Exercise 1.13 Make a Contact Sheet

Brief:- A contact sheet is a document with a collection of small “thumbnail” images on it. This can be a printed document or a digital document like a pdf or even a Microsoft Word file. Contact sheets are useful for viewing images quickly. Also, viewing each image so small renders it more of a graphic, emphasising its main shapes and lines. In this exercise you will learn how to make pdf contact sheets in Adobe Bridge to send to your tutor with assignments.


I chose to use Lightroom for this process rather than Bridge. I am not familiar with Bridge and Lightroom has a straight forward process to create pdf contact sheets. I have used the “stroke border” option for the contact sheet. I did not do this when I made a contact sheet for 100 photos, it isn’t a necessity, however I do think that I prefer the contact sheet with a border. I welcome feedback on what you prefer and how you prepare your contact sheets.

Lightroom (_DSC0876.NEF and 34 others)

Lightroom (_DSC0876.NEF and 34 others)

Exercise 1.12 Smash – Balloon Burst


  1. Set up your camera on a tripod a few metres from the ‘impact zone’ (ground, wall or other) and set the shutter speed to the fastest possible for the available light. Focus your lens manually on the ‘impact zone’. Take a few shots to make sure the exposure is spot on.
  2. Now ask an assistant (standing out of shot) to drop or throw your object onto the impact zone where you’ve nailed focus. (They may need to wear protective glasses depending on your choice of object.) Take your shot.
  3. Review your photo. How was your timing? Is the shutter speed fast enough? Should you increase your ISO?
  4. Try again…and again…
  5. Review your images.

You should have a variety of images that show the frozen movement. However, this project doesn’t just illustrate the effect of a fast shutter speed, but also the significance of chance in photography. Even if you photographed the same kind of object ten times, the resultant images would all show subtly different results. This is one of the reasons why photographers invariably shoot a lot of exposures.

This exercise also shows how a ‘planted’ object can alter the interpretation of the environment.  All juxtapositions have this effect, but usually in subtler degrees.

I have really enjoyed this project. My friend and I had a lot of fun that afternoon, and he was very patient with me making adjustments to the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. I did not have my tripod with me that day, and I really wanted to try to catch water as a ball in the air, so my friend burst the balloons with a pin and his hands are in shot. If we get the chance to do this again then we will use a pin on a stick so that it will be easier to remove in developing. We had 50 balloons, so at 5 frames per second I took 250 photos. I used manual focus throughout.

Exercise 1.12 Smash

ISO 5000, f6, 1/8000th sec

Exercise 1.12 Smash

ISO 8063, f5.6, 1/8000th sec

Exercise 1.12 Smash

ISO 6400, f4.5, 1/6400th sec

Exercise 1.12 Smash

ISO 100, f6.3, 1/40th Sec

Exercise 1.12 Smash

ISO 100, f7.1, 1/20th sec

Exercise 1.12 Smash

ISO 320, f4.8, 1/500th sec

I have included the last photo to demonstrate that in freezing fast-moving objects there is a lot of chance involved, however there are ways to mitigate it. Good communication with the person helping you. Taking the time to set the camera up before each shot. Using continuous exposure – I could try with my Fujifilm 9900 which has 12 frames per second, and for something like this the loss of image quality would not matter. We did try to use fruit juice to colour the water, but the balloon needed to be filled with pressure from a tap. Every time I tried to add fruit juice the ballon would spurt all of the water back onto me.

I like the first and the fourth photos. The first because I managed to obtain my ball of water, and the movement in the fourth photo is beautiful and dynamic, it catches the moment of explosion. Seeing the bubbles of air within the water is also pleasing to my eye.

Exercise 1.12 Smash – Harold Edgerton – Attempt to Emulate Edgerton

Brief:- This exercise asks you to choose some suitable small objects that you can break! An old toy, some rotten fruit, a shirt or a balloon filled with water would all work well. The point here is to freeze a fast-moving object in an otherwise still location. You must get the object in sharp focus to reveal the detail of its disintegration and movement. Choose a suitable location where you won’t make too much mess. Aim to frame the object quite close, with the environment around it. You’ll need to frame the object in front of a background that helps to emphasise it visually: that could mean a complementary colour (e.g. red against green) or an opposite tone (light object against dark background or vice versa). Before you start, research the freeze-frame photographs of Denis Darzacq at http://www.denisdarzacq.com/ Do an online search for Harold Edgerton’s experiments. These photographers give you images that would be impossible without the mechanism of the shutter.



