. I had no idea there were so many variations!

Capturing Light is divided into three sections: Waiting; Chasing and Helping. It is all about “found” light, the kind of light photographers have no control over. The first section (Waiting) deals with predictable light, light in which we can plan our photo shoot. The second section (Chasing) concerns unpredictable light such as that light shaft breaking through the storm clouds unexpectedly. This type of light one cannot plan for. One has to react to it quickly when it occurs because its appearance is of a fleeting nature. The final section (Helping) deals mainly with items that help one achieve one’s vision, namely light modifiers, filters, HDR and focus stacking. Freeman is not a fan of flash, but acknowledges that it is needed occasionally.

In Waiting Freeman covers Soft Sunlight, Gray Light, Soft Gray Light, Dark Gray Light and Wet Gray Light which were real eye openers to me as this covers the type of light that I find in Vancouver for a good part of the year. With these types of light he explains methods to create low contrast, mood, colour saturation, melancholy atmosphere, drama, reflections and distance layers. He then moves onto Hard LIght which is light from a high sun. Most photographers tend to avoid shooting in the middle of the day when this type of light occurs, but Freeman blows that philosophy out of the water. This is the time of day when abstract images with high contrast and texture and minimalistic photos can be made. He even covers the type of hard light which can be found at very high altitudes. Raking light comes next – great for textures of buildings and shadows, especially long shadows close to sunset. Another type of Hard Light is covered in greater detail, namely the Tropical Harsh light where hard edges dominate the shadows during midday and ways of dealing with this type of light such as shooting in deep dappled shade to create chiaroscuro. Snow Light comes next. Freeman then discusses shooting into the light to obtain reflections and refractions, how to block the sun and manage the contrast. Next up is shooting from Shade to Light, Reflection Light, Backlight, Axial Light, Skylight which is light reflected from the sky which reflects only the blue wavelengths and is not the same as sunlight. Then follow Top Light, Window Light (think Renaissance paintings), the Golden Hour and how to determine the time of Golden Hour, Magic Hour, Blue Evenings, City Lights, Candle Light and Glowing Light.

Freeman begins the second section, Chasing, by discussing the Golden Hour again, but here specifically paying attention to those fast changing moments that occur during sunrise or sunset. He then moves onto Edge Light and Chiaroscuro where extreme contrasts can be created as well as abstract images. Following on from this is Spotlight and the need for perfect timing, Spot Backlight, Light Shafts, Barred Light, Patterned Light and Cast-Shadow Light. From there he moves onto the elements of Storm Light covering brief breaks of light in the clouds overhead, breaks of light on the horizon, light from under a cloud bank, and dark-cloud backdrops and cities at night and Rain Light. I’m reminded of my childhood when reading about this type of light as it is the light that occurs when the sun shines while it is raining. I remember we used to call this a Monkey’s Wedding when this occurred. Caustics are dealt with next – the play of light reflecting or refracting through objects onto something else, creating patterns and sometimes colours. How to create Sunstars and Flared Light and the best ways of processing these images follow. White Light,  Dusty Light, Misty Light, Foggy Light round up the elements. Freeman then turns to  Reflected Light covering light that is bounced from a bright spot on the ground to light bounced off opposite walls to surrounding fill light and unexpected spotlights to canyon walls reflecting light. He then deals with the colour of ice in Suffused Light, explaining how water and ice absorb red tones in varying degrees resulting in shades of blue being reflected. Suffused Light also occurs when the sun scatters the blue end of the spectrum and this then results in warm hues, namely yellow, orange and reds being reflected. Suffused light can also occur in man made surroundings such as light coming through a stained glass window.

As mentioned before the Helping section deals with aspects and tools of achieving one’s vision, for instance using reflectors to capture Filled Light, using reflectors to reroute light in a certain path, using mirrors and diffusion panels to create Enveloping Light and to boost highlights. Scrims can be used in front of windows to soften light as well. Freeman then introduces ND filters, polarizers and other types of filters which attach to the front of the camera lens. He also discusses methods of dealing the compact fluorescent lights that are so prevalent in households today. Interestingly these CFL lights do not have a full light spectrum and emit a yellow-green light which the human eye discounts, but which is picked up by the camera’s sensor. He gives advice on how to deal with flare and then moves onto some post processing techniques such as dodging and burning, HDR, time-lapse light, and blending procedures.

