Aspicus and the Art of Photography

From Snapper to Shooter (hopefully)

Project 6

Fitting the frame to the subject

What: The aim of this project is to investigate the alternative ways a subject interrelates to the frame – from very close in, to very far out.
Where: A bench at Caesar’s Camp near Aldershot in Hampshire.
When: Lunchtime in early April.  A bright and sunny day.
Why: I was wandering around Caesar’s Camp with my camera on the lookout for subjects for several TAOP projects.  I chose the bench as I thought it was an interesting subject, not necessarily in its own right, but more because of its context overlooking some spectacular views over Farnborough.  I thought it would be interesting to use the bench as my subject for this project to see how different framing options changed the feel of the image.
How: Camera settings were manual.  Various focal lengths, apertures and shutter speeds (noted below), ISO200.  I used a tripod (still trying to get into that habit).  I used a GND0.6 on the skyline as some practise shots showed that they were getting blown out.  All shots were taken in RAW, and a tiny bit of software processing (mostly clipping as the GND filter seemed to appear in the corners of the frame at the widest focal length).

The images

Snapshot:

f/11, 1/100 shutter speed, 26mm focal length

Filling the frame:

f/5.6, 1/250 shutter speed, 90mm focal length

Close-up:

f/5.6, 1/200 shutter speed, 200mm focal length

Distant:

f/9.0, 1/125 shutter speed, 20mm focal length

Observations

My favourite shot has to be the last one – the Distant image.  I prefer this shot because the key to the subject here, are its surroundings – the expansive view, the isolation.  For me this shot evokes the concepts I was trying to capture in the subject because it captures these surroundings as well as the bench itself.  If I was shooting it again however I would take the shot maybe from a higher angle so that you could see that the object was unequivocally a bench.  At the moment, because it is so square on, it is possible that someone may not be able to see what it is instantly.  Additionally, the image would be slightly improved without the tree – perhaps if I tools the shot further to the right.  I tried doing this crop as part of the exercise.  Here it is…..

It’s better (in my opinion), but now I feel like the bench is too big.  It could too with being quite a bit smaller – again to give that feeling of isolation.  I guess this shows that it is generally easier to get the shot write in the camera rather than try and compensate for it afterwards – there are limits on what you can do.

My next favourite is the Frame-Filling shot.  This is because I like the way that it dominates the frame while at the same time suggesting the view beyond.  Again I think a slightly higher angle would have been better, and perhaps a smaller aperture to make the background view a bit more obvious to the viewer.  The Distant shot I feel is better than this shot, because of the stronger feeling of isolation within that shot.

The least favourite shot is the Close-In shot.  I tried to use the slats in the bench to suggest the view beyond, but it hasn’t really worked and is a bit of a nothing shot.  Perhaps if I had framed the image at the corner of the bench I could have used the frame of the bench as a basis for the image.

Further Questions

None really.  I suppose it will be interesting to see which sort of the above compositions I tend to favour as a “snap”.  Looking above it appears to be somewhere between the framefilling and distant shot.  Time and experience will tell.

What I’ve Learned

1. There are many ways to consider the subject of an image as part of the frame that I must learn to consider when thinking about a shot.  Some examples are far-away, close-in, and frame-filling.

2. The surroundings of a subject can be vital to setting the context for the subject.

3. Close-in shots can be difficult.  The subject may no longer be recognisable in its own right, and therefore such shots need to focus on aspects of the subject that suggest its entirity, or maybe some interesting pattern or aspect of the subject.

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4 April 2009 - Posted by | Projects

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