Project One. The distance between us.
This section will let me loose on the style of photography I like and focus on me as a photographer.
OCA Learning Blog (BA Photography)
This section will let me loose on the style of photography I like and focus on me as a photographer.
The light in the south is so different from the north, where you have this crisp and clear light. There is no mystery in that light. Everything is revealed in the northern light. You have to live the south to understand the difference. In summer, the quality of the air and light are so layered, complex, and mysterious , especially in the late afternoon. I was able to catch the quality of that light in a lot of the photos.
Sally Mann. Project 2- “Layered, complex and mysterious…” Photography 1. Expressing your vision.
I found her images beautiful and yes mysterious and haunting. I loved the way she played with light and shadows. By looking at her images you could identify that these images were taken within the hours of the afternoon. Her images really inspired me to choose section 4.2 for my assignment. Even though her quote is referring to the light of the south when it came to the south’s history in the US. That is where our approaches differ.
I took my images over a period of a day and purely on the basis of light and not history. My images show the softness and subdued light of the early hours to the harsh midday light to the bright and glorious fading light of the day. My image showed shadows, bright harsh light of the midday sun and then the evening fading glow with the long shadows to the end of the day, to the beauty of twilight.
Why did I select section 4.2 for my assignment? Well the answer is that I enjoyed this exercise, as it showed me how light can change throughout the day. I have never really thought about the change in light and how it changes from hour to hour, or even every second of the day. I realize now I take light for granted. Light is all around us and being a keen photographer light is important to me. I found this exercise interesting, so I decided to revisit it for my assignment.
How I produced my series of images:
I started by thinking how I should approach this assignment on the subject of light and how should I take these images demonstrating how light changes over a period of time. What time of day should I take these images? Should it be a single hour during the day, or even over a period of time? I then came up with the following idea, as I am aware that light can change within an hour, or by the second. So then way not take the whole exercise over an entire day. Dawn to dusk. I then decided the way to achieve this was to take a series of photographs every two hours and show how light can change dramatically over a period of time. I went about fixing my camera from a preferred location that gave me the perfect observation point and that was from my bedroom window. This gave me a commanding view of the changing light all around me.
I took my inspiration from Sally Mann and her quotation in project two. I myself live in the south and by studying her photographs and her study of light during the day and that was my link to what I saw in my own images.
I can also relate to her quote and here is part of that quote:
“The light differs from North to South in its crispness and clarity. In summer the quality of the air and light can be layer, complex and even mysterious and especially in the late afternoon”
Project 2. Part 4. Expressing your Vision.
6 am. Early Morning. Image 1. f/5.6. 1/250 sec. ISO- 800.
A lovely time of the day where the air is clean and crisp and no air pollution. The sun had just risen and there are shadows and subdued light. Gentle light is bathing the houses and creating gentle shadows. The sky is bright, but the trees, roof and road in the foreground are still in shadow.
8 am. Morning. Image 2. f/5.6. 1/250 sec. ISO- 800.
The sun is now bathing the whole street and creating shadows. The location of my house is that it faces west at the front and east at the back of the house, so the sun travels over my house. The sky is blue and wispy clouds. Shadows can be seen on the garage roof of the house in the right of the photograph. There are shadows on the houses too. Whereas the house opposite to my window is bathed in sunlight. The trees below my window are partially bathed in sunshine, but the roof and part of the road are still in shadow.
10 am. Mid-morning. Image 3. f/5.6. 1/1300. ISO- 800.
The light in this photograph is bright, but being May the sun is at its highest and a month from the longest day. The light is creating shadows and especially on the garage in the far right of the photograph and especially on the roof just below my window and there is also dappled shade under trees on the road outside my window. Shadows are now to be seen on the house on the left of the photograph. The trees are now bathed in sunlight.
12 pm. Midday. Image 4. f/5.6. 1/1300 sec. ISO- 800.
The sun is now at its highest and overhead. The whole road and house are bathed in light and a harsh light too. Light is very bright in late spring/ early summer. The shadow on the garage roof opposite has shifted and long shadows are to be seen on the lawn and behind the car in the distance. Light shadows can be seen above the white garage door. The roof outside the house is now bathed in light with a slight dappled shade from the trees above. Both trees and the road are partially bathed in light.
2 pm. Early afternoon. Image 5. f/8. 1/640 sec. ISO- 800.
The difference in two hours and now we have lost the intense and bright sunlight and all is hazy. There is a shallow light with gentle shadows, but deep shadows. The houses opposite are bathed in light, but subdued and there are still shadows. The roof, trees and house opposite and vast majority of the road in the foreground are in deep shadow. There is a build-up of cloud is blocking the sun.
4 pm. Late – afternoon. Image 6.0 f/8. 1/1000 sec. ISO- 800.
Where has the light gone!!! The sun has disappeared behind low cloud and our light is slowly disappearing. The houses opposite are still bathed in sunlight, but a rather subdued light. There is still shadowy light, but not as prominent as earlier in the day. The entire view from outside the window is now completely void of sunlight and almost that of twilight.
8 pm. Twilight. Image 7. f/6.3. 1/160 sec. ISO- 800.
I took this photograph about three hours later and light has faded. There is still a light post sunset glow on the houses and cars, but the entire view below my window is in darkness. The sky though is beautiful and that post sunset glow called ” blue haze” is really in evidence and is focal point of this photograph.
One thing I have learnt through this exercise is how light and the time of day can be so important to a photographer and how it is so important in the creativity of the perfect image. I will never take light for granted again and will look at light in a different way.
I took these series of photographers back in March. The light is bright and creating shadows too, but the sunlight is not as harsh as it summer. Weather changes dramatically from one hour to the next. I also think the light in summer creates more shadows, but the light can be harsh and hazy and cause glare. I am thinking now should I used the above images instead of the ones in my assignment, but to late. One thing though by studying the two different set of images, you can see the light in spring is crisper and clean and not harsh and too bright, as they are in the summer.
I will use this section to look into photographers and information learnt and featured in this part.
The light that enters your camera is measured by a light meter. The question is how does the camera translate this light to an exposure? In the setting auto and semi-mode the light will be calibrated to the mid-tone range of the histogram. So after capture the of the image the tone curve of the histogram will then be placed around the centre ( middle) of the histogram. This will work well, or reasonably well if the tones are well spread across the image taken. But of course will not work if the image is lighter, or darker than the overall mid-tone.
The picture above is a typical example of Histogram of standard photographic image.
Source of information -see above.
The images below are typical examples of underexposed well exposed overexposed images and where they are placed on the photographic histogram.
On the left hand side of the histogram you can see the underexposed images have very little light and the tone curve is centred on the left hand side.
The middle of the histogram is the ideal exposure and all the light is equally balanced throughout the image.
On the right hand side of the histogram you can see the overexposed images are saturated with light and this will place the tone curve to the right.
See more information on Histograms in Research Connected to Coursework Projects. March. 2016.
I used Panasonic Lumix
I set my camera to semi- auto and took a series of three photographs representing:
From left to right: Dark tone black coat, Grey tone inside cereal packet and Light tone- white sheet of paper.
The above images are the histograms for the above images.
Image 1 Dark tone Image 2 Grey tone Image 3 Light tone
The images above are photographic images of histograms of the above images.
The grey and white tones are relatively the same and not that difference in variation within the frame. Both histograms spike towards the mid-tones, even though the light tone is a small spike in the mid-tone. The grey tone has a slight, but gentle curve to the mid-tone. The images do not have an unpleasant colour cast.
A colour cast is a tint of a particular colour that is unwanted , which affects the whole, or even a portion of a photographic image. Certain kinds of light, such as artificial light cause film, or digital cameras to have colour cast. Artificial light on a subject with a different light temperatures will cause colour cast problems in shadows.
There is not much variations between the three colours as grey is neutral colour between white and black.