There is so much good information in this book that rereads of different sections will definitely help prior to planning a shoot. Its definitely a keeper book and one that I will delve into for a long time to come.

Bibliography

Freeman, Michael (2013). Capturing Light: The Heart of Photography. Lewes, England: The Ilex Press.

Exercise: Colours into tones in black-and-white

The Brief

Make a still life photo of objects made up of red, yellow, green and blue colours. Include a grey card in the photo. For a digital version of this exercise convert the image to grayscale in Photoshop using the Image > Adjustments > Black and White option. Create five monochrome versions of the photo. For the neutral, no filter version just accept the default settings for the sliders. I could then choose to either use the sliders to control the brightness for the respective versions, or choose the appropriate preset filter. I chose to go with the preset filter route and created photos with a red, green, yellow and blue filter.

For this exercise I wanted to use objects with bright chromas, but not finding anything suitable at home I delved into the stationery closet at work and found these brightly coloured micro binder clips and quickly proceeded to shoot the images before the day got underway. I just roughly grouped the coloured clips together in their respective colours on a sheet of white paper and put my grey card behind. The grey card is not in sharp focus, but that probably doesn’t matter for the sake of this exercise. Unfortunately I had to shoot at a high ISO as I didn’t have a tripod at work.

I also realised during this exercise that while up until now I have been using the RYB colour wheel, I would have to refer to the RGB one (known as the additive primaries) for this exercise as this is what the software uses. The only post-processing that has been done is just the Image > Adjustments > Black and White and then the selection of the different colour filters. I think my grey card has remained consistent throughout the application of the different filters.

Fig 01 Original image - colour

Fig 01 Original image – colour
f7.1, 1/40, 50mm, ISO 800

The first step was to take the image into Photoshop and then add a black-white layer adjustment to it. This can be seen in fig 2. No colour adjustments have been made. The default settings can be seen in fig 03. As can be seen there is no difference between the green and red tones once converted to black-and-white.

Fig 02 - Black-and-white control image - default settings - no filters

Fig 02 – Black-and-white control image – default settings – no filters

Fig 03 - Black-and-white control image - default settings - no filters applied

Fig 03 – Black-and-white control image – default settings – no filters applied

I then took the control image and applied a red filter adjustment layer to it (fig 4). The adjustment settings can be seen in fig 05. The red clips are now quite a lot brighter and so are the yellow ones. The green and blue clips are about the same intensity of shade. The red filter has actually blocked a lot of the light of the blue and green clips.

Fig 04 - Red filter

Fig 04 – Red filter

Fig 05 - Red filter settings

Fig 05 – Red filter settings

Next I applied a yellow filter to the control image (fig 06). Adjustments settings can be seen in fig 07. While the tones for the yellow and red clips remained the same as those when the red filter was used, the tones for the blue and green clips show more distinction and it is clear that they are different colours. This is probably to the fact that the yellow filter has a lighter green value (40) than the red filter (-10).

Fig 06 - Yellow filter

Fig 06 – Yellow filter

Fig 07 - Yellow filter settings

Fig 07 – Yellow filter settings

The following filter that was applied was the green filter (fig 08) with the adjustment settings in fig 09. The green filter adds more depth to the red clips, while brightening the green clips. The yellow and blue clips remain the same.

Fig 08 - Green filter

Fig 08 – Green filter

Fig 09 - Green filter settings

Fig 09 – Green filter settings

Fig 10 and 11 show the image for the blue filter and settings respectively. The blue filter cuts all values for red, yellow and green rendering the yellow and red clips a solid black. The green clips, however, are a tad brighter than the blue and yellow ones, even though the value is at 0. This is probably due to the fact that the clips are painted with a glossy paint (and paint is a pigment, not light) and therefore, the colour green would contain blue (blue and yellow make green), green being the only secondary colour in the image (according to the RYB colour wheel).

Fig 10 - Blue filter

Fig 10 – Blue filter

Fig 11 - Blue filter settings

Fig 11 – Blue filter settings

What I have realized while doing this exercise is that while the camera and software use the RGB colour wheel, the objects photographed are created with the RYB colour wheel and this will affect tones when a photo is converted to black-and-white. I also did some rough sketches to work out the colour distribution of each filter according to the filter layer adjustment settings and in each filter the complementary opposite colour is zeroed out. The colour composition of the filters are also analogous as can be seen in my rough sketch.

