Thursday, 20 May 2010

Assignment 2 - Tutor Feedback

One of the things I noticed straight away when I had a quick look through the set was the way you used depth of field to control the layers in the composition, and also the accuracy of your compositions, which I feel have been carefully chosen to balance the positive and negative space in the frame.

Single point dominating
With this composition, the focal point in the bottom right third, the eye is constantly travelling up and down the frame.  It’s interesting here how the colour accent is the key perhaps, rather than the shape or type of bird.  It works well especially in relation to the following shot….

Two points
 …. Where the eye is moving back and forth between the two flower heads, but searching for a third to create a circular movement (could just be my squiffy way of looking at things).  Although the accent is important here, with the purple/green contrast creating a distinct space and relationship, dropping the depth of field to throw the background out of focus is crucial to defining shape and form – and thus texture.  It could probably go even more….

Several points in a deliberate shape
…. As in this shot where the delicate flower heads can only really be defined against a softer background.  Be interesting to see you use ‘rear curtain flash’ in this shot to capture both movement and the static together – similar to the fashion shot on your blog where you zoom out from the subject.

Combination of vertical and horizontal
I think the longer focal length works well to capture the combination of horizontal and vertical in this shot.  Also, that foreshortening/layer compression makes the regularity of the short curves in the wire fence an interesting and contrasting feature.  I like the way it’s partially concealed by the reeds.

Quite surreal, this one, a trio of ‘headless’ giraffes.  Although I realise you had the assignment element in mind, I like the fact that we’re looking at the back of the creatures – we’d rarely be tempted to go for a shot like that, but it works so well.  Could this be tightened up a bit, cropping bottom and bottom right?

This is my favourite shot from the set.  It’s as though you’ve captured some complex mating ritual, or a moment form a choreographed performance.  It’s interesting to read about your observation of their activity.
A chance shot like this (although you had to wait for the moment) is hard to capture.  Could it be improved – not from a compositional point of view, but I wonder if you adjusted the contrast levels using ‘curves’ if you could make the birds stand out even more without losing any of the detail?

Distinct shape
They’re such odd creatures, pelicans – every which way they move is comical and ungainly.  The shape you’ve captured here works really well, but the light and thus the detail) could be enhanced – not part of the brief, I know, but just out of interest.  Did you shoot this in RAW? If so you could have a look at the possible variations and enhancements at the point of import, or maybe just play around with channels and curves in PS.  Maybe also dodge out the tail of the bird centre left – Photoshop, you either love it or hate it!

Implied triangle  1
The steep contrast and dramatic colour in the flower heads (did you tweak the contrast and saturation?) helps define shape and form against a more textured background and creates a much more energetic close shot than the earlier images.  The detail here is lovely, especially the curling yellow stamen, and there’s a nice balance of colour and contrast throughout.

Implied triangle 2
In comparison, this does the job, but feels a bit bland.  It might be worth cropping it even more to get a bigger image of the sleeping ducks, and that would make the odd shape with heads tucked under wings, more interesting perhaps?

Very nice close shot of this plant stem, and a very adept, controlled approach to lighting (you sure you’re on the right level of photography course, Ingrid?)  I really like macro photography, did you use a 105mm?.  The balance of light between daylight and soft flash allows for an excellent range of texture detail right across the dynamic range, including the tiny softly lit hairs against the background.  You can feel a pulse of movement travelling up the stem.

Nice detail of white flower, with random movement of petals.  There’s a good range of focus here, with the focal point in exactly the right place, which creates a circular pattern, travelling out and round and back.  Did you shoot a CU of the entire head, yellow centre and all?

A great set of images which demonstrate that taking quite a technical approach to composition can produce some interesting, unusual and engaging results – or at least help us to look at things in different ways.  Technically, the set is really very good with an intelligent and accomplished approach to a variety of subjects and conditions -  I expect I’ll be saying that again in future assignments.

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