Assignment Two Reworked

This reshoot was a long time coming. Family and business commitments prevented any work on it for a month or so, then when I had time the sun didn’t shine. Such is the difficulty of part-time study.

I had prepared a table of comments with a summary of how I planned to address them, then waited for the sun to shine.

This is the revised set. For the sake of completeness I have included the original images where I did not reshoot them.



Tutor comments “Good control over metering with a pleasing result, some shadow detail has inevitably been lost but this is a reasonable compromise. If the group had been real people then the loss of shadow detail may have been more significant? As previously pointed out watch out for unnecessary items included in your framing such as the branch sticking out next to the wall and the hint of table legs. A tighter composition may have benefitted here as there is lots of dead space”

Notes for reshoot “reshoot at eye level and tighter composition, attention to unwanted detail”

The high dynamic range has resulted in blown highlights in the background figures, especially Eeyore’s nose, but I wanted to retain shadow detail in the foreground as I thought this was the more important.



Tutor comments “Good choice of meter and white balance settings. This image demonstrates the limited dynamic range of print as your print shows much deeper shadows than the digital version. I prefer the tighter composition of this image.”

No action



Tutor comments “Similar scene to the above image but with ½ stop over exposure. I imagine your comments refer to the digital image as the print looks much better than (2) due to the less heavy shadows, even with a slight loss of highlight detail. The auto setting for white balance has produced a colder look to the image so consistency is appropriate here as the image is part of a series then ‘shade’ may have been a more suitable choice. This does illustrate an advantage of shooting in Raw as the camera white balance setting becomes less important as this can be handled accurately and without loss of image integrity during post production. It is still good practice, however, to have the correct white balance setting enabled.”

Notes for reshoot “reshoot with warmer colour balance”

In a way I wish I had chosen a less brightly coloured subject for this, the dynamic range would have been more manageable! As it was it was tricky to retain shadow detail without blowing the highlights



Tutor comments “Exposing for the subject has blown the sky, this also has the effect of causing a slight ‘milky’ quality to the image due to the lens and flare occurring. A good image to illustrate the importance of using either fill in flash or a reflector to help balance the extremes of light. Balancing the light would enable a darker overall exposure which would help to lessen the flare aspect.”

Notes for reshoot “reshoot with fill in reflector balancing the light”

I was surprised at the difference a reflector made to this one, using one made the exposure much easier to manage.



Tutor comments “As (4a) but without the strong sky element. Look at the overall composition, some objects in heavy shadow are they deliberate or accidental and incidental? Tilting table I guess is deliberate but the tight crop makes this lose context somewhat.”

Notes for reshoot “reshoot with less or more appropriate background detail”

As 4a, using a reflector made the exposure much easier to manage. The specular highlight on the frame of the mirror adds a nice touch so I was keen to retain this. Depth of field was tricky, I would have liked to have kept the whole image in focus but settled on focussing on the face.



Tutor comments “I like the table causing the dappled light here, good decision to include the rim of the table shadow as this helps to identify the shadows source. A more suitable choice of white balance as it is more consistent with other similar images.”

No action



Tutor comments “Similar to (4a) with the strong sky causing a ‘milky’ flare and also some flare from the iris within the lens, this can sometimes be avoided by use of a lens hood and also by holding your hand, or piece of card, just above the lens on the edge of the frame (often called flagging or using a flag). Print quality is very dark compared to the digital version.”

Notes for reshoot “reshoot with fill in reflector balancing the light, ensure no lens flare”

This was the hardest to get right. Using a reflector did not work because it was in the shade of a tree so no (or very little) light to reflect. In the end I had to resort to using fill-in flash. This is not the best method as it always looks artificial. Flare was easily avoided by using my hand as a flag.



Tutor comments “Did you try white balance on tungsten as a comparison? Overall the image colour and light are pleasing, by varying the distance of the light source to the subject you can control the quality of the shadows. Much further away the light source would create harder shadows that may have been effective with the bars on the background. Very tight crop at the bottom, your comment concerning hand holding is a bit of a giveaway! You should have used a tripod!”

