Author Archives: shaun512659

Masters of Photography

masters of photography

Masters of Photography by Reuel Golden, published by Carlton, ISBN: 978-1-844442-004-6

This book was given to me as a Birthday present, the book is a list of famous artistic photographers arranged in alphabetical order.  Each artist has a basic resumé  and short biography with a small number of examples of their work.  By no way a comprehensive list of artists and their achievements, I also found that the text was very small a lightly printed and as a result was difficult to read.  Okay, for an interested amateur photographer, but not comprehensive enough for a student.

The Digital Print


The Digital Print by Jeff Schewe, published by Peach Press, ISBN 13 – 978-0-321-90845-2.

This book complements Schewe’s first book, ‘The Digital Negative’.  Hi first book examines the steps to process your RAW image into a photo fit for printing using either Adobe RAW, Lightroom or Photoshop, stopping short of the actual printing process that is covered in detail in his second book.

Background and printer set-up.

In The Digital Negative, Schewe first briefs about the history of digital printing and the development of the printers and the choices now currently available.  He moves on to look at how to set up your printer so that it works to it’s optimal performance with Lightroom and Photoshop using either Mac of Windows.

Schewe moves onto discussing colour management, covering both theory and practice, again recommending settings for Lightroom and Photoshop.

He then moves on to preparing your image for printing including altering colour to greyscale and half-toning and soft-proofing.

Chapter 4 is dedicated to making the print.

Chapter 5 looks at choices of papers how they are made and why they are different and how the ink works and how it interacts with the various types of paper.

Chapter 6 discusses workflow for both Lightroom and Photoshop.

This is a good book and in my opinion a must read book.  This will give you enough understanding about the mysteries of good reliable printing for either total control at home or exporting to a third-party to print.  If you have ambitions for top quality professional exhibition standard printing then this is a book to read for you to.


The Digital Negative


The Digital Negative by Jeff Schewe, published by Peachpit Press, ISBN: 13 978-0-321-83957-2.

I have just read this book to try to get a better understanding of digital photography.  Schewe is a photographer who has also been working with the boffins at Adobe since the early 1990’s to help develop RAW, Photoshop and more recently Lightroom for photographers from a photographer’s point-of-view.  His books are therefore as close as you can get to finding a first class knowledgable author.  He has published two books ‘The Digital Negative’ and “The Digital Print’ the later I have just began to read.

The Digital Print briefly covers the basic background of how the digital image is made in the camera but drills in to the featured and functions in both RAW and Lightroom that you will use to process your RAW file in to a presentable photo.  This includes a recommended and sensible workflow, background information from the Adobe engineers explaining why certain features work the way they do.  Chapters 4 and 5 a dedicated to Photoshop for advanced editing beyond the capabilities of RAW and Lightroom for those images worth the extra effort.  Chapter 6 covers the recommended workflow from importing pictures from the camera, storing, backing-up, making copies, cataloguing on to developing.  This book does not however cover printing as this is a topic for his second publication.

This is a good book to read, I learned a few new features in Lightroom that I was unaware of and also instructed me in the use of RAW that I am unfamiliar with as I have only used Lightroom so far.  Lightroom was was developed with a lot of the features from RAW and both will talk to one another but changes made in one will alter the other’s parameters and this is a useful thing to be aware of if you use both RAW and Lightroom.  If you want a better understanding of Lightroom, RAW and Photoshop this ids the book to read.  This is not however a detailed book for Photoshop it covers the topics that most photographers need but doesn’t look at all the magic tricks possible in Photoshop.  This is a book intended to help the modern photographer become confident and proficient developing digital photographs to a point that they can print or advance to higher levels of editing using Photoshop and plug-ins.  Not too technically challenging and easy to read and fairly easy to understand without an engineering degree.

A very good book that I would recommend.

I passed my formal assessment!

512659 S Mullins PH1AOP Marksheet512659 S Mullins PH1AOP Letter

I passed my formal assessment; but I was a little disappointed at some of the comments regarding the standard of my presentation, as I felt that I did not get sufficient guidance as to what was expected of me.  However, I have recently found a student Forum on Facebook that assures me that this is typical for the first course and that passing was good in itself.  I will however, take on board the colleges criticisms as  for learning and en-devour to improve in my next course.

Good books that I used to research and plan for the subject illustration and Narrative and Assignment V

When I was studying for section five of my Art of Photography course, illustration and narrative, I purchased and read two very good books by AVA publications,  basics Creative Photography series, Context and Narrative by Marie Short and making Photographs by Mike Simmons.

Basics_Creative_Photography_Making_Photographs Basics_Creative_Photography_Context_and_Narrative

Making Photographs by Mike Simmons is a good book to use to help find ideas and then create a working plan for your photography project.  This book helped me develop the ideas for creating images for my exercises and helped my find the idea for using the M.R. James story for my assignment and story board it with sketched ideas for images.

Context and Narrative helped me with ideas of subject matter and a better understanding and use of juxtaposing images.

Both these books have case studies and exercises at the end of each chapter.  Both are good books and I will revisit then for my new course which is ‘Context and Narrative’.

