Thursday, July 3, 2008

Photography Assignment - Black is Beautiful - Lighting and the Decisive Moment

I chose to use my guitar as my subject matter once again, like in the first assignment, to show my love for music, and I captured it in two different lighting conditions. In addition, I also used a wooden cupboard as the drawer to blend in with the texture of the guitar, such that the bacground would not be too distracting. The first picture, as seen above, is taken with flash. The use of flash immediately draws the viewer's attention to the guitar as the subject matter, as the light is cast directly onto it.

By using just overhead lighting, without any additional frontal lighting, more shadows can be seen, which are whited out by the flash in the above photo. This gives a more a warmer and more cosy feeling as compared to the photo taken with flash, and adds more depth as well, giving a more 3-dimensional feel to the image. Attention is drawn more subtly to the subject as compared to in the first photo.

This was taken at my cousin's wedding recently, whereby the groom made a "formal proposal" to the bride. In order to capture the action quickly, I used the "Sports" mode in my camera, and turned on the flash. It provided me with a shutter speed of 1/60 of a second. I placed the subjects at the bottom two-thirds of the picture so that the viewer's attention would be drawn to them, and the picture would not be too boring. The use of flash also draws attention to the subjects - the bride and the groom, making the background less distracting. What makes this a decisive moment is not only when due to the touching of lips, but also the uncle behind looking at them at the exact moment - perhaps he is thinking of his younger days.

When I was watching the elephant show at the zoo, the commentator said that this would be a classic moment. Hence, I immediately whipped out my camera, which was running low on battery at that time. I used a fast shutter speed of 1/160 second with the flash turned on. Thankfully, I manged to freeze the moment to just when the elephant was lifting up the log. The elephant is placed directly in the center of the picture, which shows its majesty, and it gives the impression that the elephant is coming out of the picture and straight at the viewer.

Ocean Park- Hong Kong. This pic was taken using the "Sports" mode once again, with a fast shutter speed of 1/250 second. The stage behind forms a triangle in the picture, adding strength to the image. The viewer is led from one corner of the picture to the other, and the triangle also acts to separate the image into two parts, drawing the viewer's attention to the dolphins. The rule of thirds is also employed, where the dolphins are placed at the left side of the picture. What makes this a decisive moment is that the dolphins are about to enter the water, and that the actions of the two dolphins are in unison.

The sealion in the picture was also taken in Ocean Park, and this picture was taken with the "Sports" mode with a shutter speed of 1/125 second as well as a slightly higher ISO sensitivity of 400 to capture the exact moment when the sealion was lifting itself on its fins, showing off its strength. The sealion was deliberately placed at the centre in order to make it the centre of attention, to give it its deserved role of being the star or "king" of the show. The heads of the people in the foreground also give the impression that many people are watching the show, further enhancing the stardom of the seal. There is also the use of a little negative space in the background, serving the same purpose of drawing the viewer's attention the subject.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Photography Assignment - Extraordinary out of Ordinary - Architecture and Me

This was taken at the condominium beside my block in Bukit Panjang. I chose this scene and this angle, carefully avoiding a tree which would block of much of the details of the condominium, such that it would show that the block behind, as well as some of the clear skies, which would help in supporting the background such that it would not be so dull. This somewhat acts as a frame within a frame as well, but the focus is still on the block in the foreground. The trees in the foreground provide a sort of anchoring as well, such that elements of nature are added, and the picture would seem more lively. After trying out various exposures, I felt that an ISO of 80, as well as an exposure compensation of +0.3 EV, as well as a fast shutter speed of 1/400 sec worked best when taking this particular photo.

This is the same scene of the condominium, but it was taken at night. In this scene, some of the lights were on while others were not. The lights gave the impression of human activity, and acts as an anchor point, such that the image would appear "more human", and would not be so dead. Although rhythm is present due to many similar windows being present, this rhythm is sometimes broken, depending on whether the lights are switched on or off, and the lightings are of different colours as well - whether white or yellowish. For this picture, I used a slow shutter speed of 1/2 sec and an ISO of 400 , but opted for no exposure compensation as I was satisfied with this particular amount of exposure.

This picture was taken at home, and I used the portrait mode in my camera while putting it on a tripod with the self-timer on. I contemplated between using and not using a flash, but decided not to as the flash would white out certain details, including my face and parts of the guitar. I used lighting to draw the attention to myself and the guitar as only that part is lit, while the shadow on the right of the picture helps to draw a contrast. The rule of thirds was also used, and I placed myself at the side of the frame, rather than at the direct centre. I feel that this picture represents who I am very well, as I not only love music, but I also love to play guitar a lot.

This picture was taken without a tripod and self-timer, and it represents me well as well as I love looking into small details and asking questions. For this reason, I used a very close-up angle, showing each and every of my facial features, in order to achieve the effect of me peering into the world. The light of the left and the lack of it on the right helps to create a contrast as well - the details of my T-shirt appear to be more distinct on the right side, and it shows two sides of me, the light and the bright side.

This scene was taken under a HDB block in Bukit Batok. I chose this scene as it gives the impression of entering into the picture due to the effect of the leading lines, as well as the fact that nothing can be seen beyond the bright light at the top of the building. The top of the building where the light appears from was delibrately placed at the side using the rule of thirds so that it would draw the viewer's attention better. I used an ISO setting of 80 as well as an -1.0 EV (tried -0.3 and -.07 as well, but I feel that -1.0 was the best setting to use), and set the white balance to that of "sunny" conditions to compensate the bright conditions such that the details of the building would be displayed better.

This is the same scene taken early at night. Although a higher exposure could have been used due to the dimmer conditions, I stuck to -1.0 EV as it also enabled the details of the building to be seen more clearly. However, I used an ISO of 200 (I avoided using anything higher as it would result in grainier images) as well as a slow shutter speed of 1/4 sec to allow more light to reach the CCD sensor. The yellowish interior as well as the bluish sky provides a good contrast as well as they are complementary colours, and helps to draw the viewer's attention.