Duncan Rawlinson

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  • in reply to: Isabella’s adventure in the refrigerator #18779
    Duncan Rawlinson

    What a terrific first photograph for this assignment. You’ve definitely captured the essence of what this assignment was supposed to be about. You’ve chosen otherwise unorganized objects in an uninteresting setting (i.e. the fridge) and you’ve simplified the image to make it much more aesthetically pleasing.

    You’ve used texture as your picture’s primary element. The curvature of the object, as well as the direction and intensity of the lighting have created an ideal setting for a textured photograph such as this one. Not only that but the object you’ve chosen to shoot is filled with interesting textures that you don’t actually have to work too hard to bring them out.

    I think you’ve done a wonderful job of this assignment. It’s absolutely spectacular. That being said, we’ve noticed a trend emerging with this assignment. As you may have noticed as well, many photographers are choosing to “simplify” in order to make their photographs more professional and pleasing.

    But simplifying can mean many things and can be accomplished in many different ways. However, the majority of simplified shots in this lesson use macro photography techniques to enhance the photograph. It is a great way to organize and simplify a photograph, but it is by no means the only way.

    What I want you to take away from this lesson is that although getting in close and removing the background is the easiest way to simplify, the real world and the second to second changes that make for great photographs don’t allow you the privilege of a zoom or getting close to your subject. So conceptually you’re right, simplification does lead to (often) interesting and pleasing photographs. But when shooting outdoors, when shooting events, when shooting for journalistic purposes, macro photography often wont’ do. Therefore you need to think “how do I organize chaos”. It’s not about organizing or simplifying just 1 thing anymore. It’s about simplifying and organizing many things. Something that takes photographers years to start to feel comfortable with.

    Very good first photograph though! Keep up the great work. I look forward to seeing your next assignment.

    in reply to: Lesson 3: Assignment #18777
    Duncan Rawlinson

    Both of these photographs are very well done and show your understanding of manipulating depth and motion. In your first shot you isolate the white ball by allowing the background to fall out of focus. However, you don’t blur the background too much that we loose the context of the shot. It is very important to know when to get rid of the background and when to keep it for context. This can be difficult to do if you don’t understand aperture very well but you’ve done a great job of showing your understanding.

    In your second shot you’ve also done a great job of showing you know how to manipulate motion. However, creating the illusion of motion requires a very steady hand. Since your shutter will need to stay open later to compensate for the dark night and the motion you will need to keep your hand very still or use a tripod.

    When I looked at this photograph initially I really enjoyed it. However, when I enlarged it I could see the fuzzy lines that are created by subtle camera shake. The point of creating motion is to show motion as it relates to “static’ elements in the photograph (such as buildings, doors, windows etc). When you’re picture is enlarged to its maximum size the audience can see that there was slight camera shake which leads to a slight blurring of the overall picture.

    It is not terrible and by no means does it ruin the picture, but it looks unintentional and therefore on a subconscious level camera shake is often regarded as a “mistake” by your audience. It’s seen as a distracting element that takes away from the professionalism of the photograph.

    Night photography is difficult even when you’re not trying to create the illusion of motion. Most photographers avoid night photography for this very reason. However, this is a challenge that many photographers find an interest in. I would recommend either using a tripod or using some type of stabilizing object to rest your camera on while you take the picture. The difference in results will be subtle, but it will make a big impact on the professionalism of your work.

    Other than that, both photographs are very well done! Keep up the great work and keep the assignment submissions coming!

    in reply to: Tucker’s Lesson 3 Assignment Submission #18776
    Duncan Rawlinson

    Wonderful choices of shots.

    I think both shots are very well done. However, within both there are various elements that I think could be enhanced. I think you’ve chosen great subjects for both photographs. They are interesting and engaging. By that I mean, that as an audience member I find myself looking deeper and analyzing both pictures. They are not simply pretty pictures that can easily be passed over. There is enough detail to catch your interest.

    So although you have an eye for subjects, I want you to play closer attention to shapes, dimension and composition.

    The photograph of the girl getting her hair brushed is stunningly beautiful. The natural light, her facial expression and the atmosphere of the photograph are great. The composition is also really well done.

    The problem with the photograph in my opinion is that there is a mark (possibly a birthmark, burn, or some form of marking) on the girls arm. There is nothing wrong with the mark itself and it doesn’t need to be excluded, but the placement as it relates to the face creates an unintentional shape that appears to be coming from the girls nose. I find this slightly distracting due to the proximity to her nose and therefore it takes away my attention from the rest of the composition. You could have fixed this by changing your position or by waiting for her arm to lower slightly so it didn’t interact with another body part.

    The point is to be aware of the interaction between body parts and shapes. Pictures are 2 dimensional with the 3rd dimension being a bit of an illusion so shapes play a big role in your overall composition.