These notes are quite concise as I spent a lot of my time trying to photograph milk in the style of Edgerton.I say more about that at the end.

Electrical engineer, deep-sea and sonar photography, fast flash photography to capture balloons exploding and the bullet through the apple. Photographing and recording for nuclear testing. Photographic techniques have been a part of and an extension to his work

Milk Drop Coronet 1957 – high speed motion picture, then develop single image showing the coronet.

Milk drop coronet 1957Fig 1

Guisse Moran Tennis Serve 1952 – Multiflash – single negative, shutter fully open. Taken in pitch black. Strobe lighting. Film only exposed when strobe flashes.

Gussie Moran tennis serve 1952Fig 2

Atom Bomb explosion circa 1952 – Raptronic shutter. Shutter opened by magnetic field so the shutter could be open for a fraction of a second – down as low as 2 milliseconds

Atom bomb explosion circa 1952

Shadow Photography – No camera, no lens, just film, flash and fast-moving object. Flash is timed to fire just before the subject passes in front of the film. This way a bullet can even be filmed.

Stroboscopic photography – Electrical charge stored, discharged into inert gas tube for flash, flash then exposes the subject so rapidly that it can illuminate and freeze subject at high-speed, so running water would appear as drops of water.

Here are my attemptsExercise 1.12 SmashExercise 1.12 SmashExercise 1.12 Smash

I decided that I would try to capture a milk drop coronet. I have a Nikon d7100, Tamron 18-270mm lens at 270mm, and I attached the whole set of Vello Extension tubes, 36mm, 20mm and 12 mm – this gave me a focal length of 507mm (adjusted to include 1.5* built in crop sensor. I had the ISO at 8063 so the images have a lot of noise. I have done what I can to reduce it in Lightroom by using a combination of grad filter, eraser brush with auto mask to delete brush from the edges of the milk drops, then reduced clarity and increase noise slider. When I can afford better Lighting on external flash I will give this ago again. All are taken at 1/250th sec. I couldn’t go faster without underexposing and introducing more noise through development. Considering that Edgerton was using a high-speed motion camera which could record between 6,000 and 15,000 frames per second, then I think I have done well at 5 frames per second. It would have worked out better if I was using a pipette to drop milk or have someone else to do so, and I will also try the method that Edgerton did – having one drop of milk on a flat surface and dropping the next drop onto the milk on the flat surface. I have had a lot of fun today.


Fig 1 Edgerton, Harold; 1957; Milk Drop Coronet; Online at https://edgerton-digital-collections.org/

Fig 2 Edgerton, Harold; 1952; Gussie Moran Tennis Serve; Online at https://edgerton-digital-collections.org/techniques/multiflash

Fig 3 Edgerton, Harold; 1952; Atom Bomb Explosion; Online at https://edgerton-digital-collections.org/techniques/rapatronic-shutter

Sheldon, James; 1998; EXPLORING THE ART AND SCIENCE OF STOPPING TIME: A CD-ROM BASED ON THE LIFE AND WORK OF HAROLD E. EGDERTON; Cambridge; MIT Press; online at https://edgerton-digital-collections.org/

Exercise 1.12 Smash – Denis Darzacq


This exercise asks you to choose some suitable small objects that you can break! An old toy, some rotten fruit, a shirt or a balloon filled with water would all work well. The point here is to freeze a fast-moving object in an otherwise still location. You must get the object in sharp focus to reveal the detail of its disintegration and movement. Choose a suitable location where you won’t make too much mess. Aim to frame the object quite close, with the environment around it. You’ll need to frame the object in front of a background that helps to emphasise it visually: that could mean a complementary colour (e.g. red against green) or an opposite tone (light object against dark background or vice versa). Before you start, research the freeze-frame photographs of Denis Darzacq at http://www.denisdarzacq.com/ Do an online search for Harold Edgerton’s experiments. These photographers give you images that would be impossible without the mechanism of the shutter.

