Assignment one – Contrasts

As this was my first piece of work for OCA, I used a method of presentation I was familiar with Microsoft Word.  Gaining an understanding of how to set up a blog came quite late on in the course and I found it a challenge to transfer this work into my blog. Hence, I have converted it into jpeg format as set out below.

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Reflection on the assessment criteria

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills (Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills).

This assignment was not as simple as it first seemed and as I set out to find suitable subjects, I realised that what I saw as obvious contrasts,  were not as easy to portray in an image. The venture into the world of photography via distance learning has given me plenty of things to consider. Familiarisation with my new camera, adjusting to a comfortable yet workable approach to study and self-discipline when working at home to name but a few.

I made a conscious effort to ensure that all my learning to date has been utilised.  From a technical aspect, I used shutter speed in my still/moving and intermittent shots. I did want to use depth of field for my long/short shots but am still finding this hard to master! I was not happy with the results and so instead I opted for focal length demonstrating wide-angle and telephoto, using my 18-105 mm lens. For other shots I opened up the aperture for close up shots and adjusted the iso setting accordingly to alter the sensitivity as necessary – I found this useful for indoor shots when the flash was too harsh. I used my tripod to ensure stability for my slow shutter speed shots e.g. still/moving and transparent/opaque. Other materials used were white and black foam boards as background for the feather (light) and sweet bag (few) shots.

Visually: I spent time looking for the right subjects to fulfill the requirement of visual contrasts. By keeping the camera to my eye rather than just looking with the naked eye I was able to seek out suitable aspects in the viewfinder. I considered composition and balance and the Golden Section (though I’m not sure I have achieved this) for all the photographs. I demonstrated positioning and fitting to the frame for smooth /rough and for large/small.

With regards to design: I am not sure I have sufficient knowledge of the subject at this stage to have included design in any of my assignment photographs. I may have considered it in one of my initial shots (contrast in one picture) of the horse and geese (black/white). This is an area I look forward to studying as I progress through the course.

Quality of Outcome (Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas).

I am fairly pleased with the content of work I have produced in the lead up to the first assignment. I felt this was necessary in order to gain confidence in producing the end result – the assignment itself. The presentation of my work has not been an easy ride due to my lack of knowledge in using blogs! This has caused frustration and I feel has prevented me from displaying the finished article in a way I would have liked. For example, transferring the images to my documents has dramatically reduced the quality and detail. I do of course have all the photos saved for printing if required. That said I have persevered and presented as best as is possible with the current tools available. For future, formal assignments I may consider different formats and am currently seeking advice and support in this area. I do believe I have produced a structured, easy to follow, coherent piece of work that clearly communicates my thoughts and observations.

Demonstration of Creativity (Imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice).

I am creative and often see subjects or have “light bulb moments” that would make a fantastic photograph. Because I am still getting to know my camera the technical aspects are currently taking charge! This will change as my confidence with the camera develops. I think I have been creative with my still/moving shot and to some extent the intermittent shot by using the shadow to interpret the concept.

I have experimented with cropping to enhance the composition of some shots and with the sweet bag (few) I tried different background materials to contrast with the colour of the bag. I settled for the black foam board. Other photographs were processed by colour enhancement or switched to black and white (heavy) for visual impact. My biggest experiment has been trying out the many different settings on the camera to get the best image possible.

Context (Reflection, research, critical thinking  & learning log).

I over-analyse my work – a trait of mine! This is time consuming and I’m sure it will lessen as my confidence builds. My learning log includes all the work I have done to date. In a separate folder I am noting all my thoughts and observations as I progress through the course. For research, I have a folder named “Research and Findings”. I have begun to look closely at other photographers and their work and am looking to interpret the photographers’ intentions. With regard to critical thinking, this is an area of development for me to work on.