    Your photograph of the boat doesn’t share the same composition strategy. The edges of the photograph seem to be a bit disorganized. You’ve “amputated” the windshield of the boat with leaving only about 50% of it visible. Your center of interest is apparent and organized, but your pictures peripheral area is not as well organized. I would have brought in the entire windshield or left it out all together. Remember, it’s as important to know what to leave out of a photograph as it is to know what to include. Also pay extra close attention not only to the center of the photograph but also to the 4 walls of the photograph. Try not to awkwardly “cut off” or “amputate” your objects unless done in an intentional way. One of the biggest challenges as a photographer is cleaning up the 4 edges of your photograph.

    Overall, great work! Keep it up.

    in reply to: My Inspirations #18778
    Duncan Rawlinson

    The great part of this assignment is that it allows other photographers to do follow up research on photographers that artistic minded people (like yourself) find interesting. You’ll notice photographers ranging from nature photographers to others who focus on urban decay. I really like the range of photographers emerging from this assignment.

    I also really liked the phrase you used: “tone rich”. What a great way to describe tonal range.

    I look forward to seeing you next assignment in the community.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    in reply to: Tucker’s Lesson 1 Assignment #18775
    Duncan Rawlinson

    Hello Tucker.

    You’re definitely getting the idea. Playing with the curvature of mirrors is a great idea. I’ve seen this technique used effectively in film sequences and photography stills alike. The beauty of the technique is twofold.

    First, you get a textured and colorized look to a photograph. Any grub, dirt, dents or miscellaneous markings in the reflective door handle create an interesting texture. This acts often as a primary element of the photograph in and of itself.

    Secondly, you get the curvature that even the best fisheye lenses would have a hard time getting. This fisheye view gives you great peripheral distance in your shot and allows for some interesting artistic shots.

    I see huge potential in this shot as your background has some interesting design elements to it as well.

    My only recommendation with this photograph would be that you need not only put time into finding these interesting objects (which you’ve done very successfully) but now you need to think about composition, design and staging.

    Really think about this from an artistic standpoint. For starters I would make the doorknob more of a primary element buy getting a bit closer or zooming in to get rid of the background. After you’ve done that you’ll need to find a way to position yourself in an interesting position.

    By default you end up being a big part of the picture so put some thought into your placement. There is also a hole in the front of the doorknob. At first I thought it was a horn in the background. What about putting your camera or head in front of that hole. You could then hide the camera or make only your body visible. That may be interesting.

    What about setting up an interesting setting behind you? Changing the lighting, bringing in other people or objects? These are all ideas that could help you stage a really interesting and artistic photograph.

    You’ve identified an effective photograph manipulator (the curvature on the doorknob), now you have to think about the composition of the shot. I’d like to see you do some “staging” with this shot.

    Overall… Really great work! I’m very impressed.

    I look forward to seeing your next assignment.

    in reply to: Lesson Six #18771
    Duncan Rawlinson

    lol. Thanks Amelia. now I know. I’ll take that into consideration next time I look at your work.

    Great photograph! Keep up the good work.

    in reply to: Steve’s lesson one #18774
    Duncan Rawlinson

    Wonderful shot. Very well done. This is exactly what this assignment called for. I think the most important thing to do for this assignment is to draw our attention to what is was that made the second picture more interesting. What made the beauty more interesting than the beast? We often just have a gut feeling but when we take shots like this it’s important that we deconstruct that “gut feel” into something more analytical. It’s not simply that if you move in closer, it will be more interesting. Macro photography can be just as dull as photography that looks at larger surroundings.

    So what it is then? Well it’s never just one thing. In this particular case it’s mostly about the composition and less about the subject. When you look at war photojournalism and you see people gathered in unity, running in fear, looking at their child etc, these are often subject based photographs where composition may play a secondary importance. The decisive moment of a scream or the look of a father who jus lost his daughter is of main importance.

    In the picture below however, we’re not dealing with human tragedy so we need to find other ways to make the photograph more interesting. To make this assignment even harder we’re using something that is otherwise “boring” and trying to make it look less boring. Making a plant leaf go from boring to interesting is much easier than making a toaster do the same thing!

    My point is, that in all of these respects you’ve done a good job with what you had to work with (A toaster). Now we need to work backwards and see why it’s seemingly better. Then I think we need to think about how these concepts apply to other photographs we take.

    For starters, you’ve removed distracting secondary elements. You’ve made a conscious decision to leave in or take out pieces from the first photograph. The chord for example, you decided was an unimportant part of the picture and you removed it. From this we can learn that what’s not in the picture is as important to what’s in the picture.