Ensembles 1998-2001 – Initial thoughts – Random, candid, unplanned, lines, people in lines, lines on road, lines of railings. Appears to be non specific and non focused, but has frozen movement of all people in the frame, no blur, fast shutter, smaller aperture f11-f16 as a guess – no metadata to check against.

E006Fig 1

Lachute 2005 – 2006 – Initial thoughts, people, lines, frozen movement, staged, no candid, planned and purposeful capture of movement of people performing acrobatics. The freeze of the movement has an ethereal feel and makes people look like they are flying, floating. So the intense movement that’s required to perform the acts, becomes a moment of peace and tranquillity. The use of lines is similar to how an artist uses mark making, but he uses it in a manner that highlights uniformity, solidity, structure to provide a stillness as a counter balance to the movement that he captures.

Hyper 2007 – 2009 – Lines, people being shot (they are not but there movement makes it looks like they have suffered an impact. Completely frozen. Fast shutter speed. F7 or wider, blurred backgrounds, object in focus. Again staged and planned. There is a demonstrable progression in planning, technique and performance from earlier works. “Hyper opposes bodies in movement and the saturated, standardized space of mass distribution outlets. In this totally commercial setting, the body’s leap expresses the freedom and unhampered choice of its movement. It is a clear challenge to the marketing strategies which seek to control our behaviour. Some of the figures, glowing with an aura, impose glory and give off a sense of spirituality in total contrast with the temples of consumption in which they are found.” (Hatt; 2012) I do not see this in the series at all. I do not see unhampered movement or an aura of spirituality, I see forced movement as if the person is being shot, which is a very specific but uninhibited movement.

My view is partially agreed with by Amy Barrett-Lennard in lensculture “Not all these bodies are in calm repose, however. There are those caught as if in the aftermath of a violent act — a punch, a throw, a kick. Darzacq tells me that areas around Rouen have had a bad reputation for youth violence — and so here we see this played out quite dramatically, almost ballet-like in the clinical, normally “safe” environment of the hypermarket.” (Barrett-Lennard; 2008)

Hyper-07-72 2007Fig 2

Hyper 2010 – Lines as marks, bouncy castle, weightlessness, introduction of more vivid colours, fast shutter speed, continuous focus, continuous shooting. These were not captured as single shots. The position of the actors within their movement and jumping evidence this. It would have been impossible to time such perfect shots. I suspect that he took several hundred photos and then chose the best for the series.

HYPER-24 2010Fig 3

Act 2 – 2015 – Further development that shows how he has built upon previous work. He has included actors to perform so that he can freeze the movement in his own unique style, but got them to do so in public as street photography against the back drop of people getting on with their daily living.

Act2_07 2015Fig 4



Fig 1 Darzacq, Denis; 1998; Ensemble 06; Online at http://www.denis-darzacq.com/ensemble06.htm (accessed on 20/07/2017)

Fig 2 Darzacq, Denis; 2007; Hyper no 7; Online at http://www.denis-darzacq.com/hyper07.htm

Fig 3 Darzacq, Denis; 2010; Hyper no 24; Online at http://www.denis-darzacq.com/hyper2010_03.htm

Fig 4 Darzac, Denis; 2015; Act 2 – 07 Mickael Lafon; Online at http://www.denis-darzacq.com/Act2_06.htm

Barrett-Lennard, Amy; 2008; Hyper – based upon remarks she made for the opening of exhibitions by Denis Darzacq at the Perth Centre for Photography, 5 April 2008.; Online in www.lensculture.com  at https://www.lensculture.com/articles/denis-darzacq-hyper

Hatt, Etienne; 2012; Biographie de Denis Darzacq; Online in www.denis-durzacq.com at http://www.denis-darzacq.com/Bio.pdf (accessed on 20/07/2017)

My Approach to Exercise 1.11 – Transitions – Breach of the Peace

Every time I went out shooting since starting the course I looked to capture movement, panning, zoom, shutter speed, people, animals and transport.

I had a series from my events photography that was good, and showed movement and stillness in many forms, but it didn’t say anything. I love events photography and it gives me the opportunity to promote my work, but it isn’t artistic.

I chose roundabouts because they are not the photographic form. They are often overlooked places of transition. They don’t only show movement and stillness as structure and object – they become a subject, a journey, going somewhere, leaving somewhere.  A mystery for the viewer that can be analysed.

