The objective of this exercise was to take photographs at night in order to explore the variety of lighting effects and colour in artificial light.
The aim was to include a floodlit building, a brightly lit store, a large interior such as a shopping centre and a raised view along a road at night.
The follow are a selection of photographs I have taken at night and in artificial light.
These night time shots of traffic. I first set up my tripod on a height over a busy road. On a tripod and with a high ISO. I wanted to make as long a shot as possible I started with 30 seconds however the brightness of the shops became almost like daylight and the light of the traffic was lost. If I did not give as long a time the trails became very faint and we saw no shops. Eventually I added my big stopper filter and this allowed me a much longer shutter speed of 5 minutes and therefore allowed me to see the shops and the setting of this busy town and also the trails of the bikes and cars leaving also trail where they turned off. If I was shooting a busy road had I been shooting on a street with no shop lights it could be shot in a shorter time and with out the filter to great effect. I also noted that the long time given with the high ISO gave a very grainy effect this can be used to artistic effect and at times I would want to avoid it. I could reduce the ISO and increase the shutter speed greatly.
I have also taken the following two photographs outside brightly lit shops. One is a hello kitty store and the light appeared more tungsten than daylight or Fluorescent and this can be seen in its orange cast. The other outside a tattoo shop this is taken with daylight set on the camera, a nice white colour can be seen within the shop.
With the shopping centre I have taken one with daylight and one with fluorescent. I could not find a satisfactory shot. The light as expected is not a complete spectrum and is not attractive.
The above two images are taken of a temple with flood lighting just out of view. It is at sunset and I like the way the sky almost dark allows you to see the building well while the light inside is inviting.
I have definitely learned to see the difference and from now on will be more aware of it when taking night shots which I have generally avoided up until now as they have never been very attractive.
The purpose of this assignment was to draw together all the different lighting techniques that I have learned in this very comprehensive study of light.
The aim is to take eight photos based on the following four themes.
- Texture, this is the quality of the surface. Fine detail such as that on sandstone or skin shows out best with a patter of small hard shadow. So you will have to consider the diffusion or lack of it and the angle of light.
- Shape, This has to do with the outline of an 0bject its edges. These are likely to stand out more clearly if they contrast with the background and if there is minimum detail visible in the object.
- Form This is another way of describing the volume of an object how three dimensional it looks, the modelling effect of the light and the way you deal with the shadows is all important. Try to show as much depth as possible.
- Colour, showing the colours of your subject as clearly as possible in addition you could also use any other interesting, unusual or attractive light.
The general feedback from my tutor was that although I had put in great effort in this assignment it was not my most successful. He felt that I had chosen a difficult subject and that I was ambitious in using the same subject for all of the photos and further compounded this difficulty by taking them all indoors. He suggested that some of my build up exercises had images which would have been more effective than what I submitted finally and therefore his recommendation was to reshoot to take it outside in the daylight or to use night lights, candle lights and to avoid studio lights until I have more experience.
Original Submission images Texture.
I have chosen a subject which is a metal christmas decoration and aim to show in eight photos the shape, form, texture and colour of the subject. I can also include a particular lighting that is either attractive or interesting.
f22 @ 1/30 ISO 800 on a Tripod. I have placed the light to the side and at a 45 degree angle to the camera. I have adjusted the light angle so as to have direct reflection of the little angle which is so bright as to separate it from the part of the object which I felt had the most texture to be displayed. I have used a light small enough so as not to fill all the family of angles and allow highlights and low lights in the image which gives us the sense of texture.
Image 1 texture tutor feedback.
He said it was an interesting composition with the object leaving the frame however the exposure is incorect as the highlights have all blown out. There is a little three dimensionality about this image however it does not show texture accurately. He pointed out that for texture to be shown the light should be coming towards you.
Image 2 Texture
f16 @ 1/8 ISO 400 on a tripod. As we know that metal reflects mostly direct unpolarised reflection we can see in this image that the light was positioned to the right and slightly above the object. This allowed us to see the texture as we know from the basic experiment in light science and magic. Where by placing the light to the side helped improve the sense of texture given in an image. A subject taken with the light directly above would have appeared flat. I have also angled the subject by placing a small object underneath it in order to get the exact angle to fulfill the family of angles I desired. In this image I included the back of the subject, a little train which by allowing us to see the smoother part of the metal object enhances our sense of the texture of the top of the subject. By using both highlights and low lights I have demonstrated this.