The whole purpose of the exercise 4.1 (1) demonstrates and exposes the flaws when calibrating the cameras light meter to the mid-tone of the histogram. The thing is the light meter cannot tell whether the photograph is being taken at night, or daylight. A snow scene, or even a golden beach. The camera cannot just measure the light, as it only measures the reflected light the light that is reflected from the subject itself and not what is called the incident – that is the light that falls on the subject.
Source of information: Colour cast. Wikipedia. org.
Like everyone else I like to go out with my camera and take that perfect photograph. I often return in the evening and eager to see my days work, but the images I carefully and thoughtfully took have not turned out the way I wanted them too. It is a common occurrence with many a photographer. I ask myself did I actually focus on the subject through the camera eye? Did I visualise the scene, or object by looking through the viewfinder, or maybe there was a problem with the light?
The majority of photographers and me included tap it the matter of light when we see a sunset, or even a sunrise. There is a time before sunset and the that last hour when the light is intense, the colours are vibrant and the shadows long and the whole world becomes a visual experience. This magical hour is known as the “golden hour” I would even say that the colours after a sunrise can be a “golden hour” too.
Sally Mann (1981) an American Photographer is known for her large black and white images firstly of her children and she then went onto to shooting landscapes that suggesting the theme of death and decay. I have never heard of this lady and looked her up and like her work.
Sally Mann when being interviewed by a Chinese Photography magazine describe the special light of the late afternoon.
She went on to say….
The light in the south is so different from the north, where you have the crisp and clear light. There is no mystery in that light. Everything is revealed in the northern light. You have to live in the south to understand the difference. In summer, the quality of the air and light is layered, complex and mysterious , especially in the late afternoon. I was able to catch the quality of that light in a lot of the photos.
OCA. Part Four- Project 2.
I have viewed Sally Manns series of photographs online at http:sallymann.com/selected works/ southern landscapes
Here is some examples of her work.
The above images are different and imaginary too. The light is very much in evidence here and light of all forms. From brilliant light to darkness and shade and semi- shade. There is a very sombre, eerie and mysterious feeling to.
Sally Manns. Bing Images.
The artist Brian Catling RA (1948). Known for his Sculptor, Artist, Poet, novelist and filmmaker and Performance Artist. He best known for his novel The Vorth. A heady, mythical and fantasy Novel. It is a world of a vast and endless Forest full of Demons, Angels, Warriors and Priests. I have never read it and only found out about its existence in these pages.
The vulgar gate of the day gives no quarter and its insistent brightness will tell lies about all, forcing the subtlety back into interiors of trees and the other side of the sky.
What Brain Catling is saying is the day is heralded with no good taste and instant brightness and honesty forcing the acuteness and sharpness of the light back into the trees and the night-time on the other side of the world.
Source of information: Good reads – The Vorth. Brain Catling Bing.
Micheal Schmidt (1945- 2014). Micheal Schmidt actively sought out the morning light to take his photographs. He was born in Berlin and is better known for taking photographs of the inhabitants in their concrete environment in stark black and white images.
I prefer to work with neutral diffused light, i.e. to produce an image without noticeable shadows. The viewer must allow the objects portrayed in the photograph to take their effect upon him without being distracted by shadows or mood effects.
Quoted from: Schmidt’s winning portfolio for the 2014 Prix Pictet. http://www.prixpictet.com/portfolio/consumption-shortlist/micael-schmidt/
I tried to find this site and could find it. I will try again.
Images taken from online- Gallerie Nordenhake, Stockholm, Sweden. http://www.nordenhake.com
Eugene Atget ( 1857-1927). Born in France and a pioneer of documentary photography and his determination to document all the streets and architecture of Paris before their demise to the modern urbanization. Atget was known for taking his photographs at midday for a quality of photograph that he gave to his photography. As he moved further into his career has developed a personnel style he changed the time of the day that he started to take his photographs.
In his early views that he took of Paris he sought to illuminate his subject with an even clarity and the best way to convey the information he wanted to give. He would take his photographs at midday when shadows are minimal. His photographs in later life are marked with long shadows and subjective light and usually in the early morning, such as images of the Parc de Sceaux and the light is caused to create a mood, than to create an image to describe a place. These images were to mark the apex of Atget’s career.
Some of the images below are Eugene Atget’s Parisian Street Photography.
The two photographs above look like early images of Atget of Paris. The typical street cafe and looks like the photograph was taken in the early hours and in winter. The same is for Notre Dame. There seems to shadows by what I can see. The cafe’s in Paris are always crowded with people even when this image was taken.
All images were taken from online and from Bing images.
More information on the above photographers will be looked at in more depth in Research and Reflection.
These photographs were taken over a period of a day at different times of the day. I took these photographs from my bedroom window. The changing light and weather can differ from each second, minute and hour.
The photographs above were taken in March and before the clocks went forward, so the daylight was short. Taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ72.
I shot the four images in JPEG.
Morning 9 am. Grey start and overcast. A slight light on the horizon maybe an inclination that brighter day on the cards. There is a certain amount of light on a grey day, but not enough to create the long shadows you would get at this time of the day. Mind you this photograph was taken in March and the sun is not at its peak. It rained a few minutes after taking this photograph.
1/100 sec. f/5. ISO 200. 9.51mm.
12 noon. What a difference a few hours can make. The sun has appeared and blue skies with Cumulus Clouds. Being midday the sun is at it highest, but being only the March the sun has yet to reach its warmest, or high point in the sky. There is a slight shadow from the tree in the garden of the house in the right hand bottom corner.
1/500 sec. f/8. ISO 200. 6.47mm.
3pm. Sun still out and plenty of light and small cumulus clouds. There are now shadows, as the sun is lower in the sky. The shadows are longer, as you can see on the rooftops and gables. The car parked (car facing the road) on the driveway and the shadows of the houses opposite are reflected onto the road.
1/500 sec. f/8. ISO 200. 6.47mm.
5.30-6pm. Twilight. This is a time of day that I like. The hour between night and the day. The end of the daylight. The time when the sky is beautiful and the shadows are replaced by reflection of the dying light reflected in the glass and metallic objects, such as the cars. There is glow on the horizon and this is can sometimes be called the “Green Ray”, which is an optical illusion that occurs before, or after sunrise. I don’t think this glow on the horizon is this photograph is the “Green Ray”. The sky is clear and this indicates that the night will be cold and especially at this time of year. The night was cold that night. Do I have an example though of an incident of what landscape photographers call the “blue hour” by looking at the sky maybe this my image of the “blue hour”. I have included a section of this phenomena in 4.3, Project 3.
1/20 sec. f/4.5. ISO 200. 8.24mm.
I found this exercise a pleasure. as it made me stop and look at the sky and the changes it goes through in a day with the light, reflection of light on the world around us. The changes in the weather and the position of the sun throughout the year and the moon too. Light is wonderful and without we and the natural world would not survive.
The Green Ray
Are Green Flashes are a rare optical phenomena that occur shortly after, or before sunset where a green spot is visible for a short period of time above the sun, or green rays shoot up from the sunset point. It is usually viewed from a low altitude where there is an unobstructed view of the horizon and this is usually best seen from the ocean. This phenomenon is often seen by airline pilots because they see the true horizon when in mid-flight and they are flying westward and the sun’s motion is slightly slower.
Examples of the Green Ray. Taken from Bing images online.
Daylight changes every second of the day and it can be dark one moment and then a ray of sunshine will appear. The advantage of artificial light is that it stays the same. We would never be able to lead our twenty-first lives if it was not for artificial light.
In this section I will discover how the beauty of artificial light and how it create some of the most beautiful images we see today.
Cinematographer Christopher Doyle (1952- present day). Australian -Hong Kong Cinematographer.
The beauty of artificial light can be seen on people’s faces and can highlight their expressions and portray emotions. His film the In the Mood for Love and with Director. Wong Kar-Wal, 2000. Christopher Doyle is a legend when it comes to the Asian cinema. He dismisses the idea of natural light in his work and there is nothing he does not know about light.