The boats was an adventure of peaceful movement in the first photo and gradually breaching the peace as I opened the shutter. The movement became quicker. I don’t know that the boats work that we’ll but I wanted to explore breaking the cliché of peaceful boats on calm waters.

I also tried to leave space in the frame. I often close crop subjects, but through following others blogs I wanted to allow space for the viewer to breath into the photo. Space also creates a broader context.

Exercise 1.11b – Capturing Stillness and Movement

Brief:- Choose a subject that includes both stillness and movement. Seek out a variety of different instances of this subject. Make a series of photographs that shows the visual effect of stillness and movement within these different but similar settings. When you’re assessing your photographs, try not to think in terms of what is ‘photogenic’ in the usual sense of the word. Go beyond that. Ask yourself if your photographs communicate what you intended: stillness and movement. Do your photographs communicate any other ideas? In other words, are they symbolic or metaphorical? This capacity to take something unintentional and make something out of it is a sign that you’re developing as a photographer. If you’ve discovered a metaphorical aspect to your photographs, develop a new series based on this.

I have been making photos for this brief for a while now, exploring with people, road traffic, boats, racing cars, aeroplanes, and finally decided on roundabouts. So over the past two days I have been out to re-shoot the photos, so that I could get the images that I want. Its taken me a while to get used to what shutter speed is best for different subjects depending on the amount of motion of freezing of motion that you want.

I have tried to make a series that has a level of tonal and colour consistency, and tried to show a selection of movement and stillness within them.

This was my first attempt at trying to present a series. I have put photos together/next to each other before, but had not previously considered that series requires a consistency and flow that joins them together. The result isn’t perfect but I will develop further as time goes on. I have really enjoyed the process. Its taken a while, and the results are not perfect, but overall I am pleased.

Roundabout Series

Boat Series.tif

For both series I made initial selections in Lightroom by assigning an attribute, then reviewed only those selctions by highlighting which attributes I wanted to see in the same grid. Once I had developed the photos and taken them over to Photoshop, I then realised that some of the selections did not work together. I went back to Lightroom, changed some selections, then I redeveloped by selecting all (Ctrl + A) and then Sync develop settings. This meant that I had similar white balance and tone. I made individual adjustments, then press G to view in grid, to see if the adjustments were bringing the range closer together.

I had to go a step further and see if I could blend a Typhoon jet aeroplane into one of the images. It doesn’t go with the series but watching a few YouTube videos on selecting and blending was rally useful and I have learned a new skill.



Webflippy; 2016; Photoshop Tutorial – How to cut out a tree in Photoshop

Dewis, Glynn; 2015; Tricky Cut Outs made EASY and FAST: PHOTOSHOP #76

Smith, Colin: 2015; How to combine photos in Photoshop with Layer Masks, seamless blending technique


Exercise 1.11a Capturing Stillness in Movement – Toshio Shibata

Brief:- To prepare for this exercise, research the work of Toshio Shibata whose images of dams and waterway reinforcements in Japan contrast the fluidity of water with the solidity of rock and concrete. They also document the way human beings interact forcefully with the natural environment. Notice how rigorously composed Shibata’s photographs are. They are almost abstract in their use of geometric lines, angles, shapes and forms. Shibata, like many other photographers, works in series. This means they photograph different instances of the same essential subject many times, often using similar compositions and image tonality to help the photographs sit together as a series. Working in series is a strategy that helps the photographer hone his or her skills when directed towards one particular subject. Series can help to emphasise subtleties of form or content.

Research Toshio Shibata


Dams works well as a series. Same perspective looking down the dam, slightly different angles of images creates a different eye level for the viewer. Uses different shutter speeds – all slow so that the water is flowing rather than frozen. The way the water flows creates lines of movement, but the lines create the illusion of further stillness.

The foam of the water at the bottom of the dam, top of the picture, create an illusion of animals and clouds, and also add movement, but it looks more like oil gliding across the surface of water. Having the bottom of the dam at the top of the screen by shooting down the dam is amazing. It creates an abstract feel, mystical, so that my mind can think about the shapes as ethereal forms. The converging lines, the movement, the strong contrast pull my eye into the photos – I see runways at airfields, and bowling ball alleys.

Fig 1, 2, 3



Some of the photos work well as a series but others are so different that they don’t. So I have chosen three photos that appeal to me.

