Tag Archives: crop

Assignment 2 – Elements of design

Assignment 2
Chosen subjects: flowers & plants
Single point dominating the composition
Choosing a subject that had a fairly plain background, I then played around with positioning the subject in the frame until finding a composition that I liked. I then used Photoshop to colour pop for a more interesting effect.
I have positioned the rose in the bottom left hand corner to deliberately create a dynamic tension by drawing the eye away from the centre of the picture where the viewer’s eye would naturally want to rest and thus making the eye flick unconsciously back and forth across the picture. Below are some alternative compositions that I considered before making my choice.
Single point-a-resized

Single point-b-resized

Single point-c-resized

Two points
A classic example of a geometrically divided frame, the sharp image of the bee in the foreground, balances well with the bright yellow Dandy-lion of the secondary dominant point in the background. I took this image very quickly getting as close as I could without scarring off the bee and then I had to crop the picture in Lightroom to complete the desired effect. I used the theory of balance by framing and cropping moving the bee closer to the edge of the frame whilst the larger point followed closer towards the centre to the picture / fulcrum and thus producing a visually balanced picture.

Several points in a deliberate shape
This image of the pattern of tiny flowers forming the octagonal shape stands out sharply against the contrast of the blurred green background of the foliage and again I have balanced this with the yellow dandelion on the right hand side to create an attractive picture. Each flower could be considered a point making a small octagonal that in turn is making a larger point to make a larger octagonal. I used the dandelion in the background to add a little colour and balance to the picture.
This image conveys to me both design and order in nature.

A combination of vertical and horizontal lines
Reeds in a pond with ripples in the water extending out to the bottom of the frame, the bank, grass, dark background beyond and the iron railings all providing the elements for this almost graphic design. I noticed that the reflection in the water from the contrast between light and dark creates implied horizontal lines as well as having elements of obvious lines.

Using a macro lens to get in close I have framed this to create a sense of dynamic movement by drawing the eye from the bottom left through the picture to the brighter yellow in the top right. It could even be looked at from another point of view that stamens point down to the bottom left. However, whichever way the viewer chooses to read the image both ways direct the viewer through the picture.


I focused in as close as possible to this rose, framing and later cropping the image to emphasise the curves of the rose petals for my desired effect.
By placing the centre of the rose in the top right corner of the frame, I have divided the frame in a geometrical manner to create a sense of dynamic movement from the folds of the petals to radiate out towards the bottom left hand corner of the picture.


Distinct, even if irregular, shapes
An implied British Lion.


I when looking for this composition, I wanted to find something in nature rather than a deliberate still life. In my search I found a pattern of flowers that if I reframed I could create an implied shape.
distinct even if irregular shapes-a-resized

At least two kinds of implied triangles.
I have use three methods to create implied triangles the first by cropping and using contrast, I have created two implied triangles with a third obvious triangle.
In my second image, I have used perspective by photographing down the length of the tree lined avenue to create four implied triangles.
In my third and last, I have simply used camera angle to create two implied triangles between sky and ground.




To achieve the desired effect that I wanted, I focused in as close as I could on my subject and then cropped the resulting image to create the impression of rhythm. Using the idea that most people will naturally view the image from left to right I chose a subject with a repeating pattern that both draws the eye across the picture whilst also encouraging it to look up down as it moves from left to right. I this image the colours direct the eye up and down the photograph whilst the shapes direct the eye across the picture.
This creates to me a feeling of warmth, movement and direction.


In this composition I wanted the create a pattern so I selected a number of small colourful flowers and I deliberately framed them so that they just fit to the edges of the frame in order to create a sense of continuation for the pattern.


Exercise – Rythm and patterns

In this exercise I looked for patterns and rhythm as forms of composition. Part of the principle of pattern and rhythm is that the subject is closely cropped to convey the illusion that it continues beyond the constraints of the frame as seen below.

Using my happy holiday snapper I took this image of a selection of bows on a market stool. Keeping to the rule to tightly crop.

For rhythm I needed a subject that had repeated detail and was tall in order to encourage the eye to scan across the photo and also up and down and I found that finding such a suitable subject difficult. I decided that man made structures or alternatively similarly dressed people such as soldiers was what I needed. Not have any soldiers to hand I sought out a suitable building and found it at Hampton Court. As I was walking around the centre of the palace holding my D800 with a wide angle lens attached I saw an actor standing in an archway across from me and not having time to change lenses I took this picture with my 24mm wide angle and had to crop it down when I got home.

