Monday, July 18, 2011

Assignment 5: Tutor Feedback

I have to say that I was quite worried about how my tutor would view the subject matter and treatment.  He even stated in his feedback that this was the first time he had had an underwater assignment presented to him.  The good news is that the feedback was fine with positive and useful comments.  Clearly there were some issues with a few of the photographs, including one that I really should have noticed.  My only excuse is that I was preparing a total of 150 images from this assignment set to work into a book that I self published with Blurb:

By Shaun Clarke

I have considered adding a copy to my final submission for grading, however, this link provides page by page access to the complete volume at reasonable quality.

In terms of specific feedback there were a number of suggested changes to images in the set:

Lagoon 2

My tutor suggested that using a slower shutter speed could have created a greater sense of movement, blurring the fish.  This is a technique I experimented with on this trip with some success:

What I have effectively done here is to slow the shutter to 1/15s and increase the f/stop to f/27 to balance the exposure to the ambient light.  The flash has then fired to freeze the motion of the fish as I panned with the school.  The problem with this is that doing so also blurs the bottom of the ocean and by doing so I would have lost the sense of betweeness that I was trying to capture in the photo set.  The fish live in a layer between the surface and the bottom, in each image I wanted these layers to be visually distinct, motion would have diminished this effect.

Lagoon 3

Here I am completely to blame for simple laziness, I have re-cropped the image to remove the pink object in the frame:

Lagoon 4

My tutor quite rightly points out that the shark should have a greater presence in the frame, sadly they are extremely skittish animals and reluctant to come close to a swimmer.  Above water a nature photographer would simply adopt a telephoto, underwater this is not an option.  I could use a local focal length, but this would place more water between me and the shark losing contrast and detail.  The shot is already cropped, any further would make successful printing from this image impossible.

I also quite like the small shape of the shark against the dappled background.  This is not intended to be a shark close up.  I did have a chance at a better shot, but just as the shark got close he moved away from me

Images of fish swimming away are rarely successful, unless it is a very large number of fish.  This shot also lacked the quality of bottom reflection that the submitted shot had.  The only way to fix this would have been to spend more time with the sharks, feeding them would have helped, but is frowned upon nowadays.

Lagoon 5

The suggestion here was to crop the image to a letterbox shape bringing more attention to the coral.  Here I disagree for two reasons.  Firstly this set is presented at the same size and shape to create a sense of evolution through the lagoon, each photo brings further information about  the space between the surface and sea bed.  Using the same framing accentuates that progression.  Secondly my theme is based upon what lies between the surfaces, cropping would remove one of the surfaces and produce a conventional coral shot and a photograph very inferior to other coral vistas I have created.

I did have a better coral shot in mind in which the colour of the coral was better, however, it was not possible to see the reflection of the coral in the surface as is the case in the selected image:

All in all feedback I am comfortable with and a good end to the course.

No comments:

Post a Comment