Fig 4, 5, 6

Colours #0916 (fig 4) the solid structure is hidden by the water going over the edge of the weir, but the shape makes it clear that it is a weir. The light on the water and the slow shutter speed mean that the movement is soft and gentle. What comes to mind for me is the right of the picture (the water going over the weir), is like a stream of thought just before sleep, moving to the left and into the beginnings of sleep.

Colours Kofu City 12 of 102 (fig 5), maths, physics. Wave diffraction, Huygens principle (Cowley, 1998), Quantum Diffraction/wave particle duality, Einstein, Bohr (Kumar, 2014: 263-275). Shibata demonstrates that photography can be artistic, surreal, scientific and also present reality.

Colours #1103 (Fig 6), reminds me of cubist surreal art – similar to Paul Klee’s Dream City #29421216 (Klee, 2017) but with softer colour and a smoother tone gradient than can be found in Klee’s work.

Paul Klee

Fig 7

There is so much more that I could write about Shibata’s photography. I have really enjoyed taking the time to do this piece of research. Shibata is somebody that I will refer back to as I develop my photography. How he brings the real,  surreal and imagined into his work, by using composition, structure, form and light to create, lines, strokes, shape, movement is very pleasing to me.




Fig 1; Shibata T; 2017; 31 Contact prints Toshio SHIBATA; #1875 Grand Coulee Dam; Tokyo; Art Unlimited Gallery; http://www.artunlimited.co.jp/en/artists/toshio-shibata.html (accessed on 17/07/2017)

Fig 2; Shibata T; 2017; 31 Contact prints Toshio SHIBATA; #1878 Grand Coulee Dam; Tokyo; Art Unlimited Gallery; http://www.artunlimited.co.jp/en/artists/toshio-shibata.html (accessed on 17/07/2017)

Fig 3; Shibata T; 2017; 31 Contact prints Toshio SHIBATA; #1885 Grand Coulee Dam; Tokyo; Art Unlimited Gallery; At http://www.artunlimited.co.jp/en/artists/toshio-shibata.html (accessed on 17/07/2017)

Fig 4; Shibata T; 2017; 31 Contact prints Toshio SHIBATA; Colours #0916; Tokyo; Art Unlimited Gallery; At http://www.artunlimited.co.jp/en/artists/toshio-shibata.html (accessed on 17/07/2017)

Fig 5; Shibata T; 2017; 31 Contact prints Toshio SHIBATA; Colours Kofu City 12 of 102; Tokyo; Art Unlimited Gallery; At http://www.artunlimited.co.jp/en/artists/toshio-shibata.html (accessed on 17/07/2017)

Fig 6; Shibata T; 2017; 31 Contact prints Toshio SHIBATA; Colours #1103; Tokyo; Art Unlimited Gallery; At http://www.artunlimited.co.jp/en/artists/toshio-shibata.html (accessed on 17/07/2017)

Fig 7; Klee, P; 2017; Dream City Trip #29421216; Viatura.us The Online Art Gallery; At http://viatura.us/paul-klee-dream-city/paul-klee-dream-city-citytrip-barcelona-met-vlucht-city-2-horaires-hall-leuven-belgium-29421216/ (accessed on 17/07/2017

Cowley, L; 1998; The Huygens Principle; At http://www.atoptics.co.uk/droplets/huygens.htm (accessed on 17/07/17)

Klee, P; 2017; Dream City Trip #29421216; Viatura.us The Online Art Gallery; At http://viatura.us/paul-klee-dream-city/paul-klee-dream-city-citytrip-barcelona-met-vlucht-city-2-horaires-hall-leuven-belgium-29421216/ (accessed on 17/07/2017

Kumar, Manjit; (2014); Quantun, Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality; London; Icon Books; p263-275



Exercise 1.10 – Shutter Speed

Brief:- Make a series of experiments bracketing only the shutter speed, for example by using 1/250th sec, then 1/60th sec, 1/15th sec, etc. You’ll go from freezing movement to blurring movement. Think about some interesting moving subjects and note down some ideas: people, nature, machines etc. Note the most effective ways you could photograph them: by panning the camera with a moving object or by holding the camera still. Try not to fall for visual cliches; if you’ve recognised that something is a cliche, move away and search for something new. All visual art is refreshed by new ideas.


