Exercise; Evidence of action

This exercise required the production of one photograph in which it can be seen that something has happened.

I gave a lot of thought to this and considered the suggestions in the handbook of photographing something that has been either broken or emptied.

I didn’t stick strictly to these suggestions but thought back to one of the images I produced for the colour module (blood orange) which gave me the idea for the following image.


I peeled part of the apple and mixed food dye and glycerine to make the ‘blood’. I then arranged the various elements of the scene.

I thought that dramatic lighting would be best for this scene so I used a studio flash fitted with a snoot to light the image from the side. I placed the whole set up on black cloth to make sure there was no distracting background.

What have I learned from taking this photo? I enjoyed thinking through how to set up a photo that tells a story. It was good preparation for the assignment in this part of the course.

Exercise; A narrative picture essay

This first exercise in Part 5 Narrative and Illustration required me to set myself an assignment and then photograph it.

I chose to go to a Book Launch at our local bookstore where a local author that I know was holding a launch for his latest book of childrens poetry.

I made two versions of the exercise, an original and an amended version where I tried to improve a couple of the photos after the event.

The photos and comments are on the attached sheets.

Book Launch

Book Launch Amended

Exercise; Shiny surfaces

This exercise considers how objects with shiny surfaces can be photographed.

Firstly I chose to photograph a glass paperweight – I had tried photographing paperweights before in my first assignment (Contrasts) so I knew how difficult it could be.



This first photo shows the paperweight lit by available window-light from the left. The reflection of the window is very clear in the glass.

Following the instructions in the exercise I cut a piece of greaseproof paper to form a funnel which surrounded the paperweight at its wide end and reached the camera lens at its narrow end (this was fiendishly difficult as nothing sticks to greaseproof paper!).


A can be seen the reflection of the window has reduced significantly, as has the shadow of the paperweight.

I then experimented with the cone of greaseproof paper and artificial light which I could move into different positions.


The position of the light can be seen from the shadows produced. In each of the photos the light source itself can’t be seen but there is a bright reflection on the top of the paperweight which comes from the light and also a band of light reflection on the left of the subject. These remain in similar positions, despite the light source being moved higher and lower in each photo.

What have I learned from this exercise? I had problems when I took the photo of the paperweight before at the very beginning of the course. This exercise, particularly seeing the two photos lit by window-light has brought home the difficulty of lighting an object such an this. It has helped me to see how I can try to deal with such difficult subjects in the future.

Exercise; Concentrating light

For this exercise I wanted light to fall on just part of the scene, in this case on the Clementine giving the effect of a spotlight. For this I took an old studio flash fitted with a snoot, but then used black card to form a cone at the end of the snoot (only about an inch diameter at the narrow end) and used this to form a concentrated beam of light.

m_12 Oh my darling Clementine


What have I learned from taking this photo? I had rarely used a snoot before taking this photo, let alone modifying it with rolled up black card. I have learnt how to produce a spotlight effect from the exercise of concentrating light.

Exercise; Contrast and shadow fill

This exercise is concerned with contrast within a photo and filling in shadows using a reflector.

I set up the following shot and photographed it using flash which was about to to three feet from the subject at the same level and lighting the shot from the side.

The first shot was taken without a diffuser, the shadows and contrast are very sharp.


The following shots were all taken in diffused light. They are in the following order


  • With a white card held about 3 feet to the left of the subject (opposite the light)
  • With a white card held about 18 inches to the left of the subject




  • With dull Aluminium foil reflector held to the left of the subject
  • With shiny Aluminium foil held to the left of the subject




  • Finally with crumpled Aluminium foil held to the left of the subject



What have I learned from taking this picture? I had used reflectors before, but without a real understanding of what could be used when. Doing the exercise with the white card and different aluminium reflectors has given me a greater awareness of how reflectors can be used and I will be able to give more educated thought to this when using reflectors in the future.

Exercise; The lighting angle

This exercise involved taking about 11 photographs of the same subject but from different lighting angles. A single light was fitted with a diffuser and moved into different positions around the object.

