COURSEWORK: THE LANGUAGE OF LIGHT

PROJECT 2: DAYLIGHT

Exercise 4.2

In manual mode take a sequence of shots of a subject of your choosing at different times on a single day. It doesn’t matter if the day is overcast or clear but you need a good spread of times from early morning to dusk. You might decide to fix your viewpoint or you might prefer to ‘work into’ your subject, but the important thing is to observe the light, not just photograph it. Add the sequence to your learning log together with a timestamp from the time/date info in the metadata. In your own words, briefly describe the quality of light in each image.

I took colour photographs of the same location, hourly from 8am to 7pm (unfortunately I didn’t make sunrise). It was a spring morning and the weather was fair throughout the day. I used a tripod to maintain the same viewpoint and shot in manual mode with auto white balance. I initially shot this on a cloudy day but found it hard to observe changes in the lighting so reshot on a relatively sunny day.

_MG_2881 8.00 am 8am: Sun,still rising. Temperature, cool. Colour, light blue. Light appearance, soft diffused Shadows: soft and long.

_MG_2885 9.00 am.jpg 9am: Sun, brightening. Temperature, warming.  Colour, whitish. Light appearance, still soft. Shadows, thinning.

_MG_2888 10.00.jpg 10am: Sun, strengthening. Temperature,warming. Colour, White/grey. Light appearance, more clarity. Shadows, beginning to harden increasing in contrast.

_MG_2888 10.00 11am: Sun, still not directly overhead. Temperature, warm. Colour, blue/white. Light appearance, clear. Shadows, filled out but still soft.

_MG_2892 12.00.jpg 12am: Sun, overhead quite harsh. Temperature, warm. Colour, blue. Light appearance, very clear. Shadows: minimal. Reflections in the pond are detailed and accurate.

_MG_2894 13.00 1pm: Sun, already decreasing. Temperature, warm. Colour, blue but yellowing. Light appearance, clear.  Shadows, more minimal. Reflection in the pond has already darkened and lost detail.

_MG_2896 14.00 pm.jpg 2pm: Sun, behind cloud.Temperature, cool. Colour, White/grey. Light appearance, dull. Shadows, not evident. Reflection in the pond is all dark.

_MG_2897 15.00 pm.jpg 3pm: Sun, behind cloud. Temperature, cool. Colour, grey/white. Light appearance, dimming already. Shadows, soft and light.

_MG_3652 4pm.jpg 4pm: Sun, returning but low. Temperature, cool. Colour, White/blue. Light appearance: slightly brighter. Shadows, soft.

_MG_3654 5pm.jpg 5pm: Sun, dimming. Temperature, cooler. Colour, White/grey. Light appearance: dimming. Shadows and reflections beginning to look crisper.

_MG_3657 6pm.jpg 6pm: Sun, Low and weak. Temperature, very cool. Colour, Blue/grey. Light appearance, poor. Shadows: crisp.

_MG_3660 7.00pm.jpg 7pm: Sun, almost down. Temperature, cold. Colour, White with blue colour cast. Light appearance, very soft. Shadows: still evident.

My learning:

  • It was noticeable when reviewing the images how the temperature of the colour changed throughout the day and as the sunlight varied. I’m not sure if I will be able to observe this first hand so easily.
  • How  the clarity of the light varies as conditions change.
  • That there are far more variations in light than dim to bright.
  • That the daylight conditions affect the edges as well as the length of the shadows.
  • That the daylight conditions have a noticeable effect upon reflections.
  • Shooting in manual ensures I am more conscious of lighting conditions and how quickly they change ( even in split seconds).
  • To continue to observe different qualities of light in different conditions,locations and seasons and to think how to best use it.

 

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COURSEWORK:THE LANGUAGE OF LIGHT

PROJECT 1: EXPOSURE

Exercise 4.1

1. Set your camera to any of the auto or semi-auto modes. Photograph a dark tone (such as a black jacket), a mid-tone (the inside of a cereal packet traditionally makes a useful ‘grey card’) and a light tone (such as a sheet of white paper), making sure that the tone fills the viewfinder frame (it’s not necessary to focus). Add the shots to your learning log with quick sketches of the histograms and your observations.

I shot in program mode in daylight white then black then grey card:

_MG_2603.JPG   IMG_1643 white histogram.JPG

_MG_2604.JPG   IMG_1645 black histogram.JPG

_MG_2605.JPG   IMG_1647 grey histogram.JPG

Yes I was surprised that the resulting images were very similar as are the histograms. However I understand that by default as the camera assumes that the desired brightness of an image should be medium grey (18% grey) and therefore adjusts other setting to achieve this.

2. Set your camera to manual mode. Now you can see your light meter! The mid-tone exposure is indicated by the ‘0’ on the meter scale with darker or lighter exposures as – or + on either side. Repeat the exercise in manual mode, this time adjusting either your aperture or shutter to place the dark, mid and light tones at their correct positions on the histogram. The light and dark tones shouldn’t fall off either the left or right side of the graph. Add the shots to your learning log with sketches of their histograms and your observations.

In manual mode (which disconnects the aperture, shutter and ISO as they’re no longer linked, you can make adjustments to any one of them without affecting the others), I set the exposure correctly for the grey card and then altered the shutter speed whilst shooting the black and the white cards to maintain the marker on the light metre in the middle as it was for the grey:

_MG_2611   grey 3

_MG_2612      black 3.jpg

_MG_2613   white 3

The grey histogram peaked in the middle, and the black and white histograms spread a little more respectively to the left and the right. So it is possible to maintain a correct exposure by adjusting the shutter speed or aperture and maintaining the central light metre marker in the centre.

Next I repeated the exercise but shooting in manual mode adjusting the exposure correctly for the grey card so that the histogram would peak in the middle. Shooting the black then white I kept the camera exposure settings in manual mode the same:

_MG_2605   Grey 2

_MG_2607      Black 2.jpg

_MG_2608   White 2

This resulted in a correct recording of the black and white images and the histograms to appear as you would expect, the white peaking towards the right and the black peaking towards the left. This is because if the grey card is a true 18% grey then this should be the average and ensure that the black is true black and the white true white. Although my grey card wasn’t a true 18% grey it did give a fair average exposure setting and resulted in more realistic images and histograms.

The results would have been different if I had used an external light meter as it would measure the incident light rather than reflected light, so the colour tones would be exact.