Tag Archives: balance

Tutor’s report and reflections for assignment 2

Tutor Report Shain Mullins 512659 TAOP asst 2

I found this assignment very challenging but I am now starting to think and see in a new way.  My lesson brought forward from my last assignment was that I needed to do more background reading to help me understand what was being asked of me.  Therefore, before starting this assignment I purchased and read: The photographer’s Eye by Michael Freeman; Composition, Basics Photography 01 by David Prakel and Design Principles, Basics Photography 01 by Jeremy Webb.  I wish that I had found these books before doing assignment 1 as on the whole I was way off the mark from what was expected and what I imagined was asked.   These books helped me to understand this subject and has started me to think and see in a new and more artistic way.

I actually first thought that plants would be an easy subject as they are all around us; but Mike has pointed out in his appraisal I quickly began to realize that it wasn’t going to be so easy after all, but I persevered and I am happy with the results.

As I began to take pictures I used the idea of artistically composed images that I would imaging you may find framed on the walls of a Garden Centres Café, which later influenced my idea to print large and on reflection was unnecessary.

Single dominant point.  Dominant_point-5-resizedOn reading Mikes comments, I now can see that if I had applied the golden section principle I could have made a better composition.  I believe that the second (middle) colour image in my blog that I illustrated as one of the three that I didn’t use was closer to the golden section and may have been a better choice.  Single point-b-resizedReason for this is that in my opinion the positioning and direction the rose faces would make for a better balanced picture as it is pointing in towards the empty space; so making use of it by drawing the viewers eye across.

Two dominant points.  Two_dominant_points-3-resizedThis is my favourite shot and all my families.  In order to get this picture I had to take it from a greater distance than I would have liked and had to enlarge to bring out the image, which sacrifices quality.  Fortunately I my D800 has a with very high resolution; so I was just about able to get away with it for printing.

Several points in a deliberate shape.  Points_making_a_shape-1-resizedYes on reflection the dandelion is a distraction.  I was thinking of including dynamic balance in this composition but the yellow is too strong and draws attention away from the intended subject.

A combination of horizontal and vertical lines.  Combination_of_horizontal_and_verticle_lines-3-resizedThis was the challenge that seriously had me doubting my wisdom for choosing plants, but I thought this composition offered all the elements that I was searching for.  Perhaps I could have found better examples but the harder I looked the less I could see; so I settled for this.

Diagonals. Diagonals-2-resized I don’t know why the printed image is so much darker, but I am sure I can adjust it for making other prints.

Curves. Curves-4-resizedAgain I believe that I can adjust for a better print next time.

Distinct, even if irregular shapes. Points_making_a_shape-2-resized Yes, I got a bit carried away and should have kept it simple.

At least two kinds of implied traingles 1,2 and 3.  Implied_triangle-9-resized Implied_triangle-8-resized Implied_triangle-3-resized Again challenging to find interesting images whilst seeing implied triangles.

Rhythm. Rhythm-2-resized I just couldn’t see rhythm in anything I looked at and this was the best attempt that I could make. I think that the photo I used for Distinctive if irregular shapes may have worked for rhythm distinct even if irregular shapes-a-resized

Patterns.  Patterns-7-resized Interestingly Mike feels that this is closer to Rhythm, I guess as the song go’s I ain’t got rhythm!  Perhaps in time…






Exercise-Measuring exposure-part-1

In this exercise I have taken photographs using my light meter to help me produce images that are either deliberately lighter (high-key) or darker (low-key) to suit the intention of the subject.

My first image was deliberately intended to be dark to create an atmosphere of mystery and imagination. Is he entering this room or is spying on someone?
Beyond the door-resized
I used spot metering to take a reflective reading off the chrome door handle in order to get an overall dark effect with a bright slit shining through as the door is opened and good exposure for my hand. Narrow depth of field to add depth, camera set to manual, ISO 400, WB – Auto. f/2.0, 1/60sec hand held, ambient light only. This exposure was 4x stops above the suggested averaged exposure of 1/25sec to under-expose the image. Post production was kept minimal with very little cropping needed, just a small adjustment for levelling and the image sharpened and no other adjustments made.


For this image, I overexposed by one stop, ignoring my camera’s suggested setting of 1/100 at f/5.6 and using a setting of 1/50 at f/5.6 instead for a brighter image whilst remaining inside the boundary of the Histogram to avoid clipping the high lights.

In this image the room was dark; so I over exposed by one full f-stop in order to compensate and make the image brighter.
My camera recommended 1/90, f/2.4 I chose 1/90, f/3.3 instead.
_Plus_one_full_F_stop (1 of 1)

In this last low-key image, taken in the garden on an overcast afternoon, I took this image two stops below the camera’s recommended exposure of 1/2000, f/4 choosing 1/8000, f/4 to create a darker and more sinister feel for this still-life.
ISO 400, white balance sunlight.
Demons (1 of 1)

Exercise – Cloudy weather and rain

Views seen under sunny and cloudy conditions, white balance set to daylight/sunlight.

