Reflections on completing the course.

I have now finished The Art of Photography course and it is a good point to look back to see what I have learned over the past 2 years.

1.      It took a lot longer than I originally thought it would, but it has been good as it has spurred me to go out and take photos. I had originally hoped that this would be the case and the structured way the course progressed helped me to see new opportunities for photos.

2.      I am much more proficient at some of the technical aspects of using my camera, I was never too sure what white balance was before I started the course, I am now much clearer.

3.      I now hardly ever use automatic or programme mode on my camera; I am much more confident and capable of using aperture, shutter or manual modes.

4.      I have developed a real interest in light and lighting. The course stimulated my interest in this and I bought some studio lighting equipment which I am really enjoying using.

5.      I have started the progression from taking photos to making photos. It is interesting to compare the way I approached the first assignment with how I undertook the final one. In the first assignment I was thinking about where I could go to take individual subjects, in the final assignment I was far more adventurous in creating the final image that I wanted.

I think that my photography has come on a long way since undertaking this course. I am now much more able to construct an image that tells a story rather than simply taking a photo.

It took longer than I thought it would, but it has been worthwhile. The difficulty now is to decide which course to do next!

Assignment 5–Feedback

I have now received feedback from my tutor on my final assignment. Overall I’m fairly happy with the comments; he did say in the summary “this has been a good assignment and a fitting end to the module”. So that is something to be pleased with.

The main area where I fell down was in not having read the assignment brief thoroughly. I concentrated too much on constructing and taking the photos and too little on what the assignment was saying about it being for a magazine. I should have produced a mock up of a magazine cover and an article (even without the text) to show that I understood the brief and taken photos accordingly.

I have since produced a mock magazine cover and article which can be seen here.

A day in the life magazine

Final Thoughts on Completing the 5th Assignment

My original list for this series of photos was

  1. Cover. A still life with books, fruit and magazines
  2. Bathroom (mobility aids). Help getting up, WC with chair and medicines
  3. Coming downstairs – stairlift
  4. Sorting out the medicines – hand and pills
  5. Breakfast – food and pills
  6. Reading the paper or magazine – Magnifying glass, glasses and paper
  7. Lunch – meals on wheels being delivered
  8. Watching TV over the shoulder
  9. Tea – and pills
  10. Watching TV – holding remote
  11. Bed – pills
  12. The people – outside shot

The final submission includes most of these ideas although perhaps adapted and in a different order.

All the way through I decided to exclude people from the series so as to concentrate attention on the aids and assistance. I planned to gradually introduce people towards the end with the hand on the remote control and the figure on the stairlift. I always planned to personalise the series in the last image of the series and took photos to add a more uplifting note for the final image. I took a portrait of three generations of my family to show that family support is as important as any of the aids and medicines.


I like this photo and am pleased with it and think it portrays the sentiments I have just described.

I have though, taken the difficult decision not to include it within the assignment. I don’t think that it works well with the rest of the series and that perhaps my original concept was slightly flawed in that it is best to keep the images without people being recognisable within them.

9 Bed Time

Even going to bed at night can prove difficult for those people that have problems climbing stairs. A stairlift can be the answer, but it can be expensive and not everyone can afford one.


For this final image I had the idea of photographing the stairlift to show how going to bed can need assistance.

When considering the best way to produce the image I thought back to some of the very first exercises in this course where I took photos of moving objects at different shutter speeds to convey a sense of movement. I thought that it would be a good technique to use to show the stairlift in use. It would convey a sense of movement adding interest to a photo that, were I to use a fast shutter speed, would be very static.

I found the exposure difficult for this image as the lighting levels varied considerably in different parts of the scene. There was a window on the landing at the top of the stairs so light was shining through making that area the brightest part of the scene. The foot of the stairs was much darker whereas the hallway to the right was lit to a level approximately half way between the two extremes.

I restricted the amount of light at the top of the stairs by drawing the curtains there, but there was still quite a difference in lighting levels between the top and bottom of the stairs.

I thought that it might be best to wait until it was dark and then photograph the scene under the fluorescent house lights which would give a much more even illumination to the whole scene. I was taken, however, with the idea of the bright light at the top of the stairs and the symbolism this provided of the person travelling up towards the light. This felt particularly apt for the final photo of the series. I decided to carry on taking the photos in daylight and to expose for the light at the bottom of the staircase, knowing that the top of the stairs would be considerably overexposed, but being comfortable with this as part of the overall effect.