Exercise – Cropping

In this exercise, I have looked at the method of cropping for compositional considerations; and by using imaging software and a little imagination, pictures can not only be improved slightly; but sometimes salvaged by re-presenting it in another way. (See my last example.)

With this image the picture is not quite level and could be cropped a little tighter.

Straightened and cropped.

To improve this picture the subject could be turned to run more diagonal across the photo and cropped in to loose some of the empty space.

Turned and cropped.

This picture of a swan was cropped in to much when it was photographed. However, a possible interesting arty/graphic image could be created by flipping the image with the help of imaging software then turned and cropped in.

Flipped, turned and cropped.

Exercise – Vertical and horizontal frames

In this exercise I have taken x20 photos of subjects in the vertical (portrait) orientation, then taken x20 photos of the same subjects in the horizontal (landscape) orientation to see which method works best. in some images one method is clearly better than another; but in some both work but changes “the feel” of the composition.


In these examples I believe that the first image in landscaped works better than the second, due to the length on the flower boxes leading you through the picture.


In these two example, I think that the second image works better, due to the tall spire of the church tower and the loss of “the fussy” surroundings.


The vertical image clearly works for this subject and tilted gives a sense of height and drama lacking in the landscape version.


Again the vertical image works better as it more closely crops the subject.


Again the vertical image works best.


Again the vertical image works.


This image also works best as a portrait format.


Again vertical framing works best here.


Again vertical framing.

In these two examples both methods appear to work, by making the images black and white and colour popping, I have helped improve the interest. However, the vertical frame gives more emphasise on the post box and the perspective appears to alter the character of the image.

Again both images work; but with the vertical framed image, I felt that flipping it back to front added something.

Again I think both images work well and I thing that the vertical frame alters the character.

Again both appear to work; but I prefer the landscape image as it gives a little more sense of place/location.

Again both work and it would be more of a consideration of how the picture is planed to be used, i.e. in a magazine / website or picture on a wall.

Again I think both work well, although to me, the first image suggests a more appealing leisurely day on the river.

Again both images work; but again it is down to considering how the work is to be presented. My favourite is landscape as I think it has a little more character.

Again I think that both work well however, I think that the vertical frame is more dramatic.

In this example, I prefer the vertical frame for atmosphere.

Again both work well; but I like the vertical frame concentrating on the steps.

In this finale example the first image horizontally framed is best because the gate lamp nicely frames the subject and so give more character to the image.

Exercise – Focal lengths – for cameras with variable focal lengths (with a zoom or interchangeable lenses)

The object of this exercise is to appreciate the simplest effect that the changing of lenses from a short focal length to a long focal length can make with regards the amount of view taken in from these different focal lengths.  I tried to find a subject of some interest with fore and background and settled on the ruined building that I framed to the right of the overall image to give a sense of place and context.  I was lucky to have a roughly shaped triangular field of bluebells in the foreground for the long focal lengths which also added colour.  From closely examining all the photos I notice that  although the magnification changes from one photo to another the relationship of different objects doesn’t alter from one another, in this case by examining the tree in relation to the chimney in all the photos  illustrates this point very clearly.

I set my camera upon a tripod and kept the tripod in the same position for all the photos, only slightly altering the composition by repositioning the subject in the view finder.  I kept the camera setting to ISO-200 with the white balance set to auto and aperture priority set to f/8 for all the images taken and I have mentioned the different shutter speed as they automatically changed for each focal length under each picture.
I have used both primary and zoom lenses for this exercise: 24mm, 50mm, 105mm and a zoom 55-300mm DX (1.5 ratio) lens. When quoting focal lengths for images taken with the zoom lens I have quoted both the 1.5 (DX) focal length and the equivalent full frame (FX) focal length above each relevant photograph.

Prime 24mm wide angle

24mm-resizedDue to the wide angle of this lens the attached lens hood created a slight vignetting but I decided not to crop it out as I want to fully illustrate the full width of angle created from this focal length. Shutter speed 1/640.

Prime 50mm (Standard focal length)
50mm-resizedThis is the standard focal length for 35mm SLR film camera and as my camera DSLR has a full size sensor this is also the equivalent standard focal length for my camera. This means that it is approximately the same angle of view as that of the human eye. Shutter speed 1/400.

Zoom DX-55mm / FX-83mm focal length

Shutter speed 1/250.




Prime – 105mm telephoto lens

Shutter speed 1/320.




Zoom – DX80mm / FX 120mm

Shutter speed 1/200.




Zoom – DX 86mm / FX 129mm

Shutter speed 1/200.