Tutor feedback Image 2 Texture.
Here I have not considered the basic physics, the angle of incidence the light needed to be at about 150/180 degrees not at 45. Angle of Incidence = Angle of reflectance. Then I should have used a reflector to fill in the front area from the same light.
Depth, this image I or f 19 @ 1/45 IS0 400 on a tripod. I originally planned this image in order to show form which we can see in the top of the image however I believe that the reflection in this way gave the greatest sense of depth of field particularly looking at the wheels of this little train. I have placed a light with diffusion material behind the subject and sat the subject on a reflective surface. By placing a light behind the subject it is not within the family of angles which reflects and the metal piece appears black which allows emphasis on the shadow to be more evident and interesting by not distracting us with the detail of the subject and where by we can clearly see the three dimensional effect of the subjects reflection clearer.
Tutor Comments Form and Depth 3d image
My tutor liked the composition and the reflection although he said that the reflection should also be sharp. It does not display three dimensionality it seems more cut out therefore 2d.
f13 @ 1/125 ISO 800
This lighting which is using a white background of baking paper placed in front of a large light source and suspending the subject. In this way eliminating direct reflection at the front of the subject and showing us its outline and shape. As the subject allows light to shine through it we can see all of the form or shape however no particular detail is shown in the subject and there is no sense of depth of field. The light which we see on the top of the subject is due to the fact that the subject is hanging and not sitting on the background and so some of the light has reflected onto the subject. This subject was particularly difficult to show form as ideally a backlit subject will show its outline and no detail however as there are lots of tiny holes on either side of the subject the light shines right through it. I originally tried cutting out black card to its shape and taping it to the subject to stop the light going through. I also tried shining the light so as to reflect back highlights in certain key areas of the subject using different small light sources and rolling up black card which covered the light and directed the light in the exact direction necessary to create highlights around the rim of the subject however in the end I decided that in order to best show the entire form of the subject this was the image and the holes are part of the subject and so I have shown this.
f22 @ 1/20 ISO 800 on a tripod.
Three dimensional image. I have placed the subject on a black glossy surface in order to create the reflection. The subject is angled at 45 degrees from the camera in order to see the subject in a way which shows it from front to back and gives the maximum sense of depth. Due to the subject shape in order to illuminate everything using direct reflection we would need a very large light source to fill all the family of angles I however need again both highlights and low lights to give the sense of depth of the subject. This contrast shows the shape of the subject. The light is placed to the right of the subject and at an angle. It is at the same height as the subject.
Tutors Comments Form 1.
My tutor commented that it is not the angle at which you place the subject which gives its three dimensionality. If this were a sugar cube you would need three readings. This is in fact flattened out by how it is lit. You got the height of the light right however it needed a reflector on the left side. Good Attempt this one though.
f4 @ 1/750 hand held camera with subject suspended. ISO 1600.
As the subject was metal therefore silver I would say and with just a coloured string attached I have lit the subject with a light large enough to fill most of the family of angles to show its true shiny silver nature and made the coloured string almost a feature coming down the length of the picture in an abstract way that you cannot miss the colour and so that it leads us to the little train subject. I have done this by going outdoors in the daylight on a cloudy winters day so that the light is dispersed in all angles by the clouds filling our family of angles.
Colour. The red and green jump out well however it isnt actually the colour we should be looking at. Note the three dimensionality of this image.
f5.6 @ 1/750 ISO 1600. Here I have placed the subject on the christmas tree. The tree acts in a way as to block much of the light shining through. The light we see is from the window behind and a small light shone at a height and to the back of the subject. This shows just the form of the subject. Had I chosen again to light from directly behind or to give more light we would have seen the light shining through the subject so I felt this way gave us the sense of the train shape and as it is a christmas object placed on a tree gave us a sense of what the subject is.