Fig 12 - Filters

Fig 12 – Filters

Reference List

Freeman, Michael (2007). The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and design for Better Digital Photos. Lewes, England: The Ilex Press.

Prakel, David (2009). Basics Photography 06: Working in Black & White. Lausanne, Switzerland: AVA Publishing SA.

Exercise: Primary and secondary colours

The brief:

Find scenes or parts of scenes that are each dominated by a single one of the primary and secondary colours. With each colour that you find, vary the exposure slightly if your camera allows. To do this, make one exposure as the meter reading indicates, a second exposure half a stop brighter, and a third exposure half a stop darker. One of the three will more closely match the colours in the circle above, and for this exercise, select whichever is the closest match.

For ease of reference, I have included Johannes Itten’s twelve-part colour circle below.

Johannes Itten's twelve-park color circle

Johannes Itten’s twelve-part colour circle showing primary colours (yellow/red/blue) and the secondary colours (orange/green/violet) and tertiary colours (yellow-orange/red-orange/red-violet/blue-violet/blue-green/yellow-green)

Taken on a very sunny day, in the middle of the day (I know – not the best time – but I just have to shoot whenever I can) my control image was taken at f8 and the histogram is nicely balanced towards the centre. At one half stop lower (Fig 02) the highlights are almost clipping and the brightness level has increased, washing the image out. At f10 (fig 03) the image is considerably darker, the brightness level having gone down. I think Fig 01 is probably the closest match to the red in the colour wheel. Red is a primary colour.

My control image was taken at f8 (fig 04) again and I believe this photo to match closest to the yellow (another primary colour)  in the colour wheel. At f6.3 (fig 05) some details is lost in the petals of the sunflower, although the highlights are not clipping yet. My personal favourite is the one taken at f10 (fig 06) as the brightness level has been turned down a notch and the details in the petals are nicely visible. This is probably how the sunflower would look had I taken the shot earlier in the morning.

Back in an alley in an industrial area, I took my control image of the garbage container at f11 (fig 07), then opened up one-third to f10 (fig 08) for the next image and finally stopped down to f13 (fig 09).  I think the image in fig 08 is the closest representation to the actual garbage container. However, the brightness of the blue (primary colour) in fig 09 probably makes it a closer match to the blue of the colour wheel.

This hydrangea is about the closest I’ve been able to find to violet (secondary colour). Violet is not an easy colour to find here where I live in Canada – I have no clue why. Again my control image was taken at f8. At 6.3 the flower looks quite washed out, The photo taken at f10 is more representative of the violet in the colour wheel above.

At the tool rental yard I spotted some orange (secondary colour) items clustered together – an orange sign, hazard light and a forklift. I focused on the sign, but decided to include a bit of the orange forklift in the frame as the forklift and the hazard light are probably closer to the orange in the colour wheel generally speaking, while the sign is more of an red/orange colour. Once again my control image was shot at f8. The image shot at f10 is lacking highlights and is too saturated. The image taken at aperture f6.3 more closely matches the orange in the colour wheel above.

Vancouver is a city that consists of green and blue colours. Green (secondary colour) abounds everywhere. Surrounded by rain forests and maple trees and other vegetation, one is spoilt for choice of which green to photograph. However, matching the green in the colour wheel is not an easy task. I think these photographs of the zucchini plant in my garden come pretty close. I think the closest match would be fig 17, although it is a bit bright for my taste. Personally I prefer the control image in fig 16 where the saturation and brightness are nicely balanced. The green in fig 18 is too saturated.

Reference List

Freeman, Michael (2007). The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and design for Better Digital Photos. Lewes, England: The Ilex Press.

Itten, Johannes, 1970. The Elements of Color. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.

Exercise Implied lines

The brief:

Start by looking at these two photographs and find the implied lines in each showing them in a small sketched diagram. If one direction along a line is dominant indicate this with an arrow.