As far as framing is concerned, I tried to use the hall door partly closed as the right hand part of the frame so just the staircase was shown and not the hallway. This did not seem to work so well and I thought it best to include part of the hallway to the right of the stairs. I like the way the light has caught the blue glass of the vase in the bottom right corner of the picture adding an extra area of interest.

I am happy with the way the photograph has turned out. It does show the stairlift in use to go upstairs to bed, but is much more symbolic with the person ascending towards the light.

My intention with this photo was to suggest;

· Need to use mechanical aid to go to bed

· Symbolism of ascending towards the light


Technical alternatives

The space available restricted my choice of lens to my 35mm prime or 18-55mm zoom. As the 35mm provided the framing that I wanted I was happy to use this lens.

I could have used a narrower aperture and neutral density filters to give an even slower shutter speed to give a greater blur of the person ascending the stairs, but I think the shutter speed I chose is about right, too much blur and it might not be recognisable.

Technical information

Lens: VR 35mm F/1.8G

Focal Length: 85mm

Aperture: F/8

Shutter Speed: 3sec

Exposure Mode: Manual

In the end I overexposed the whole scene even at the foot of the stairs and had to reduce the exposure levels post capture. I had also experimented with flash on part of the scene, which didn’t work, but I accidentally left my camera white balance setting on flash while taking these further photos. I changed this to daylight using my processing software.

How could this image be improved?

Perhaps I should have waited for the light to reduce at the top of the stairs later in the afternoon so that it is not so blown out but still giving the symbolic effect.


What have I learned from taking this photograph?

How to turn an adverse situation to your advantage, rather than wait for evening and use artificial light to give even illumination, by thinking it through I was able to come up with a more powerful and symbolic image with which to end the assignment.

Also – always remember to check camera settings before taking photos so you don’t accidentally leave the White Balance on the wrong setting!

8 TV Times

Evening television is part of many people’s daily routine and for most the remote control is a convenience, but for some older people it is essential.


For this photo I wanted to show that an everyday object, which is a convenience and taken for granted by most of us, is essential for people with mobility problems.

I had always had this image down as one of the photos for this set. This is one of the very few images in the series that has hardly changed from the original conception to the final photograph.

I wanted to show the remote control being held and pointed at the television, with the remote and hand holding it being in focus and the television beyond out of focus.

I arranged a chair in position so that I could take the photo from behind the person holding the remote, looking down their arm towards the TV. This showed the remote in use, but I also needed to indicate its importance. I placed a walking stick next to the TV to introduce the concept of someone who had difficulty walking.

I then tried to work out the best lighting for the shot. I wondered if it would be possible to use available light so I tried metering the scene with my camera. One issue was that I needed a fairly high shutter speed otherwise any slight movement of the hand holding the remote would cause blurring. I also wanted to set a relatively narrow aperture to get a reasonable depth of field on the hand and remote. Given these constraints I found that it was not feasible to use available light as, even with the ISO set to 3200, there was insufficient light to set the shutter speed and aperture that I wanted.

I experimented with my flashgun, setting the camera to the shutter speed and aperture that I wanted and varying the power of the flash to give the correct exposure. Firstly I tried lighting the hand and remote directly with the flash to the right hand side of the camera at 90degrees, but found that this gave quite a harsh effect with little illumination on the TV.


Direct lighting from the other side did not work either as it left the remote in shadow and barely visible.


I found the best results came from placing the flash to the side of the arm but with the light bounced off the ceiling.

This gave the correct exposure to the hand and remote but also made sure that the TV and walking stick were visible in the background.

The image is not quite as I originally envisaged in that the television screen is not as bright as I thought it would be. However I could not work out a way of making it any brighter, extra light on the TV would not make the screen image any brighter. I moved the person closer to the TV and this helped a little. But the only way round the problem I could think of was to increase the exposure using a wider aperture or slower shutter speed, but I have just described the reasons why I did not want to do this. In the end I used the best compromise I could think of to show an image on the TV screen.

My intention with this photo was to suggest;

  • For some people everyday objects, taken for granted by most people, are a necessity


Technical alternatives

I used my 18-55mm zoom lens as I was taking the photo from behind the person and changed my position a few times to get the best view along the arm and towards the TV. This allowed me to vary the focal length and get the best composition for the shot.