This again is a much better shot as a semi silhouette with light coming from behind on a white background. It is well exposed and looks fairly sharp a good effort in terms of outline.
f13 @ 1/6 ISO 400 on a tripod. Here I have placed the subject on a black cardboard background and used a light to the side and in front of the subject. I then rolled up a piece of black card and covered the light and pointed it towards the subject. I wanted to light the front of the train with the light falling of in order to create the sense of a train coming out of the night. The light had to be focused exactly on the point I needed any extra light would have created a reflection on the card and this would not have worked for the type of image I desired. I then placed a bunch of christmas lights behind the subject and at a distance. If any light fell on the christmas lights behind we would see what they were so I needed an exposure long enough to allow them to be shown in the background as little lights but not long enough so as to see all the wiring. This then created a type of star like effect which to me gave the sense of a train in the night however as it is a little toy the coloured lights are playful.
Light of Choice Tutor Comments
A fair and creative effort. Where you have introduced a sort of night sky. It gives the train a relationship with its environment. The lights are further away the train closer and this works well. In a sense the train is moving right to left this works well in eastern countries however in the western hemisphere its left to right. Its well exposed considering the lights a well and a pleasing composition.
My toughts at end of first submission Assignment 4.
Having begun with this subject it is quite interesting in that it has good texture and a complicated shape. However I immediately noticed also the difficulties. The first thing that I had to be conscious of was that I am photographing a metal object which means we are dealing mostly with direct non polarised reflection. This can be easier in a flat subject however as the model train decoration is a 3d shape whenever I shine a light on the subject it will reflect from certain directions and not from others. The light reflects back if it was aimed at a 45 degree angle it is reflected back to the camera at the same degree angle in the opposite direction. By using a large light source the light hits within all the family of angles and so reflect back at all angles giving me a well let subject. The other difficulty I encountered as part of this subject light shines through it and so an outline or backlit is difficult, edge lighting it must be considered that the light will shine through. We also know that metal can be displayed as bright or dark.
Assignment 4 Second Attempt based on tutors advice.
Here is a second attempt at Assignment four taking heed of my tutors advice to make it simpler. To use natural light, night lights or candle light etc. To take the assignment outdoors. I have chosen food again for this assignment fruit etc as it gives me an abundance of subjects with an array of shapes, textures and colours and easily located. Some of the photographs are taken outdoors and others are indoors however near a window indoors. All in natural light.
This has proved to be quite difficult. I have chosen an orange and my aim is to use outdoor direct sunlight which is a small hard light source to help create small highlights and shadow. The sun is coming directly at me I can feel it on my face and so this should be a good angle to show texture. I have given an aperture of 9 to give a good depth of field. Whilst shooting the orange I note I should focus in front of the orange not at it in order to be sure that everything is in focus. It is midday sun I am shooting in. I have used a white page as a reflector to reflect the same light back up to my orange which is quite dark at the front Due to its shape it needed a fill light. I have noted another issue which I am not sure how to resolve. There are some highlight clippings on top of the orange. However if I reduce the exposure my shadows at the front become to dark to fill in with a reflector. If I use a flash light to fill it in I risk to soften the shadows and highlights to remove the texture from the front of my image. Pattern increases our sense of texture and so both the pattern on the orange with the repetition of the bubble like forms on its skin and the pattern of the table help to increase our sense of texture.
Image taken with a 50mm lens 1/640 @ f4 ISO 125 I have used oblique light which helps to show texture coming in from a side window. I debated cropping in which showed the texture very clearly however I like the overall look of the image with the lines leading into the picture from the left and so in the end left as is. In Cs4 I increased the contrast and clarity while also using using the unsharp tool.
In the image below I am attempting to show form or three dimensionality. I believe that the most effective part of this image is the shadow. The shadow is strong and shows both the rounded shape and the hair like edges of the subject. The light is coming in from the side and is sun light getting near to midday in the winter in Thailand so it is quite bright and hard. The darker side nearer the shadow contrasting with the more light side to the right shows the three dimensionality. I also like the colour of this image the yellow and red contrast in an accent form helps to make the image jump out at us more. The diagonal lines leading into it. I am trying to include all lessons learned prior to this assignment. Elements of design, Colour and now light to create an effective image.
