Part One – Project 2 – Exercise 1.4 Frame
The final exercise of this project makes use of the viewfinder grid display of a digital camera. This function projects a grid onto the viewfinder screen to help align vertical and horizontal lines, such as the horizon of the edge of a building, with the edge of the frame. If your camera doesn’t have a grid display, imagine a simple division of the viewfinder into four sections.
Brief: I interpreted this exercise as having two parts;
Part 1: Take a good number of shots, composing each shot within a single section of the viewfinder grid. Don’t bother about the rest of the frame! Use any combination of grid section, subject and viewpoint you choose.
When you review the shots, evaluate the whole frame, not just the part you’ve composed. Take the same approach you used to evaluate the point and line exercises; examine the relationship of elements to the frame. Composition is part of form and formal analysis will be a useful skill for your exercises and assignment as you progress through the course.
Part 2: Select 6 or 8 images that you feel work individually as compositions and also together as a set. If you have software for making contact sheets you might like to present them as a single composite image. Add the images to your learning log together with the technical information such as camera settings, and one or two lines containing your thoughts and observations.
Practical: For this exercise I used my Canon 70D and my new lens, Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX DG Macro OS. This meant that I was a little bit more experimental than maybe I would have been otherwise, which is a good thing as practice makes perfect.
I used the immediate area where I live for inspiration for this exercise and I think I managed to capture some interesting and varied subjects for my results.
Results – Part 1:
Here are a couple of the photographs that didn’t make the final cut but I thought I’d use them to discuss the evaluation of point and line within the frame, as suggested in the brief.
Tech specs: ISO 100 1/2000 sec. f/2.8 105mm
This is a top left section selection. I think it is obvious that this photograph is meant to be of a bee sitting on a dandelion as there is nothing else going on in the image except uninteresting foliage. The eye is drawn immediately to the bright yellow flower (point) and then the bee (point 2) for relevance/intention.
The dandelion and bee are far enough away from the frame (equidistant from the top and side) to be in a neutral position within the whole frame and I would agree with my previous analysis as the dandelion and bee are just there, there is no drama it is just a record of reality.
Once your eye has had enough of the dandelion and the bee, it looks to the area adjacent to them which is in focus. Finally it is drawn away and out of the photograph via the pale flower stalks bottom right (lines). The out of focus leaf at the bottom left acts as a barrier to the eye moving out of the frame instead it moves in back into the frame to find another route out.
Tech specs: ISO 100 1/400 sec. f/2.8 105mm
The eye is initially drawn to the dark branches on the left (line), probably because we read from left to right, but then the eye enters the top or bottom of the frame via the rose stalk (line), then over to the right hand side of the photograph to the leaves (point). There is not a lot for the eye to explore in this image so it quickly moves around the branches (lines) and then moves off the frame.
Results – Part 2:
Here are my 6 shots which I have put together. Each of them could have been taken compositionally in their own right but I have placed them together as a set, I will explain why:
Starting from the bottom where the eye enters the image;
- the bottom 2 photographs have complimentary leading lines and when put together converge and entice the viewer in to the image. Once the viewer enters from the bottom of the image the eye goes first to the ball (point), bottom of the bottom right section, and then upwards to the blue bin (point), top of the bottom left photograph, taking the viewer on a journey.
- Once in the image the two middle photographs add a transition through to the top of the image by using vertical lines of a drain grating and trees. I tried these two photographs the other way round but the darkness of the trees seemed to work better on the far right. As a left section they seemed ‘in the way’, stopping the visual flow and easy passage for the viewer to move through to the top section of the image. The eye definitely moves up the left lighter lines easier so the eye enters the top photographs on the left.
- With the arrow in the top left section pointing to the right the eye flows easily to the top right photograph, which is a stand alone flower and works as a full stop to the visual journey.
I was a little confused by what the brief was asking me to start with but I guess that is one of the issues with being new not only to a degree course but also to the medium being studied.
I very much enjoyed the process this exercise took me through and it got me to think about putting images/subjects together which I wouldn’t have done so under normal circumstances.
From the 9 sections available, which we were asked to compose photographs for in part 1 of this exercise, my final composite used 5 out of a possible 6 sections, which is varied. In part 2 the photographs were evaluated as a whole rather than by their individual section selections which may have highlighted that as well as the points and lines that there is a relationship with what is considered superfluous imagery within a photograph too. I need to do some more thinking around this non-space idea before commenting further.
With regards equipment I realised that I much prefer to work at 50mm, in this exercise my distance from the subjects I was photographing with the 105mm lens felt awkward and I found the photographing process less intimate. Not sure this worked for me, however, the photographs were taken and the exercise was completed.
After using Live View for this exercise I’ve decided I don’t like it for taking photographs in general. I can see it’s appeal for stationary repetitive shots of the same subject but for me it was cumbersome. Trying to get the camera to focus on the place I wanted it to focus on in Live View was more difficult than the methods I use via the viewfinder. This was the first time I had used it for more than the odd shot, so maybe it’s something I need to use more to get used to it but to be honest I’m not sure I will bother.
By the end of the exercise I was more comfortable with the new lens than Live View which I did persevere with to complete the exercise.
This completes my submission for Exercise 1.4 which concludes Project 2. Now on to Project 3, Surface and Depth...