Zoom – DX 116mm / FX 174mm
Shutter speed 1/200.




Zoom – DX 165mm / FX 247mm
Shutter speed 1/200.




Zoom – DX 220mm / FX 330mm
Shutter speed 1/200.




Zoom – DX 300mm / FX 450mm
Shutter speed 1/250.

Assignment One – Contrasts

Assignment One – CONTRASTS
In this assignment I have been tasked to find eight subjects that I could use to express extremes of different qualities and take pairs of photographs, which bring out the essential differences and then to add one photo that holds both contrasts.
From the twenty-one choices, I selected: Large/small, pointed/blunt, liquid/solid, strong/weak, light/heavy, black/white, straight/curved, sweet/sour. Please review my work and notes and I look forward to your critique. Thank you.

Strength of Steel-resized

Strength – I looked for something that both suggested and represented strength and I came upon the struts that are attached to the bridge and the supporting arches. I see these struts act as lynch pins between the burden and the support and the angle of the strut suggests tension between the arch and the road. I consider that the strut is part of a whole and that the strength is through the working partnership it has with other components, namely the main Arch support above it and the supporting girder below.

I used my zoom lens adjusted to 65mm, f/16, 1/100, ISO-100, WB-Auto, RAW. I made adjustments in Lightroom, cropping and straightening, and making small adjustments to exposure, contrast, highlights. Sharpened and saved to JPEG.

Weak as a Sapling-resized-a

Weak – Looking for contrast to strength I felt that a small fig tree sapling that I am growing offered the suggestion of something that is weak, as it looks small and fragile; and most importantly alone. To make this image more interesting I wanted to exaggerate its vulnerability; so I set up a scene with the plant surrounded by tools that could destroy it setting the open shears in the background suggesting imminent destruction.
I set up the scene on my garden table to take advantage of natural light with the help of some reflectors.

Camera on a tripod, I used my recently purchase Nikon 105mm Macro lens, f/13, 1/250, ISO-125, RAW, WB-Auto and additional flash. I made adjustments in Lightroom, straightened and cropped and made some adjustments to exposure, contrast, highlights, sharpened and saved to JPEG.

Sweet memories-resized-a

Sweet – My first thought was sweeties and I imagined brightly coloured sweets in a bonbonniére. My thoughts then led to sweet childhood memories; so I had my scene and using some framed photographs that my wife has of herself and her sisters as children I had the ideal sweet memories and all I needed was to buy some sweets and Jelly Babies was the perfect choice.
The Jelly Babies also work on another level, suggesting coloured childhood memories, sickly sweet, bright and cheerful. The lace cloth suggest femininity and nostalgia, the frames emphasise the importance of those memories to the individual and the bonbonniére the possession of an adult who perhaps hasn’t quite grown up.

I set this scene up in doors using a white reflector to provide a clean background, I set my Nikon speed light to operate remotely standing to the left of the scene, in very close, just out of shot, pointing the flash to the ceiling to bounce the light down and create an even light and minimize shadow. This was controlled from the small flash built into my camera the reflectors were set up on the right hand side of the scene. With the camera on a tripod, I used my new 105mm lens, f/13, 1/250, ISO-125, WB-Auto, RAW. In Lightroom I straightened and cropped, made some adjustments to exposure, contrast, highlights, sharpened and saved to JPEG.

Sour Relationship-resized-a

Sour – I now needed a similar scene to contrast sweet memories and convey SOUR; so my thought naturally led me to ideas of relationships and how they can turn sour. I wanted a similar scene and I also wanted something else to convey the taste of SOUR. I thought lemons and limes and I thought lemons with gin and limes with tequila. Therefore, gin and tonic for the women and tequila for the man, I then found a suitable image of a loving couple on the internet that I t printed and tore in half, then using some personal framed pictures to suggest relationship history, I set the scene. All the items add layers to the story, the knife, the salt, the limes all suggest bad words, bitterness, recrimination, aggression and pain. I used the red painted wall of our living room for the background which I felt suited the mood of the picture. The doilies suggest that all of these emotions are controlled and kept “civilized” in the context of the expected behaviour of a typical middle class couple.

I set up my lighting the same way as I had set up for “Sweet” with the speed light to operate remotely and in the same way of bouncing the light from the ceiling and setting the reflectors in same positions. Again the camera was set on my tripod, 85mm lens, f/4.5, 1/250, ISO-125, WB-Auto, RAW. Lightroom adjustments – I simply sharpened.