I had read the brief for this prior to begining the course, so I have had it in my mind each time I have been out with my camera.

In this series the movement of people was my focus. My intent was to capture movement by opening up the shutter speed, rather than freezing the movement. Photos one and three have not been developed, but photo two has been.

Technique:- Photo 1 – Tripod,  ISO 100, f14, 1.3 sec. This photo was taken for a project on mental health. I have taken many photos from this position which I will then blend together. All of them will show people at different places within the frame, and different levels of movement. The goal for me was to have the movement around and through the whalebones. Photo 2 – Handheld, 14 stop ND filter, ISO 100, f22, 0.5 sec. I used the ND filter because the sun was very bright and close to over head. I wanted to capture the movement of people walking past the RAF Hawk jet. Having the other photographer in the frame worked out well as he provides some additional stillness in contrast to the people walking between him and the Hawk. Photo 3 – Handheld, ISO 100, f22, 1/5 sec. I was focusing on capturing shadow and had the exposure to long for what I was aiming for. However another exapmle of catching people in movement.

Technique:- Photo 4 – Handheld, ISO 500, f5.6, 1/400 sec. The high ISO was set because the right exposure for the cars and quick shutter speed to freeze movement was my priority whilst shooting this event. With this medium shutter speed, much of the movement is captured, and even some of the individual bits of gravel can be seen, but the overall effect of the gravel is movement. Photo 5 – Handheld, ISO 400, f5.6, 1/1250 sec. The shutter speed is much faster in this image and consequently the gravel has been frozen in time.

Technique :- Photos 6 – Handheld, ISO 400, f11, 1/160. Taken with a slow enough shutter speed to capture some movement. Photo 7 – Handheld, panning, ISO 100, f6, 1/1250. The high shutter speed means that the panning is not noticible and the helicopter rota blade has been rendered invisible.

Technique – Photo 8 – Handheld, ISO 100, f11, 1/500 sec. The parachutists from the RAF Flying Falcons display team are slow moving so the shutter speed could be slower to capture tham without motion blur. Photo 9 – Handheld, ISO 100, f6, 1/2000 sec. The faster moving Global Stars Aerobatics display team required a faster shutter speed to be able to freeze their movement.

Richard Keys

Technique – Photo 10 – Handheld, 14 stop ND filter, ISO 100, f11, 1/13 sec. Zoom blur from tele to wide. I wanted to be able to create movement and experiment with zoom blur. The ND filter meant I could have a more open shutter speed. The effect is certainly one of movement, and I did enjoy the experiment, but I cant see it featuring in too many of my future photos.

Summary. A faster shutter speed means that movement will be frozen, but if you are panning at the same speed as a moving object you will be able to use a slower shutter speed and lower ISO. It will also mean that you need a wider aperture and may need to increase the ISO Having an open shutter means that you will need to decrease the aperture (f11 – f40) or use an ND filter to ensure that you dont over expose the photo.

Understanding shutter speed and how it affects exposure is important. I need to be able to take photographs quickly at events, and macro photography when over exposed can mean that strong contasting colours in close proximity can blend together and create horrible distortions.

I intend to develop my sociology based photography which is more abstract, artistic and conceptual, and will mean that I want to make photos that include mood, emotion and story telling, and the ability to capture and freeze movement will be a vital technical skill to master.

Exercise 1.9 – Soft Light Landscape

The brief for this exercise is lengthy so it can be found at the bottom of the page.

Landscape photography is not something that I enjoy as a rule. I don’t feel enthusiastic about it. However, I really enjoyed this exercise. I had been to counselling and I really needed to be behind my camera. It grounds me, helps me get back into the moment, and it stops me from over analysing. I didn’t take a tripod with me, but I did follow the brief in relation to bracketing exposures and taking the photos from different angles (and focal lengths).

Once uploaded to Lightroom, my process was similar for all of the photos – Remove chromatic aberration, enable profile corrections, set white point by holding down the alt key whilst increasing the white slider (until I get yellow or white spots that indicate clipping), do the same for blacks to set black point but decreasing the black slider, then use levels to increase the mid-tones, and finally increase the shadows slider if I thought was necessary. I usually increase clarity to +21 and vibrance to +17. Next I used control E, to export to Photoshop as I prefer the spot healing tool in Photoshop than in Lightroom.

