Monthly Archives: May 2013

Photo Of The Day – Climbing Tall

Climbing Tall

ISO400, 40mm, f/6.3, 1/2000sec

ISO400, 40mm, f/6.3, 1/2000sec

A man (he was surprisingly old) climbs to the top of this wood and vine tower, sat atop a very large wooden-wheeled “chariot”, during a phase of it’s construction. It is later hauled by rope through the streets of Patan by gangs of men as part of the annual festival called Rato Machhendranath. It is held in honour of the God of Rain, venerated by both Hindus and Buddhists alike. I’ve seen this festival twice and it’s always amazes me. A huge crowd is always along to follow it’s often precarious procession through the streets.

Pulchowk, Kathmandu, Nepal – 11 May 2013

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The Afghan Girl

I watched a quite interesting documentary last night – Search For The Afghan Girl – about the search a photographer made to find an Afghan girl he once took a now very famous photograph of. The film documents how he came across the then 10 or 11 year old in a refugee camp school in Pakistan in 1985, taking her photo (with her permission) before parting, with her apparently becoming lost to the ravages of a war-torn country. The photographer, Steve McCurry, then spent the next 17 years wondering what became of her, and after a series of failed attempts in the intervening years to find her in Pakistan, made one last attempt in 2002 to do so. National Geographic went along to document his search and reveal the outcome.

 

National Geographic Magazine – Steve McCurry – 1985

 

It is well worth watching, and the original National Geographic magazine article that the image accompanied puts it into some context, as well as the story after the story. It serves to highlight the power that a single photograph can have (it moved many people to aid in the relief work in some of the refugee camps), and has been described as National Geographic’s most well known cover photo (June 1985), as well as being one of the most enduring photographs ever taken. Very high praise indeed!

Corey Rich Productions

Corey Rich Productions

news.coreyrich.com

news.coreyrich.com

I am an admirer of the adventure photographer and videographer Corey Rich. His blog is always interesting to read for the details and stories he tells behind some of the photographic and video work he’s done as well as generally sharing aspects of his knowledge and techniques. As well as the link above, more of his work can be seen on Vimeo and Nikon USA

Exercise – Horizontal and Vertical Lines

“Lines in photography are usually the edges of things, and the quality that makes them stand out is, more often than not, contrast. In other words, the edge of something bright against a dark background, or vice versa, is how lines normally appear to our eyes. Lines can occur by implication, with our imagination making the connection between points.”

• The Art Of Photography, Part 2, Lines, p.74

For this exercise, 8 photographs showing examples of lines, both horizontal and vertical. The aim of the exercise is to “find some of the differnet ways in which horizontal and vertical lines appear to the eye and camera”

Horizontal Lines

Photo 1

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/160sec

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/160sec

This photo shows flattened bamboo poles that were being used in the wall of a house under construction to provide a kind of insulation. I zoomed in on a small section of it.

 

Photo 2

ISO640, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/30sec

ISO640, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/30sec

At the same property as above, but a part of the construction that was being completed using bricks. I stood quite close to the wall, but at the same time zoomed in.

 

Photo 3

ISO800, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/320sec

ISO800, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/320sec

This house was turning out to be a treasure trove of horizontal lines. This image is of ceiling height planking. Again I choose to zoom in to try and get a sense of the different textures and colours of the wood grain.

 

Photo 4

ISO200, 105mm, f/8, 1/40sec

ISO200, 105mm, f/8, 1/40sec

Walking around the neighbourhood I came across a steep set of brick steps that had strong highlights across the flat of each step. I zoomed in strengthen the effect.

 

Vertical

Photo 1

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/800sec

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/800sec

The Kathmandu Valley is home to a very large number of earthen brick factories. It’s very common to come across piles of neatly laid bricks, awaiting delivery. I walked up faily close to a pile for this image. I think if I had kept to a wider view then a stronger or clearer vertical line effect may have resulted.

 

Photo 2

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/320sec

ISO400, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/320sec

This is a painted concrete column attached to a part of my house. The alternating light and shadowed edges of the physical relief form the vertical lines. Another zoomed in photograph for effect.

