Tuesday, 30 April 2013

More portraits of friends, this time with a better lens

I have been experimenting more with the light and asking friends to be my models. So this is from a few weeks ago on a trip down to Devon. The best moment of the weekend 'weather wise', sunny, dry and warm. As opposed to the rest of the weekend, rainy and cold. This is for the weather talk! 

This series of friends portraits is different from the last one because I am using a better lens - a 50 mm. It makes a big difference as it allows to focus more on the subject and throw the rest out of focus. 

This is my friend standing in the shade. I wanted to try and soften the effects of the direct sunlight by asking her to stand under a tree. What I didn't realise though is that the tree hardly had any leaves so the shades of the branches are quite visible on her face. Although the quality of the image is not perfect I like her smile and facial expression of happiness. She is by the way smiling to her daughter, opposite her.

She is now out of the shade and onto the sun with no cover so the effects of the direct strong light are too visible. As it is late afternoon and the sun is going down, the light although strong is not coming from above but directly from the front. So she is not squinting a lot and the shades under her eyes are not too dark.

The shades of the branches on this one are less distracting as she is looking into the shade and that creates a sort of a darker band around her eyes as a sort of space where her look is absorbed.

I like this one very much as it creates the impression that the 'girl' in the photo is being in a dreamy or contemplative state.

To finish off, here is our usual companion Scomer the dog, bathing in the sun with his feet in the river. Although this can be considered overexposed as a result of shooting into the sun, I like the halo created around him. It resonates with a feeling of happiness and warmth.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Experimenting with the light - friends modelling for me

I have been continuing to experiment on the same topic as in my previous photographic assignment - playing with different types of light and directions. 

To make it a bit more interesting and predictable (as opposed to using toddlers who never stay still) I have been asking friends to be my models. 

My friend Lira accepted to pose for me after we went to see the Manet exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. The exhibition was fantastic, I really enjoyed it and got into the characters Manet - the father of modern painting - painted who were also friends and family. 

The Royal Academy of Arts entrance.

A painter's sculpture in front of the RAA.  

We had our boys with us as well but after having had something to eat and drink, they were happy and so were we. 

So I asked Lira if she could be my model and she agreed. We went to Green Park trying to make the most of a spare moment. I didn't have any set ideas of what I wanted to do so it was all spontaneous. I wanted to make Lira feel comfortable as I know it is daunting to pose for someone just like that out of the blue. I was concentrating on the light so our focus was there, to try different directions. 

So here the light is coming from the left. It is a soft light as there is no direct exposure, the sun is hidden behind clouds.

Here it is the same direction, light is coming from the side but I am a bit closer and I chose square cropping so that we can have a bit more details on her posture.

Although I didn't have any pre-set idea for these portraits I wanted to be able to create something with a dream-like effect or a photo where the model is immersed in something bigger, woods, grass, flowers etc. But as you can see the results were far from that idea because of the setting obviously, we were in a park and not in a forest and the light, which was diffuse and not strong/contrasting enough to create any effects.

After this first shoot with a model I realised that I need to be more prepared in terms of what I want to do/photos I want to take and have a story ready to distact the model. Also have a few possible scenarios ready to deal with the different types of light.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Easter egg hunt - was my photography assignment achieved?

In between doing my work and looking after my family, I have been taking a few lessons from an amazing photographer - Georgina Cranston. I stumbled upon her work after watching on the Guardian website a video she had produced, that tells the story of a homeless woman - Lucy's story. 

At the last lesson we talked about light, the different types of light and directions and the effects light can create on a subject. So after the lesson I had to work on an assignment experimenting with different types of light. 

We had planned to go down to Wales for the Easter weekend something that seemed a perfect opportunity to take beautiful pictures and get on with my assignment. I had a plan about the assignment - take portraits of a model, my son and/or his older cousins - with the light coming from different directions. 

Side lighting - light that comes from a window is very good as it diffuses naturally on to the subject and creates a warm atmosphere. 
Here is Edward enjoying an Easter egg. The light is coming from his left and lights up half of his face. It is a shame for the distracting background of the highchair and the radiator. Next time I will use a piece of white fabric in the background but with children you never know where they will stand or sit so it becomes difficult to control every setting. 
Taking photos when the sun is high in the sky brings bout the issue of shadows and can be unflattering for the subject as it exposes unflattering details, wrinkles, shade under the eyes etc. But here as the models are my beautiful boys, even on a bright sunny day they look fantastic! 

The light coming from the side on these daffodils makes them look bright and colorful - what about the cream eggs hidden in the earth?? I can only see one of them properly ... 

This is another example of light coming from above but the shades and unflattering details are not an issue as I am not doing a portrait of someone. I like this picture very much because of the lines the path defines and the dog looking away at the man with a child on his shoulders. 

The rest of the pictures are landscapes taken at about the same time, around midday. The coastal path in Pembrokshire is spectacular.  

Front lighting - here my subjects are facing the window where the light comes from and apart from not being able to have the three of them concentrate on one same thing, the effect is pretty warm?! 

Back lighting - the light is facing me and the back of my subject and it creates a bright effect around him. I love this picture for the expression of my very cute nephew but I should have stood back a bit more as it feels that we are a bit too close to him. So what is the verdict? Did I achieve what I wanted on this assignment? I certainly did experiment with the light, back-lighting, side-lighting, front-lighting, lighting from above but as to the results, I am not an objective judge. I am looking forward to hear Georgina's views. One thing is for sure, taking photos of children is challenging, that is why my favorite pictures from this assignment are 'dog and man with child' and 'cute nephew' who is older and can sit still for a while.