Notes for reshoot “reshoot with more distant light source, use tripod”

I used a tripod for this. My tripod is cheap and it is almost impossible to adjust it to the correct shooting angle, hence the wonky image. I experimented with moving the light further away but it did not make much difference.



Tutor comments “Inventive use of light and good to retain some foreground shadow detail in the print, although the floor has nearly disappeared. When dealing with dark moody subjects with digital cameras sometimes it is good practice to shoot a lighter exposure or with more fill in then will be finally required. This is due to noise issues and contrast range. The final moody effect can then be achieved in post production with the knowledge that you will not have lots of noise appearing. I realise that this does not apply to this assignment.”

No action.



Tutor comments “As you point out this is not truly back lit but more ¾ back lit, and as such the contrast range of the scene is easier to manage. Tilting table and odd crop as you lose just the edge of the table on the right. With this type of photography where you are in control of the elements you need to aim for precision as in the work of Chip Simon. The print here is quite dark compared to the digital version.”

Notes for reshoot “reshoot more at eye level and careful about composition and crop”

This is my least favourite of the reshoot. There is a distracting background (which I tried to blur with depth of field) and the colour balance is not satisfactory. The exposure has resulted in blown highlights on the signs but they are (mostly) readable.



Tutor comments “Here the contrast is more noticeable, slightly blown highlights (255, 255, 255) in some of the signs and some almost black shadows. When shooting an arranged image then a photographer has the ability to adjust the image elements to work within the restrictions of equipment and lighting. In this case it may have been possible to angle the signs to avoid the direct sun just enough to remain within the dynamic range of the camera, I realise that was not the point of this image – just an observation! The shade white balance setting has produced a warmer overall result, remember when shooting just Jpeg then white balance setting is fairly critical due to the inability to alter this satisfactorily in post production. If shooting a series of images using Jpeg then it is important to have the white balance set appropriately to achieve a consistent look. Look at the framing again, is the fallen leaf in the centre of the shot important? It is central so it becomes fairly dominant.”

Notes for reshoot “as 1”

I worked hard for this composition. With the three very similar pictures (1, 10 and 12) and in the light of tutor comments to assignment 3 (regarding variety of viewpoints) I wanted something different. I thought this was quite amusing with Eeyore looking straight at the camera with his grumpy expression at having to do some work.



Tutor comments “Fairly even lighting shows how a Jpeg can handle low contrast scenes easily. From a compositional perspective the still life group would benefit from some foreground interest (right or left) that you could have shot past, possibly out of focus which would lead the eye into the image.”

Notes for reshoot “reshoot with foreground detail”

There are blown highlights on the gnomes on the right, they were closest to the light.



Tutor comments “Appropriate meter setting and exposure compensation to hold onto highlight detail. in film days most professionals shot colour transparency, this required very accurate exposure usually within 1/3 of a stop to hold highlight and or shadows. A compromise was usually required and a decision made what was important – shadow or highlight. The one big advantage of this relates to print as the dynamic range of print is similar to colour transparency film so you were fairly certain that what was recorded on the transparency would print correctly. This comparison also applies to a certain degree to working with Jpeg and print. The Jpeg will not hold as much information as a Raw file and, as long as the image is correctly exposed, is more likely to print fairly well straight from the camera, your prints successfully retain the shadow and highlights as recorded on your digital files, although there is a slight further loss of shadow detail.”

Notes for reshoot “as 1”

As mentioned earlier, I wanted three different viewpoints for the three similar pictures so went for an elevated view for this one. The signs are blown and unreadable but in this case, shadow detail was more important.

This was an interesting assignment first time round. Doing it again towards the end of the course provided an opportunity not only to reinforce the message of the assignment, but also to incorporate things I have learnt in the rest of the course.

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