For my next form or three dimensional image I have gone in the complete opposite direction and created an image in black and white. It is of a melon taken outdoors just after midday so the sun was quite high in the sky creating strong shadows. I have placed the melon on a table outside and the sun is coming in to my right. I then increased the highlights and shadows in raw processing and converted to black and white in CS4.
I have use rim light in a found situation below, it is the winter sun and so relatively low. It has illuminated beautifully the edge of this round courgette/ Zucchini. The edge shows also the hairs around the circular form of the vegetable however I believe that it shows well the circular shape. There is minimal detail in the rest of the object and so I feel it therefore does not distract attention from the purpose of the image. Rim lighting or Edge lighting could have been used Edge lighting is as we have seen in the exercises build up to this assignment occurs when you shoot towards the sun, in which the sun is just outside of the viewfinder. Rim lighting is when a halo light effect is created around your subject. I believe that this shows the shape or outline of my subject well.
Original light/ Colour
The below image is my second attempt at my own light image. I have also used colour. It is a green basil leaf and inspired by how holly Andres uses light to highlight one part of her picture I decided to create this image. I have bounced my flash off a yellow object to return this yellow light. I was thinking also of the photographers eye where both green and yellow can have connotations of young and spring. Green for nature and growth and yellow for spring and young growth. I wanted to use the combination of the two. To give this sense of the fresh young smell of the basis leaf. So I have used a flash and bounced it off a nearby yellow item. I like how the leaf is light and seems to float. This image has been taken of just the leaf however imagine for a food image with other items and then this object drowned in yellow I believe it would bring attention to it.
The next image is more about the colour. I have used contrasting colours Green and Purple however in muted earthy tones. I was inspired to try a different style by photographer Ditte Isager, while looking at the cook book NOMA. In the past I have always found myself attracted to earth tones so why not include them in this project. I have also tried to take the image from a height a style which seems to be coming back into fashion, perhaps inspired by the new tilt and shift lens. I have taken the photo without this lens but again with my 50mm. I have used a cloth underneath similar to many past still lifes however I have not chosen a lace tablecloth and polished fruit. I have instead chosen rough edged potatoes and broccoil. The texture of the broccoli also repeated in the material below and the contrast to the colour makes the broccoli stand out more. I have underexposed to increase the saturation.
The light in the image is coming from above in a well lit interior room with a skylight definitely dirty enough to create a perfect diffuse light source. The light in the image is soft no shadows were required. The idea was to show the beautiful colour of the broccoli. The potato just slightly off centre and the implied circle around it of broccoli. To the right and left are implied triangles. This therefore creates a chaotic looking but organised image. There is one other thing which I believe attracts me to the work of Ditte Isager as it did to Mc Curry. It is the common use of a mono tone often a muted blue. It is a style that I do love and I keep coming back to it.
See self reflection and tutor feedback assignment 4.
Holly Andres http://wp.me/p2dUJz-gB
So while putting my house up for sale. I decided to take some photos and incorporate what I am learning about light. So I have used the Technique of when the light is about the same inside and out while photographing the Exterior of the house. This to me creates a sense of warmth inside a desire to go in. It also gives a more flattering light on the exterior as at the moment there is a part of the house that the sun never illuminates in the garden and so it would be difficult to photograph in the Sunlight as the wall appears dark without merging images.
For the interior I mostly have white lights except in my living room. So I have opted to use the light from the window and where I feel a white wall or the couch or Piano needed some extra light I have used my light box. That way I do not need to worry about different colour balances.
In my bathroom and Kitchen the light appears more greenish so I guess it is more Fluorescent and not quite as attractive. The bathroom was too small to use a light box without it appearing in the mirror or image. In this case I have slightly adjusted in Photoshop.
I have completed all images in about three hours.
- Exercise shadow and fill http://wp.me/p2dUJz-oC
- Portrait at home angelo http://wp.me/p2dUJz-ok
- Assignments http://wp.me/P2dUJz-aA
- Light art of photography working towards assignment 4 http://wp.me/p2dUJz-dO
- Direct and Diffuse reflection Experiment on a shiny subject. http://wp.me/p2dUJz-it
- Light science and magic book http://wp.me/p2dUJz-g4
Exercise 1 – Measuring Exposure
The aim of this exercises was to take 4-6 photos which are deliberately under or over exposed. Then to take a series of images and to bracket their exposure to see if there were any surprises. In certain images if they were more successful by being exposed more or less than I would have originally thought.