Formal assessment for my Art of Photography Course

I am now putting together all my photos from my assignments to send for formal assessment.

I have included some prints that I made for two early exercises at the beginning my course in the introduction section as additional to my blogs as further evidence of my work for this course.

Assignment 1, I originally didn’t produce prints to be assessed however, as a result of my Tutor’s comment regarding this I have made prints to be sent for the formal assessment.

Black & White-resized-a

Assignment 2, for this assignment I send my Tutor large poster size prints which was on reflection over the top and my again my Tutor pointed this out; so I am sending smaller 7 x5 prints for formal assessment.


I have also included these four additional prints that I didn’t send to my tutor but are prints of the additional images illustrated on my original Assignment blog and therefore I thought that I should also include them as part of the assessment.

Single point-b-resized Single point-c-resized Single point-a-resizeddistinct even if irregular shapes-a-resized

I have also added two additional larger prints (9×6) of ‘Diagonals’ and ‘Rhythm’ as I was able to get a better colour reproduction and crop.

Diagonals-2-resized Rhythm-2-resized

Assignment 3, I originally had these printed at my local Tesco store.  Mike commented in his report that the colour reproduction on one or two prints did not match the digital images on my blog; so I therefor reprinted all these images through Jessops to see if I could get a better reproduction and also obtain better crops.  I am now sending both for the formal assessment, the reprints are in a smaller print format and are marked 1a to 16a.


Sarah blue and red-resized

I have sent all the reprints with the originals; but some of the original prints reproduced better than the second batch for example Violet and yellow-a Red and yellow-resized both didn’t re-produce as well as the originals (in my opinion).

Assignment 4, All the original prints that were sent to my tutor.


Assignment 5, Original photos only, no additional, with the accompanying 3 page story text to complement the images.


Thank you for taking the time to assess my work.

Tutor’s report and my reflections for assignment five.

I have just received back my Tutor’s formative feedback for my last assignment for the Art of Photography Course, assignment V, Narrative and Illustration.

DSC_7135-Edit-It_was_with_some_considerable_curiosity_that _he_turned_it_over_by_the_light_of_his_candles-resized  Re-examining my work.

Tutor_report Shaun Mullins 512659 TAOP asst 5 V2

I enjoyed this project immensely, I found it very challenging and I learned a great deal from it.  I had read some very useful books that helped with ideas of how to plan for this project, namely: Context and Narrative, by Maria Short, Basics Creative Photography, 02, AVA.  Making Photographs, by Mike Simmons,  Basics Creative Photography, AVA.

Throughout this project I kept referring back to the brief to be sure that I understood my assignment and feel confident that I met the brief.

The brief being to imagine that I have to illustrate a story for a magazine to include the cover to illustrate and several pages inside to include captions of any length to explain and link each picture.  The cover picture will need some of the techniques of illustration that I have been experimenting with and the picture essay will be more of a narrative.

Any theme which has a narrative element could be a suitable subject for this project; so on first checking with my Tutor, I chose to use a ghost story by M.R. James as the Narrative to illustrate.

Having thus decided upon the story, I set about planning my photographs.

Reflections on my Tutors comments (see attached document).

Image 1.


My Tutor liked this image and comments that it was a good example of risk taking, although I must confess it didn’t occur to me at the time.

Image 2.


Perhaps it is a little stereotypical, I could perhaps have used a still-life image of the map and magnifying glass as an alternative.  However, the third hand was intended to complement and make sense of the caption.  Oh, Parkins,’ said his neighbour ‘If you are going to Burnstow I wish you would look at the site of the Templars…’  Perhaps the third hand wasn’t needed.

Image 3.


A simple image that worked for linking the story.

Image 4.


Although it lacks a visual link to the last image (3) it is necessary to continue the story.

Image 5.

DSC_6406-Edit-He_introduced_his hand_it_met_with_a_cylindrical_object-resized

Unfortunately, I could not find a antique whistle as a convincing prop; so I had to make do with a wooden peg that we covered in dirt to make the object as ambiguous as possible.

Image 6.


I was very pleased with this image as I think that it gives an atmospheric feel to the story.

Image 7.


Probably my favourite image and was perfect for what I was looking for for the cover.

Image 8.

DSC_7135-Edit-It_was_with_some_considerable_curiosity_that _he_turned_it_over_by_the_light_of_his_candles-resized

My Tutor thinks that this image could arguably have been left out of the narrative.  My feelings is that as this project is a magazine story and the story is essentially about finding a whistle in a grave-yard and whistling up a ghost, I needed to include this image (identification) to help link image 5 (discovery) with the following image 9 (put to use).  however, no two editors may agree the same outcome, therefor as a photographer, I would have at least covered myself having produced the image if an Editor had decided that he wanted it.  In this case I was the Editor.

Image 9.


My Tutor feels that my friends pose appears to be a little over-acted, I think that this is a subjective opinion, the expression was intended to suggest someone tentively blowing through an unfamiliar object.  It looks truthful to  me; but I may be biased.  The shadow effect however, appears to have worked as I wanted.

Image 10.


A simple image; but turned out to be trickier to achieve as my friend could only spare me limited time in the evening when it was already very dark.

