We had a fantastic talk by landscape photographer Chris Upton on Tuesday, and as landscapes are an area I’m looking to improve, I journeyed home to the Cotswolds on Wednesday intending to head out early the next morning.
I had checked the weather and sunrise was set to be a beaut, so at 6.30am I was up and out the door. Unfortunately the clouds decided not to play ball… But I stayed out and shot the old viaducts used for the railway before it got shut down in the 60s (below). This was a prime example of something that I’ve been struggling with a bit recently; although it is nice sometimes just to head out and take photos, I have briefs to complete so I need to start putting a bit more planning in before I go out. I didn’t really take full advantage of my time; I knew I wanted to shoot a sunrise, but didn’t actually know where, and didn’t really have a backup when the sunrise was a significantly underwhelming.
However I’m learning from all experiences and taking it on for the next time! It’s all a learning curve.
Take it easy, M
This was a week to learn a few of the other skills necessary for the wide range of briefs we have been given, including studio photography, image analysis, and creating 3D anaglyphs. Anaglyphs were great fun and involved taking one ‘right eye’, one ‘left eye’ image and manipulating them in Photoshop (use 3D glasses if you have any lying around to see David’s head in all its glory). I shall go into image analysis in more detail in a future post.
Studio photography was new to me, so I was interested to learn the basics of set building, and how to use studio lighting. These were interesting and fun activities involving creating an environment in which my subject would look and feel comfortable. I chose to build a woodland scene with David (@Cervus_Digital) for a species of millepede (below).
I tend to reach the ‘Oh that’ll do’ stage quite quickly when shooting, but the studio day highlighted the benefits of patience, especially when I had a millipede wanting to play around in the leaf litter I had so lovingly prepared for it. Learning to wait and think is hugely important; simple changes such as thinking “Let’s just do another angle” or “I’ll just try a slightly stronger flash” are making a significant difference to my results!
This blog so far has focused on my developing skills as a photographer and editor, but in this week’s post I’m going to concentrate on the three very intense graphic design days we had with the superb Greta Powell (http://www.curveandlearn.com/).
We learnt the skills necessary in ‘Illustrator’ and ‘InDesign’ to create all the documents for the course, focusing on the infographic for an Identification Project, and a magazine for a Design Project (progress after day one below).
For me, one of the most challenging parts of this course is not being hesitant in showing work which fits the brief but may not be top quality. This was demonstrated in the latest three hour design task: ‘Go out, take images, and use those images to make two magazine covers, one single page, one wrap-around…’. I had just about completed one (see below) and thought, “I’m running out of time, so I’ll just copy and paste into the other image to make my second cover.“ When it came to review, even though I met the brief, I didn’t feel comfortable showing the second cover. However feedback suggested that what I’d done would have been the smart thing to do. Hit the brief first then you can work on improving. Lesson learnt.
So this is the first of a two-part blog because the subject will be such a large part of my course (plus all the information my brain absorbed during the last week can’t be condensed into a single post!).
This week was all things Adobe, and I’m going to log my journey into the world of image editing in Lightroom and Photoshop. I have always been slightly hesitant to edit my images so I didn’t ruin them. However, as soon as I was told it was non-destructive and really you just need to practice and experiment, it suddenly clicked. I became much more relaxed about editing and started to enjoy seeing the subtle, image-enhancing changes I could make.
I’ve posted two ‘before-and-after’ shots from a couple of images I edited this week to show what I mean by subtle, image-enhancing changes. The first comes from Lightroom, where I’ve applied a gradient filter to darken the sky and draw the viewer’s focus onto the goose in the foreground, and the second I’ve applied dodging and burning in Photoshop to lift the deer and remove some of the distractions in the background.
So who’s behind “Bassett in Stone”? Well, I’m a 23 year-old marine biologist and budding photographer/film-maker/imager currently studying MSc Biological Photography & Imaging at Nottingham University in the UK. Using this blog I will be providing updates on my progress (including bloopers, blunders, and hopefully a few triumphs).
Early doors, the course has proved to be challenging and engaging. I’m a self-taught photographer, so being presented with a list of briefs on a field trip to the local zoo including, “capture pictures of the lorikeet’s eye using only a macro lens” was pretty daunting (see efforts below). Through feedback from my course mates and course leaders, I’ve become more comfortable and adventurous when creating images. But perhaps the biggest lesson learnt so far is knowing that however good my images are, they must meet the brief. Although I was happy with the second image below, I hadn’t clocked that it needed to be portrait, rather than landscape, as it would be taking up a quarter of a page in a magazine layout (blunder number 1). So from now on – ALWAYS READ THE BRIEF.
(Images in this post are unedited, following posts will deal with my foray into the world of lightroom and photoshop)