Projct 52: Week 16 - Black and White

This week's assignment from David DuChemin's book "The Visual Toolbox" was to "try it in black and white." Who doesn't love color? After all, we see the world in colors every day. But sometimes color becomes the main element in an image pulling the viewer's eye away from other elements. Some questions to ask yourself when converting an image to black and white are:

What does the image gain without color?

How does the mood of the image change?

Are there lines, textures, or the gesture of a moment that are now stronger for the lack of color?

I knew I wanted to find a location that had a lot of texture and lines in it to photograph for this assignment. I found this great little alcove at a local park and the light was just perfect when I arrived. Izzy, of course, was her usual wonderful self modeling for me. There are less lines than I originally wanted to include, but I think converting to black and white, you can see how removing color changes this image. Which one do you like better? Why? 

Personally, I like both, but for very different reasons. 

Don't forget this is a blog ring, so be sure to click on all the links at the end of each post. Start with Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Project 52: Week 13 - Use Focus to Abstract

For our Project 52 assignment this week, we were tasked with getting over our need for sharp focus. Instead we were to focus on the aesthetic possibilities of our-of-focus elements, creating something more abstract. Switching our cameras to manual focus, using slower shutter speeds, or intentional camera shake, are some ways to "never do it right." 

I thought this was a great challenge and have created several abstract images before. In autumn, falling leaves, windy days and fall colors make for some fun and interesting images. With the arrival of spring, we're starting to see some color after months of bleak, brown landscapes. Forsythia bushes in particular are showing off their pretty yellow flowers. I thought they would make for a great subject for this project. I fond a huge hedge, used my telephoto lens and manually focused until the flowers were out of focus in a sea of yellow.

I also found a row of cherry trees in blossom. One of the few that have any flowers remaining after the windy days we've had here in Central PA lately. Using the same technique as before, I created this image that's just a little less in focus, but still the recognizable pink cherry blossoms.

Finally, I headed to downtown State College at night and created this abstract image of street lights, traffic lights and car lights.

Next up in the blog ring is Future Framed Photographer, South Dakota. Don't forget to keep clicking on all the links until you get back here. 

Project 52: Week 12 - Tighter Apertures/Deeper Focus

Choosing what is in or out of focus can change the story being told in an image. Our assignment for this Week 12's Project 52 was to shoot with an aperture of f/10 (bumping up our ISO if needed) and notice that we are creating images with deeper focus. We needed to think about our location more carefully, choose a longer lens or different point of view to get a cleaner background. I found this assignment particularly thought provoking. I tend to shoot with a wider aperture so I can let more light in. However, my images have a shallower depth of field as a result.

I also found that I really needed to think about my location and shoot somewhere I wanted to be as much a part of my image as my subjects. I headed over to a park with a covered bridge. Now this isn't just any covered bridge. It was built by Penn State students when I was a kid. The project was led by my father, a civil engineer, and I remember vividly the day the bridge was placed over the creek. But I digress! Izzy and Kita were all too happy to participate and so I set up this shot. Because my ISO was so high, normally I wouldn't have closed down my aperture this much. However,  I really love how the truss of the bridge is as much a part of the story as Izzy and Kita are. 


Now see how everyone else captured this week's assignment. Start by heading over to Charlotte NC dog walker turned photographer, See Spot Run Photography. Don't forget to keep clicking on all the links until you get back here. 

Project 52: Week 10 - Isolation: Use a Longer Lens

Last week's lesson was about isolating our subjects using one of three methods. This week, our task was specifically use a longer lens, 200 mm, and pay attention to three things:

  • How tight is the angle of view? What are you able to exclude from the frame?
  • How do foreground and background elements appear compressed?
  • How does the combination of a long lens and a shallow depth of field allow you to isolate elements in ways you couldn't do with a wide or standard lens?

Using my 70 - 200 mm lens zoomed all the way out, I stood a few feet in front of Izzy and focused on her eye. The use of the longer lens meant I could focus more on her face and exclude distracting elements behind her. Which in this case were a shed and a set of agility weave poles. I used a larger aperture thus throwing the grass around Izzy out of focus, creating a nice blurred green background. Doing so helps the viewer focus more Izzy's face, or eye in this case, which was my intention.

When you to isolate subject or even part of a subject, using a longer lens is an excellent way to do so. Now, go see how everyone else isolated their subjects with a longer lens. Start with Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area and keep clicking on the links until you get back here. Have a great weekend!



Project 52: Week 9 - Learn to Isolate

I'm back with another week of Project 52. Continuing to work from David DuChemin's book "The Visual Toolbox", this week's lesson is Learning to Isolate. When making an image, it's as important to decide what's going to be included in the photograph as it is what's not going to be included. David covers a couple of different ways we can do this.

The first is to consider our point of view. Sometimes just shifting our feet a few steps in any direction can change what is and is not include in the background, thus isolating a subject.

The second is to consider which lens to use. A wide angle lens used closer to your subject makes it more prominent in the image, and the background more diminished.

The third is motion. When your subject is in sharp focus against a blurred background, it makes the focus of the image the subject and the background less dominating.

There are other ways to create isolation in creating compelling images, but these will be covered in future lessons. When I think of isolating my subject, I never considered using a wide angle lens and changing my point of view. So for this assignment, I went out and did just that. I took Izzy to a park with a creek. Since it's winter, it's much too cold to get in the water, so I had her stand along the edge. I got down low, really low, and shot wide just a short distance in front of her. My intention was to make her larger and have the background be less prominent. While I was successful in executing this, I think there are too many elements in my background to really make this a compelling image. I'm glad I tried though. It's something I will consider in the future when I want to isolate my subject.

Now, go see how everyone else isolated their subjects, starting with See Spot Run Photography, Charlotte NC. Keep clicking on all the links until you get back here.