1-1000_f-9.5_in_sun (1 of 1) 1-1000_f-8_in_shade (1 of 1)
The right image was captured in sunshine and the left image under cloud.
A half-stop aperture adjustment was required to maintain a balanced exposure.
In my opinion this subject looks better in sunshine as it adds contrast and modelling for a sense of a 3D affect.

1-2000_f-6.7_in_sun (1 of 1) 1-1000_f-6.7_in_shade (1 of 1)
The right image was captured in sunshine and the left image under cloud.
1/2000, f/6.7 in sun and 1/1000, f/6.7 in shade. I altered shutter speeds between these two shots and there is a full one-stop difference to maintain a balanced exposure. I prefer the image made in sunshine that I think creates a mood to match the subject.

1-3000_f-5.6_in_sun (1 of 1) 1-1500_f-5.6_in_shade (1 of 1)
The right image was captured in sunshine and the left image under cloud.
This last two images were taken with one full-stop shutter difference between the image taken in sunshine and the other in shade. I personally think that the image taken under cloud produces a more suitable image to match the mood of dereliction and decay.

Detail on an overcast day.
A_Rose_under_a_cloud (1 of 1) Blue_Blooms_under_a_cloud (1 of 1)
Under cloudy sky conditions the soft light appears to give the colours a more saturated and richer hue.
Rocks_under_a_cloud (1 of 1)
The soft light from the overcast grey skies brings out the texture of the stone more clearly and all three images are colder with a hint of blue to their white balance. All images have been captured in daylight setting on the camera and not adjusted.

Rain – Below are images taken over a couple of rainy days.

View from a car-1 (1 of 1) Stepping in a puddle (I like the pattern of the smiley man in the water) and a view through a wet car windscreen with the outside world blurred out with just the rain drops in sharp focus. Walking in the rain (1 of 1) Wet walk (1 of 1) People hurrying through the rain and damp pavements reflecting the light. Opulent reflection (1 of 1) Wet reflection (1 of 1) Reflections Wet range (1 of 1) Light and shade.

Exercise: Judging colour temperature 2

In this exercise I took three photographs of my wife in the same settings at the same times of the day; but this time varying the white balance settings in each scene from daylight to shade to automatic to compare the differences in the images. The purpose of this exercise is to learn and put in to practice how controlling white balance on your camera can improve or alter the mood and character of an image for artistic creativity.

Mid-day in sunlight.
Mid-day_on_daylight-2 (1 of 1) Mid-day_on_shade (1 of 1) Mid-day_on_automatic (1 of 1)
White balance: daylight – shade – automatic

The second image looks the best as it adds warmth to Sarah’s complexion. However the last image comes closest to how I recall the scene the worst image in my opinion is the first the first which is rather cold for a portrait.

These next three images were all taken in a shaded place at around mid-day, one set to daylight as before, one to shade and the last to automatic.
Shade_on_daylight (1 of 1) Shade_on_shade (1 of 1) Shade_on_automatic (1 of 1)
White balance: daylight – shade – automatic

In these three images the daylight and automatic settings are very similar and I think that the automatic setting has produced the best image. The worst is the shade image (ironically) as it has created a colour cast on the wall in the background.

These last three images was taken at sunset and as before the first was set to sunlight, the next to shade and the last to automatic.
Sunset_on_daylight (1 of 1) Sunset_on_shade (1 of 1) Sunset_on_automatic (1 of 1)
White balance: daylight – shade – automatic

In this final selection the worst image in my opinion is that set to automatic as it is very cold and dull and the best image appears to me to be the image set to shade that is the warmest and gives the full impression of an evening’s sunset.

Colour of light

Light, Science & Magic, 4th edition. By Fil Hunter, Steven Biver, Paul Fuqua.
Published by Focal Press, Taylor & Francis Group.

Further reading:
Basics Photography 02 Lighting, 07 Exposure. By David Prakel.
03 Capturing Colour by Phil Malpas. Published by AVA Publishing.

Normal un-coloured light will appear through our eyes to be white.
Light is in fact made up of a range a colours which can be seen through a prism or in a rainbow. All of which mixed together makes white as we see it. The three primary colours of light that can between them make up the full spectrum of colours are Red, Green, Blue (RGB) as used by monitor screens, digital cameras and even our own eyes.

In photography white light is described using a colour temperature scale called Kelvin. The idea is that a substance heated in a vacuum changes colour the hotter it gets, starting from a dark red at it’s coolest moving through yellow, white to blue at it’s hottest.

