Project 100 Photos Written Evaluation (orginal format and presentation)
Project 1 100 Photos
Exercise 1.1 Uploading, organising and reviewing your photographs
I have chosen not to use Bridge as I have the Adobe Creative Cloud package and have spent some time getting used to Lightroom. Julianne Kost from Adobe has a YouTube clip that talks through the differences and advantages/disadvantages of Bridge v Lightroom, and after having watched that I am going to stick with Lightroom for now. It is possible to do all of the exercises in exercise 1 using Lightroom.
When I import photos from my camera I sort them into unique folders. I can export to different folders from Lightroom via Library – Export, or add to collections if I wish to do so. I have edited my preferences and catalogue settings previously to suit my needs, including automatically write metadata to XMP.
Open Lightroom, import, apply metadata pre-set (custom – photosociology).
View in Grid, + or – to change size of view, label or colour using keys 1-5 for rating 6-9 for colour. For this project I used Red(6) for photos that I would edit, Yellow(7) for those I wanted to comment about in my summary, and Green(8) for images that I could make into a sequence. Press F2 to rename an individual or selection of photos.
Export, into custom subfolder, custom file name, set file to suit needs (generally JPEG 1080 or TIFF full size image)
Exercise 1.2 Basic Image Editing
In develop module I can alter sections of the histogram, darks, shadows, exposure (midtone), highlights and whites.
I set the black point and white point by right click on whites/blacks with ALT pressed. For the whites this brings up a black overlay and when white starts to appear on the overlay then the whites have started clipping, and for the black you get a white overlay, and as you decrease the blacks you get black yellow, red and black appear when you are clipping. Picture 1 is the original and picture 2 has the white and black point altered to their optimum levels.
Exercise 1.3 Adjusting Colour
I have continued to use the same photo for this exercise. Lightroom has a custom white balance tool as well as pre-set adjustments. Image 1 has a custom white balance that was set using the white balance dropper with the selection being set on the neutral fence in the background. Image 2 was using the temp slider towards cold and image 3 with the temp slider increased to warm.
When it comes to adjusting colour channels Lightroom works differently than photoshop layer adjustment, but there are colour sliders that can be used.
I reset the image and then I decreased the blue for photo 1, and increased the red and yellow in photo 2. For this particular set of images I do not like either of these settings and would return back to the custom white balance as above.
Here is the photo that I have made with a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop. It is one that I will use to promote my photography with the Formula 4 championship. Its has the white balance set with the custom dropper and in Photoshop I have carefully cloned out the green wing mirror. The wing mirror is a part of the car and some may argue that it should be left in the final photo, however, I believe that its bright green colour becomes the place where the eye goes to, which ruins the image in my opinion.
Making Selective Image adjustment
I am not used to using Photoshop for layer adjustments as I tend to use Lightroom. I have learned how to use brush adjustment on selected areas using the brush tool, invert and gradient filter.
I used Robert Enoch’s Columns photo for this (Robert Enoch 2017). Photo 1 is the result of following the Photoshop method and photo 2 has been adjusted in Lightroom. The results are slightly different but both ways are effective. I found the photoshop method quite complex – but that is because the process is not familiar to me. However, it does make sense, and gives a smooth process for selective masking. In Lightroom My process for the sky was – select gradient filter, shift drag, shift T to toggle brush, O to highlight mask with a colour, erase brush, erase mask the parts of the scene that I did not want selected, shit T to revert back to grad filter, O to remove colour, reduce exposure, DONE. Then I used an adjustment brush with auto masking for the pillars and the trees in their vicinity, increased the exposure and increased the warmth. I prefer the Lightroom method, but I can also see the advantages of making more use of Photoshop for the process. Being honest with myself the Photoshop layer mask process has given a better result than my method in Lightroom, so I do need to get used to work with Layers in Photoshop.
Exercise 1.4 Cropping
I find that cropping is subjective. At the photography society that I attend, it is apparent that different people have preferred formats for their images. Some prefer 1:1, others 4:3 and a few that like 16:9 or letter box formats. When I am cropping images I use intuition and crop an image in a manner that I think looks good.
Here are two examples of how I have cropped images to bring out the best from these photographs.
I took this photo because of the intensity on the drummers face. When I cropped the image I did so in a manner that brought us closer to his face, so that we can see his concentration. I removed some of the sky but let the crowd remain. The crowd gives context, whereas the dull sky detracts from the image. In hindsight I should have cloned out the back of the trombone player in front of the drummer.
I have mixed feelings as to the cropping of this photograph. I like the sky in the original image. The blue in the top left and the bright white around it does look very dramatic. However I wanted to show the rays of light and the static aircraft, along with the lack of crowds at the end of the day. It’s a goodbye or an end to a good day. I removed the foreground and straightened the horizon whilst cropping. Personally I like the letter box (faux panorama).
Exercise 1.5 Experimenting with your light meter.