 

Photo 3

ISO400, 50mm, f/5, 1/80sec

ISO400, 50mm, f/5, 1/80sec

This was one image in which the lines were not at first obvious to the eye, but became much more so when viewed through the confines of the camera frame. It’s a knotted weave rug. It’s quite colourful and textured., I like it.

 

Photo 4

ISO1600, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/15sec

ISO1600, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/15sec

This may have been the laziest photo of all to take. Sitting on my sofa on night, I noticed the vertically arrayed folds of a curtain and took the shot. I didn’t even have to put my beer down!

 

I think the most successful of the photos, as seen by the camera, is the 4th horizontal photo. Within the confines of the frame  one’s eye is drawn the the long bright reflective highlights of the edges of the brick steps. But the most successful as the eye sees it, for me, was the rows of bricks. The image of the bricks is a zoomed in view of a much larger wall of loosely piled bricks, and upon first observing I almost immediately saw the rows and column of their arrangement. i didm not have to seek out this pattern, as in say any of the other images.

The least successful is probably the 2nd horizontal image. Whilst the horizontal lines are continuous and unbroken, the effect is somewhat lessened by the short discontinuous vertical lines created by the end-layed bricks.

I found that I had to actively seek out examples of both and horizontal lines as they were not always immediately obvious. I guess that may not say much for my powers of observation. I think I also took the requirements too literally in looking for definite examples, usually by zooming close-in on the details of the subject to show the required qualities.

Exercise – Multiple Points

“With several points the relationships are not so predictable. A group of objects implies a network of lines, and can also create a shape – again by implication. In still-life photography, one the basic skills is to be able to group objects together in such a way that they are linked attractively, in a relationship that is active rather than obvious and static. This is essentially a problem of placing several points.”

• The Art Of Photography (OCA course book), Part 2, Points, p.73

This exercise required a series of at least 6 photographs showing the progressive process of placing of multiple points of interest within the frame leading hopefully to a final image that is visually cohesive.

Photo 1

511682-P2-E2-01

Photo 2

511682-P2-E2-02

Photo 3

511682-P2-E2-03

Photo 4

511682-P2-E2-04

Photo 5

511682-P2-E2-05

Photo 6

511682-P2-E2-06

I have mixed feelings about the outcome of this exercise. i couldn’t quite work out the manner in which the objects standing in for the required points of interest had to be placed. Was it necessary to arrange them in a way that suggested a random quality, or something more regularly placed, showing intention or design. I suppose the latter, which I tried to render, but the result seems strangely artificial, or not artful at all. This could be mostly to do with the objects I chose, and the plain background. I tried different objects different placement positions but I still was generally dissatisfied with the result. I will further experiment and try to update this post with better results.

Exercise – Positioning A Point

“There are essentially three classes of position: in the middle, a little off-centre, and close to the edge. Placing a point in the centre very rarely works, because of the staid nature it produces, although this is not the rule and you might justify it on the grounds of being unconventional.”

“Use the experience of those earlier projects: when you position a point in the frame, have a reason for placing it where you do.”

• The Art Of Photography (OCA course book), Part 2, Points, p.72

This exercise required 3 photographs with an obvious point of interest placed in different parts of the frame successively.

Photo 1

ISO400, 50mm, f/5, 1/160sec

ISO400, 50mm, f/5, 1/160sec

I positioned the wooden duck to the left-centre because the it gave a sense of the duck looking into the frame.

Photo 2

ISO400, 50mm, f/5, 1/125sec

ISO400, 50mm, f/5, 1/125sec

In this photo, the duck is positioned at the top-centre, aligned directly between the wet and dry patches on the floor, in an effort to balance the image.

Photo 3

ISO400, 50mm, f/5, 1/125sec

ISO400, 50mm, f/5, 1/125sec

The positioning of the duck in this image is more an experiment with the framed space that surrounds it. It seems lost somehow, maybe even a little forlorn.