Kodak, set the bench-mark for early colour film photography by choosing the kelvin temperature measurement of 5500 as a standard white balance for daylight film. Since then two additionally standards for white balanced film has been adopted for use with tungsten lighting: 3200 and 3400.

Colour film images can easily be tainted by a colour cast created by a light source that the film has not been formulated for. Therefore, the right choice of colour balanced film should be considered and loaded before shooting or / and additional coloured filters should be considered and fitted to the end of the lens of the camera to correct for the colour cast that the light source is expected to create.

In digital photography this problem still persists but can be easily corrected by either simply selecting a white balance option from the camera’s menu system of pre-programmed choices or if photographing in RAW by altering the white balance later-on using photo editing software on a computer.

However, it is best practice to always set white balance on your camera before shooting as will save time later on in post editing.

On most DSLRs there is an option to create custom white balance by taking a measurement from a 18% grey-card and on some professional cameras a specific temperature value can be set.

Exercise – Colours into tones in black-and-white

In this exercise, I created a still life using sweets, modelling clay and drinking straws laid on my grey card that I use for manually setting the white balance. The object of this exercise is to use colour filters when converting a colour image to black and white to improve the tone and contrast of the black and white picture. This can be achieved with digital photography by using the colour filter options in Photoshop or Lightroom by adding or subtracting the colour values on the control sliders found in the greyscales functions, available to both of these programs. These features simulates in a more controllable way the adding of a coloured filter to the end of a lens on a camera when photographing with black and white film.

I began this exercise by using my grey card to set the white balance for my camera, I then I set up my still-life with the camera set on a tripod positioned over the subject. I used my 105mm lens, manually focused and set to aperture priority, ISO 100 and I used a cable remote to trip the camera.

First image remains as shot in colour.
Second altered in Photoshop with the greyscale function with no filter adjustments.
Third, fourth, fifth and sixth images all adjusted in Photoshop with one filter raised to simulate a coloured filter over the lens but with the other primary colour sliders lowered to adjust tone and contrast.

Apart from sharpening this image has been untouched and simply converted to JPEG.

Photoshop – Filters – Camera Raw filter – HSL/Greyscale – tick box “Convert to Greyscale”.
This image has been simply converted to the grey scale in Photoshop without any adjustments to the colour filter sliders which were set to the following default settings:
RED – +7, Orange – +2, Yellow – 0, Greens – -13, Aquas – -22 Blues – +5, Purples – +5,
Magentas – +7.

Red filter.
Filter sliders:
RED – +100, Orange – -27, Yellow – -36, Greens – -41, Aquas – -22 Blues – -69, Purples – +5,
Magentas – +7.

Yellow filter.
Adding_yellow _filter_and_reducing_green_blue_red-resized
Filter sliders:
RED – -42, Orange – -8, Yellow – +11, Greens – -19, Aquas – -22 Blues – -23, Purples – +5,
Magentas – +7.

Adding_green _filter_and_reducing_yellow_blue_red-resized
Filter sliders:
RED – -49, Orange – -21, Yellow – -33, Greens – +78, Aquas – -22 Blues – -13, Purples – +5,
Magentas – +7.

Adding_blue _filter_and_reducing_yellow_green_red-resized
Filter sliders:
RED – -12, Orange – -29, Yellow – -33, Greens – -77, Aquas – -22 Blues – +100, Purples – +5,
Magentas – +7.

By playing with these colour filters in the grey scale I have been able to alter the appearance of all the items on the grey background. However, the grey background itself, has remained constant in all the images.

Leap of faith

I have started to take more control of my camera by manually setting the white balance to either the pre-set settings for sun, cloud, etc. or using a grey card and calibrating the camera under the current ambient light conditions at the time.  In the past I opted to trust the camera to decide for me; but I am taking lots of photos of the same subjects for this course all with the same light conditions etc.   I want to be able to take advantage of the batch processing featured in Lightroom or NX2 in order to quickly and efficiently make adjustments to my RAW files and in order to do so I must me sure that the batch of images all have the same WB for the process to be effective on all the shots.  It is easy to be lazy and let the camera do the thinking; so it takes a little leap of faith to start owning more of the responsibility of setting the camera up for good and correct exposures.

Exercise – Balance

In this exercise, I am looking at the theory of balance in composition and I have taken six images from my photo library that I think have some elements of balance which I have indicated on the photos and also added a drawing of scales to suggest which form of balance ratio they represent.






Balance-5a Falcrum-1

The above images all have a large subject close to the centre and a smaller object opposite nearer the edge; so similar to the balancing of two objects of different weights on a fulcrum, as illustrated.


Falcrum-3The above images suggest the balancing of three focal points one in the middle and two at equal distances on either side, as illustrated by the diagram.

This last image roughly illustrates a balance of two equally sized and space subjects either side of the fulcrum.