Michael Freeman, Bullfighter

Michael Freeman, Bullfighter

Gotthard Schuh, Threshing Corn in Sicily

Gotthard Schuh, Threshing Corn in Sicily

Fig. 01 Michael Freeman's Bullfighter with implied lines

Fig. 01 Michael Freeman’s Bullfighter with implied lines

The half circular mark in the ground leads the eye through to the cape in the bullfighter’s right arm, which in turn is swinging over the bull’s head. The cape in his left hand is following this sweep around his back. The bull is circling the bullfighter from camera left. The bullfighter’s head is bent over watching the bull’s horns. One can feel the synchronised swirling motion of the capes and waltz between the bullfighter and bull.

Fig. 02 - Gotthard Schuh's Threshing Corn in Sicily with implied lines

Fig. 02 – Gotthard Schuh’s Threshing Corn in Sicily with implied lines

In Schuh’s Threshing Corn in Sicily the implied lines are evident in the curve and inward leaning of the horses’ bodies. The horses are circling the farmer. The farmer is looking at the horses, while his left hand and leg form diagonal lines towards the horses. The lead horse is looking towards the farmer, while the second horse is looking towards the lead horse.

Both these photos are good examples of the Gestalt Law of Good Continuation in which the brain perceives the shapes and lines where no formal lines exist.

Then find any three photographs of your own, and perform the same analysis.

Fig. 03 - Implied Lines - Gulls on Iceberg

Fig. 03 – Implied Lines – Gulls on Iceberg
f8, 1/500, 300mm, ISO 100

These seagulls standing on an iceberg in the middle of the ocean form a distinct line on the iceberg, leading the eye from left to right as can be seen in the marked up photo below.

Fig. 03a - Gulls on Iceberg with implied lines

Fig. 03a – Gulls on Iceberg with implied lines

Fig. 04 - Implied Lines - Dinner at the Quay

Fig. 04 – Implied Lines – Dinner at the Quay
f8, 1/125, 55mm, ISO 200

The two dogs accompanying the girl on her lunch at Ketchikan harbour dockside are clear examples of eye-lines. One is immediately drawn to the dogs’ gaze, and one follows their gaze on their owner as they watch her eating. She is oblivious to them, her eye-line focused on her food. This is a great example of the Gestalt Law of Good Continuation. Marked up photo is below. Unfortunately the brown dog shifted his position forward just as I pressed the shutter, otherwise I would have had his full face in the photo and there was no retake opportunity.

Fig. 04a - Dinner on the Quay with implied lines

Fig. 04a – Dinner on the Quay with implied lines

Fig. 05 - Implied Lines - Grocery Store

Fig. 05 – Implied Lines – Grocery Store
f5.6, 1/125, 44mm, ISO 100

In Fig. 05 we see the lady in the pink jacket is passing something to the man with the shopping bag. There is a forward motion of her hand and he has just begun to reach out with his right hand to take the slip of paper from her. Both individuals are focused on the paper in her hand as can be seen in the marked up photo below.

Fig. 05a - Grocery Store with implied lines

Fig. 05a – Grocery Store with implied lines

For the third part of the exercise, plan and take two photographs that use the following kinds of implied lines to lead the eye:

  • an eye-line
  • the extension of a line, or lines that point.

 

Fig. 06 - Implied Lines - Train Tracks

Fig. 06 – Implied Lines – Train Tracks
f8, 1/500, 22mm, ISO 100

The train tracks and yellow caution line along the sidewalk form converging lines in the distance implying movement towards the little hamlet of Skagway in Alaska as can be seen in the marked up photo below.

Fig. 06a - Train Tracks with implied lines

Fig. 06a – Train Tracks with implied lines

Fig. 07 - Implied Lines - Pea Soup

Fig. 07 – Implied Lines – Pea Soup
f8, 1/320, 300mm, ISO 100

On this cold day in Tracy Arm fjord aboard the MS Zaandam, pea soup was served to the passengers to keep them warm while outside looking at the glaciers. These three people were on the bow partaking of some soup. Both the men are looking down at the woman’s spoon as she is about to put some soup in her mouth. Her eye-line is focused on her own soup spoon as well as can be seen below – another example of Gestalt’s Law of Good Continuation.

Fig. 07a - Pea Soup with implied lines

Fig. 07a – Pea Soup with implied lines

Reference List

Freeman, Michael (2007). The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and design for Better Digital Photos, The Ilex Press. Lewes, England.