Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Photography Assignment #4...by (Angela) Jean (updated with instructor feedback)

A few of you have indicated that you would be interested in hearing what my professor had to say so I decided to update this post with his comments. 
Tomorrow is the second class of my latest photography class. Last week's class was pretty overwhelming, but also very exciting. This course is going to focus heavily on the technical elements of digital photography, which are not my strong suit. Through my own research and practice, as well as my previous course, I understand the basics of light metering, histograms and colour balance, but I feel like I've only scratched the surface of what there is to know. I have been shooting fully Manual for a few months now, but have only made the switch to shooting RAW (and using Camera RAW for my initial edits) this week. I have worked with Photoshop for a few years now, and have taken one formal course, but by no means consider myself an expert. I have registered for another full-weekend Photoshop course in February, and am looking forward to it. Most of the professional photographers I know have suggested  I use Lightroom instead of Photoshop, but for now I'm comfortable with Photoshop.

What I like about my new instructor so far is that he knows his stuff, and he has a tonne of teaching experience. I also like his philosophy of 'getting the shot right in the camera' instead of thinking about how to fix it later in Photoshop.

Our assignment for this week was:
Home Assignment #1: Shoot 20 frames of activity. Fill the frame with your activity to make it obvious to the viewer what the activity is. It can be anything from passive to frantic, people or animals.

Our instructor gave verbal instructions that there could be no more than three images of the same person doing the same activity. 

This assignment may seem simple, but I assure you it was not easy. 20 frames is A LOT! 
I take pictures almost every day, and it was almost impossible to get, what I felt were, 20 good, assignment-worthy shots in one week. In fact, I confess that I had to resort to using a couple of photos I had taken earlier. If you cyber stalk my Facebook photo albums you may recognize a couple of these shots. Bonus points for anyone who can identify the 2 shots that were not taken in the last 7 days.

We weren't required to record all of our camera settings, and I'm too tired to type them all out, but if you happen to be curious about any particular image I'd be happy to look them up for you. For the most part, and possibly for all of these images, I used my favourite lens....my 35mm F1:1.8 fixed lens. I love that little lens.

In all honesty, I'm only really happy with about half of these images, but I have to submit 20.
Now, without any further ado, Here are the images I will submit tomorrow for my assignment. I'd love to know what you think.

  • The technical aspects of the assignment are exactly what I was looking for.
    There is good variety of subjects are more importantly, points of view.

Twinkle Toes
Old King Cole
  • the two ballerinas is a very cool shot. Nice interaction and they appear
    completely comfortable with the camera.
Twirl #1
Twirl #2
Maddie #1
Maddie #2
Uncle Dhan

Face wash
In looking through the adjustments, there are several images that required a lot of
adjustments. First I would recommend Matrix metering for most thins with Nikon.
The second thing as we talked in class is to think of your subject in relation to the
gray card. Is the subject lighter or darker than the average indicated by the gray
card. There is no data related to how the snow shot was processed but in that case
where the snow would take up a considerable portion of the metering area you
would want it to be at the plus one mark on the meter to keep the snow fairly white.
It would be a very valuable lesson (if we ever get any snow) to experiment
with how you meter. Meter the snow and shoot with the exposure right in the middle
(or a good gray card exposure). Then shot at +1 and +1.5. All images should be in
raw. Note how they look on your LCD screen and also look at the histogram. Now
bring the files into your image processing software and check the numbers in the
snow. If you can keep the snow around 240 you should be able to see detail in all
areas except perhaps snow in full sun.
Try the opposite for a dark subject. Shoot at the middle exposure then at -1
and -1.5. Compare the LCD and histogram and again look at it in the software and
see which one feels better with no exposure adjustment applied. Those two
exercises will help you better understand how to create a more accurate exposure
in the camera.


  1. Definitely recognise Snow, but for the second, not sure... Sticker? Love the lighting in the ballerina shots, coming in through the window. Glee on Maddie's face is priceless!

  2. I think Snow and Pumps. But I think they are great shots, no matter when they were taken! Krista

  3. You are both half right...the recycled images were 'snow' and 'portamisu'.