    Secondly, you’ve organized two colors which help add a dramatic feel to the picture: Orange and blue. As you’ll learn in your color theory lesson, these two colors work very well side by side.

    Lastly, your object is organized within the 4 walls of your photograph in such a way that make composition easy to look at and organized.

    In the end, you’ve made this photograph much more interesting my simplifying, enhancing what was already there (through color) and knowing what to remove (uninteresting background colors, cords etc).

    Great job on your first assignment!

    in reply to: Lesson Six #18769
    Duncan Rawlinson

    Truly stunning photograph. You’ve used the “magic hours”, an interesting location and aesthetically pleasing angles to create a beautiful picture. This photograph is a good example of many of the ideas discussed in the lessons up until this point.

    Unlike many sunset pictures which lack depth, this picture has both a foreground, a middle-ground and a background. This alone makes this sunset picture standout from the hordes of others which lack the complexity of depth.

    Not only your depth, but the triangular shape of the bridge make this photograph particularly interesting to me and many photography viewers. The sharp angles of triangles help add a dramatic feel to picture.

    My main critique of this photograph is that I notice slight image distortion. This could have been caused by a few things. It could be because you’re shooting in lower light conditions and if you didn’t use a tripod or other stable surface then the slight camera shake could have caused this slight distortion. It could have been because of the low lighting conditions you had to use a higher ISO speed (i.e. 800 +). Many cameras don’t handle these conditions well and the result is a type of pixilation that is noticeable to most of your viewers.

    With film cameras the result looks “grainy” and is sometimes even desirable. However, in this photograph the “grainyness” kind of looks like small patches of discoloration (as is the case with most digital cameras).

    It’s harder to see when the image is smaller, but when enlarged it becomes very noticeable. Especially around the wires and outline of the bridge. This might just be the lighting limitation of your camera. And in that case, that’s fine. It’s just good to know what the limits of your hardware are. Shooting in low light conditions like this is very hard, but try to ensure you use a stabilizer like a rock or a tripod to take your shot. Also, remember, lower ISO speeds help get rid of that pixel distortion!

    Great job. Keep up the good work!

    in reply to: Lesson 2: Assignment #18773
    Duncan Rawlinson

    What an amazing person for inspiration. I would like to draw the students attention to another couple of photographs by this photographer..


    and the lion at twilight picture can be found here


    Thanks for this report. We all really appreciate it. I look forward to seeing your next practical work assignment.

    All the best.

    in reply to: Beauty and the beast #18772
    Duncan Rawlinson

    Great job on your first assignment. You’ve shown your understanding of what was asked in this assignment. You took an otherwise boring object and you transformed it to something that is much more visually pleasing to look at. However, this assignment is also important because you should be asking yourself what it is about your first photograph (the beast shot) that is unattractive or unappealing. For instance, I notice there are unsightly shadows, poor lighting conditions, unorganized composition and nowhere of particular interest for my eye to rest.

    Your second shot is much more interesting for 2 reasons in particular. Firstly, you’ve simplified what the photograph is about. This can’t be overstated. Simplification and proper organization are an important part of the visual makeup and appreciation of a photograph. Remember, it’s as important to know what to leave out as it is to know what to include.

    Secondly, you have two identifiable primary photographic elements. You’ve chosen to focus on color and shape and how they interact with one another.

    Great job on your first photograph. I look forward to seeing your assignments on composition and image design. This assignment was simply meant to get you thinking! Great job!

    in reply to: Lesson 1: Assignment #18768
    Duncan Rawlinson

    Great Idea Jaime.

    I like you idea about turning the fan on in your second picture and capturing it with a slower shutter speed. That is definitely an interesting idea and one worth exploring more. I’m sure it has many artistic variables.

    You’ve done a great job of transforming your first picture “beast” into a much more beautiful second picture “beauty”.

    However, I did notice one small composition mistake in your second picture. It’s a very common mistake but also one of the easiest mistakes to fix. By fixing this one small thing in all of your photographs you’re well on your way to composing much more professional images.

    Be careful of “amputation”. Amputation occurs when you unintentionally “cut” one of your primary areas of interest with one of the 4 walls of your photograph. In this assignment you’ve cut (just slightly) the light shade on the left hand side of the picture. You’ve just cut off a sliver, but it’s distracting to the eye and shows that lack of focus was paid to the areas around the 4 walls of the photograph.

    Remember, the photograph is not just wants in the center; it’s about the outer area as well. Keep a VERY close eye on the 4 walls of your photograph to ensure you keep amputations to a minimum or at least intentional.

    Overall, great work!

    in reply to: Filter Assignment #18767
    Duncan Rawlinson

    Excellent photograph.

    I’m glad to hear you’ve made the decision to go with a grad filter. They are truly a joy to work with aren’t they? They can create some stunningly masterful pieces as seen in your photograph above.