I tried to use available light but it was not possible, besides I did want more light on the hand and remote compared to the TV in the background.

Technical information

Lens: VR 18-55 F/3.5-5.6G

Focal Length: 38mm

Aperture: F/8

Shutter Speed: 1/125s

Exposure Mode: Manual

The image has been cropped to have the TV and walking stick form the frame on the top and sides of the image.

How could this image be improved?

This is an occasion where I found getting the correct exposure to be a little tricky, ideally I would like the TV screen to be brighter, but could not work out how to achieve this.

What have I learned from taking this photograph?

I have learned how it can be easy to come up with a concept for a photo, but then very difficult to work out a way of achieving that. This photo was about compromises.

7 Tea Time

There is no escape from the volume of medication needed to get through the day


This image is intended to reinforce the message of the dominant role that medication plays in the everyday life of some people.

It is very different from the sort of image that I had planned for this part of the day. I had originally seen the following photo on the front cover of a library book.

Taking the medicine

I tried to copy this image but decided for two reasons not to use it in this assignment;

1. My version was not as good as the original

2. I didn’t want to just produce a simple copy of someone else’s photo.

So I decided that I would try something a bit more related to the title of tea time, but stressing the importance of medication. I wanted a food image that would be different from the breakfast and lunch images.

I saw the cupcakes in our local bakery and that they had been baked in strongly coloured paper cases. Originally they had Christmas decorations on them, so I replaced these with some coloured pills. I thought back to a previous comment made by my tutor about making the image as much about colour, or light or design as the subject itself, so I decided to try to make this an image where the colours were as much of a talking point as the objects within it. I chose the most colourful pills I could find and arranged them in the icing on top of the cake.

I started out with the intention of using a type of lighting I had used in the previous assignment on colour when I had rolled up a sheet of cardboard into a cylinder with a very narrow hole at the end. This formed a snoot that I attached to my studio flash head to give a very concentrated beam of light, acting as a very small spotlight. I had used it to light a clementine in a previous assignment (photograph 12 in the colour assignment) and thought it could work well here on the cupcake.

m_12 Oh my darling Clementine_291

This time, instead of using cardboard I used black cinefoil to make the cylinder. However I hadn’t used a long enough piece of foil to form the cylinder properly and the hole at the end was too wide and was irregular rather than a perfect circle. This didn’t give the spotlight effect that I was looking for. I was going to try again with a longer piece of foil or card when I noticed that the ‘failed’ snoot I had just made was in fact giving some interesting rippled lighting effects on the background. I decided to take advantage of this and produce a more unusual background. It wasn’t the image I had first intended but it did give an interesting image that I was pleased with.

Again I used side lighting to emphasise the texture of the case and the topping of the cake. I wanted to make the most of the colour in this shot so I tried different backgrounds. I ended up using orange card so as to complement the blue of the cake case.

My intention with this photo was to suggest;

· Medication being a constant part of everyday life.


Technical alternatives

I used my 85mm macro lens for this image to concentrate on the pills at the front of the topping. I could have used a wider angle lens and this may have given greater depth of field.

Perhaps I could have tried lighting the cake from both sides, as I had done with an image in the previous assignment on light, but I’m not sure that it would have been an improvement. It might have been worth trying though.

Technical information

Lens: VR 85mm F/3.5G

Focal Length: 85mm

Aperture: F/9

Shutter Speed: 1/125s

Exposure Mode: Manual

No adjustments have been made to the image.


How could this image be improved?

I think I should have used a reflector to the front and right of the cupcake to shine more light on the paper case which is rather dark on the right hand side.


What have I learned from taking this photograph?

I learnt that just because you set out to light an image in a particular way, you don’t have to stick to it if something different crops up by accident! I also learned how to use colour to more effect in this photo.

6 Afternoon Stroll

If you are older and have difficulty walking then help is needed to cover even the shortest of distances.

m_6 Afternoon Stroll

This image evolved over time. Initially I had the idea of close ups of walking aids, such as walking sticks and a walking frame. I tried a couple of photos of these, trying to concentrate on the shape of the walking sticks. A couple of examples of these are shown below.


They were not quite what I wanted for this part of the series as they didn’t necessarily suggest walking difficulty. I then wondered about a montage of people using walking sticks, scooters, etc., in the street. I had decided earlier that I didn’t want to include people in this series as I wanted the attention to be on the aids and assistance rather than the people. I was also rather uncertain as to how to create a montage and thought that I would probably need a lot of practice first.

