Lesson 3: Using Your Camera’s Automatic Settings for Eye-Cat

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    The first picture I took with my camera’s “sports” setting, I think this means a slower shutter speed (?). My camera has no manual settings so it took me a long time and experimenting to complete this assignment. Considering that a week ago I didn’t even know what a shallow depth of field meant, I’m excited now to notice it in everyday photographs.For the second photo I was not able to chose between these two pictures and would love to hear which one (if any) you would have picked and why.
    Thank you!

    Duncan Rawlinson

    Hello and thank you for submitting this assignment.

    This was a technical assignment that was designed to allow you to showcase your understanding of both shutter speed and aperture control. In your first image you’ve used a fast shutter speed to freeze the movement of the water from the shower head. In your next images you’ve used a shallow depth of field to help isolate your foreground from your background.

    I would like to take a moment to look at your last two photographs. You mentioned that you wanted me to “pick” between your two last photographs. Instead, why don’t I go through both of them and pick out a few highlights as well as technical considerations for next time.

    Let’s begin with the 2nd image of the three. This image is well designed from a color standpoint consisting mainly of gradients of brown and blue. The image has a very earthy, gentle feel to it. However, the main elements I want to draw your attention to are in regards to object placement.

    In this image do you notice how the foreground objects slightly obstruct the view of the bottom of the background object? If you raised your perspective slightly these objects may not have interfered with one another. Having objects in different layers of your composition overlap one another isn’t necessarily wrong, but I get the sense that you were trying to take organize this composition in a simplistic, yet stylistic manner. I feel that separating the layers by not allowing them to overlap would have strengthened this design concept.

    This is always important to consider. Imagine taking a portrait of your friend with a large plant in the background. The last thing you want is one of the branches appear to be sticking out of your subject’s head. Remember, photography is a two dimensional medium (it’s flat). And for this reason you need to be particularly careful of how your layers interact with one another.

    In your third and last image the large sea shell in the background is amputated (i.e. cut off by the right wall of your photograph). Again, this isn’t necessarily wrong. However, Whenever you amputate such a prominent object you need to have good reason.

    Because there are so few objects in the frame, the amputation is particularly noticeable. If amputation is unavoidable, what photographers often do is use a very shallow depth of field. The softer the focus on your background the better. This is because the technical choice of using sharp focus tells your audience that the sharp parts of your image are important. By slightly blurring (i.e. softening your background) parts of your image you are mimicking and audience’s ability to use selective focus. This tells them that the parts of the image in soft focus are of less importance.

    If you use extremely soft focus then the background will simply become an abstract object without providing any sense of context. If you still want your background to provide environmental information then just slightly soften your background by using a shallow depth of field. Although your depth of field is softened in this image, I feel that it could be softened slightly more since the amputation is so noticeable and the object is such a prominent part of the composition.

    These images have a lot of potential. I just want to ensure you’re always focusing on the details and not neglecting the 4 walls of your photograph. This is a great assignment overall!

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