I watched the film and watched it a few times. I found the trailer beautiful, emotional and sad. The use of the artificial light is beautiful it showed the emotion, sadness and excitement of a forbidden love. The scenes were beautifully scripted and the use of the artificial light highlighted the emotions of the actors by creating shadows across their faces and highlighting the emotions of a love that can go no further. The background scenes were also atmospheric, emotionally charged and full of shadowy hallways, corridors and back streets. The whole film was beautifully filmed and this was due the sensitive use of the medium of artificial light by Christopher Doyle.
I will look at Christopher Doyles work in more detail in Research and Reflection.
Rut Blees Luxemberg ( 1967- present day).
Rut Blees Luxemberg is known for carrying round a large-format camera around the streets of London at night. She only takes three to four exposures a month. A photographer of German origin and is known for exploring the urban landscape. Her book is a series of photographs called Liebeslied ( My Suicide). The series of photographs were taken in a collaboration with Alexander Garcia Duttmann who was Philosopher and had an interest Anaesthetics.
The images below show a series of Rut Blees Luxembergs images all taken in London. Bing Images online.
The images above are a glimpse of London at night and the beauty of artificial light and how it can transform an ordinary scene into an image of beauty, shadows and light.
I will look at Rut Blees Luxembergs work in more depth in Research and Reflection.
Stella Achimsa was inspired by Rut Blees Luxembergs work and she created her own collection of work and by using a tripod allowed Stella to create her series of night shots and by using a frame with precision and by using manual mode helped Stella to fine- tune her exposures, that reveals several kinds of different qualities light within a single image.
I cannot find any reference to Stella’s work online.
Picasso – Pablo Picasso ( 1881- 1973).
Probably one of the most famous painters of his time and known for his co-founding of the Cubist movement. He was born in Spain, but spent the majority of his life in France. He was also a sculptor, printmaker, ceramics, stage designer, playwright and poet. He was though never a photographer, but he had a fascination for artificial light. This is something that I personally never knew.
The light I have at night is magnificent. I even prefer it to natural light. You should come over one night to see it . A light that sets off every object, dark shadows making a ring around the canvases and projected onto beams; you find them in most of my lives, almost all of them painted at night. Whatever the atmosphere, it becomes our own substance, it rubs off on us, arranges itself to fit our nature.
(quoted in Brassai,1999, p311) OCA Part Four, Project Three.
I will do more research into Brassai and Pablo Picasso in my Research and Reflection.
Pablo Picasso’s favourite photographer was Brassia ( 1899- 1984 ). His photographs of Paris by Night (1936) was one of most influential photo books of the twentieth century.
Paris by Night – Tony Ray- Jones’ Creative Camera interview with Brassai – American Suburb.
Images taken from ASX Tony Ray-Jones interview with Brassai online ( see link above).
I will do more research into this section in my Research and Reflection.
Pablo Picasso being renowned for his co- founding of the Cubist movement and walk round many a Gallery and this is what you see when you view his work. Well this what I have experienced. He experimented in a form of “light drawings” were he made with a small electric light in a darkened room made light drawings that disappear as soon as they are created. Yet these images are still around for us to look at six decades later. Many were put on display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the 1950s.
These images are an example of Picasso’s fascination with Light and the beauty that a simple electric light can produce.
I will look into Light Photography in more detail in Research and Relection.
All images in this section were taken from Bing online.
Art and Artists – Behind the Picture: Picasso “Draws” With Light. (Ben Cosgrove. Jan 29, 2012.)
Sato Shintaro (1969- present day).
Born in Japan and famous for his Tokyo nightscapes.
“Neon lights,shimmering neon lights and at the fall of night this city’s made of light?
OCA. Project Four. Part three.
A line from the eletro-pop band Kratfwerk. I know the song well, as I was a fan of this band.
Sato Shintaro uses the “blue hour” to take his photographs. In his series Night Lights he explains you do not have complete darkness to produce a quality night scene. He keeps his exposures hard to avoid reducing the night shots to a series of pool of lights and framed in black.
Images taken from Bing online and Sato Shintaro Photo Gallery.
The “blue hour” what is it. Well it is that period just before sunset and just before sunrise and only last around twenty – thirty minutes. So if the sun sets at lets say 5pm the “blue hour” would last between 5.10pm to 5.30pm.
It is when the sun has just set, or about to rise.This when the sun is a significant distance below the horizon and the residue light indirect sunlight causes this phenomenal blue effect. The sky takes on a deep beautiful blue light and the landscape is covered with a suffused with a bluish light. This beautiful phenomena varies from location to location and depends on the time of the year and air pollution too.
Landscape photographers take an advantage of this light and it can create some wonderful images. See below.
Taken from online website: Earthsky- What is the Blue Hour? Deborah Byrd in Earth. August 30th,2014.
The beauty of Artificial Light/ Natural Light.
Short sequence of shots showing us the beauty of artificial light and that of natural light too. I will share a sequence of my own night shots and some day shots too and then a series of Sato Shintaro. Who seem to only concentrate on nighttime images.
Night shots can be tricky and you need to have the correct white balance. It can be a tricky thing to master, but interesting, as I have experience this problem myself with night photography. I took a long time and would say still learning how to take a good night image. Night photography can also have a mixture of colour temperatures in the same shot.
White Balance (WB). Is a process of removing unrealistic colour casts, so the object that appears white in person are rendered white in the photograph. A proper camera WB has to take into account the “colour temperature” of a light source, which refers to the warmth or coolness of white light. Our eyes are very good at judging white under different light sources. A digital camera can have problems with an Auto White Balance (AWB)- can then create unsightly blue, orange and even green colour casts.
I have taken a series of photographs taken during the day and then at night. They are all taken in the same location, but not in the same spot. The area in these images is a place called Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth.
All photographs were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ72.
I shot the eight images in JPEG
Eight images taken in the same location.
The top four images taken in the late afternoon on a winter’s afternoon in February. I can say that my images do have the correct WB, as the Spinnaker of the Tower is actually White. I think I have the WB correct in all images, as the colours are exactly the same at what I was looking at in person.
Image 1: 1/6000 sec. f/2.8. ISO 100. 3.58mm
Image 2: 1/2000 sec. f/2.8. ISO 100. 3.58mm
Image 3: 1/2000 sec. f/2.8. ISO 100. 3.58mm
Image 4: 1/2000 sec. f/4 . ISO 160. 3.58mm.
The bottom four images were taken at night. In the same location on the same day as the images above. The night air was cold and crisp. The WB looks correct to me, as the colours portrayed are what I was seeing in person. There is of course artificial light to take into account and thus resulting in the colours of the surrounding buildings being enhanced.
Image 1: 1/4 sec. f/2.8. ISO 400. 3.58mm
Image 2: 1/5 sec. f/2.8. ISO 400. 3.58mm
Image 3: 1/4 sec. f/2.8. ISO 1250. 3.58mm
Image 4: 1/4 sec. f/2.8. ISO 500. 3.58mm.
By examing the eight photographs is that the WB is roughly well-balanced. I think my daytime shots have an accurate WB more so than the night shots. I cannot see any unsightly blue, orange, or even green colour casts. I have to say though in image 3(nighttime) there is a slightly unsightly orange colour cast to the building and it seems the WB on my camera was not affective enough.
The next four images are photographs taken by Sato Shintaro and his beautiful nighttime photographs of Tokyo. To see more images go to:
These photographs are beautiful and I am standing in Tokyo myself. The colours are vibrant, crisp and beautiful. The WB to my eye is perfect and I cannot see any blue, orange, or green colour cast. Mind you Sato is a professional photographer.
Well by looking at the photographs above what is the difference between the daylight and nighttime shots.