    I would like to start by congratulating you on a truly great photograph. Your composition and arrangement is very well thought out. The problem with many seascape shots is that although the sea, and the sky above it are often beautiful, they lack shape and angles. The most interesting line in a seascape photograph is usually the horizon line where the colors start to change colors and you see an interesting atmospheric component.

    However, even with interesting waves or cloud formations, these photographs are often skimmed over due to their lack of interesting objects and formations. However, this isn’t the case in your photograph. You’ve used one of the best tricks to add life to your seascape: A foreground. Not only that, but your foreground choice is extremely interesting. The angles of the rocks help disrupt the balanced flow of the water and their arrangement create triangular shapes which is considered one of the more interesting shape designs in photography.

    Your use of a slow shutter speed is also very well done. However, the effect is usually not that interesting if the rest of composition is poor. This is not the case in your photograph. You have great composition and the slow shutter water effect just acts as a nice highlight.

    My one recommendation is actually a post production recommendation. I notice on your unmoving rocks there are small bits of seaweed or other plant or animal life. They look like they have great textures and colors but it’s hard to see. I would try adding small purple highlights by using the “find and replace” color tool in Photoshop if you have it. This will allow you to amplify these subtle colors and add a nice color highlight to your photograph. Don’t make it too bright, but slightly brighter purples may create an interesting effect in your foreground.

    Overall… Great work, I can’t wait to see your next assignment.

    in reply to: Finding Depth and motion #18766
    Duncan Rawlinson

    Great work!

    Both of these shots show the technical implications of what was asked in this assignment. Let me begin by looking at your first bird photograph.

    For starters, you’ve done a great job of shrinking the depth of field to help highlight the bird. That was the main point of this assignment. By making your depth of field shallower you’ve helped further identify the bird as your primary object. Furthermore, you haven’t gotten rid of all background detail, which still provides important context for your viewers. Your viewers can still see that the bird is located outdoors and there is snow in the area.

    My only criticism for this picture is that you’ve amputated the bird’s legs at an awkward spot. Generally speaking human and animal “joints” are bad spots to cut a photograph off. In this case you’ve cut the photograph off on the bird’s knee joint. Try either including more of the legs (preferably the entire legs to avoid amputation altogether), but if you do need to cut it off, then try moving up a bit so you don’t cut on the joint. Try cutting on their upper leg.

    The same goes for humans as well. Try not to cut on their ankles, knees, waist, wrists or neck. Cutting at these places can result in awkward photographs.

    Your second shot is spectacular. It’s such a difficult shot to get. Usually there is at least some blurring of your primary object as you try and create the illusion of motion. However, I’ve examined this picture thoroughly and you’ve managed to create a very crisp picture. This is not an easy task. Great job!

    in reply to: Inspiration #18765
    Duncan Rawlinson

    Great post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your “conversational” piece. That’s what this assignment was supposed to accomplish. It was supposed to get you asking questions to yourself about what it is about photography that you find interesting.

    As you’ve mentioned, for you it isn’t necessarily about issue based or idea based photography. You can be interested in all sorts of subjects. What does interest you is unique composition and the complexities and beauty within simplification. For those of you who don’t know the photographer being discussed, you can see their website here…


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this amazing art form! I look forward to seeing more of your assignments in the student community.

    in reply to: Colour #18763
    Duncan Rawlinson


    Great shot. Sunsets are some of photography audiences favourite shots. They make up a great deal of desktop backgrounds and bedroom posters. People are drawn to the colors of the “magic” hours during the beginning of the day and just before the sun goes down.

    I do have a couple of recommendations for you though.

    1. Underexposing your images slightly will help bring out the colors and make the whites more subtle. It often makes the sunset look more dramatic. If your camera doesn’t have exposure control then point your camera at something brighter than the sunset and touch your cameras button without pushing it all of the way down. This will make your camera exposure properly to the bright setting. However, when you move your camera over to the sunset it will be forced to be underexposed. Play around with this until you get the right setting.

    2. Secondly, you were right to use those window bars in your foreground. You’re on the right thinking path. However, it helps to add more depth and create interesting secondary elements beyond just the sun or colors. The window works well but it still just creates a picture with two levels of depth (foreground and background). Try getting some mid-ground in there. What about trees, the shore as it stretches out the ocean. The reason so many sunset pictures look boring is because the photographers full attention is on only 1 element: The sunset. Look for interesting secondary object, such as the ones listed above, to help make your shot more interesting. In particular using shores to help create shapes and lead your viewers eye into the photograph is a great way to spruce up the photograph. For example look at this picture…


    Great work. Keep it up!

Viewing 15 posts - 1,951 through 1,965 (of 2,002 total)