A Splash of Liquid-resized-a

Liquid – I wanted to somehow convey an impression of the properties and feeling of liquid through a single image and after much consideration I thought that a splash is a good clear example and also provides a sense of drama and spectacle. I chose a strawberry as it adds colour and texture and was easily manageable. I set the scene outside on my garden table to take advantage of the natural light as I was using a fast shutter speed. I set the glass on a white table cloth and used a white reflector to provide a clean background. I had trouble with the wind blowing over my reflectors and my D-800e is not the fastest for high speed continues shooting; so I often missed the perfect exposure and after several hours I finally had some images that I could use.

Camera set on a tripod using my 85mm lens, f/4, 1/6400, ISO-400, WB-Auto, JPEG (normal). In Lightroom, I adjusted the light temperature to give a cooler look and bring out the blue, I angled and cropped the image for greater impact and I made small adjustments to exposure, contrast, highlights, whites and blacks and sharpened.

Frozen Solid-resized-a

Solid – Following on from the theme with the water and strawberry, I decided that the contrast for liquid water is frozen solid with the strawberry trapped inside; so I froze a strawberry in a cube and set up inside this time and simply used the light from an LED torch to illuminated the subject. I decided upon an LED light as it provides a cold blue white light that I thought suitable for the subject. I found an A4 blue plastic presentation binder that I could use as base and background for my ice cube. Laying the torch to the left of the cube shining diagonally through the ice and setting the cube angled to the camera I quickly took my pictures before the ice melted.

Camera on tripod, 105mm lens, f/5, 1/5, ISO-200, WB-Auto, RAW. Lightroom – Image angled and cropped for more of a dynamic impact, light temperature adjusted to give a cooler look and bring out the blue form the light and I made small adjustments to exposure, contrast, highlights, whites and blacks and sharpened before saving to JPEG.

Sharp nosed-resized-a

Sharp – My first thought was that a pointed object is a good example of sharp for example the end of a knife, tip of a spear, top of the railings in a Park, but I wanted something more interesting. I am fortunate to have Brooklands Museum right on my doorstep; so I paid a visit and took some pictures of the Concord on display. Cutting edge in aeronautical design with its long pointed nose and in addition the pitot tube extending out from the tip of the nose heightens the sense of its sharpness. I felt that this was the perfect choice and surely a subject that is both iconic and a head turner. To get an almost “Thunderbird” effect I simply tilted the image when cropping.

Photographed hand held I used my thrifty fifty (50mm lens) f/22, 1/250, ISO-250, WB-Auto, RAW.
Lightroom – I adjusted the angle and cropped for a more stylistic image, small adjustments to light temp, exposure, contrast, highlights and shadow, sharpened, saved to JPEG.

Blunt work-1-resized-a

Blunt – With Concord still in mind my first thought was to get an image of the nose of a sub-sonic aircraft as a contrast, but I did not feel that this would convey the feeling or impression of blunt. However, staying on the thought of design I had an idea of drawings and pencils. This led to the idea of another still life scene, this time I used an architect’s drawing I have for a planned extension, a blunt pencil, an architect’s ruler and sharpener, etc. The blunted pointed end of the pencil contrasts well against the sharpness of Concord. I used my speed light remotely bouncing the flash off the ceiling and operated from the built in flash on my camera but this time I didn’t use reflectors.

Camera on Tripod – 105mm lens, f/8, 1/250, ISO-125, WB-Auto, RAW. Lightroom – small adjustments to exposure, contrast, and sharpening before saving to JPEG.

Vanguard to curves-resized-a

Curve – Whilst at Brooklands the curved design of the Vickers Viscount with its painted curved lines created a nice artistic image of curvature and so I captured this image with a hand held shot then converted to Black & White in Lightroom making some adjustments in the colour controls in the Black and white mode to adjust the grey scales separately and I tilted and cropped the final image for a greater effect.

Camera hand held – 50mm lens, f/20, 1/250, ISO-250, WB-Auto, RAW. Lightroom, tilted and cropped, small adjustments to light temp, exposure, contrast, converted to B&W and adjusted, sharpened and converted to RAW.

Straight to the point-resized-a

Straight – For this subject I chose to use the large model of Concord outside Brooklands museum, it has a long straight profile leading you straight through the picture and I chose to convert to Black and White in Lightroom to remove distracting colour from the subject. Hand held I stood just about under the nose of the model to get the shot and tightly cropped.

Camera – 50mm lens, f/22, 1/200, ISO-200, WB-Auto, RAW. Lightroom – Small adjustments to light temp, exposure, highlights and shadows, contrast, B&W with fine adjustments, sharpened and saved to JPEG.

