Sunday, 2 December 2012

ASSIGNMENT 4 : Tutor feedback and response

Feedback on the Light assignment has been received and I am very pleased with the response.  The summary comments were ….  “The volume of work for my assessment is evidence of your application and it is considerable, but the logical layout makes my task much easier.   The ground you have covered in this assignment and in your exercises may be a new experience for you but it will prove a great benefit in your future work and a solid base on which to build.   I am impressed by the array of lighting equipment which you employed on this assignment and the experience you gained on the RPS workshop.   I don’t think there is any other way to become acquainted with studio lighting than ‘hands on’.   It seems that Chris Burfoot gave you some good grounding in the basic techniques.    I don’t know if you have flash meter yet but I would certainly recommend the purchase because I could not possibly manage without one.   I have found your ability to articulate your work lucid and extremely interesting which has made my task enjoyable.   You images are sharp, well framed and clearly presented.”  I am going to need to reshoot a couple of the images and in view of the conditions outside, will probably have to drop the ambition to have one natural light shot for each example, but there was no instruction in the brief to do that, so nothing will be lost there.

There were some specific comments on individual images and these are dealt with below.

For ‘Shape’ the feeling was that “This image certainly succeeds in demonstrating your subject’s basic shape but I feel that there is a too pronounced fall off in the illumination of the background probably because the light source was a little too close to the background.”  Having looked at this again, this is absolutely right and I have repeated this shot with one of the large lights behind the loaf, but this time allowing less of a gradient in light between the subject and the background and the following image is now the one I will submit in February for assessment.

The second Shape image was the one taken outside under natural light and either needs replacing or reshooting.  The view was that “the loaf is so heavy that it merges with the background and I am sure that you will be able to relieve it before you send your work for assessment at the end of the course.   It is only a minor point but as you have used two side elevations could you perhaps make one image of the end elevation?”  I had a lot of trouble with this one in that I was happy with the original image on screen, but the definition of the edge of the subject seemed to be affected by compression for web viewing, so I will need to reshoot the image or rework the existing file.  It was also a good suggestion to use an end-on aspect for this as I had indeed used other angles and needed to get away from the trap of being repetitive with such simply shaped subject, so if I reshoot this I will certainly do so with the end-on elevation.  This nagged at me for some while and I eventually decided to take more images as I was not sufficiently happy with the originals to make me want to spend time in CS5 making adjustments.  I also liked the idea of using the end elevation to show some variety, and although the weather prevented me from making this an outdoor shot as I originally intended, this was another reason to re-shoot.  I set up the loaf end on with the two big lights behind at 45 degrees and positioned to give a rim light effect.  This time I used a black background to be different to the wood I used previously and flagged the lights with black card to prevent light from spilling onto the background and illuminating the backdrop.  Camera position was level with the loaf and I underexposed by 2 stops to ensure that the rime lighting effect was maximised.  The result is below.


In Form the view was that all three images I had considered were good but that my tutor’s selection differed from mine.  He felt that my choice of the loaf cut in half may be considered by the assessors to be changing the basic shape of the subject and therefore outside the guide set by the brief.  I’m not going to argue with that so the half loaf goes out and will be replaced by the image where the loaf is stood on it end, having now made the adjustment suggested to take care of “the flat area on which the loaf is standing … is slightly weaker than the first (image) and you might like to lower the brightness a little.” Job done.


Texture generally worked well and there was agreement with my selections (which were actually the images I had put in my final selection on flickr) and that the rather tightly framed side elevation should be rejected in favour of the highly detailed close up.  It was also suggested that I might have considered using the highly structured top of the loaf as the subject for one shot rather than doing both from the side; this is a good suggestion and as I intend to re-shoot one of the Shape shots, I will have a look at the possibilities around this before final submission for assessment (and the folks in Sainsbury’s can give me strange looks again as I pick through the seedy browns for the fourth time to select just the right one !!!!).  

Another day, another loaf.  Yes, more strange looks and the perfect loaf was selected and photographed.  I did this outside to take advantage of the intensely bright day after a sharp overnight frost and set up with the camera looking directly downwards at the top of the loaf while the low sun raked across the surface from the left; I used a small silver reflector to ensure I picked out the detail and texture on the right hand end of the loaf as well.

Colour was well received and the views were … “I applaud your time exposure shot taken by the illumination of six candles.  In my opinion, you have achieved an excellent effect which contrasts sharply with your second image to demonstrate the difference between daylight and an artificial source of candle light.  Because of the candle flames tendency to slight movement, your long exposure has slightly softened the edge of the shadows which is a tiny detail that enhances your image.   You have created the warm glow you will feel after finishing the bottle of Rioja!  This shot also demonstrates the colour of your subject in contrast with the green in the background.    This, the last of the images in this assignment is final proof of the appropriate character of your choice of subject.”

 I am extremely pleased with the above, and especially that the areas I thought showed weakness were the ones that were pulled out, which hopefully means that I am getting to be a better judge, at least of my own material anyway.  I also recognise that I need to think more broadly within the brief, and although I had started to move the subject around more in the latter shots I should have considered the potential for selection of elevation and shooting angle from earlier on.  I took a lot of images in this assignment and looking at them in sequence of shooting I can see the development as I went along, although it is hard to show this in assessment format as I skipped around a lot as ideas for each theme developed.

I am pleased that the blog is apparently easy to navigate and follow, and although there are several things I would not do if I was starting again from scratch, I will refine the structure and some aspects of the format when I start DPP in January with a new blog.

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