Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Exercise 13 : The Frame : Vertical and Horizontal

The objective here was to take 20 photographs in the vertical axis.  The recommendation of the course notes was to do this in a compact location to allow the same images to be easily re-shot in horizontal format later on.  I took several sequences of images from one of my visits to the Embankment area of London and some locally to my home and work.  In the case of the London images I took the vertical sequence, examined these on the camera, and then shot the horizontals – simply a practical approach and the need to be pragmatic to address the goals of the exercise within a sensible timeframe.  I also stuck with 3:2 and 2:3 image size ratios as I wanted to test this exercise with full frame shots rather than to do any cropping.  Where mentioned in the text images are tagged with number and title.  I have not discussed all 40 images.
The OCA notes suggest that there may well be a bias towards tall objects to fit into the vertical frame, but I did not find this to be the case in all instances, although there was tendency to place the ‘weight’ of the image low in the frame with the vertical shots compared to the horizontally framed pictures.   However, I did find that I also sought to include more foreground in some of the verticals in which case the main subject of the image was placed near the top of the frame.  In many cases I preferred the vertical composition as it introduced additional foreground elements which added interest to the image and gave better leading lines to the pictures.  This was especially true of the bridge arch at Carrbridge (V1, H1) and the Tower of London(V2, H2) pairs, but the Gherkin (V3, H3) and the City Hall (H4, V4) shots worked far better in horizontal framing as this created a more appealing balance and more interesting images – this is in alignment with my previous comments from the visit to the National Portrait Gallery and the New Documentary Forms exhibition where I observed that I need to include more visual elements in some of my images to add interest and give the viewer more than just the key subject to look at.

The vertical view of St Pauls from across the river (V5,H5) was certainly balanced with the weight at the bottom of the frame for the best effect, although the view of the cathedral from along the Millennium Bridge (V6, H6) was a more pleasing image with the focal point of St Pauls towards the top of the frame.

The pair showing thew wooden bridge (V7, H7) were probably the pair that generated the greatest change in perception between the vertical and horizontal frames, at least to my eye.  The vertical gave a lovely 'up and over' feeling and also a slight sense of mystery as to what might be at the other side.  The horizontal frame is still a pleasing image but lacks the symmetry and question of the vertical.  The vertical of the church (V8) is set well to the bottom of the frame but I think lacks the setting that is implied by the horizontal frame (H8).  The steam train (V9, H9) was a bit of a cheat in that it was not technically the same subject in that the two pictures were taken a few seconds apart as the train approached.  However, the vertical frame is a much more pleasing image in that it suits the length of the train better and also allows the plume of steam to rise vertically into more space than the horizontal frame.  I was pleased to have spotted the potential for this framing as I was not specifically thinking in terms of this exercise at the time, but thought that a vertical might be a more appropriate treatment.
The aim of the project is to demonstrate that framing is often just a matter of habit and that the vertical can be accommodated in most images with a little effort.  Interestingly, I take a fair proportion of my wildlife images in vertical format as it is reckoned that vertical outsell horizontal by around three to one – presumably because of the upright format of most magazines.  The outcome as far as the actual verticals was not as clear as I had expected, presumably because of my image and location choices.  I did not find that the balance of weight in the vertical frames fell to the bottom of the frame as often as I had expected it would.

I found this an interesting exercise, although I felt that 10 images in each orientation would have been enough - loading 40 images at the glacial speed that blogger loads at was never going to be a joyful experience.   I also learnt that it is a good practice to frame up both horizontal and vertical images when taking a shot and to photograph both orientations if possible – there is also the possibility of some imaginative cropping later on if both options have been covered.  I will certainly adopt this as a routine practice in future.

All images taken with a Canon 5DMkII with a 24-105mm L IS lens.
V1  Carrbridge

H1 Carrbridge
V2 Tower of London

H2 Tower of London
V3 Gherkin

H3 Gherkin

V4 City Hall

H4 City Hall

V5 St Pauls from the river

H5 St Pauls from the river

V6 St Pauls from the Millennium Bridge

H6 St Pauls from the Millennium Bridge
V7 Wooden bridge
H7 Wooden Bridge

V8 Church

H8 Church
V9 Steam train

H9 Steam train
V10 The Gate
H10 The Gate
V11 Hawthornedale House
V12 Hawthornedale House
V13 The Lane
H13 The Lane
V14 Lonesome Pine
H14 Lonesome Pine
V15 The River Bridge
H15 The River Bridge

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