Reviewing further exercises : A

People and Place

Part One : People Aware

Reviewing further exercises : A

(i) Thinking about Location (Project : Setting, backgrounds, locations)

Even at this stage in the Course I’ve realised that the types of settings I normally find attractive don’t necessarily suit portraits or, at the least, provide challenges in dealing with exposure settings.  For instance I used my son Matt as a subject for the Assignment images and one of the locations was the Common.  The Common has dark, wooded areas which, on a sunny day, contrast with sunlight as it streams through the trees.  On a bright, but overcast, day, the sky is white against the dark trees leading to highlight clipping.  Dappled shade is lovely to look at with the naked eye but  can look patchy in a photograph.

In the previous exercise I commented on the problems I had in the garden where there seemed to be distracting objects wherever I turned. Our conservatory has good light later in the day but not in the morning if there is bright sun.  I’ve commented more than once recently (to deaf ears) that it would be great if we could replace the glass roof with an opaque plasticised one which could act as a great diffuser.

I’ll comment in more detail on the backgrounds and settings (and how I dealt, or not, with them) in discussing the assignment images.

We were away in Brittany recently.  Sitting in a café in Guerande on a lovely day and I wanted to attempt one of those shots where the foreground subject is in focus, with the background just enough blurred  so that you can see people in the background (people – unrecognisable as in Part 2?)

I did a fair amount of shopping and, in Piriac, we met a a very nice couple where the husband had acquired an old school photograph of Burnley school in the 1950s. Here they are posed in front of it (and the US flag as well).

Here he is again with his daughter this time (she also has a shop). They are back-lit so the raw image needed a fair amount of work in an attempt to balance the exposure.  I should have used flash!

I will be doing further work on light when I’ve been on my half day Workshop in June because I know I need much more practice.

(ii). An active portrait and pose and stance

I attempted several of these in Wirksworth, and have posted a few already in my write-up on the workshop weekend.  Here are some more.


Looks of intense concentration

Conductor of the ladies’ choir guiding with her expression as well as her hands.  I couldn’t get close enough (physically or with longer lens) to really focus so this isn’t as good as I would have liked it to be.

(iii) Eye contact and expression

In the photographs taken in Brittany (above) I ‘directed’ my subjects. I asked my husband not to look at me, explaining the type of framing I was aiming at – that’s another of his ‘patient’ expressions. With the shop owners I was using my limited french to engage them whilst I composed the photographs.


31st May 2012