For one daylight can be perfect, as it is natural light, but taking photographs in the natural light can be affected by weather, seasons and all other factors that can affect the colours of the chosen subject. The sun can be too bright, the rain can make a photograph to dull, or even dark and can affect the colours in the photograph. But the natural light can be beautiful too and creating a perfect image, but it is down to the WB to give the perfect image by controlling unwanted colour casts and gives us the colour we can see in person.
Now nighttime photography can have its challenges too. Artificial light can make the natural and artificial environment to look to bright, or even dark. The WB can be tricky to achieve if you’re not as experienced in nighttime photography. Neon lights and street lights can create different colours of light and create unwanted colour casts , especially the old street light, which gave of an orange glow. Night lights can also create warm and cool light too and it is the WB that can alter what we see and create the perfect nighttime photograph and not see those unwanted colour casts that artificial lights can create. In image 3 my AWB that I used did not work as to what I wanted to achieve and the building looks to orange to me.
I personally cannot see the difference in the photographs above to my photographs in exercise 4.2. I used the same camera and AWB will be the same. The only thing I can see that is difference is that my nighttime photographs are probably not the same as what I saw with my naked eye when it came to accuracy of the”colour temperature” of that light source which predicted the warmth and coolness of the subjects around me. I think in my night images there was a certain amount of colour cast, but that will be down to me and my lack of taking nighttime photographs and lots of practice.
There is one thing that we do not need that WB for is the naked eye and that will always be valuable and a camera, as good as they are becoming in sophistication can never replace the accuracy of the human eye and capturing the beauty of the natural and artificial light.
I enjoyed this section and will make sure that I will concentrate in taking more nighttime photographs and my knowledge of WB.
I will be covering more of this subject and Sato Shintaro images in Research and Reflection.
What is Ex nihilo?
Well the meaning behind this term is “out of nothing” It is a Latin phase and often appears in the conjunction with the concept of creation….. creatio ex nihilo. It is chiefly it often refers to philosophical, or theology contexts, but also occurs in other fields.
Now where does it come of use in photography?
By using light, colour and contrast with an object you will create an image out of nothing, well that is my take on it.
The images below are photographs I took few years ago. Could this be my take on Ex nihilo?… image out of nothing. I set up a scene were I just placed a simple object on a windowsill, table and candle in a vase and importantly light and created something that we can see below.
When taking these photographs I thought I was taking photographic version of still life. Well you learn something everyday.
Now there are some factors that you will need to capture that image and they are under the photographers control, well most of the time!
Quality, contrast, direction and colour.
Quality- the standard of something that is measured against other things of a similar kinds.
Contrast- something that is strikingly different, but has a close association with each other.
Direction- a course in which something, or someone moves.
Colour- Is a characteristic of human visual perception through four common primary colours: red, yellow and blue. Secondary colours: Green, orange and purple.
Now looking at in a photographic view:
Quality- as we know can be subjective, but at its basic it can be described as the simple difference between hard and soft light. Hard and soft light can be detected by looking at shadows. Hard light has a crisp, well- defined shadow whereas the shadows of soft light is diffused. In a studio this is all controlled by lights. The size of light can vary from a small spotlight ( substitute for the sun) gives of a hard light. Large light is portrayed by using a softbox ( overcast sky) creates a soft light. Moving the light away from a subject will make it smaller and harder. Bringing the light towards the subject will make it larger and softer.
The light can be modified by using attachments such as grids, fresnel lenses for hard light. Diffusion and reflectance for soft light.
All image above were taken from online.
For this exercise I did not have all the professional equipment. I used what was around me. I used the lounge windowsill, as my base and a white card, which I propped up against the window to diffuse the light and create some shadows. The light was natural. I used several different objects, such one glass egg and three natural stone eggs and the basil plant from the kitchen windowsill. All very rudimentary but looks quite effective.
Images 1- 2
I placed the three eggs ( two natural stone and one glass) on the windowsill and then placed the card behind to diffuse the light. I took the objects from above ( eggs) and zoomed in om image 2. I found by looking down on the objects I would see more shadows and light. Image 1 is slightly lighter than image 2 and this was due to the sun going behind the clouds while I was taking the photographs. I did think should I put these two images together, but then thought why not, as it shows how natural light can influence a photograph and enhance it or not.
The shadows in both photographs are dark, but soft shadows and the lines are not hard. The shadows are long and this may, or is something to do with the light direction coming from the window. There are areas and patches of light and the light on the card behind in image 1 is soft and diffused and long, pronounced shadows, while in image 2 the light is still soft, but the shadows on the card are not as pronounced and smaller. The light on the objects are reflective, but more so in image 1 than image 2, but this may have something to do with the light coming through the window.
I concentrated on one large object this time (large glass egg). I yet again zoomed slightly in on image 1 compared to image 2.
Both images are light and the light is reflective on the surface of the object in both images. I took both these images from a distance, well not a great distance and the light varies from which part of the object you look at. The light is hard and soft at he base of the object and there is two lanes of light. An outer layer of soft and less defined light shadow and an inner hard layers and well-defined shadow with a hard-line. The shadows are slightly lighter in image 2. Due to the fact the object is not so close to the camera lens.
Images 5- 7.
Well I took my inspiration from the kitchen windowsill and basil plant. I placed the basil plant on the windowsill in the lounge where we do get a wonderful natural light and in the afternoon when all these photographs were taken. I took a series of photographs over 10 secs and a set of three.
I yet again stood a distance away and took a series of three photographs. The light is beautiful on the surface of the leaves and beautifully reflected. The series of soft and hard shadows on the planter from soft to hard in elongated layers. The light is coming from behind and you can see this from the light on the taller stems compared to the leaves in the forefront. There are soft shadows and hard shadows in all three images and this makes for a very interesting series of images. One last point though each image from 1- 3 the light gets lighter and image 3 is lighter than image 1.
Just shows us that how light can change from one second to another over a time lap of seconds.
Interesting an insight into the complexities of light and how it can affect an outcome of a photograph. I know the brief said natural objects, but I thought the glass egg would work. You can see in each image and how I have shot them and the difference in shadows. Because I used the natural light of the window with a piece of card and no artificial light. I was at the mercy of the changing light outside. In image 2 the light is slightly darker and only slighter and this was down to a change in light outside, but only slightly. By zooming in and out also changed the nature of the shadows and hardness and softness of the shadows too. Also this affected the light reflection from the objects too. Texture and colour also comes into question too. Glass will reflect more light, but even a shiny waxy surface, such as the Basil leaves can reflect light too.
This is part of Project four, but I have approached it as a Research and Reflection section.
Creativity- to use the imagination or original ideas to create something inventress (noun).
Imagination- forming new ideas, images of concepts and the ability of the mind to be creative and resourceful. Part of the mind that imagines things (noun).
Invention- action of inventing something. Creative ability. Something fabricated or made up ( noun).
Experiment- discovery, scientific or test a hypothesis (noun).
Developing- developing a new idea or developed (noun).
I have always had some form of creativity within me, as my mother is an artist and mainly landscape and my father loved his photography. I inherited the creative gene mainly from my mother’s side of the family. My great-uncle of my mother’s side went to art school and my mother studied art at diploma level. I also believe, or have been told, that I had a relative who was a member of the Royal Horticultural Society and exhibited Roses at Chelsea Flower Show after the First World War. So creativity is there and I loved to draw as a child and love gardening, I dabbled with photography in my teens, but only came back to serious photography ten years ago. When I started this course I was excited, scared and yes confused still am at times. I may of not found my “personal voice” in full, but have tried to in certain places in Level One.
I made a Google search for “landscapes” and on an area of Britain, well England, that I really like. I love the landscapes of Cornwall, Cotswolds and many more, but I have fascination for the ls seems Yorkshire Dales. It also a coincidence that I am watching the Tour du Yorkshire on ITV and they happen to be in the Yorkshire Dales.
