Monday, 23 November 2009

PROJECT 14: vertical and horizontal frames

For this project, the purpose was to take 20 photographs vertically and consider the restrictions.  Did I position the main weight of the image towards the bottom?  Then you were required to take the same subject but in a horizontal format and then decide whether taste, habit and preference are more restrictive than the orientation of the image itself.

My wide-angle lens still hasn't come back from the doctors so I used my 50mm prime for the following photos.  This limitation was in many ways more frustrating than the vertical format!

I took myself to Whitehaven for the morning.  The seafront and harbour has been developed beautifully with many unique features that add so much interest. Today, I was with my youngest tucked up in the pram.  So laden with nibbles to keep her temporarily happy and wrapped up like an onion as it was a wee bit parky this morning, I started clicking.  However, because I was with child, I swiftly moved from subject to subject not taking the same time or thought in composing the shots. 

On the cobbles at the harbour there are a number of metal fishes embedded in the cobbles.  They are really attractive.  For this particular subject a vertical or horizontal frame (images 1 and 2) doesn't much matter.  It is a fairly abstract and small subject. For both images I have converted to b/w given the lack of interest in the colour and distorted the angle slightly so the lines of the bricks run straight. I'm undecided which I prefer.  The lines of the bricks in image 1 run nicely up and down.  However, in image 2 there is space in the direction the fish is facing but the lines of the bricks run in the opposite direction 'creating tension?!? (I've seen that term written a lot in photography books!!).

Image 1
Image 2

For the next subject (images 3 and 4), I wanted to capture primarily the enscription on the bench: '1910 Wellington Pit explodes taking the lives of 136 men and boys'. What would our health and safety bods have to say!! There are numerous benches dotted around, all with a little piece of local history, a nice touch.  In addition, I love the shape of the bench and how it resembles the tail of a whale.  I have saturated the blues too.  I didn't have the right lens for this subject which means I haven't got the whole bench in the shot, particularly noticeable with the vertical image (image 4).  Infact image 4 (the vertical frame) fails to achieve what I intended as the words are lost completely, the composition is poor although inadvertantly the shape of the tailfin is more visible than in image 3.  Having taken these two shots, I have learned that the vertical composition is significantly harder to achieve well with a subject that has predominantly horizontal lines.  
Image 3
Image 4

Walking further down the harbourside I came to the start of the c2c - still on my list of 'things to do'.  I am disappointed with these two images (5 and 6). The lighting was good today, it is a photogenic 'sculpture' (for wont of a better word) and nice setting.  And I've made it look incredibly ordinary, flat and yes, dull! To do this justice, I would need to come at the beginning or end of the day when the light provides more contrast and colour between fore- and background. I would probably try to reduce the dof so the background becomes blurred.  I may also try a long exposure too to blur everything behind further so your eye is drawn only to the 'c2c'. 

But maybe that's because I'm used to photographing emptier and larger landscapes. Busy and urban scenes I am less experienced with and I find more challenging. I struggle with so much 'clutter' and 'stuff' in images like that. I find it really hard to get the photo to talk in a coherent way - there are so many messages that I lose the point of the image. And this is without the wide-angle lens!! I undoubtedly need more practice with this type of photography. I also suspect I have a preference for more minimalist, spacious and less busy scenes.  I'm sure I'll begin to consider these thoughts more as the course progresses.   

Anyway, back to images 5 and 6, I marginally prefer image 5.  As the course material implied, vertical objects are more suited to a vertical frame and this has been the case here. I have also naturally positioned the sculpture towards the bottom of the frame. In image 6, the sculpture is a a little squashed top and bottom, and for me there is too much noise around it, although compositionally it is stronger.
Image 5
Image 6

For the following two images, I looked down at the ground again - not my normal choice of subject. However, so much effort has gone in to the cobbles, designs and shapes, it deserves photographing.  I have upped the colours in images 7 and 8 to accentuate the lines and colours.
Image 7
Image 8

The curves in the cobbles create a lovely shape. There is no specific focus in these images (7 and 8), it is more designed by shapes and colour. Both are generally balanced however, I wish with image 7 that I had caught the red brick border completely in the bottom right. For me, it looks cut short and wrong. However, this has nothing to do with the vertical orientation and more to do with weak composition by me. I think also that I do prefer image 8 as the lines flatten and curves veer away to the left and your eye is taken further than in image 7.

Next stop was this bike rack - again, very unique but I don't think I've done it justice.  I went for the more abstract approach. This was neither tall or wide so the benefit with orientation was negligible.  I prefer image 9 as what attracted me to this subject was the glass shapes and the light shining through and this image means more panels are visible. Although image 10 has some sort of 'human' factor and the smile of the fish becomes the focus - not intentional but quite nice.
Image 9
Image 10

A very noticeable landmark at Whitehaven is 'the Wave'. When lit up at night it is spectacular.  Here is an image I've taken in the past of the wave. Again, the shape of the wave - a long, horizontal line is conducive to the landscape orientation.

Image 11
Image 12
Image 13

I have lost sight of this particular project as events have taken over here.  But when I get back out, I'll try a few more of these images in vertical and horizontal frames.

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