Assignment four – Light

OCA assignment 4 (72dpi)title

For this assignment I am drawing together the different lighting techniques I have been studying and applying them to one object. Using my new knowledge of lighting and testing my observation, I am asked to choose any subject that I can move around and take eight photographs. These photographs are to bring out particular properties of the object – Shape, Form, Texture and Colour.

For a subject I chose my vintage Kodak Brownie camera. Because of the technicalities involved in this assignment and my preference to use specialist equipment – of which I currently have none, I decided to approach a work associate, James kindly allowed me the use his studio and became my “assistant”  with the setting up of equipment.

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Shape

Shape was the most challenging of the physical properties for me to capture in camera. I  found that if I tried to show just the outline and produce a flat 2 dimensional image, the result was too dark. When I introduced more light I had form rather than shape!  Initially I used a white surface board but this reflected too much light so I swapped it for a black shiny board.

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However I did not think to change the background, so now I have a line cutting through the subject!

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I quite like this one. The shadow offers a shape  – it reminds me of a Dalek!

Form

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Although there are few shadows, by using the white backdrop and white surface I was able to achieve good contrast. I needed  to get closer to the subject, this image does not show the detail.

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Closer shot, but with too much light and shadow. Slightly over-exposed too.

 

Texture

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This image shows a little of the texture, but maybe I see it because I know it’s there! It is too dark – under exposed and lacking light.

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Texture is visible in the bellows and the relief of the wording around the lens. I will not choose this image for my final selection because it is too fussy.

Colour

For my colour shots I first experimented with different coloured acetate sheets held in front of the light to act as a filter.

vintage camera 039     vintage camera 044     vintage camera 040     vintage camera 038

 

 Final Selection

 Shape

shape1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This shot shows the outline of the subject clearly and most of the detail is in shadow. I decided to include the reflection as it reinforces the shape. The lighting was from the left and a soft box held above and  to the right side of the subject.

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This shot shows the outline of the subject clearly and most of the detail is in shadow. I decided to include the reflection as it reinforces the shape. For this shot I angled the two lights on to the background for a silhouette appearance.

 

 Form

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This image shows depth and how the elements are united. The relationship between the light and dark provides the visual information needed to recognise the camera’s form. Shadow around the strap handle and the intricate workings help to model the image. I used a strong directional light from the left and a sheet of white polystyrene to the right to reflect the light back on to the subject.

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My second image depicting form has a clean, crisp appearance. I photographed the camera from a different perspective displaying more of the body and less of the finer detail.
Although the backdrop was not changed, I have created a darker tone by introducing a black base. By using a diffused light to the left and white card to the front right, a limited amount of light reflected back on to the subject.

 

Texture

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Here the texture of the casing is clearly visible. In contrast  texture can be observed by the smooth metal of the studs, winder and hinges. I used a single light lowered to less than a 45 degree angle to the subject in order to cast shadow on rest of the camera so as not to detract the eye from the textural focal point.

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The focus for this texture shot was the worn strap. To get a visual “feel” for the subject I had to focus in as close as was possible with my 18-105 mm lens. For the light source I decided to use the built-in flash on the camera.  One can also “feel” the texture of the cardboard box in the background.

Colour

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I finally opted for red. The subject is front lit and highlights select areas in a rich shade of red. The colour is enhanced by the texture of the leather casing, which absorbs some of the light. Reflection in the shiny surface results in a paler, softer hue of red spilling out around the subject.

colour2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my second colour image, I chose to show the natural, pure colour of the subject. Here specks of tan leather showing through the worn black strap can be picked out . The gold colour of the wording around the lens contrasts well with the silver of the other metal parts. This shot was front lit using a soft box to diffuse the light, giving a softer edged finish to the subject.

 

Reflection

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills.
Materials/techniques: This assignment has been a huge learning curve for me. For a start, I am not technically minded and I found the indoor projects using photographic lighting quite a challenge. I was fortunate in being able to use a friend’s studio and some lighting equipment for the assignment, but the physics of it all had to be explained to me several times! I found that once I started to “play” with the lights, diffusers and reflectors it began to make a little more sense.

Observational/visual: Previously I had given little thought to the importance of light – if I was not happy with a shot I would shift my position and try again. I now have a better understanding of how light influences the appearance of the subject and how to use it to advantage when shooting. I look for opportunities – sun, shadows, street lights etc and enjoy composing the shots.

Design/composition: I always have in mind what I want to achieve and can visualise it, putting it into practice is somewhat more of a challenge for me. I still have to seek guidance and refer to my notes, particularly when attempting indoor photography.

Quality of Outcome
This assignment was started last year and I had to pick it up where I left off several months later. Not an ideal situation but personal circumstances dictated my progress (or lack of). Therefore I have had to re-study the whole module on light. This has been of huge benefit to me because I really did not grasp it the first time around.

I had several objects in mind but chose the vintage camera as I thought it was relevant and fitting. My notes are detailed and explain how I have arrived at the finished image. This time I have only submitted the required number of photos, resisting the urge to include more. Quantity is not necessarily quality.

Demonstration of Creativity
I would like to think that for this assignment I have been creative with my choice of subject. I chose the vintage camera knowing it would be a challenge for it’s interesting shape and the fact that it was different from the usual ornament or still life cluster of items. I did consider using a vinyl LP as my subject, but decided against it as I felt I was making matters overly complicated and time was pressing on. I will bear this idea in mind as something to use in a future assignment.

Context
To assist my research, I have been looking at magazine articles and holiday brochures, particularly landscape photographs. I have read and studied photographers and artists whose work was heavily influenced by light. These are included in my research file.

I put a lot of effort into my learning log exercises for this module on the basis that I knew very little about the subject of light/lighting in relation to photography.It was important for me to get to grips with the knowledge before proceeding further. I have found this assignment and module quite a challenge, mostly because of the technical aspects. The key outcome from this assignment is my recognition of the effect of different light forms on a subject and its context.
Michael Freeman suggests “Many people simply have less interest in this kind of photography..….some of you would rather move on to other things.”  Me included!

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