It is true that all the images on Google on the first few pages of landscape image section do tend to all look the same. I though searched deeper and typed in the Yorkshire Dales and came across the images below.
The Yorkshire Dales is unique and I love the beauty of the stone walls and little stone barns, but it is the natural landscape and limestone paving, which have been called “England’s Rain Forest” with their unique “flower and fauna”. I though love the hills and peaks and especially Whernside, Mighty Inglebrough and Pheny Gent. They are beautiful.
Below I have saved a few images of the Yorkshire Dales and some images of the following peaks mentioned above.
The first three images are of from left to right are: Pheny Gent, Inglebrough and Whernside.
Courtsey of Google images.
Getty images and Alamay Stock Photos.
Taken from online Google images landscapes.
Beautiful artistic versions of the Yorkshire Dales.
Courtesy of Google images.
I again typed in Yorkshire Dales and here is what I found.
By typing in “Portrait” I did find the same scenario, as I did with the landscape pages, with all the lists of accomplished artists and photographers and many similar images too. I came across the term “Portraiture” and many of the images I viewed conform to this genre.
What is Portraiture?
The art of painting or taking portraits. Vivid and detailed description. Portrait.
Portrait- is a painting, photograph, sculptor or another artistic representation of the face and the expression on the sitters face is predominant. The person is often looking or engaging with the painter etc.
Some Portraiture images Bing online.
I have selected examples of Portraiture images taken over the centuries.
The Ancient World
The 18th and 19th Centuries
One famous Photographic Portraiture “Afgan Girl” was published in the National Geographic Magazine in the 1984. This is image that resonated around the world due to the colour of her green eyes. It was one of the major images of the 20th century. This is a beautiful image and I wonder what she looks like today? Well here is the photograph.
What a difference and the years take their toll. Mind you this photograph was taken fifteen years ago.
See : usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2002/03/12/afgan-girl.htm
Courtsey of Bing images and National Geographic.
Some of the photographs above especially the ones of the Yorkshire Dale landscapes I have seen of numerous occasions and been photographed many on many an occasions are the peaks, stone walls and small stone dwellings. These are the very images that the Yorkshire Dales are famous for.
In his series of photographs Fuji City landscape photographer John Davis ( 1949-present day). He imaginatively combines the traditional elements with the cities contemporary industrial landscape.
I typed in the web address above and was unable to connect. The image above was taken from John Davis website via Bing.
Chris Steele Perkins (1947- present day).
He is a Magnum photographer and part of a cooperative group of photographers based in London, Paris, Tokyo and New York.
Chris Steele Perkins uses the same juxtaposition as John Davis when he pairs the remote Mount Fuji with ordinary everyday scenes.
The images above are quite strange and I feel that this beautiful and majestic volcano is being used and relegated to a secondary position or an incidental position in the photographs, so that it can act as a background image for the major image in the photographs. Like a side attraction.
There is also an exception of how an image that is well documented should be produced and presented. The photographer Ernst Has ( 1921- 1986) described his own experience of trying to produce a fresh perception and way to photograph an ordinary subject.
He has quoted:
I looked at an apple for such a long time until it became the first apple I had ever seen. I was so excited that I called a friend to tell him my experience. But how could I find the right words for what I had experienced? How could I describe my visual sensations with litany words such as red, yellow, green, shining and round after this movement of nuances and counteraction in form and color, even in touch and smell? Anyhow I did not find the right words and my friend did not believe me, so I ate the apple as I have eaten many an apple before. It was a fairly good apple.
http://www.visuramagazine.com/ernst-haas (accssed 16/06/14)
Taken from online.
When interviewed in The Face in the year 1984 in the December David Bailey quoted the same statement, but in a simpler form :
In photography everything is so ordinary:; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the ordinary.
http://enwikiquote.org/wikl/Photography ( accessed 16/06/14)
Many other photographers have observed and responded to the above statement too and many will same the thing too in the years to come.
Comments taken from Project Four Ex nihilo OCA.
I am not an expert at “screen grabbing”
I am no expert at “screen grabbing” and have never really had to perform this task before. I have spent ages trying to fathom this out and at last the penny has dropped and here is my first screen grab and a silent cheer went up!!! I realize it only half of a page, but I will go back and practice my new learnt skill.
Googling Landscapes – Sunsets.
I have choosen Seascapes as my screen grab.
Sunsets, Beaches and Skies.
Where is the creativity?
Well the creativity is in taking the image and creating the final image we see on our screen, but when you see pages and pages of the same subject so all the images just blurr into one image, you do ask yourself where is the indivduallity and creativity. If you though look at all the different images you do see creativity and individuality, as all the images may be sunsets and seascapes, but all are differnt scence, or even a place. There are images of just a sunset and some of the images have seascape too, but each image is different and unquie.
My images – Beaches and light.
Is there creativity here?
All images were taken on a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ72.
Lyme Regis, Golden Cap Beach and West Bay, Dorset.
I added some of my own images and like to think they are different from the Google images above and first glance they do not seem to be and yes they have the sunset, or light scene and have the standard format, such as a beach, sky and waves and the odd person and the token dog, as you see in all standard internet images. Sometimes when you look at images taken from internet they have that same view, weather is the same and location too.
With mine I have tried to create something that is different and unique putting my personnel touch and adding the creative touch only the photographer can do to his/her image. All images on Google images are probably taken by the same person, or persons , but they are grouped together representing a certain image…. golden beach all in daylight and perfect weather.
The following images were taken in Dorset. Here I have concentrated on the sea , the cliffs, sky and beach. I also like to include a person or persons and animals too. I think it adds some interest to the photograph. I have also grouped together images showing dramatic skies and crashing waves too. I think the power of “mother nature” is part of a good landscape image. Also light can make or break an image and sometimes
Marloes Beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales.
What have I learnt from Part Four?
Well light and how light is so important in the art of photography and in the entire industry of capturing the world around us. I always known that how important light is when processing and taking that image and how the time of the day is also important and the time of year and season too.
The section I was particularily enjoyed was Exercise 4.2, This was a pleasure to do, as an assignment and really made me aware of how light changes from every second to every hour of the day. I watched and took my photographs over a two hour period and the changes so much in eveidence. This section made me think of the light around me.
I also learnt that there are “golden hours” in photography and the beautiful “blue hour” that occurs before sunrise and after sunset and then there is the the beauty of artificial light and how to create the beautiful night- time image.
This was a very interesting section and a pleasure to study.
I really enjoyed this section and I used it for my assignment.
I have always been interested in the weather and meteorology, the seasons and changing light over the period of time. I even love the beauty of the night sky too and been a keen astronomer since my early childhood. These two disciplines also encouraged me to take up photography and so I thought in this section instead of just focusing on light and photography and how it affects are photographs, why show how light over a 24 hour period affects the wider world – natural and man-made.
The images below show light over a period of a day.
The first light of dawn to sunrise and slow rise of the sun and shadows it creates, as we approach midday and then the slow descent of the sun towards sunset beauty of twilight and night.
Image 1. Shows how in summer the days are long and sun reaches its highest point in the sky. The light harsh and bright and shadows are shorter. Nights are shorter, but we lose the deep darkness of winter. Even if the day is overcast the light is still bright.
Image 2. Shows how light changes at sea and reflections on the water below. Now this is my take on this photo. The shadows are long, but these shadows are from the landmass only. The light on the water gets brighter as we approach midday and in summer the sun is at its highest and the water acts as a mirror and even in winter light is still relatively bright. The light becomes warmer and this is reflected on the water too. Shadow’s on the water from the landmass are shorter.
Image 3. Light throughout the day in our cities. It looks as if this image of Houses of Parliament was taken in winter, as the light seems subdued and not the harsh light you get in summer, unless it is an overcast day. The shadows on the water are long, but this is from the reflection of the building itself. As we approach the end of the day the shadows seem to increase and the light warm. This is of course the influence of the buildings and the artificial light too. The night sky in cities never become truly dark and there is in this image sense of twilight, but could this be the presence of light pollution from the city below.
