Assignment 2: Seeing like your Camera

For this second assignment within the Digital Photographic Practice course I chose four of the options given to us, these being: Street scenes in the middle of a clear sunny day, any backlit scene, indoor scenes illuminated with a single source of artificial light and finally A scene with strong incident dappled light. I chose these four as I felt they would give me a varied and interesting selection to work on. As I would normally only work in RAW files it was a change for me to be using JPEGS which is what the assessment asks for. In planning of this assignment it was difficult to pre visualise what the camera will firstly initially see and then secondly produce onto the screen when back home looking at them. What initially struck me when I started working on the images for this assignment was the overall usefulness of the effectiveness of myself when looking at the histogram after I had taken an image, from experience from other images taken previous I was able to gauge what parts of detail may be lost in the final image, these tend to be the clouds and areas in deep shadow i.e., at either end of the highlight and shadow scale.

The assignment as a whole took longer to complete than I had originally planned for due to the incoming storm of the the apparent decade! I managed to get the crisp deep shadows in the calm before it while other images were from before that, that I had planned to include on this assignment on different outings.

Throughout this assignment no post processing was taken on the images, other than a reduction in size for uploading and crops, only in cases to aid the composition.

Overall this part of the course has really progressed my abilities and understanding of the camera itself, its functions, limits and optimal areas. It has also made me consider the pace in which I go from idea to pressing the shutter in situations when time is not of an essence, not to just lower time in post production but also to use the camera to its fullest potential.

Any backlit scene, whether in direct or indirect light:


This first image was taken with the sun directly to the middle and just above our of frame, illuminating the the sky and producing a slight dappled light through the tree. I was expecting there to be even more highlight lost in the sky to the left of the frame however it seems that some detail remains in the clouds but there is significant distortion on the roof and the tree. I feel this image is a poor first attempt which gives me a good understanding to the nature of ensuring the exposure perhaps over exposes slightly to give a more burnt out finish on the sky and hopefully a better overall exposure on the foreground and subjects.


This second backlit image produced a more pleasing effect overall,  the exposure compensated well for the back light directly into the camera producing a bright sky but which in turn is not to overpowering over the whole image. This also resulted in a darker foreground which contrasts nicely against the light sky while the green of the grass is a natural shade. I think this image is overall a pleasing result of aiming to produce the best quality image possible using just the camera in these circumstances, however I feel it could be improved by having a slightly higher exposed foreground to bring out the details of the band stand however this was not possible in this case as it would have then made the sky far to bright.

IMG_3292This final of the three image of a backlit scene shows an architecture image where the overall tone of the image is very subtle indeed, the shadowed areas on the wall closes to us is in shadow, with the remaining image producing the backlight, I was unsure on the overall feeling of this image, if it wasn’t enough of a backlight but felt this showed control and the ability to notice the small differences in exposure and how even tho it isn’t burnt out or in pure shadow that there is still a significant backlight to the image which intern emphasises its shape and form.

A scene with strong incident dappled light:


This first image of dappled lighting was taken on a small street with these reflections of light giving a dappled and intermittent effect, I attempted a couple of exposures of this image to get the balance correct, this ended with this image which I felt had a good contrast between light and dark but still retained the detail within each. When looking back at this image once on the computer I was pleased with how accurate I had been with this image showing what I was aiming for when taking it.

IMG_3224-2This area of seating at a local park, gave me an interesting dappled light effect which takes your eye up through the image to the curve of the seats, which then takes your eye further around the image, I took a number of images of this dappled lighting varying the composition to find the best angle and once I had done so, feeling this was image gave the viewer depth, context and the dappled light I slightly under exposed the image just enough to take the highlights off the area to the center but still not to much to lose detail in the foreground and to the right.

IMG_3028This image depicting dappled light was taken on Southampton Common, the high trees giving the perfect dappled light when coupled with the bright sunny day. The composition of this image really pulls the viewers eye along the image, using not only the lighting but also the path. It is also framed well using both the streetlight and tree to the right. I feel this image although predominantly dark is interesting and effective, using the contrast of the under exposed darker areas against the nice greens this image is interesting and effective.