I then had the idea of photographing the mobility scooter. Initially I thought of someone riding on it with a slow shutter speed to give a blurred effect of movement. I wanted to use this technique for a later shot though and did not want to be repetitive.

I had seen on the website a description of how a photograph was taken entitled ‘Afternoon Flash’. The photo and description can be seen at

It is a photo taken late afternoon on a winter’s day. I was struck by how the flash had brought out the main subject from the background. I wanted to try to create a similar effect for the photo of the disability scooter. Once again my initial thought was for a portrait of someone on the scooter, rather as the DG28 photo was a portrait. But having decided that the series was about the aids and assistance and not the people I thought that I could make the scooter the subject of the photo.

I decided that photographing it with the car in the background would be good as it would provide a contrast between two means of transport – the car is fine for getting to the shops, but of no use within the shops themselves. I tried framing the photo in different ways, but the best option seemed to be with the scooter at the front and with the garage and car as the background.

It was late on a winter’s afternoon so I switched the lights on in the garage to illuminate the car and background. I brought the scooter out of the garage and placed it sideways on as this seemed to make it most recognisable. I took a meter reading of the light in the garage and set my flash up in front of the scooter and metered the light at different power settings. I was then able to set the flash power, aperture and shutter speed so that the scooter was a couple of stops lighter than the background.

My intention with this photo is to suggest:

  • Aids are needed to walk any sort distance,
  • Some people need a lot of assistance

Technical alternatives

The scooter is quite small relative to the car so I used my widest angle lens for this image. This meant that I could get close to the scooter to make it seem larger in the picture and keep it as the centre of attention.

It may also have been better to have diffused the light from the flashgun to reduce the level of reflections.

Technical information

Lens: VR 18-55 F/3.5-5.6G

Focal Length: 18mm

Aperture: F/16

Shutter Speed: 1/125s

Exposure Mode: Manual

Flashgun: Nikon SB700

The image has been cropped and the exposure value increased by 0.5 stop post capture.


How could this image be improved?

If this was a one off image then it would perhaps be better as a portrait with someone on the scooter. Given my decision that I did not want people in the photos at this stage of the series then I think the image could be improved by the inclusion of say a shopping bag or an item of clothing in a contrasting colour to the blue of the scooter.

What have I learned from taking this photograph?

I was pleased to have looked at a technique (in this case described on the DG28 website) and to have used it on my own photo. I did not try simply copy the image used in the description but instead tried to use the technique for my own purposes.

5 Lunch Time

Recent reductions in local authority funding have seen reductions to or even the complete withdrawal of the Meals on Wheels service in some areas.


I originally thought of portraying this with a frozen ready-meal on a plate as an indication of what might replace the Meals on Wheels. But then I gave a bit more thought to constructing an image that would be more of a comment on the possible effects of these cuts.

I researched news items concerning changes to meals on wheels services and printed these. I planned to have these as a base for the photograph in a similar fashion to the previous image. I found that they would not lay completely flat if printed on ordinary paper. I thought of printing them onto card but then had the idea of sticking the headlines onto recipe cards, giving a connection between the changes to the meals on wheels service and the need to prepare food (as it would no longer be provided). To extend the connection further I came up with the concept of using shredded recipe cards as the ‘meal’ on the plate.

I wanted a different background to the table I had used earlier for the breakfast photo. I arranged this image on a translucent sheet to give more options for lighting it in different ways.

Having arranged the plate and recipe cards I placed the knife and fork in position together with the scissors (to represent the cuts).

I wanted to experiment with juxtaposition and also have the image say something more about the possible effects of the withdrawal of a service some older people could depend on. The image was, to my mind, already slightly surreal and I thought that I could make it even more so.

In the Illustrated Dictionary of Symbols in Eastern and Western Art (Hall, 1994) James Hall states that in Greek mythology Persephone was given a pomegranate to eat before leaving Hades and that this “ensured her periodical return below and the future cycle of death and rebirth of nature”. He also says that Ivy, as an evergreen, can be a symbol of immortality but that it is also a symbol of death because “…. it destroys and starves any tree by withdrawing the moisture.” I decided to include both the pomegranate and the ivy in the image as symbols of the cycle of life and death, but the ivy on the plate indicating that it is nearer the death cycle rather than that of life.

