Category Archives: a – Points

Multiple points

For this exercise I wanted to use some medium format slides created by my father dating back some fifty six years ago.  I found a box of twelve slides in a a wooden box of old photos and negatives and other bits and pieces:-

 

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A treasure chest of old photos etc.

Originally I considered taking shots of them spread out on a light table:-

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I thought, however, that  this was too plain a background and I also wanted to highlight the individual slides as I thought they were worth a bit more individual emphasis.  I hit on the idea of lighting the slides through a towel to provide some texture and to isolate one slide by standing it vertically.  I also changed the angle of the shot from directly overhead to about forty five degrees to the towel.

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I liked the idea of being able to determine some detail of the slides but also there being a bit of mystery as to how it is standing up.

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I wanted the vertical slide which changed in each of the ten shots to be off centre and it was then a question of placing the others in what was both random but also in an aesthetically pleasing position (to me). The placing of one slide partially behind the standing one emphasises that the latter is the most important of them.

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I wanted an informal grouping but also the main slide to be framed once there were sufficient slides to do so

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With more slides added its now a question of filling the frame but still with an eye to keep the pattern interesting.

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With more slides added starting to overlap but still avoiding any pattern.

 

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The final group – there is, albeit unintentionally, a nice symmetry of three groups of three around the main image.

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The triangles and the “frame”

 

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Positioning a point

 

This exercise is about a point, defined in the course notes as having to be “small in the frame, and contrast, in some way with its surroundings.”

Examples would be a bird in flight or plane taken against the sky;, a spot lit object or person; a colour or lack of colour in contrast to the rest of the frame (a red post box for instance); an object that for some reason stands out in a sea of similar objects; Isolated buildings or objects in landscapes;

As examples these are some of my pre course photos that I think illustrate this:-

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The spider is clearly the subject here.

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The kingfisher stands out both by virtue of its colour and the plain background.

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In contrast the photo above it is the lack of colour that makes the insect silhouette stand out in this shot.

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The barn stands out as the single point of interest in what is an otherwise uninspiring landscape.

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Similar in this shot the oil rig stands out as the single point of man v nature. Although there are other smaller structures in the background I do not think that there is any question as to what is the point of interest/focus of the photo.

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Like the kingfisher above the jet stands out against the relatively plain background.

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While slightly larger in the frame than the points in some of the other images this man made structure stands out, literally from the ground, and against the sky. Its status as the point of the shot is enhanced in my view by the path leading up to it.

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Again in this shot the path serves to add strength to the point of interest – Grain Battery

For the three shots required for the exercise I decided to see if I could get examples on a walk around my village and while they are relatively mundane I thought it would be interesting to see if I could carry out the exercise with “ordinary” shots.

 

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The white sign stands out in the shot in spite of the busy background. I feel that both the movement and the division aspect of the shot is aided by the railing – your eye travels along the railing to the sign and it also reinforces the horizontal division. The vertical division is to a degree implied by the continuation of the concrete post.

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This memorial plaque on a wall of a block of flats was deliberately shot centre frame as I felt it stood out sufficiently strongly enough from the brick background and the fact it has text makes you focus on it anyway. The horizontal division is aided by the line of bricks although the vertical division is not implicit or explicit in the shot.

 

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A shot with the point on the edge. To me this works because of the connection between the lane, to which the sign refers, in that there is a context for the sign being where it is as it affects the meaning of the whole of the frame, basically here is a country lane. Unlike the white sign shot above this time it is the vertical division e

These are a couple of other shots I considered using for the exercise:-

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The somewhat incongruous white chair on the allotment caught my eye standing out against a range of midtones.

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This is one I considered using but dismissed as I thought the light fitting was not sufficiently strong a point in the frame, If I had cropped more to the frame for the sign it may have worked better.

It comes back to the “Dividing the Frame” exercise in that when taking the shot some serious consideration needs to be given as to placing the point(s) of interest in the shot – or shots if you are going to try alternatives.