Street scene in the middle of a clear sunny day:

IMG_3175-2This street scene taken on a bright clear day resulted in an interesting image with depth and contrast, perhaps just not enough to really give it much punch. The overall image composition is nice and really leads the eye deep into the image, using the shadows and road to do so. I feel the overall exposure here is good, the image is contrasted using the shadows and highlights but could perhaps do with a little more, however this was difficult to achieve without losing all detail on the right of the image.

IMG_3176-2This tall street scene shows an underexposed foreground with a sharp shadow cutting the image diagonally to a well exposed background. This image was initially not considered strong enough for the assignment as I felt the subject matter lacked interest but I found the overall composition and sharpness of the shadow appealing and perhaps this would work better in black and white. The exposure on this image works well together with never the highlights or shadows resulting in any clipping, however because of this it lacks the added contrast which would then make it a stronger image.

IMG_3199-2This final image of the three is perhaps the strongest, showing really well composed and exposed image but with strong, distinct shadows that add well to the composition by drawing the viewers eye deeper into the depth of the image. The overall contrast works really well and is very strong and imposing with the blacks against the greens. I like the overall composition of the image is very pleasing, the frame and depth given by the tree gives the image context coupled with the bandstand in the distance which gives the eye something to lead to from the shadows.

Indoor scene illuminated by a single source of light:

IMG_3163This first image shows a single light source illuminating a desk space, the overall feel of this image is one of very gloomy and dark given by the underexposure to ensure that the light source doesn’t overpower the tightly framed image, although there is the small area on the record sleeve reflected from the light this was greatly reduced by reducing the exposure. this not only resulted in this delightful lighting but also the textured lampshade and coupled with the placement of the lamp it resulted in an interesting natural vignette, I think this is a strong image that shows an interesting lit subject with a single source lighting well coupled with the correct exposure for what was wanted.

IMG_3168This second image is for me, an interesting and fun take on the single lighting indoor scene, the odd composition of the inside of a cooker taken with the grill on to give an added element of interest, the light source is small and focused off center to give the viewer the overall image of the inside of the cooker, firstly as the point of interest of to the side creates a far more interesting image but also so it also shows how the light travels, and the lack of it through the inside of the oven and intern then the image. I think the exposure of this image completely complements not only what I was going for but also the actual view of the cooker and the how the single source of light illuminates its surroundings.

IMG_3340I took this final image in black and white in camera and processed accordingly, this single light source over my left shoulder gave the record player an interesting simple lighting which gives us just enough detail to know what were looking at coupled with the arm of the record player. I underexposed this image exactly for this end result using a continuous light with a snoot to direct the light purely on the record and arm while still leaving the rest of the image dark. I really like the composition on this and the effect the single source lighting gives the image coupled with the exposure.

Part two:

I have chosen to reshot the images from the street scene in a clear sunny day. I felt these images would give me the best idea of the difference in the images as well as being local enough to myself to seize on a day where I felt the weather was favourable for what I was hoping to achieve. The second part of this assignment has asked me to re-shoot the three images of the situation in a lighting condition that should reduce the contrast of the scene, or even make them low contrast. I have achieved this in these three images by reducing the deep shadows by photographing these at a different time of day so the sun lit the scenes fully rather than a shadow occurring across the image. This as resulted in a far less contrasted image and a flatter image.

IMG_3385This image when compared to the previous version lacks the deep, dark shadows but still gives us an overall balanced exposure with only slight clipping in the sky. I feel this works well as an image due to the exposure being slightly over exposed to ensure the foreground of the image is lit well.

IMG_3389Again this image works well with less shadow, although in my opinion it doesn’t have as much of an impact on the viewer it is still a well exposed, if not slightly to dark in the foreground, but this was to insure the sky was not clipped as I think it gives an interesting depth to the image and aids the buildings form.

IMG_3393This final reshoot image is along the same lines as the two previous, the lack of shadows in this image however spoils the composition and form of the image as they played a significant part of what draws the viewers eye throughout the image. The exposure on this version is still well balanced yet it is spoilt slightly by the lack of detail which was brought out by the harsher light.


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