Image 4. Seems to either to be in one of the polar regions, or a winter landscape. The light is bright, due to the surrounding snow, which acts as a reflection. Looking at the photo in more detail it could be midsummer in one of the polar regions, as the light is bright and the sun seems to be high in the sky and when the sun approaches the horizon the light is still relatively bright, but now we can see the casting of deeper shadows on the snow compared to the midday sun.
Image 5. This image is of a landscape again, but taken in winter, as we can see the tree in the centre of the photograph has no foliage. The landscape is Moorland and the day is bright and casting many shadows over the period of he day. The shadows are less prominent during the early part of the day, but towards midday the shadows are deep and long, which usually does not happen when the sun approaches midday and in the winter the sun is not directly overhead, as it is in the summer. The shadows in this image are being created by the sun shining on the lone tree and this is what is casting the long shadows upon the ground. As the sun slowly descends the shadows become deeper and longer, as the sun disappears behind the hills.
Image 6. This is the process of the light on water from midday to dusk. In image 1 the sun is high in the sky and the light is bright, but as we move into image 2 the light becomes hazy and there is a slight reflection in the water below. In image 3 the light is taking on a beautiful blue hue and this is producing pink clouds above and reflections on the water below, as we approach sunset and this is a beautiful time of day for catching that perfect image. In image 4 the sun is disappearing below the horizon and creating a small reflection on the water, but we now have a “golden glow” all around and this creates pure white clouds. This is a perfect setting for taking that perfect photograph, as there isn’t the intensity of light, that you see in images 1 and 2. In images 1 and 2 the light is bright and hazy, but in image 2 the light is incredibly bright and harsh too and not the ideal light for taking that perfect image. Well in mind isn’t.
Image 7. Is a satellite image of the UK and part of mainland Europe and Africa. This is my favourite image showing the sunlight on the UK, as it approaches the hours before sunset and this can also be seen in Western Europe and the Western fringes of Africa. As we approach Central Europe and Africa the sun has set and we now see twilight, but darker enough to see the lights of the cities and other settlements below. You can though easily spot the mighty expanse of The Saharan Desert below and it’s white subdued light. As we move further east we are in darkness and the lights on humanity is displayed below. A photograph we would all like to take.
The next set of images shows us how light effects the natural world on land and at sea in a 24 hour period.
I know that the original section was all about light over a period of time, but I thought I would diverge from the main topic and look at the movement of light on the natural world. I have chosen two subjects that are poles apart.
Image 1. Marine life, as all life on this planet of ours is affected by light movement and changes. In this instance I have inserted a small image of fish and their reaction to light. Light can penetrate to great depths out at sea and rivers etc too. At sea there is no large landmasses to obscure light, well there are islands and other small landmasses of course, but large areas of water can act as a mirror and reflect light.
Looking at the image below you can see in photograph 1 that fish are in small numbers, but more predatory. Now in photograph 2 there are larger amount of fish, but they are less predatory and could we say that fish tend to congregate at night and sleep and safety in numbers. Now when we look at the last photograph and we now see that artificial light is the main source of light and fish are in abundance and predatory too. So we could conclude for this, is that fish are more active and in abundance too. Could it be something to do with the stimulation of the artificial light?
Image 2 and 3. Shows us the effects o light movement of plant life and in case flowers. Two different kinds of flowers and the same reaction. Flowers will close their petals at night due to the fact that the warmth of the day enables the inner petals to grow and when the light fades the temperature drops, but the outer petals will still grow and so the flower will close its petals. As the light and temperature increases the flower will open it’s petals and growing will start again. The flower will respond to temperature and light.
Sunflowers will follow the sun across the sky like a solar satellite dish and this is called heliotropism and it is believed they have 24 hour clock and will return their face to the east when the sun drops below the horizon. Some other flowers will also react to the change of light and sun too
Source of information:
Wikipedia and Google images.
Light as we have discovered is incredibly important in photography. By mastering the light you can improve the quality of the photographs you take. Landscape photography relies on heavily on light and the natural surroundings. The light can change within seconds and the weather too.
Different types of natural light can produce a wide range of different appearances in the finished image and even if the light source is the same.
The images above show the difference between flat natural light and an improved better natural light.
There are three factors that can influence how natural light can render the subject of the perfect image: weather, time of the day and camera direction, such a light flare from the sun.
Even though natural light comes from the sun and sunlight, but the illumination is composed of several factors:
Time of Day Contrast Colours Direction of Sun.
Midday Highest Neutral White Near Vertical
Evening &Morning High Slightly Warm Mid to Low
Golden Hour-Sunrise/Sunset Medium Warm to Fiery Near Horizontal
Twilight, Dawn and Dusk Low Cool Pastel Below Horizon.
The above image of a golf ball is a perfect example of light reflecting on the earth.
Direct sunlight results in warmer and high contrast in colours and a diffused skylight can cause a cooler and a low contrast. See image above.
Bounced light has the qualities that can reflect light of a reflecting object, or surface. This can produce a softer lighting effect. See images below.
It all depends the time of day and the amount of each component changes resulting in overall illuminations with different white balances ( the process of removing unrealistic colour casts , so an object that appears white in person is rendered white in the photo. Camera white balance has to take into account “colour temperature” of the light source of the surroundings whether it is warm, or cool light of the white light). Also that of the contrast too.
In the next series of images and diagrams we look at the light from astronomical high noon and when the sun is at its highest. Then the process of light from sunrise to sunset. All of the this does refer to a clear day.
The time of day does play an important part in the quality of a photograph. When the sun is at its highest which is high noon and contrast is at its highest and the color can be overstated in the image compared to what the colour of an object looks in reality. The lower the contrast, which happens at Twilight, Dawn and Dusk. This is due to the fact that sunlight has to pass through more of the atmosphere and bounces of the ground towards the chosen object. Also the atmosphere can selectively filter more of the sun’s blue light in the light spectrum and that results in a warmer light overall.
Weather and the time of the day, type and extensive cloud cover can be very influential in light variation. It can cause changes between the balance of direct sunlight and diffuse skylight, which in turn affects contrast and colour temperature of the light source.
In the evening and the mid-morning the light becomes slightly warmer, and this cast noticeable shadows. The light now comes from the side and subjects will appear to be dimensional. The light more predictable than the light at sunrise and sunset, as because this time of day the light is less dependent on surrounding mountains, or the location of the cloud line.
Midday lighting is composed of direct, downward sunlight and has little chance of scattering and diffuse through the atmosphere, or to bounce off the surrounding ground and illuminate the subject that is to be photograph indirectly. Taking a photograph at midday is not ideal, as the light is harsh and most neutrally coloured light of any time of the day and the less desirable type of natural light.
Due to the drawbacks in taking photographs this time of day there is some advantages. Water can appear to be more transparent, since light penetrates deeper and direct reflections off the surface are less likely.
This is the hour just after sunrise and just before sunset the beautiful “golden hour” is recognized as the time of day. which most desirable time of the day for light photography. The light is characterized by horizontal light that casts long shadows and gives the subject a warm glow.
Sunrises and sunsets make exciting photography and high varied light and primarily because the subtleties in the weather. Light at sunrises and sunsets reflects from underneath the clouds and causing a soft, warm light.
Now sunrises compared to a sunset. Sunsets and sunrises are in theory identical, but weather patterns can be different at each time of the day, so when it comes to photography photographers tend favour sunrise, or sunset. At sunrise the light starts bright and then steadily fades and also mist and early morning dew on foliage can either be welcoming, or the reverse and also the environment can be quiet, calm a quiescent quality and particularly with scenes that involve water. Now sunsets on the other hand sunsets the light will steadlily build and give the beautiful glow of sunset. Myself I have no favourite and find both times of the day beautiful. Mind you tha first light of the day is a clean light and has no dust, or pollution that has built up in the atmosphere of the course of the day.
