Saturday, January 29, 2011

Assignment 2: First Thoughts

having just received my feedback from my tutor for Assignment 5 of PaP I am now free to focus my attention on DPP and turn my full attention to assignment 2.   There is a significant difference between DPP and PaP that progressively becomes more apparent as I work through the course.  PaP was subject focused, whilst DPP is technique/method focused.  Essentially; PaP was quite prescriptive about the subject but left the treatment open to the student, conversely DPP is totally open about the subject but very directional in how it should be shot.

The practical outcome is that I now need to work up a subject or subjects that enable a series of 6 photographs with the following properties:

  • A High Dynamic Range (high contrast)
  • A Low Dynamic Range
  • Low Light, requiring high ISO
  • Mixed Lighting
Ironically my photos for Assignment 1 fit this brief quite well, the only exception being lack of a high-ISO image, however, that could have been added easily enough shooting at twilight.

When I started this course I was in a serious quandary not about the choice of this course, but where my photography was leading, and which of the Level 2 courses I was headed towards.  Part of the reason for doing this course was to build skills for the latter courses (naturally), but also to potentially omit the advanced digital photography course in favor of the 2 subject orientated courses.  If I had dropped this course I would have been driven towards doing the advanced digital course.

Throughout the course so far my interested has been in the city, it's landscape and inhabitants, influenced in equal measure by the modernist approach to architecture driven imagery and the post-modernist ethos of street photography. I see Social Documentary and Landscape photography coming together in the photographic study of a modern city, the delineation formed by subject emphasis and perhaps scale.  More or less people, tight versus broad framing.  I believe there is a continuum of subject and treatment.

This leads to my subject choice here, a key motivation in starting this course was to use the assignments to experiment with concepts of landscape photography in a city environment, concrete, glass, and steel, rather than rock, water, and vegetation.  At this point I could easily turn my attention to my other photographic joy (well one of them at least), still life studio work.  A detailed study of plants or technical objects under varying lighting conditions would work very well for this assignment and would be an easy choice, given that right now it is minus five outside.

However, I plan to stick to my goal and maintain the city as my subject, this will also work well into the Black and White work of assignment 3, although I am less sure about the "real or fake" elements of Assignment 4, although Assignment 5 should be no issue and able to complete in warm spring sunshine (nice thought right now).  The greatest risk in this approach is that I am not showing much variety of subject, however, a key part of this course is to develop artistic voice and currently my infant ramblings speak the language of the city.

Having completed Assignment 1 with a wide vista architectural study of local buildings using only a 24mm tilt shift lens, I now want to turn my attention to details of the city, looking for interesting or unusual compositions formed out of the juxtaposition of different elements of street or building architecture.  I am not sure at the moment where this will take me, although one thing I do understand and that is that the 24mm lens will be of no value whatsoever for this task.  I will turn now to longer focal lengths, either 200/300mm primes, or take advantage of the versatility of my new 70-300mm IS zoom.  The approach I have in mind is more likely to require a hand held camera than tripod mounted, so image stabilization will be essential. The key constraint will still be perspective management, so finding a position that allows shooting from a distance is likely to work best.  I also plan to use my 7D APS-C body for this, rather then the full frame 5D2, the added "magnification" of the smaller sensor might help with framing.

My first task is to head out the door and take a bunch of frames and see how I like the look of the images, at first locally, although I can already think of other sites in the city that will yield interesting subject matter for this exercise.  

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