These images were taken over two days in Miami. The subject which I hoped to portray was Miami life which is a very urban city landscape however with a very outdoor lifestyle. It is fast passed and relaxed at the same time. Here are the Images.
- Deliberately under and over exposed.
Image one on the ferry in NYC. I wanted to create a frame that reminded us a little of a role of film at the edges. The underexposure was necessary in order to be able to see the statue of liberty and the view from the ferry correctly. I liked the framing and was trying to do something different with a subject that is photographed every day.
Image two a coloured building by underexposing I have increased the saturation and feel the colours are brought more to our attention. With a correctly exposed image the colours could have been washed out.
Image three. Rickys hot dog. I feel like the best way to describe Miami is colourful and this photograph of a street vendor brings it home to me. The bright colour of the cooler box with Rickys name on it the mustard the deep saturation caused by slightly underexposing adds to the image. It was midday sun almost and so the image could have been washed out otherwise.
Image four, under exposed Tree. It was the shape of this image I wanted to bring attention to so by underexposing the ocean becomes almost a white. It is nor a perfect image however I feel the type of pastel look reminds me almost of a painting.
Image 5 The image is a view from a cafe in New York it was the poster face smiling in at me which caught my attention I wanted to use the smoke to emphasise the shape or pose of the two people walking in the image. In order to catch the smoke effectively I needed to underexpose this also works to emphasise the shape of the two figures by not seeing their features we see how they are walking the hunched forward and with intent. They are not taking in their environment but seem to be on a mission to get where they are going. Strangers passing on the street.
Image 6 the surfer. By overexposing we emphasise the level of sun. Implying surfing on a beach in good weather.
Bracketing images to see if the results of under or over exposing produce better results to what I expected.
Miami, USA. I liked this image underexposed as it brings out the white sand and seems to contrast more with the background motorway and buildings this way. I could also see great use of this if I was to convert it to a black and white image. The correct exposure is an adequate image and the underexposed brings out the clouds and the blue of the ocean.
Man fishing in ocean. With shot when underexposed there was little detail of anything the ocean was washed out and lacking in details everywhere else. I like this shot underexposed best it brings out the green and blue more efficiently.
Man reading on ferry. I like this image with its correct exposure. I note that when it is underexposed the different light coming in through the window contrasts better and this can make certain images more attractive however here I prefered to keep smaller details. When overexposed the detail of the map that this gentleman is reading is is clearest however part of the images start to get washed out. When underexposed I like that I can see the reflections in the window.
Seats facing traffic. This unusual position of the seats on the side of a main road caught my attention. I prefer the shot when underexposed as I can see more detail of the peeling paint also I feel it gives more definition to the shape of the benches.
I prefer underexposed with the shadows of this man walking with his fishing net. I like that by underexposing it shows the colours better. I do however like the overexposed effect on the net. It almost shows its transparency as a net should and for a different image could be interesting.
Seats on a beach. I expected this shot to be better with the initial exposure however by underexposing I liked how it enhanced the shadows which made the image more interesting
This image proved to be the most interesting. The people on the ferry and the shape of the windows made an interested everyday shot and this appealed to me. By underexposing I could see more detail of their outlines and activities however by overexposing I could see out the window with the empire estate in the background. Ideally I would like to have both in the shot. This could be done I guess either by using the silhouette of someone standing and so contrasting the exterior light outside or by merging two images.
Exercise 2 Higher and Lower Sensitivity.
With the higher and lower sensitivity I notice that the higher ISO shows more graininess when enlarged. I also note that the areas of less detail and that are neither bright nor dark show less this graininess.
Exercise 3 /4Judging Colour Temperature part one and two.
Image of person taken in the midday sun then around midday in the shade and finally with the sun near the horizon all three images using the daylight setting on my camera.