Developed Images



Exercise 1.9 Soft Light Landscape


Image 1 – my favourite out of the three. The solitary tree has a strength and a calmness to it, and was similar to how I was feeling. The image has an OK depth of field, its not brilliant, but I am pleased with the final result. I used a graduated filter to burn the sky and diagonally either side of the tree, to make the tree pop a little. Considering the dull, flat original the end product has turned out OK

Image 2 – Another photo that look decidedly uninteresting as taken, but I took it because of how the thistle stood out, and the colours of the heather. As well as the instruction for luminosity, I have used an adjustment brush with -.3 exposure to burn the heather and grasses around the thistle, another adjustment brush to dodge the thistle and semi-circle to its right. This gives the thistle a frame to stand within. aesthetically it is a better photo than the first image, but doesn’t meet the brief as I have lost the depth of field by bending down to ensure a lower eye level, so the focal point is closer to the camera.

Image 3 – Fits the brief well. Good depth of field, natural luminosity through out, strong use of shadows and smooth tone gradient. Having the edge of the trees in the foreground means there is a strong frame for the village in the centre (mid-ground). But not an inspiring subject.

Image 4 – Good depth of field. Strong foreground, and I like the background a lot. The sky, the horizon and the sea add a needed softness to contrast the foreground, I also like the light on the sea. Having the Abbey in the mid-ground provides an object and the surrounding church and housing create a subject.

Summary – I believe that I am competent with the basic tools in Lightroom, so that I can add luminosity to a photograph. I also have enough knowledge and technique to dodge and burn effectively so that I can bring out an object so that it becomes a focal point. I do not enjoy landscape photography and I believe that it shows in this selection of images. However, I did enjoy this exercise and taking so many photos in a short space of time (around 300) has meant that I have started to discover subjects in the land that I would have overlooked photographically. It isn’t to say that I don’t notice and enjoy these things when I walk around, because I do. But my enthusiasm in photography is with macro, events and sociology. I know that I need to use a tripod more often.


Exercise 1.9 Soft Light Landscape

Brief:- Search your local area for a landscape, cityscape or other external environment where you’re able to get a wide view of a large expanse of space. Try a high vantage point. The subject of this exercise will ideally be lit with diffused light, so you’ll either need to wait for an overcast day, or photograph before the sun comes up or just after the sun has set. 1 Photograph the landscape using a tripod to keep your camera steady, with an aperture of f22 (the narrowest aperture) because this will give you most depth of field (focus). Shoot a variety of viewpoints and compositions with the horizon low in the frame (more sky) and then high (more earth). 2 Bracket your exposures using the shutter speed dial. You may have to make long exposures of over one minute depending on the available light so it would be useful to use a cable shutter release to prevent you jogging the camera. When you make long exposures you’ll notice how light ‘gathers’ in your photograph and moving objects will blur. Don’t worry about inherent bright spots like street lights or car headlights. 3 Upload your images to a computer. 4 Assess your photographs carefully. Choose one or two that are the most successful. 5 Look for the place within the image that has the darkest shadow in it and use Levels to make it black or dark grey. This is likely to be a shadowy edge or a silhouette. Do the same with the lightest point following the instructions in Exercise 1.2. 6 Use the middle slider to increase the mid-tone luminosity as high as you can before it becomes unnatural or blocky. Your goal is to increase the perceived luminosity of the photograph. 7 Now re-assess your photograph. Does it look real or unreal? Have you gone too far with the processing? Does it represent the view you saw with your eyes or is this an ‘image’ only a camera can create? 8 Save As…version_2 and respond to your own re-assessment. You may decide the photo looks better less ‘luminous’ or more ‘contrasty’, for example, or perhaps you prefer it in black and white.

Research Point – Diffused Light – Gabriele Basilico

Brief:- To prepare for the next exercise, look online at the cityscapes of Gabriele Basilico. Notice the smooth quality of light, the sense of space and the way architecture seems more like sculpture, with its shape and form emphasised. And look at the broad tonal range in Mike Walsh’s landscape below, which comes from the naturally occurring light and dark tones in the landscape.