The pomegranate on its own looked strange at the top of the picture, so I included a half pomegranate in a bowl as well, this balanced the image at the top with the two smaller circles of the bowl and whole pomegranate at the top and the larger circle of the plate at the bottom. The ivy between the two pomegranates filling in the top row of the triangle formed with the plate.

I did not want flat, even lighting for this shot as I thought it needed something a bit more dramatic. I placed a studio flash at about 90 degrees to the camera position to side light the scene so that the shadows formed would highlight the texture of the shredded recipe cards. To direct the light into the scene and reduce the possibility of flare I fitted a 10degree honeycomb grid to the reflector.

This is a mobile phone picture of the setup


Finally I needed to decide how to light the background. In the previous module I had used coloured gels to light a paper background; I thought I would like to try a similar effect here, but with the light from behind the translucent sheet. I placed a flashgun behind the translucent sheet and put a red coloured gel over it. I experimented with changing the power settings on the flashgun until I achieved the exposure that I wanted. I chose the red gel to match the colour of the pomegranate and act as a complementary colour to the green of the ivy. Lighting the background in this way has given a graduated effect to the intensity of the colour which I like.

My intention with this photo was to suggest;

· Impact of cuts to meals on wheels service

· Effect this might have on some vulnerable, older people

Technical alternatives

Space in the room I was using for this shot dictated that I used my 18-55mm zoom.

I could have used different coloured gels for the background light, perhaps the choice of red has meant that the single pomegranate to the right does not stand out so much.

Technical information

Lens: VR 18-55 F/3.5-5.6G

Focal Length: 29mm

Aperture: F/10

Shutter Speed: 1/125s

Exposure Mode: Manual

No adjustments have been made to the image.

How could this image be improved?

I really like the image I have achieved, it is possibly the most ambitious that I have attempted. Were I to try to recreate it I might use a reflector on the right hand side to throw some light back into the shadows of the pomegranate.


What have I learned from taking this photograph?

I have learnt a lot from this shot in terms of using symbols to convey meaning within an image. I enjoyed researching the meaning of the various symbols and incorporating them within the photo.

4 The Morning Read


The older you are or the greater your disability, the more you need to read about, or obtain help for it.


Many people read the newspaper after breakfast, particularly if you are retired. When you are dealing with people with disabilities and trying to make arrangements for their care then there is a huge amount of information to digest (and forms to fill in!). When you add to this the fact that some older people have poor eyesight then it can be very difficult for them.

I tried to convey this in the photograph by assembling a range of papers, forms, booklets, magazines, etc., to show the volume of material concerned.

Originally I had a pair of spectacles and the magnifying glass placed on the papers as part of the scene, but this did not give a very striking image.

Then I had the idea of holding the magnifying glass away from the papers so that some part of the scene was isolated and made to stand out.

I had a choice of focussing on the background papers which would mean the magnifying glass and the words that were being enlarged were out of focus or vice versa.

I chose to focus on the background papers and leave the magnifying glass clear for two reasons;

1.      It may have been difficult to see what the background papers were and they are integral to the image, if they were too blurred and not legible then the image would not work. Whereas even though slightly blurred you can still read the words through the magnifying glass.

2.      The blurred nature of the wording in the magnifying glass gives a suggestion of what reading might be like for someone with failing eyesight. (and how would they cope with the volume of information available).

I wanted to ensure that the scene was evenly illuminated so that the wording could be read on all the reading material. I had read in Learning to Light (Hicks and Schultz, 1998)  that this could be achieved with a softbox fixed to a studio flash and placed over the papers and parallel to them. I arranged the lighting so that the softbox was about 3 feet vertically above the papers and parallel.

I decided to hold the magnifying glass over the title of a library book that I had borrowed for the purpose of this photo. I also added the medicine box as an indicator of the pervading nature of medication for some older people. I arranged the red of the book title, the red pendant in the Contact Care leaflet and the red ibuprofen pack to form a triangle within the image and draw attention to those three aspects.

I had to make sure that the magnifying glass was held at an angle so that there was no reflection of the softbox on the glass.