These three images shot at different times. The midday sun with the person in the sun and the camera at daylight setting has a neutral colour however also creates extremes of hard shadows and is not flattering for a person. The image taken in the shade at midday is slightly cooler however I can see more detail in the image. The third image creates a warmth on the skin tone which I like, the light is evenly spread without shadow.
Exercise 4 Judging Colour Temperature 2 .Exposure using colour temperature correction.
Colour Temperature I have posted the images of a person.
Daylight gives a realistic view of what I saw. In the sun it is washed out and harsh with strong shadows and a neutral colour.
Daylight in the shade less harsh light, no shadow, slightly cool colour not particularly flattering still.
Daylight with the sun low on the horizon. I like this light it is warm and flattering with the right amount of shadow to give a sense of depth. This I believe is my favourite type of light for skin tone.
Cloudy in the sun. Using the cloudy setting seems to give a warmer tone to the image. In the case of in the sun it does not change the harsh shadows however darkens the skin tone and appears a warmer image.
Cloudy in the shade gives a more natural skin tone than in daylight. It is warmer.
Cloudy in low sunlight. Here this image appears too warm. What was appealing in daylight now looks like a bad version of a fake tan. The image no longer appears natural.
Auto In all three images the Auto setting has slightly warmed the image. It is not destructive and allows an acceptable skin tone or image in all three images. However in the case of in the sun the skin tone is darker with shadows and is not a pleasant image. In the shade the image still appears cold with a slight warming of the skin tone and in the case of low sun the image is warm and pleasant it has removed some of the colour adding by taking an image this time of day which I particularly liked when taken with the daylight setting.
For my own curiosity I have taken pictures of grass and of a handbag to see the difference of colour on these items. As the handbag is a similar colour I found similar findings that Daylight in sun was my preferred setting as it is warm however cloudy in low sun was acceptable more so than with the skin tone. I found the auto in overcast to be particularly too cold as with the cloudy in shade colder than I noticed with the skin tone. However when it came to the grass the differences were much more noticeable. Green being a cooler colour in daylight for example the shade appeared very cold almost unnatural and the low sun in daylight appeared too yellow this is probably a correct reflection of the light however in an image could appear unnatural to an observer. Auto in shade and sun appeared the most natural green to me not too warm or too cold. The cloudy in shade and the cloudy in sun appeared to yellow and unnatural.
For this exercise. I have set up my camera in front of a still life of a fruit bowl, I have placed my Key light to the left at 90 degrees. The first image I have taken is with no diffusion.
The next image is identical however I have added diffusion.
With diffusion added the light reading changes. To compensate you need to open up 1/2 a stop. Also the shadows are softer.
In this shot I have placed a large piece of white card 1m to the right of the subject. Here you can see that the white card has filled in some light to the right of the image however it requires some more light. In the next shot you can see how I moved the white card nearer.
At this distance the white fill card is much more efficient the right side of the image is well lit.
Just a little tweek. I have tried to move the Key light a few cm further away from the left side of the subject however I have no more room. I found that this light is a little too much. I have also straightened the perspective a little.
I personally liked the full aluminium fill as it allows us to see the fruit well however there are shadows which adds a sense of depth to me.
The shiny aluminium fill is a nice fill it covers quite evenly the right side of our arrangement. It is softer than the white card and adds more light than the dull side of the aluminium.
This crinkled aluminium fill gives a nice light to the fruit. Instead of the light been reflected to one spot is seems to be more even with some highlight and shadow created.
Steve Mc Curry
. The more of his images I see the more I love them. His style while often showing poverty and cruelty always seems to have a romantic or exotic fee. It almost shows an affection towards people. His particular lighting style I feel is quite recognisable in many images. Portraits that seem to show a special relationship with all his subjects even those unknown to him. The link above shows some images from his new book which spans 30 years of journalistic photography. I have posted one which I particularly liked. The image below of a mother and child gives you a sympathy you can imagine the person inside the car warm and dry, while mother and daughter look in soaking wet on the street. Without knowing their story you feel a sympathy towards them. I feel Steve McCurry photos certainly stir emotions. He gets his point across. Being a journalist each image is published with the story, however each image can stand alone and tells a story in itself.