I had a look through some of Basilico’s photography and it took me a while to get into. I have a resistance to black and white photography “if you can’t take photos then take them in black and white it will at least have mood”. It is not a helpful attitude to have, but I do think it is harder to work with light in colour photography then in black and white. I have not researched what other people think, I am aware there is a whole debate about black and white v colour, so I am prepared to be corrected.

However, after a while doing some research I found some photos that I really enjoyed. As one of the aims of the brief is to explore the tonal range then I have viewed the histograms in Photoshop and will show the images with the respective histogram.

Sanfransisco 2007

Basilico; 2007

The perspective and the angles are what catch my eye here. I like the view from above as it’s not one that I experience. I also like the levels of contrast between the highlights and the darks. This is definitely not an example of making a photograph in diffused lighting. The shadows and the highlights give this away. The histogram is interesting though. I would expect the peaks in the whites and blacks, but the tone throughout the rest of the image is smooth.

Basilico montecarlo with Histogram

Basilico; 2007a

Perspective, leading lines of roads, non flat horizon, cars – all create an interest due to the movement of the eye through the image. Then to learn the photo is of Monte Carlo, but it looks dirty. The photo was taken in 2005 or 2006. This throws up a mental challenge for me. Through my years of watching Formula 1 on TV, and knowing of the harbour, the casino I have come to believe that Monte Carlo is a place of beauty for the rich and famous. I have had to look really closely to explore the “dirt” – there does not appear to be too much grain, but on close viewing the focus is not clear from the mid-ground to background. This is a more neutral photo than San Fransisco.

Bor de Mer with histogram

Basilico; 1984

Crisp, journey, transition, ferry framed by dockside and by light of sky and reflection of sky in water. The sky shows that the photo was taken with cloud that may be slightly broken in some places but also diffused lighting. I have learned to see that reflections of objects in water always look as if the light is from above wherever it comes from. That may seem obvious to many, but I only became aware of this at the start of Foundations in Photography, when I started to look with my mind open. The histogram does not show a smooth tonal gradient, but that is to be expected with the white from the sky and the highlights in the water. However, I am going to ignore the histogram and say that what I see is a balanced image with blacks, shadows, mid-tones, whites and highlights. Additionally I have evoked memories of the ferry from childhood and that does have an impact upon me.

Sotto la pelle di beirut with histogram

Basilico; 1991

Even before the title I became aware that this is a photo of a war zone. Houses falling to pieces (blown apart), bullet holes, the possibility that the photo of the man is a missing person photos, and what appears to be a military vehicle further up the road (it isn’t, but its enough to add to the image of war). To me the broad and smooth tonal range of this photo is the most obvious out of the four. There is an ease to the eye because of the lighting, which is added to by the composition, where all of the leading lines point to the centre of the photo.


OK so I have only written up the research today and I have already completed the photos for the next exercise. However, I read through the course manual before starting on workflow, so I have been exploring lighting, time of day, contrast, cover, clouds, white balance and diffuse lighting from the start of the course. I prefer to shoot in bright sun with no cloud cover when making macro photography, but prefer broken cloud the rest of the time. Maybe I would enjoy shooting at sunrise or dusk, however I am never out doors at those times. I have a routine in the morning (health related) that means I am not out at sunrise anytime of the year, and you wont find me out at dusk at this time of year, too many drunk people, means too much anxiety. I did enjoy exercise 1.9 Soft Light Landscape (the results were not as enjoyable as the exercise), and I will publish that over the next few days.


Basilico Gabriele; 1984; Bord de Mer; in http://www.archiportale.com/news/2012/11/eventi/gabriele-basilico-la-mostra-bord-de-mer-al-museo-pignatelli_30291_32.html (accessed on 14/07/2017)

Basilico, Gabriele; 1991; Beirut 1991; in https://www.internazionale.it/foto/2015/04/13/guerra-civile-libano-anniversario (accessed on 14/07/2017)

Basilico, Gabriele; 2007; San Fransisco; http://www.floornature.com/goodbye-to-gabriele-basilico-8489/ (accessed on 14/07/2017)

Basilico, Gabriele; 2007a; Basilico Montecarlo; Gabriele Basilico, Marco Belpoliti, Jean-Michel Bouhours; Arles; Actes Sud; in https://hollydarjeeling.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/artist-research-gabriele-basilico/ (accessed on 14/07/2017)