My intention with this photo was to suggest;

·         The large amount of information available and forms to be completed for the care needed

·         This is aimed at people who, generally speaking, have the greatest difficulty reading

Technical alternatives

I could possibly have used a smaller aperture to get greater depth of field, but I don’t think it would have made too much difference as the magnifying glass was too far away from the papers. I could have held the glass closer but this may have looked unnatural. In terms of the image I think that the blurred magnifying glass suggests the difficulty some people would have reading the information.

Technical information

Lens:                            VR 18-55 F/3.5-5.6G

Focal Length:               32mm

Aperture:                     F/11

Shutter Speed:1/125s

Exposure Mode:          Manual


Exposure has been increased post capture by 0.3EV.


How could this image be improved?

Perhaps I could have constructed the image on a larger scale – I only used a fraction of the leaflets, forms, books, etc., that I had collected for the purpose. The image may have been more striking if the background reading material had covered  an even larger area.


What have I learned from taking this photograph?

I think that in this photo I have learned how to make something from an image even when the original concept hasn’t worked. I had originally tried to set up an image similar to one I had seen in a book but it really wasn’t striking enough however I was able to use one of the props in a different way to make a more interesting photo.

3 Breakfast

Medicines, and a lot of them, are part of the daily routine.



I was staggered by the volume of medicines prescribed for my father in law; his repeat prescription list alone runs to three pages never mind any one-off prescriptions for transient ailments. I wanted to express this within an image (as well as across several images) and also show that taking a large number of pills is a regular feature throughout the day.

As many medicines are taken with breakfast I decided to make it a part of the image. Rather than portraying a breakfast scene with a little dish of pills alongside the breakfast (which is what happens in practice), I thought it would have more impact if I included them within the breakfast dish.

In early Christian painting grains of wheat were symbolic of the cycle of seasons and the cycle of life. Wheat grains aren’t eaten at breakfast now, but wheat based cereals are, so I used this (and the packet with its pictures of wheat grain) in the photo as a symbol of the cycle of life and the use of medicines to prolong it. I chose some brightly coloured pills (most of the actual pills taken are small and white) to show up against the background of the cereal.

Originally I just had the bowl, cereals and pills in the scene but then added the packet, coffee cup, spoon and medicine box which I thought made the scene more realistic as a breakfast setting and also made the image more attractive and better balanced. I arranged the bowl, cup and box to form a triangle within the scene.

I had set this up in my own kitchen and was using a flashgun to provide the lighting. Again I mounted the flashgun on a tripod and tried pointing it at the scene (as in the previous photograph) I didn’t think this worked as well – perhaps because the camera was closer to the breakfast scene. I then fixed the flash to the camera and bounced it off the ceiling, using the camera’s iTTL to determine the exposure.

I then had the idea of milk being poured from the jug into the bowl. I looked through the viewfinder as I held the jug in different parts of the frame and decided that the best effect would be obtained by having the jug at the top left corner of the frame, pouring milk into the bowl. I deliberately excluded most of the milk jug and parts of the cereal box from the frame as I thought this gave more of a sense of things happening outside the photo as well as within it.

I thought that I might get some interesting effects as the milk splashed into the bowl. In fact the best image was where the milk had formed a curve as it was poured from the jug and a small bead had formed at the end of the stream and before it hit the bowl. I think that this adds a sense of movement or action to the scene.

My intention in this photo was to suggest that for some people medicines form a large part of the daily ritual, a part of the diet almost.


Technical alternatives

I used the camera’s iTTL system to determine the exposure for this shot which on reflection was a mistake. The Programmed Auto function selected an aperture of f4 and a shutter speed of 1/60 second. The shutter speed wasn’t really a problem as the camera was mounted on a tripod and I was using a cable release. The wider aperture has given a narrower depth of field than I would have liked and I think I would have been better off with manual setting and choosing an aperture around f11.

Technical information

Lens: VR 35mm f/1.8G

Focal Length: 35mm

Aperture: F/4

Shutter Speed: 1/60s

Exposure Mode: Programmed Auto

Flash gun: Nikon SB700

No adjustments have been made to the image.


How could this image be improved?

In addition to my comments about using iTTL to determine exposure I think that the final image could be improved if the Weetabix box was moved further back so it occupied the whole of the top right corner of the frame. At present there is a triangle of space behind the box in the top right corner which is a little distracting.

What have I learned from taking this photograph?

I took a lot of time setting up this shot, paying particular attention to the layout of the objects within the scene. I think it has helped me to take better photos of still life, just so long as I remember not to use iTTL each time!