The album below shows the object lit from the following angles

  1. Light at same level as subject and lit from the front
  2. Light at same level as subject and lit from the side
  3. Light at same level as subject and lit from slightly behind
  4. Light at same level as subject and lit from behind
  5. Light pointing down at the subject from an angle of 45degrees and lit from the front
  6. Light pointing down at the subject from an angle of 45degrees and lit from the side
  7. Light pointing down at the subject from an angle of 45degrees and lit from slightly behind
  8. Light pointing down at the subject from an angle of 45degrees and lit from behind
  9. Light overhead and slightly to the front of the subject, pointing down
  10. Light directly overhead the subject and pointing down
  11. Light directly overhead and slightly behind the subject pointing down


What have I learnt from this exercise? I found this a fascinating exercise to do, I loved the way that the different effects were obtained from moving the light around the subject. trying this out has given me the confidence to experiment with different lighting angles in the future.

Exercise; Softening the light

In this exercise direct and diffused lighting was used to photograph the wooden carving.

In the first photo I shone a light directly at the carving.

The shadows are dark and quite crisp, the shape of the shadow is recognisable as that of the carving.

For the second photo, of the same carving, I held a diffuser between the light and the subject.

The shadows are much softer, greyer and not recognisable as the shape of the carving. Also in this photo the carving itself looks warmer and less glare reflecting back.

Overall I prefer the second photo.


What have I learned from doing this exercise? I have used diffusers before to soften the light – but usually outdoors in direct sunlight. Doing this particular exercise has shown exactly what difference the diffuser can make.

Exercise; Outdoors at night

This exercise entailed taking a number of photos outdoors at night. Below are my night-time images.

What have I learned from this exercise? I learnt better control over the ISO setting on my camera. Again this was something that I used to just leave to the camera, but now I think more about how to use it to get photos I might not otherwise have attempted.

Exercise; Tungsten and fluorescent lighting

This exercise is in two parts, looking at interior lighting.

For the first part I took the photos in a room with an incandescent lamp lighting the scene, but where the garden outside could also be seen. I waited until the light levels indoors and outdoors were about level and then took three photos; in the first with the white balance set to auto, the second with it set to incandescent and the third where it was set to sunlight.


The first gives a reasonable colour rendition of the garden outside and fairly represents the internal colours (although they are somewhat yellow). In the middle picture the internal colours are shown at their best, but the garden outside is rather bluish. The final photo has a very strong orange cast to the interior, but gives the best results for the outside colours.

The second part of the exercise was internally illuminated by a compact fluorescent light with the white balance at different settings. The white balance settings were as follows;

  • White fluorescent
  • Warm-white fluorescent
  • Day white fluorescent
  • Daylight fluorescent
  • Sodium vapour lamps


There is a considerable difference between these images with perhaps the first being the closest to true colours.


What have I learned from this exercise? I have struggled with the concept of white balance since I first got a digital camera, preferring to simply leave the settings on auto and hope the camera sorts it out. Having gone through these exercises I am now starting to understand it better and feel more confident about using other settings.

Exercise; Cloudy weather and rain

There are three parts to this exercise. The first part is to take photos of the same subject in direct sunlight and under cloudy conditions. In each of the pairs below the photo taken in sunny conditions comes first.



The first image was f6.3 at 1/125 sec whereas the second image was f5.3 at 1/125sec. I think the second photo may be a bit under exposed which could account for there not being a great difference.


Here the first photo is f16 at 1/125sec whereas under cloud it was f5.6 at 1/125 – a much bigger difference. I think that the sun was stronger for this shot.


The first photo is f13 at 1/125sec whereas the send is f7.1 at 1/125sec – quite a difference, although not as large as the second set of images.

The foliage on the cloudy shots is a little bluer.

For the second part of this exercise I took three photos on a cloudy day that show detail with pronounced relief and

an object with a strong colour.















The third part of the assignment requires photos taken in the rain.



What have I learned from this exercise? Undertaking this exercise has made me realise how different colours can be in different lighting conditions (especially the first exercise when the white balance was kept at direct sunlight).

In the second exercise the red of the flower seems particularly vibrant in the cloudy light.

Finally the rain exercise was interesting. The second two images I came across as I was walking around in London. The first I had to think a bit more about – it is the indicator flashing on my car on a rainy day. Perhaps I have learnt to look out more for possible images on a rainy day.