Twilight. dawn and dusk
I viewed Raphael O’ Bryne’s film/ interview “L’amour de court” over five parts. Parts four and five were muted, because I believe due to copyright issue. You can hear Henri Cartier-Bresson’s voice in parts one to three. I watched the film/ interview a few times and see below my personal response.
We meet HCB when he is in his nineties and reminiscing and at times rambling about his long, eventful life. I got the impression it had been a hard life in places and life of adventures too. He comes across as a man who at times is vacant and his memory is failing, which is not surprising at the age of ninety. He is quite emotional in places especially with Gandhi’s assassination. I think when someone of his calibre and travelling the world due to his art is expected to be emotional knowing that he can never repeat it and go back.
HCB is mainly known for work in photography, Assouline ( 2005) prodimatly sees HGB as an artist and only used his camera to express himself for a period of time. O’ Bryne ( part three ) HGB mentions that he has not taken a photograph for a long period of time and does prefers to draw. This may be because he finds more inspiration in drawing in later years.
In part one and two HCB expresses his views on photography.
” Most of them don’t look. They press the button” ( part one ).
I interpreted this quote as HCB saying some photographers take an image without thinking how they should view and go about composing the image before they press the button.
” It’s always luck. It’s luck that matters… You have to be receptive, that’s all.. Like the relationship between things, it’s a matter of chance. If you want it you get nothing. Just be receptive and it happens” ( part two).
I agree with this quotation, as photography is luck and being receptive to what is a round you and your environment . I also can relate to this comment, as the more I want that perfect scene, I do not always get it. So being receptive, sensitive to your subject and surrounding you will achieve that perfect image.
HCB observation over time had become refined and you can see this in one particular photograph of children in a covered square . In part two we hear from a third-party description Yves Bonnefoy I think, that the narrator had not noticed the children, but HCB had and taken the photograph without even stopping and always observing.
In parts four and five we see how he was influenced by his travels to the Far East even though a seasoned traveller and spent time in the US and being the first western photographer to take photographs in the Soviet Union ( Wikipedia). He was also influenced by Buddhism and we see this when he fades into the background at a Japanese actors funeral and his sensitivity in catching the emotions of the mourners while they grieve. I found this part quite moving.
Overall a fascinating, moving insight into Henri Cartier- Bresson’s life.
Source of information: Wikipedia – Henri Cartier- Bresson.
This is a rewrite of my assignment three. I felt my first attempt was not as I wished it to be and my first eight images did not meet the brief. There was not enough “decisive moments” and lacked the key points and even participants.
My new subject and location.
My new subject this time is not a landscape, as before, but a building and it’s inhabitants . The building is the Spinnaker Tower and location is Portsmouth, Hampshire.
It is a large towering structure representing a large sail, or Spinnaker. The Spinnaker Tower stands on the waterfront overlooking Portsmouth Harbour and set within a large shopping and entertainment complex. Within the building there is a large viewing platform reached by an elevator and you can see a 360 degree view of Portsmouth, Hampshire Countryside and Isle of Wight. Portsmouth is a maritime city and there are lots going on.
From the main viewing deck the views are stunning. There are two viewing decks, but the larger of the two has the best views and is indoors . We visited the tower in the afternoon and being a winter’s afternoon the light was against me, but being a sunny day was a bonus. It was also half term, so it was pretty busy and lots of excited children.
The workings behind the images and process.
Firstly I thought how do I go about capturing a “decisive moment” I have been asking myself this question since starting this assignment. It is not something I consciously do everyday and thought how should I approach the subject. I contemplated on what would be the ideal spot and taking into account everything I have read up about this subject and looking at images that have captured that “decisive moment”. I studied Henri Cartier- Bresson’s images and looked at how he approached his subjects and the final image. We were planning to go to the Spinnaker Tower and the location was ideal for what I wanted to achieve. So I set about taking my photographs.
Now I find people watching interesting, but the spontaneity of the actions of children can create some wonderful moments and “decisive moments ” too. Children have enthusiasm for life and sense of fun and life is an adventure. Children are natural and their sense of excitement and interactions between each other are funny to watch, but I was though aware that I had to seek permission from the parents before I went about taking photographs and the parents of the children concerned were quite happy for me to take my photographs.
The light in the building was perfect, but there is a slight tint of blue, as the windows are tinted to keep out the glare of the sun and heat in the summer . I also took the photographs, as the sun was slowly setting and being winter the light was not to harsh, as it tends to be in the summer months.On this occasion it was crisp and clear . The light reflecting off the glass was perfect too and created some wonderful reflections and colours, which contributed to the images below.
Not all of the images are of children, but my last two are of Andy and the harbour below and the meeting of two ferries. The remaining images are taken in one area of the tower and that is a glass floor that gives the visitor views of the street below and is very popular, especially with children and people who do not suffer with vertigo. I have walked this glass floor on many occasion.
Focal length of images range from 3.58mm- 7.07mm
ISO – all images 100- 400
Max aperture – f/2.8 – f/3.6
Exposure time – 1/60 sec – 1/200 sec.
Where do I start? Well I choose the environment because of the crowds, light and atmosphere. The views were perfect and the location fitted the brief . Children especially can create those “decisive moments” without having to think about it. I not saying that adults cannot create ” decisive moments”, but children are spontaneous and natural and I focused on a certain little girl, as she radiated happiness, excitement and enthusiasm. The other three images are just moments that caught my eye and that “decisive moment” captured within a click of a button.
Source of information: Inspiration from Henri Cartier- Bresson.
How to master “The Decisive Moment”- Eric Kim.
It was Henri Cartier- Bressan who first to pioneer the “Decisive Moment” He was a street photographer and believed that the decisive moment was a spilt second of genius and inspiration to capture the certain moment of a couple sneaking a kiss, or a man jumping over a puddle and the wind catching some ones umbrella. In the landscape it could be the beam of light shinning through the clouds, even if it is for a spilt second. The call of a seagull, or just even a fleeting call of a Curlew.
The moment is fleeting and within a second that moment has gone and the photographer has only a second to capture that moment before it has gone forever.
The following images are my ” Decisive Moment” and the notes explaining how I went about taking my images and the introduction to the landscape that sets the scene. Also the technical stuff too.
I studied the brief and thought ” well how I am going to go about this” . I am keen on keen on landscape photography and spend my time walking with my partner around the countryside.
My subject for this assignment was taken on the South Coast about one and half miles from Milford-on -Sea, Hampshire. The whole is a nature reserve and made up of one huge shingle spit, with water on both sides. The spit itself stretches out to a fort called Hurst Castle, which was built by Henry V111. You can see the Isle of Wight from this spot too. The whole area is very popular and a very beautiful spot.
The photographs were taken on a very cold day earlier this month and it was late afternoon and the sun was low in the sky. We often come walking here with friends and the main characters in these photographs are friends, except the couple with the dog. You can see that the day was cold, but that does not deter the keen walker.
The way I worked towards capturing these images:
What is a “decisive moment”?
Henri Cartier- Bresson was street photographer and was the founding father of this genre.
The meaning behind this statement is that sometimes a photograph is taken at such a perfect moment that it feels that no other point in time could express the essence of the event so perfectly. Henri Cartier- Bresson.
I decided to use this particular scene and the time of day, because there is nothing as beautiful as a sunset, or even a sunrise over water. The reflection and light can be very intense in this kind of landscape. Shadows can be created, as the sunlight is reflected in the water and for a brief period the sky can have the appearance of “being on fire” and also the period before and after sunset, there is a purple-blue hue in the sky. In winter this can be more intense, due to the fact that the air is cold, crisp and clean, unlike that in the summer where the light is more intense and more dust particles in the atmosphere. I do prefer a seascapes a landscape, as the light and weather can be more dramatic and changeable.
