Thursday, 21 January 2010

Project 44 - low sun

The sun is pretty low almost all of the time at the moment so it was a good time to take these images of Bodiam Castle to demonstrate the different effects of its position.

Frontal lighting
This image shows the sun hitting the castle full on. The combination of that as well as the angle of the sun does make it appear flat and two dimensional. Side lighting
With part of the castle in shade and moving round to its side, the images taken become more interesting as some parts such as the round corner turrets become more of a focal point. The entranceway where the drawbridge would have been in also pronounced with the distinction between light and shade.
Back lighting
This is clearly a great subject for a silhouette but it was surprisingly difficult to take, with a combination of reflections from the sun causing unwanted distortions and a difficulty in determining what exposure to use to ensure this sort of effect rather than one lighter with parts burnt out. I really like the way that the darkness of the castle contrasts with the soft sunlight on the bridge and the deep green of the grass in sunlight.

Edge lighting
Now, I'm not sure that this is really edge lighting (for a more convincing demonstration see my Project 42 entry) but the sun is hitting just the sides of the turrets. I suspect that half an hour later the conditions would have been better as the sun dipped lower down.

Project 42 - judging colour temperature

I hijacked my very patient friend and "camera assistant", Dave, for this exercise. His title comes from the fact that he is considerably more knowledgeable about cameras and all things film than me.

While it clearly shows that looking into the sun is an uncomfortable experience, for the purposes of judging colour temperature he is a great success as a model.

In this image it was the middle of a clear day and the light is more or less neutral. Put him in the shade, however, the colour temperature is raised towards being blue-ish.
In Photoshop I had a choice of warming filters, so applied number 81 which did warm his skin tone up effectively.

Later in the day as the sun was going down, I took this shot with the warm sun on his face.

While I like the effect, I can see that sometimes - particularly in shots like this where there is no other indication of the sunset, for example, it might seem a little orange.

Again in Photoshop I applied a cooling filter, and his skin does turn closer to a neutral shade, although perhaps unnaturally pink.

As a bonus I include this shot, which should really be in Project 44 but fits better here, demonstrating edge lighting. I like this picture a lot!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Project 41 - the eye's sensitivity to colour

I was perhaps over-excited about doing this exercise but there is something very satisfying about seeing colours arranged to make another image of their own. Unfortunately it transpired that I didn't have many orange images, nor indigo. However, with what I had and the use of the Rotate tool, I have created a semblance of the curve required in project 41 - the curve of the eye's sensitivity to colour.

Project 40 - using a meter

After Christmas I was free to play cameras, which I've been doing very enthusiastically, working my way through some of the projects in the natural light section.

This project involved changing the exposure from that recommended by the camera's meter to create a particular effect.

Lamp and the Houses of Parliament
A day trip to London was very productive and I took the opportunity to experiment with bracketing exposures. After I'd located the appropriate button I snapped happily away and ended up with literally hundreds of images to sift through.

This image's exposure was increased by 0.7 of a stop to really focus attention on the brightness of the old-fashioned lamp on the bridge.
Millennium bridge in the low sunlight
I wanted to emphasise the richness of the sunlight reflected on the buildings behind the bridge, and took the exposure down by -0.7 of a stop to ensure the bridge was in silhouette and the golden colours really shone.
Geometric building
This amazing building next to the Thames provided some fantastic opportunities for focusing on shapes and reflections. To bring out the contrasts I took the exposure down by -0.7 of a stop to ensure the black was dark. Admittedly this has been slightly Photoshopped to increase the contrast even further.

Well, we've seen plenty of snow this year and increasing the exposure is absolutely essential unless you want everything to look as if it's been covered in a grey blanket (as per my pictures taken in February 2009 - I was so disappointed!). This bridge and railway track has the exposure increased by two stops to ensure the snow remained as white as in real life.

Spiral staircase (from below)
The De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill also provided a wealth of inspiration and opportunity for a budding "shapes" photographer like me. I really wanted this to show the shades of white and increased the exposure by one stop to create this effect.

De La Warr Pavilion (outside)
Outside is as inspirational as in, and here after the rain I really wanted to emphasise the clear reflections and the white wall that made them, so upped the exposure by just 0.3 of a stop to show the different shades of white.

Spiral staircase (from the side)
I love this picture but I have to say that's mostly because, for my images, it's been comparatively well received on Flickr - which is very pleasing! To help show the shape of the staircase and increase the available light, I increased the exposure by 0.3 of a stop - not to make the whole thing lighter but to maximise the natural light available.
At my first photographic course - a very brief "intro to the camera" session at the local college - there was talk about varying the exposure to emphasise the glittery nature of shiny objects. I couldn't remember whether you were supposed to increase or decrease, and so tried bracketing again - this image is at -1 stop and was the most successful of the five I took, showing the shininess, de-emphasising the surround but without making the gold too dark.
Tree silhouette
This lonely windswept tree near Beachy Head was made darker against the cliff behind it by decreasing the exposure by -0.7 of a stop, really ensuring that it was silhouetted against the sky.