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Sunday, 14 March 2010

Fitting the frame to the subject

For some reason this exercise was bugging me. Not entirely sure why, but I think I was probably trying too hard to find something more interesting to take photographs of, and because of that I kept putting it off. Anyway I have posted the images below, but I may revisit this exercise again at some point. I could be just being too hard on myself but I almost feel like a chef who has served a meal even though not satisfied it’s right enough, but just ok. Maybe just having a bad week…


I stuck to just one lens throughout the exercise (18-55mm). The weather was cloudy, cold and very windy. The location was in an area of open ground with wooded area around. I shot in Aperture priority (controlling the size of aperture manually and letting the camera do the rest of the work) with no flash.


28mm f/10 1/125 sec ISO 100 first image was to take a conventional viewpoint image i.e. to take the shot without too much thinking or time to consider the composition in the viewfinder.


18mm f/10 1/90 ISO 100 For the second image the exercise was to move in and around the subject and make the subject fit the frame as tightly as possible. As you can see the subject at this distance did not suit the landscape perspective and it was difficult to get all of the tree into the frame in this orientation. Because of that I took a second image from a different position and orientation in the next image.


33mm f/10 1/90 sec ISO 100 not a perfect shot, however the portrait orientation fit the subject much better in getting a closer crop. Although the image still tells us about the subjects surroundings, the tree has more presence in the image and it also draws attention to the subject much more than image1 and image 2a.


55mm f/5.6 1/20 sec ISO 100 The idea with this image was to close in on the subject; in this case the trunk of the tree, so that you could see none of the edges of the subject. This created an abstract image of the trunk, closing in on the rough texture of the tree itself. The image still gives us the context that it is a tree that we are looking at, but the subject of where the tree is in relation to the surroundings has gone.


21mm f/10 1/90 sec ISO 100 this image the idea was to move back until the subject occupies only a small part of the frame and make a composition that stresses the surroundings. This is where I think I went wrong with the exercise. My idea was demonstrate the isolation of the subject tree to the rest of the wooded area around and the open space.  However I don’t think the composition stresses the surroundings very well at all. The horizon cuts through the middle of the image and lacks interest; it feels dull and the perspective is flat and the depth does not represent the true surroundings.

The tree line in the background is actually quite some distance from the subject tree, however there is hardly any sense of depth, you wouldn’t believe me from this that there is around about 300 meters from the subject to the tree line!

Now I know I probably should have spent more time on this image and adjusted my viewpoint/composition to be ‘correct’ to what the exercise suggested, however I have decided to leave the image in the blog. After all it is a learning log and one of the best ways to learn is to learn from mistakes. Maybe the cropping part of the exercise (next) can improve the composition.

Probably not one of my better exercises. maybe I picked the wrong kind of subject and should have chosen something more simple and compact, then again I need to stretch myself and learn. In hindsight I may not have achieved the ‘best’ images for the exercise, however I still think I have learnt a lot about how different  composition & viewpoints changes the perception and presence of a subject.

Playing with crops

As part of the same exercise there was a small section about looking at alternative possibilities of an image by cropping. To do this I took Image1 as my baseline then experimented with various crops.

Crop1 actually quite liked this one. I thought that the panoramic feel to the image suited quite well to the landscape, It also feels balanced. I think it would be improved more if the sky had more detail though and maybe a higher viewpoint to see more of the open space behind the subject tree, giving it more depth and possibly with the tree more off centre.

Crop2 Offset the subject a bit more in this one so it was not centred. Possible a bit out of balance.

Crop3 I don’t mind this version so much. More balanced that Crop2. Still room for improvement though the slight slope in the horizon is a little distracting to me.

Crop4 and  with crop3 with the emphasis on the foreground as apposed to the sky / background.

All of the crops have positive and negative points. personally I prefer Crop1 from the set the panoramic suits the landscape. Interesting experiment and I know that cropping as an exercise will be revisited later in the course.

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