Image 11.


It took a lot of pictures before I got this shot!  I particularly like the wide open eye that I am always drawn to.

Image 12.


As with image 10 this photo was more of a challenge as I had already lost the light; so I had to use a speedlight in a soft-box and experiment with settings on my speedlight and camera to get the effect I was looking for,  I then had to make some final adjustments in Lightroom.

Image 13


The ghostly spirit takes form using bedsheets and rushes at the professor.  I was happy with this final image, although I had to combine two images in to one in Photoshop to produce it.

A big thank you to my Tutor for his support and constructive comments.




Formal elements in art and composition

From the world of art and the compositional analysis of paintings, the formal elements are: line, shape, tone and form, texture, space and colour.  (Basics Photography 01, Composition, David Prakel, AVA.)

line DSC_6326-Edit-resized

shape  Wedding-5825

tone & form Low_Res-7603

texture  Patterns-8-resized

space  DSC_5785-Edit-resized

colour  DSC_6325-Edit-resized



Exercise – Outdoors at night

Car lights-resized   Nikon D800e, 24mm f/2.8, 3 sec, f/22, ISO-50, WB-Tungsten.

Taking my camera out in the evening, I looked for interesting photographic opportunities that presented themselves as a result of typical street lighting.  In these shots I used a small digital point and shoot camera, this limited me to ISO settings and manual options but I feel that I was still able to find and make interesting images.

Reflections from a fashion window flipped-1 (1 of 1) Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/6sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

Fashion shop window with the reflection of the street.

Reflections of my dream villa from a spanish real-estate window-1 (1 of 1)    Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/30sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

Reflections of a dream.

Reflections from a plumbers merchant window flipped-1 (1 of 1)  Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/2sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

All the following images have an interesting mix or dominant colours as influenced by the artificial lighting found in typical public shopping streets and centres.

Reflections from a shoe shop window flipped-2 (1 of 1)  Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/8sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

Reflections from a shop window flipped-1 (1 of 1) Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/50sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

Shopping centre-2 (1 of 1)  Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/20sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

Shopping front flipped-1 (1 of 1)  Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/25sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

Shopping centre flipped-1 (1 of 1)  Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/8sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  +1.3 step, WB-Manual.

Shopping centre-3 (1 of 1) Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1/15sec, f/2.8, ISO-400,  WB-Manual.

Red light-1 (1 of 1)  Canon Digital IXUS 750, 8mm focal length, 1sec, f/2.8, ISO-100,  WB-Manual.

Images illuminated by sodium-vapour lamp light which is creating an impression of a negative print type photo.  The combination of moonlight, ghostly illumination of the building and camera angle helps to create an un-nerving feel to these pictures of the Anglican church in Weybridge Surrey.

Low_Res-7594 Nikon D800e, 24-120mm f/4 @27mm, 1/8sec, f/4, ISO-6400, WB-Auto.

Low_Res-7596 Nikon D800e, 24-120mm f/4 @55mm, 1/10sec, f/4, ISO-6400, WB-Auto.

Low_Res-7597  Nikon D800e, 24-120mm f/4 @24mm, 1/4sec, f/4, ISO-6400, WB-Auto.

Low_Res-7606 Nikon D800e, 24-120mm f/4 @24mm, 1/13sec, f/4, ISO-6400, WB-Auto.

Portrait, using only the illumination from a sodium vapour street light.


Nikon D800e, 24-120mm f/4 @120mm, 1/13sec, f/4, ISO-6400, WB-Auto.


Exercise – Tungsten and fluorescent lighting

In this exercise I waited until the evening light was closely matching the output from the tungsten bulbs in my apartment and took some portrait pictures with the white balance adjusted to three different settings to compare the resulting images.  The settings used was daylight, auto and tungsten.  The idea behind this exercise is to have a better understanding of the control of white balance and create ideas of how white balance can be used to manipulate the mood of an image and also to consider what more artistic options may be available by using white balance as a tool in the composition process.


Daylight (1 of 1)

In this image the overall effect is a warm golden yellow tone.  Nikon D800e, 50mm f/1.8, 1/30sec, f/1.8, ISO-640, +1 step exposure compensation.


Auto (1 of 1)

The auto white balance has produced a similar image to the daylight setting, perhaps more orange to the tone.  Nikon D800e, 50mm f/1.8, 1/90sec, f/2, ISO-1250, -1 step exposure compensation.


Tungsten (1 of 1)

The tungsten setting had created a very cold blue tone to this image.  Nikon D800e, 50mm f/1.8, 1/90sec, f/2, ISO-1250, -0.5 step exposure compensation.


Using fluorescent type technology energy saving bulbs to light this room, I took the following photos using the settings options of white balance from Auto, Fluorescent, Fluorescent A6 and Fluorescent B6 on my Nikon camera.  Nikon D800e, 24-120mm f/4 @ 120mm, 1/60sec, f/4, ISO-6400.

WB-Auto, colour temperature 2900.


WB-Fluorescent, colour temperature 3950.



WB-Fluorescent A6, colour temperature 4550.


WB-Fluorescent B6, colour temperature 3350.