Light as a feather-resized-a

Light – My thoughts for something to be as light as a feather; so on one of my dog walks I collected a number of bird feathers and on returning home I took this shot holding my camera with my right hand whilst dropping a feather with my left and looking through the view finder at the same time. I set my camera to continue high speed shooting, set image quality to JPEG low res, set auto focusing to shoot and refocus, fitted speed light with TTL and hoped for the best! After many attempts I got this image that I was happy with as it conveys the impression of the floating feather. I then converted to Black and White in Lightroom.

Camera hand held – 50mm lens, f/4, 1/250, ISO-125, WB-Auto, JPEG-low. Lightroom – Adjustments to Light temp, exposure, contrast, shadows, whites, blacks, converted to B&W with adjustments and sharpened.

Heavy task ahead-resized-a

Heavy – Whilst walking my dog I took note of some large rocks placed in the Park for the kids to play on and I had the idea of creating a “selfy” trying to move the rock. Returning with my kit and some Garden tools I chose to use a rake as a prop and a spade and a hat to help with focusing. Setting the camera on higher ground on the tripod and using both the cable remote and 20 second timer I programmed the camera to take x 3 shots each time, after many attempts and a lot of exercise I finally got a shot that I was happy with. When editing in Lightroom I tilted the image to put the rock lower which helps give the impression of a great weight barring down against my attempt to lever it up. Again I thought black and white was a suitable medium for this image.

Camera on tripod – 55-300mm zoom lens at 200mm, f/22, 1/100, ISO-400, WB-Auto, RAW. Lightroom – Adjustments to light temp, exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, converted to B&W with adjustments, sharpened and saved to JPEG.

When I am big-resized-a

Small – I chose a still life using some tiny teddy bears that my wife keeps in her desk and using some coloured felt and my speed light set up to operate remotely from the built in flash on my camera. This image is of a teddy bear acutely aware of his height and rather remaining small wants to be big. I thought using a tape measure gives a good perspective of his size against the real world.

Camera on tripod – 105mm Macro lens, f/14, 1/250, ISO-125, WB-Auto, RAW. Lightroom – Adjustments to light temp, exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, sharpened and saved to JPEG.

Mine's a large one-resized-a

Large – Following on the theme I thought large; so obviously large teddy bear, adult, with something large and with a little word play I came up with a large whisky and so I had my planned still life. I used my speed light on remote and controlled from my camera via the built in flash and in addition I set up my reflectors.

Camera on tripod – 50mm lens, f/11 1.3 sec, ISO-125, WB-Auto, RAW. Lightroom, adjustments made to light temp, contrast, highlights, shadows, sharpened and converted to JPEG.

Black & White-resized-a

White & Black-resized-a

Black & White – I saw this project as a particular challenge as if you are working in this medium you can not have one without the other unless you simply want a plain black image or a plain white image. I got inspiration from a late 18th century past time of creating silhouettes of people using black and white card. To recreate this idea I used the translucent part of a 5 in 1 reflector as a screen and behind this I placed an LED lamp and my remote operated speed light. I then asked my wife to stand in front of the screen whilst I took the pictures. The flash gave me the freedom to operate my camera hand held for the shot. I then made adjustments in Lightroom converting to black and white and I used Photoshop to produce a second image reversing the Black to White and flipping the image to create the two contrasts.

Camera hand held – 50mm lens, f/8, 1/250, ISO-125, WB-Auto, RAW. Lightroom – Adjustments to light temp, exposure, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, B&W conversion, sharpened, cropped. Photoshop – flipped and black and white reversed the both images saved to JPEG.

Straight to the curve-resized-a

Contrasts in one Image – I chose this image as the light has created some very attractive curved patterns on these straight and curved edged items. I loved the coloured rainbow effects from this experiment and this is my favourite image simply because I find it unusual.
To obtain this image I wanted to shine a plain white background through the items then photograph them using a polarize filter. To achieve this I used the screen of my laptop, but first I had to create a plain white image; so using Windows “Paint” and simply saving the blank canvas as the image I then made it my screen saver. I then laid the ruler and protractors on the screen stood my tripod with attached camera and PL filter over the top and took my photos.

Camera on tripod – 50mm with PL filter, f/8, 0.8sec, ISO-125, WB-Auto, RAW. Lightroom – Adjustments to light temp, exposure, contrast, shadows, highlights, saturation, tilted and cropped, sharpened and saved to JPEG.