Category: Working With Light


My practice this module has expanded dramatically.

Before this module I had never laid my hands on studio equipment, yet now I have become sufficiently competent to use it on my own accord for future projects. It all seemed incredibly complicated and fragile that I was convinced I would break something, or it would just refuse to work for me. However, now that we are at the end of this module, I realise it was just the opportunity to practice that I needed.

Using lighting equipment outside is definitely something I need to work on in my own time, but I believe I have enough knowledge now that all I need to do now is experiment with it to become better versed in how to use it successfully.

My practice has also developed with the use of manual photographic means. The pinhole camera was so wonderfully simple and experimental, that I felt a lot more confident to experiment in the darkroom with my images to. Before this module I had always kept to a very linear path of developing my images, but now I feel that I can manipulate my photographs in postproduction to create interesting affects.

To put it in brief, my confidence in my own abilities has improved massively, and I am much more open to experimentation and new equipment, though I need a bit more practice with certain aspects.

Overall, I am very happy with the final results of all of my Tasks, and feel that my practice has developed and improved in the best ways possible. I believe I have ended the year on a great note, prepared to begin the second year with all my new skills in hand and ready.

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I feel my understanding of light has certainly improved over the course of this module. Especially when it comes to studio lighting.

Before this module, I has never used studio lighting before. And, quite frankly, the notion of it terrified me. Having used it in a number of different scenarios now, I feel it is an fantastic tool when it comes to lighting photographs.

Using the equipment has helped me understand how light can be used in photographs, and how you can combine natural and studio lights to create dramatic images. Before this module I relied solely on natural light for my photographs, and would just have to work around any problems I encountered (by moving the shot or editing in photoshop) because of this. Now, I can create a photograph with near perfect lighting before post production.

Using the pinhole cameras has also taught me a lot about light and how it can be used in photography. Because it takes the photograph back to the very basics, you have to work with the light you have and use your knowledge of the light to work out exposure times. I learnt through this module that photographic paper is sensitive to uv light rather than just all light sources, so you have to expose it for an incredibly long time indoors, even if it is well lit, as bulbs don’t give off much uv light. The same applies to night photography, as there is a minuscule amount of uv light, you have to expose the paper all night to get an image.

I believe I still need to work on my knowledge of combining natural and studio lights outside, as I understand the basics, but more complicated lighting techniques still confuse me.

However, I have become quite competent in the studio with lighting, and look forward to using it again for further projects.

Task Four involved us going to a Severn Water Reservoir and photographing the area for a competition.

It sounded like a nice idea, but, sadly, the weather was so atrocious and there were so many swarms of bugs (that seemed particularly attracted to my eye socket) that, by the end of the day, I was sitting in the cafe with a very expensive hot chocolate and chocolate cake wishing the day would go away.

Despite the day itself conspiring against me, I did persever and get some nice photographs of the reservoir. I especially like my photograph of the blue snail, as I think it is peculiar yet strangely attractive, especially with the blue and natural fibonacci spiral of the shell.

I also got some images that, though I liked, I didn’t enter into the competition. Two of those being of the baby ducklings. I felt they were a bit to grainy and also not very original. But I do like the images, though I may just be convincing myself of that so I don’t have to accept that I stalked ducks for about 45 minutes for nothing.

My least favourite image is probably of the flowers, I don’t find it particularly thrilling as a photograph, though the colours are nice. It was between that and the photo of the parked up boats, and, quite frankly, so many people had photographed those boats it would of been the least unimaginative I could of entered.

On the whole, I am very happy with my final images, and worked hard to get some interesting lighting and colours.

For Task Four, we were asked to create a maximum of five images for the ‘Severn Trent Water’ competition. The competition involved visiting one of their reservoirs and photographing the area. We had a lot of freedom for what type of photographs we could take, but we had to keep in mind that they were probably looking for something attractive and interesting.

I took along a Canon 5D camera and a Canon Flashlight. I ended up taking 156 raw photographs over the course of three hours.

Edited photographs

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Final Chosen Photographs
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Task Three was quite a quick one compared to One and Two, but definitely an interesting experience. I wanted to try something I hadn’t done before, and had photographed plenty of people before. Something I had never really done before was self portraits, and I thought this would be a great chance to try them out!

It was tricky doing so, it involved setting up the camera perfectly and then quickly going and getting in front of it. But experimenting with the different lighting affects was a lot of fun and created some interesting images.

My concept idea for the self portraits revolved around my anxiety disorder, and the medication I have to use to keep it under control. I only very recently went back on the medication to, so it is very fresh in my mind how different it feels on and off it. I wanted to try and show that through the photographs. It can be so confusing. I am so happy on the medication, it feels like i’m no longer trapped in my own mind feeling like i’m going to fall apart. But I still have to try so hard, and I try so hard to impress other people with how happy and normal I am, that I wonder whether this me, really is me? But when I am not on my medication I feel like I am watching myself implode without being able to do anything about it, like I trapped within my own mind. And I still try hard for people, but it just doesn’t work out.

That’s why I feel there are two meaning to each portrait. The brighter one shows me when I am trying my best with people, but there is the sinister undertone of the medication in my hand, as it also shows that trying with people is easier on it. The other portrait shows me when I’m not trying for other people, and though I will regularly laze around in baggy and geeky clothes even when on my medication, it’s a lot more common when I’m on it, and the portrait is more of a representation of how I become a recluse and a bit of a social mess.

If I was to change anything about this project, it would be that I would get hold of something I could hold in my hand to set the camera off from where I am standing, instead of relying on timers and helpers.

Photographing the objects was nice, though I wish the background was a little brighter and that I had experimented more with the infinity curve effects.

I am very happy with my final results, I think they are crisp, clean and properly represent the concepts I was putting across, even if they are possibly a little to complicated for such a short project to properly get across.

happy portrait

Not so happy portrait

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Task Two was by far my favourite of the tasks. I found it challenging and frustrating at times, but it felt so rewarding at the end to have images I was proud of.

It took me a few goes to learn the right exposure times for my pin-hole, but once I did, I really enjoyed the experimentation involved. Some wouldn’t work at all while others would create interesting affects, and in the end, the interesting manipulations you could do was what I used in my project.

My idea was based around how the pin-hole seemed to distort the reality of the place, and create something that appeared dream-like and sinister. When I accidentally printed the positive image with the emulsion side facing the wrong way, it created this textured affect that reminded me of horror movies from the perspective of a shaky, grainy video camera. I decided to run with the idea, intending to use this affect for my final images.

When it came to what places I chose to create images of, I chose areas that, when devoid of people, took a disturbing, sinister quality. I can walk through the high street when it is crowded and not feel scared, but when the same high street is devoid of human life? I am constantly looking behind me, and walking just that little bit quicker.

I wanted to use the pinhole camera as an xray for these places. To show in a physical, viewable way how they make me feel when they have no people there.

If I could change anything? I’m not to sure, maybe used up less paper? It was quite an expensive project in that respect, but felt worth it in the end. I certainly wouldn’t of left my pinhole camera taped to a lampost in arms reach of people who though a foster can covered in gaffa tape was some kind of police thing and tore it down. I ended up having to make another one because of that.

If I was to do it again I would make more pinhole cameras, of different shapes and sizes and with different pinhole sizes. It would be interesting to see the different affect of different material.

Overal? Incredibly happy with this project, and happy with the result. Was a lot of fun to experiment and create and I think was a great first experience with pinhole photography. Certainly makes me want to do it again!

 

 

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