I have now completed Assignment One of The Art of Photography – Contrasts.
Some of the image pairs I chose sprang to mind as soon as I saw the title of the assignment, some took more thinking and a bit of consultation with friends and family.
One of the objectives I set myself was to complete each pair around a particular theme. I achieved this objective for six out of the eight pairs. For the other two pairs I had taken themed images to complete the pairs but felt that other images I had taken better demonstrated the contrast.
The pairs I selected were: Large/Small, Pointed/Blunt, Still/Moving, High/Low, Broad/narrow, Light/Dark, Diagonal/rounded and Hard/Soft.
Onto the images. Clicking on each image will show a larger version of the image in a Lightbox popup.
Large/Small – Shoes and Boots
The subject I chose for this contrast pair were a pair of Caitlin’s first shoes and my own boots. The composition was simple – placing the shoes on a black background cloth. The pictures were lit by a single Canon 580EXII shot through Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe softbox above and to the right of the camera.
A key objective for me with this combination was to use framing to illustrate the contrast as well as the subject – the child’s shoes occupying a only a small part of the frame while the frame was filled with my boots.
Pointed/Blunt – Pencils
This was a fun shoot and subject – sharp pointed and blunt pencils. Again the composition was simple – arranging the pencils on a sheet of art paper and lit with a single Canon 580EXII shot through Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe softbox above and to the right of the camera.
The ‘scribbles’ were included in the blunt picture to emphasise the subject further.
To further emphasise the difference between the two the ‘pointed’ picture was shot at f10 to give a greater depth of field while the ‘blunt’ picture was shot at f2.8 to give a very shallow depth of field.
Still/Moving – Caitlin Sleeping and Audi TT
This is one of the two ‘non themed’ image pairs. I did take a number of pictures that would have made this theme around Caitlin but none demonstrated ‘Moving’ as much as the panning shot of the Audi TT.
The picture of Caitlin sleeping was lit by a single Canon 580EXII flash bounced of the ceiling with a Stofen Omnibounce attached. Post-processing was a low contrast B&W conversion in Lightroom and application of a soft filter action to further soften the image.High/Low – Liverpool Street Station at rush hour
This was one of the image combinations that, as soon as I saw the contrast titles, I knew I would be shooting. I even knew where I would position myself and the aspect ratios of the shots.
To give a sense of dynamism to the pictures I selected exposure times of around 0.5 seconds. I used my jacket as a makeshift beanbag to support the camera with these longer exposures. Note: the ‘low’ exposure was shot through the safety glass above the staircase.Narrow/Broad – Bridges
My thinking on this combination was around paths, roads, bridges, etc… In the end I decided on bridges.
The first bridge is in the Cotswold’s village of Lower Slaughter. Taken on village fete day the path and bridge were quite busy. To ‘remove’ the people from the shot I stack a 10 stop and a 3 stop neutral density filter to give a very long exposure. The second bridge is Westminster Bridge – looking back to the Houses of Parliament from the southern end of the bridge.Light/Dark – A model
The concept with this combination was to shoot the same model ‘high key’ and ‘low key’.
The only key differences between the shots are the background (a white and a black background) and the amount of exposure compensation dialled in. Lighting was from a single Canon 580EXII flash with a Stofen Omnibounce attached bounced of the wall to the left and a reflector to the right of the frame.Diagonal/Rounded – Architecture and Hay bales
This is the second of the two image pairs that are not in the same theme.
My very first thoughts when I saw this combination title revolved around geometric shapes and this is shown in the first image – the roof of the Westfield shopping centre in London.
The second shot, the hay bales came to me while driving down the country lanes. I waited until an evening when the dusk light would be right to get the shot. The shot was composed to create a leading line of bales towards the tree on the horizon.Hard/Soft – Sweets
Another fun shoot, the idea for this came after a discussion with Clare around a number of different subjects.
I had to persuade my elder daughter to be the model for the shot as she normally runs a mile when I get the camera out, but we got the shot we wanted in the end.
Post-processing from the’hard’ image was a high-contrast B&W conversion in Lightroom with further levels adjustment in Photoshop to push the contrast further and selective colour for the boiled sweet.Contrast in one image – Large/Small
Before I took this shot I already had a shot that I thought would show the contrast in one shot ‘in the bag’.
However, when I was shooting Caitlin’s first shoes and my boots it became very clear that this would be a lovely image for this part of the assignment and I’m very happy with the result.I have really enjoyed this assignment.
One of the aspects that I have enjoyed most is moving outside of my normal ‘wildlife/nature/landscape’ comfort zone. While I have included landscape (the hay bales) I used the assignment to think about other subjects and how best to photograph them.
Onwards and upwards.