I purpose;y focused on having one, or more individual’s within the photographs and concentrated on how they interacted with their surroundings. In some of the images you cannot actually see the person, or person’s faces, but only their silhouette against the light. I coud have just concentrated on the seascape itself and the sunset, but decided to involve a few humans and their canine friends. Makes a more interesting photograph.
My images and their “decisive moments” and the technical details too:
All photographs were taken on a manual settings using a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ72.
This image shows the last few minutes before sunset and the kaleidoscope of colours that make up the sky before sunset. The man in the image is Paul a friend of mine. The “decisive moment” here is me taking a photograph of him, taking a photograph. Also the beautiful twilight glow on the water and also the reflection of the boats on the water to.
This image to me spells …. cold. The entire appearance of the couple is cold and wrapped against the wind. The lady was smiling at me and that was the “decisive moment” when I caught her eye. The man is looking down. The dogs though seem happy just to be out.
This is the golden glow before sunset and the reflection on the beach. That is a ” decisive moment” Also the people higher up the beach and their silhouettes against the sky. There is also a little dog running towards me.
This image is very the same as image three, but we can now see the dog. I think the “decisive moment” here is that little lone dog running towards me and his shadow etched in the stones.
The little group huddled up are friends. Paul. Nina and son Robert. There is not a lot going on in this image, but that small huddled group against the evening glow, so this is my “decisive moment”. I am not sure what they are looking at.
In this image the light is fading and we have four individuals . My partner Andy and friends. You cannot see their faces. The “decisive moment” for me is the tunnel of light on the sea and Robert’s silhouette.
The two figures silhouetted against the sea and the disappearing glow of the sun and arch of light. That is the ” decisive moment” in this image. Also the rippling beam of light reflected on the water.
The two little insignificant figures against the setting sun and immense landscape of water just shows us how small we are in the nature of things. The colours of the sky, as also seen in image seven. The”desicive moment” here is the beauty of the entire scene.
I had to think about this assignment and tussle with what images would suit the subject of a landscape, well seascape in this instance. I decided on a beach, winter and sunset theme, as they can create so many “decisive moments”. The cold and sometimes bleakness of winter. The colours and dramatic sunsets. They all capture those moments. Then add a few humans and their canine friends and the “decisive moments” are there for the taking.
My views on my tutors feedback:
I have yet to receive my feedback and will comment here when I do.
I have my feedback from my tutor and mixed reaction on the assignment three
Feedback back from Tutor.
Feedback from tutor was mixed . Good attempt. I felt that I did not do as well on this assignment and should have done a lot better. I have taken note of my tutors comments and will act upon it. I am going to attempt assignment three again and with a set of new images. The images were taken yesterday in Portsmouth and taken from the Spinnaker Tower.
The original images used in the first assignment three were probably not the images that I should have used and thinking about it there was not really a lot going on and the “decisive moments” do not stand out.
Here are the whole collection of the images taken for assignment three.
The following images were also being considered for assignment three, but were not used.
These images were taken at a place called Blashford Lakes in Hampshire. This a lovely nature reserve and part of one the Hampshire Wildlife Reserves.
It was very cold day as you can see on the lake and this was not long before sunset and the ice had been on the lake all day.
I decided not to use these images, as they didn’t seem have the criteria, I believed at the time, not suitable for this particular assignment. Maybe I was wrong?
This series of images were taken earlier this month at place called Mottisfont Abbey and is a National Trust property. This building is the gift shop and the shop was about to shut and hence the lady at the door. I also decided not use these images, as I felt at the time not much was really going on people wise.
Further research for assignment three.
Henri Cartier Bresson- brief history.
The founder of the medium called the “Decisive Moment” Henri was born in Chanteloup-en-brie, Seine-et- Marne, France and the oldest of five children. He was introduced to Oil painting by his uncle who was then killed in the WWI. He attended the Lhote Academy in 1927. He first started taking photographs with his Box Brownie when he was a child.
He became interested in the Surrealist Movement, which was founded in the 1924. The Surrealist photographers obtained a lot of their inspiration from Aragon and Breton who approached the streets with enthusiasm for the usual and unusual. Surrealist photography concentrates on plain photography and a photograph that shows realism and ordinary images of people doing ordinary and practical things and also unpredictable things too. The people in his images below are not famous, but caught Henri Cartier Beeson eye.
Throughout his career he took photographs throughout the world in places such as, Africa, US and Europe. He did not though photograph much in his place of birth and it was much later in life he would extensively take photographs in France.
When he returned to France he took up filmmaking and applied for a job with well-known director Jean Renoir.Renoir made Henri act in front of the camera, as a way to make him see what it was like to be on the other side of the camera. He helped Renior make many Communist films and even made a film of his own called ” Who Ran France”. He even directed an anti fascist film with Herbert Kline to promote Republican Medical Services.
He then turned his attention to photojournalism and in 1937 he took photographs of the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth for a French weekly called Regards.He focused on the streets and the adoring royal fans lining the route, but took no photographs of the King and his photo credit read Cartier. He did not want to use his full family name.
During WWII wa captured by the German and spent time in a Prisoner of War Camp for 35 months doing hard labour. He escaped on his their attempt and returned to France where he worked with the underground helping people escape and taking photographs of the occupation.
After the war he co-founded Magnum Photos with Robert Capa, David Seymour,William Vandevilt and George Rodger. It was Capa’s brainchild and co-operative picture agency owned by its members.He also gained world recognition for his photos of Gandhi’s funeral in 1947. He was assigned to China and India with Magnum and covered many events including Maoists China.
His book the Decisive Moment was published in 1952 and included 126 photographs from the west and east. In his later years he took many images in China, mEXICO, Canada and the US, India, Japan and Soviet Union and was the first Western photographer to be allowed to be allowed into post war Soviet Union. He died in 2004 and is one of the worlds most influential photographer and created the term “Decisive Moment in Photography”.
The images below were taken by Henri Cartier Bresson on the Coronation of George VI and Queen Elizabeth ( Queen Mother) in 1937.
I like these images as they are images of a bygone era. We have seen many Royal Weddings in this country. The Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth was a Coronation that was not really meant to happen, but for the abdication of his brother Edward. The crowds in places look sombre and the black and white images make some of the onlookers look drab and the evidence of people being poor is in more evidence, than it is today. The images are from a different time and the attire of some of the onlookers look like they have stepped out of 19th C and late Victorian period.
You can see the differences in the time of change too from that period to today. The Royal Weddings of today are more cosmopolitan and evidence of more visitors from abroad. People then were dressed in their Sunday best and clothes look heavy, where as today clothes are light, colourful and people look more affluent. Also which is more in evidence to is the advances in modern technology. Everyone today has a camera and mobile phone and the means to record an important event. Where as back in 1937 very few people would have even owned a camera. So a lot of our recorded history came from newsreels and professional photographers. Also crowds today are smiling and happier when ever you see a royal event compared to some of the images above. The images above are what Henri Cartier – Bresson would of called a ” decisive moment”.
More of Henri Cartier- Bresson images.
The images above are a combination of Henri Cartier- Bressons times in various countries from Europe, Africa to China. The most striking image for me is the girl standing in front of the soldiers and guns holding a flower( image 7). This image is very reminiscent of the turbulent times in the late 60s and early 70s. Where the old order was giving way to the modern world. This is also seen in ( image 2). Also ( image 5) is very poignant and looks as if a young girl is being brought to justice because of her wartime activities during WWII.
The images showing the children in Africa are lovely and even if these children live in poverty they are smiling and look happy ( images 10 and 11 ). I also like the two little Chinese boys and the two dogs eyeing each other up (image 4).
The remaining images are just periods of history taken in a brief moment between a couple in love ( image 3) to a little girl chasing the pigeons ( image 8). The other images also show just brief moments of a photographic image.
Sources of information:
Wikipedia and Henri Cartier- Bressons images taken from King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation.