Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Frame: Project - Looking through the viewfinder

Exercise: Fitting the frame to the subject.

Aim: The aim of this exercise is to explore the size of a subject within the frame.

Plan:  I planned to use the 'Cage' in Lyme Park (originally built as a hunting lodge) as my subject.  I chose this subject as I could get close up and also view it from a distance from a number of directions.  The weather was mixed and got progressively worse. 


F9.0, 1/250sec, 130mm
Shot 1 - This first shot has been taken with no attention to the position or size of the subject in the frame (deliberately).  The result is a bland uninteresting shot.  The sunlight on the foreground only aids in making the main subject less significant.The centrally placed folly and central horizon do not provide any lead into the shot or any sense of drama for what is actually a dramatic scene.  The people by the folly help give a sense of scale but the people nearer the camera only add as a distraction.

F9.0, 1/80sec, 28mm
Shot 2 - This shot is a tight crop on the folly and has also had some lens correction applied using Photoshop to correct the converging verticals.  I did this to get a tighter crop at the top of the frame due to the size of the subject.  The resulting image provides no context for the environment.  The close cropping does not provide a suitable frame for the shot and would be better cropped that bit further so that the edge of the folly is not visible.  This is not always the case when cropping tightly but in this instance the cropping does not add anything.

Shots 3,4,5 - The following 3 shots are all parts of the subject.  At this point the interest becomes the detail of the subject, the brickwork lines and shadows.  They become the subject rather than the building.  There are hints to the age and scale of the subject but not the location or context.  The viewer has the opportunity to use their own imagination for the overall scale and setting.  All three shots would benefit from stronger lighting to accentuate the lines in the brickwork.

F8.0, 1/80sec, 75mm

F9.0, 1/60sec, 26mm

F9.0, 1/60sec, 50mm

 Shot 6 - This shot was taken to stress the surroundings.  It shows the isolation of the subject in it's environment.  Like image (1) the people help to give a sense of scale.  Interestingly, if taken from another angle I could have shown Manchester in the background showing the folly's proximity to the urban environment and changing the context of the picture entirely.

The image would benefit from some foreground interest leading the eye into the picture.  The lighting is better in this shot, with the brightly lit hills in the background rather than the bright foreground of image 1.  However, light falling on the subject would have improved the shot, especially against the dark sky.

F13.0, 1/80sec, 100mm
The following 3 images are different crops of the first image.  All of these images offer a different viewpoint.  My preference is for the 'landscape' or 'widescreen' shot as this accentuates how isolated the folly is. 

Learning points:

I was surprised that the tight crop did not work in the way I thought.  I expected a greater sense of drama having used this technique before to good effect.
Close cropping on part of a subject changes the subject completely.  In this case from looking at an isolated folly to looking at patterns and shapes within it.
Placing the subject within it's surroundings changes the view again.  Not just the fixed physical landscape but also the changing aspects (people in this instance).
All of this is in the control of the photographer and needs to be considered in creating the image.

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