I have a Nikon 7100D and can change the size of the spot and centre weighted area for metering, and along with this I can change the focus area and mode. When photographing the British Touring Cars Championship I set my focus to AFC (continuous servo auto focus with shutter half pressed) and 9 focus points. This was so that I could have the focus tracking the cars that I was photographing. I overexposed the image by 2 stops. I tried having the exposure on spot focus, centred weighted 13mm) but found that the camera was still setting the exposure for the whole scene, and the cars lacked light and impact. As the aim of the day was to make high quality action photos of motorsports, then the over exposure gave the cars the impact that I wanted, even if the back ground was over exposed. I would rather have my focus point having the correct exposure and then developing the background than the other way round.
This weekend I have returned to macro photography and have had to change my light metering to average for the whole scene. I use Vello extension tubes behind a Tamron 18-270mm lens. It’s a good set up for me and I like some of the photos that I make with this. The aperture is difficult with this set up, even though the Vello come with the correct electrical connections, the aperture does not respond to changes in the f stop. I have to set that before I connect the tubes. That whole point is quite irrelevant as this set up gives me such a tiny field of view even with the smallest aperture settings. When taking a photo of the centre of a flower and the light is balanced across the scene, then centre weighted and exposure with balanced light metering works well. However I have found that when photographing a dark central subject, such as a bug, on a light flower (pink), then the light reflecting of the flower becomes over exposed if I use spot metering for the insect. So I change the metering to average for the scene which brings down the clipping from the edge. It is then quite easy to use the adjustment brush tool with auto masking to bring back up the exposure on the bug.
I have found light metering in dark settings quite difficult to master. When bringing up the ISO the light metering on the Nikon can be unpredictable with high ISO numbers. The meter will often say that a scene is exposed properly but it has over exposed it. Going back down on the ISO has often meant an under exposed image. I have got this wrong on several occasions. My learning – when shooting in conditions that require a high ISO, the best option is to drop down the ISO by a setting or 2 and then over expose. This means there is less noise than staying at a higher ISO and under exposing. I still have a lot to learn in this regard.
British Touring Car Championship – Sun 11th June
I am familiar with my camera and use it in manual mode anyway, so it wasn’t something that I had to get used to, and having photographed at a few other events I am also used to changing camera settings quite quickly. Once I got going I worked quickly and ended up with 139 photos in 32 minutes. When I am photographing an event I am looking for several things:- Something that provides commentary about the event, the participants and the sponsors. I use twitter and google+ to send images to the sponsors, organisers and participants as a way of promoting my photography. I had these in mind when I began this project.
Getting started was harder than the photography. Once I begin shooting my focus is in the moment on what I am doing – but before I began I found the task quite daunting. The pit area is quite cramped and there were a lot of people around, and I get really paranoid that people will judge me for taking shots of things that aren’t interesting. It took me a while to decide to start the project, but once I had it flowed quite smoothly.
I used different shutter speeds, focal length and ISO. The ISO was quite interesting when it came to making photos of cars and people inside their tents from the outside, adjusting the ISO to get the right exposure for the inside.
I could take these further in Lightroom (left Image) and use a brush tool to reduce the exposure on the canvas, but it would not be worth doing as the image does not say anything to me.
These are examples of images that have important points of reference for future photography in relation to leading lines and the eye being drawn around a photograph.
Photo 1 has the leading lines of the metal frame, and the red painted line, that create some sense of space, inside and outside. Photo 2 has the side of the car drawing your eye back to the man on the ladder, and the framework for the canvas tent draw the eye back to the car. However neither of the photos have any point of interest for me.
Sadly I made a mistake on a couple of photos that if I had got correct I could have used them to highlight my work with participants and sponsors.
On the first image there are a couple of mistakes. It is not straight, which is easy enough to adjust. However, due to the writing on the backboard (either side of the crash helmet) cloning the man’s arm out will be difficult. It would be possible if I were to resize another image that I took with a different focal length, and use that as the source point. I am not going to do that as I took other images over the course of the weekend that will be as effective and without the additional time that it would take for the cloning to be effective.
The photo on the right could also be used, it would be easy to process in Lightroom, but it just does not work for me. The other photos that I made of the car from alternate focal lengths have other objects that would end up messy to remove as they have sponsorship writing around them.
These are samples of changes in focal length.
When using Lightroom to set attributes for the images in the 100 photos project I used key 8 to set a green attribute for images that I could present as a sequence. The sequence below is of Nicolas Hamilton. It is relevant to the weekend of the racing at Croft because of the status of Nicolas Hamilton. He is the brother of Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, and Nicolas is hugely popular with the crowds. He is also a driver who gives a lot of attention to his supporters. He was incredibly busy signing autographs for people, and every time he went back in doors to prepare for the race or rest between races, another line of people would arrive, and he would immediately come back out and sign more autographs. He is an example of exemplary professionalism. Unfortunately he had a poor weekend as far as his driving was concerned, crashed out of qualifying, and then in race two he stalled off of the line. This has meant that I do not have many photos of him racing against other cars, and that’s a shame as they would have made better photos. (I have not developed any of the images in this sequence – they are here as unprocessed examples.)
Julieanne Kost; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp2AThZiaBY&feature=youtu.be
Robert Enoch; 2014; Foundations in Photography; OCA; Barnsley