Explore your photographic subject

“How many photographs did you take of that particular subject?” It’s a question I ask my students so often, and frequently the answer is – ‘Just the one’.

Why?

When you have a subject in front of you – explore it! Take pictures.

exploring photographic compositionLook at your chosen subject from different angles, move closer, move back. Adjust your framing and composition until you are totally satisfied that you have captured exactly what it was that caught your eye. Take pictures of each different angle. Take lots of photographs!

If you are photographing people, don’t just point the camera nervously and press the button furtively as if you are some sort of criminal. Take pictures. Explore your subject. You have a right to take pictures of people in public places.

I spotted this man fishing on the quayside late in the afternoon in Menorca. The golden light was lovely with the sun low in the sky. The first thing I spotted was the light on the man’s straw hat.

He was looking down as he put new bait on his hook, and as I was standing above him up some steps, he did not notice me at first. I took several photographs before he looked up and spotted me.

With new bait on his fish hook, he turned back to the water and started fishing again. I simply walked into a new position where I could shoot straight into the low sun – backlight – and I had a completely new angle and a fresh approach to the subject.

Even then I could make adjustments to the composition by re-positioning myself – moving to the left and to the right.

First I tried dividing the composition with the reflected light on the right of the picture and the fisherman on the left of the picture. Then I moved to place the silhouette of the fisherman directly in the highlights of the sun reflected on the water.

exploring photo composition - using backlightThis worked quite well but I did not much like the way the glaring highlights on the water degraded the outline of the man’s hat and face

By the time I had finished, I could walk away knowing that I had done all I could to get the most from the situation. I had a set of a dozen different photographs.

exploring photo composition reflected back light

And that is the key – never leave a picture-making situation until you know you will get nothing more from it. It is wonderfully satisfying to be able to walk away with the knowledge that you have done all you can – that you have done your best.

When you come on a Photography Course with Philip Dunn, you will learn many professional secrets that will help you create great photographs.

Philip Dunn’s Photography Holidays cover the basis of Travel Photography which includes coaching in photographing people and street photography. For many years Philip was the travel photographer for The Sunday Times.


Better Photography DVDs


Practice makes better photographs

Eye-popping images do not happen every day, and if you spend all your time looking only for what you consider to be your perfect photograph, chances are you will take very few pictures. You will almost certainly be disappointed with the few photographs you do take.

The ability to see interesting shape, form and composition – and therefore pictures worth taking – when looking at everyday objects should be developed by every photographer who wants to improve.

For one thing, if this ability is cultivated and practiced, a photographer will be much more capable of capturing those ‘great’ pictures when they do present themselves. It will even help to improve a sense of timing when photographing action shots because you will see more readily when all the elements of composition fall naturally into place.

It stands to reason that if you can learn to recognise and capture the ‘small’ pictures, the great ones will pretty much take care of themselves.

abstract-photography-palmThe other day I was walking along the street in Menorca when the structure of a pretty ordinary palm tree caught my eye. The way the bark was peeling, twisting and flaking fascinated me to the extent that I simply had to stop and take a photograph of it.

There was nothing startling about my subject, and the resulting pictures will never win any awards. I very much doubt if they will sell, but it gave me real pleasure to have spotted the visual potential of an intriguing subject and to spend just a few seconds composing the shot.

Simple composition

The composition is very simple – the image is more or less divided in half diagonally from bottom left to top right. The curves of the fibrous bark nicely counteract the straight diagonal lines and detail across the bottom right of the photograph.

I also liked the monochrome quality of the grey colours with the slight tint of ochre.

It is worth pointing out the power of diagonal leading lines when they are influenced by the corners of the rectangular frame that contains an image – that is they lead the eye to or from the corners of the picture. In this case the diagonal stress of the composition creates balance despite the fact that image detail is not evenly shared between the top left and bottom right areas.

Abstract photography

The picture amounts to a simple abstract. There’s nothing clever about that. There’s no sense of scale and no sense of distance or perspective. Yet there is texture, subtle colour and the beauty of natural design.

The ‘clever’ bit comes in the ability to see the potential of your subject in the first place, and then kno

More on composition leading lines

Here is another of those photographs of mine that The Sunday Times picture desk used to say were ‘uncroppable’ because of their linked composition and visual leading lines.

Yes, I have said before that all photographs are ‘croppable’ – you simply hack a piece off if you really want a picture to fit a particular shaped hole in the newspaper or magazine layout. But my aim is always to provide ‘complete’ pictures, whose compositional elements have an entity in themselves – pictures that need every component within them if they are to tell the story I want to ge across.

sandy-balls-photo-composition

I was hugely fortunate to work for The Sunday Times because they understood the importance of photography and always tried to give pictures the prominence and space they deserved. They never tried to stuff one of my pictures into a space that was too small and they never sliced chunks off them in order to make them fit.

This enlightened attitude is tremendously liberating for a photographer, and with the fetters off, I was able to capture some quite complicated scenes that either told the story as it happened, or contained sufficient visual clues to enable the viewer’s imagination to take over and fill in any gaps.

This narrative aspect of photography should always be a priority for any working photojournalist. The job is all about visual communication.

The picture of the campers was taken at the gloriously named ‘Sandy Balls’ holiday camp site in the New Forest. The photograph was partly orchestrated in that the man inside the tent was asked to look through the tent window at his friend cooking breakfast on the grass outside.

When I first saw and photographed this scene the man inside the tent was pulling on his shirt. This was all right, but did not really connect two of the major elements in the composition – the two men. It created two very separated compositions – which might have been easily cropped. One composition with the man and the vintage car outside the tent, and another with the man inside the tent.

When I asked the man to look though the window, the composition was complete.

And then I had one of those strokes of luck for which every photographer should always be prepared – another man walked across the background with his dog. The jigsaw pieces of the composition just fell immediately into place and I pressed the button.

Once again there are a whole series of leading lines within this composition. In fact there are any amount of compositional leading lines and triangles here. Can you spot any of them? If you can, let me know by posting a comment.

  • Fuji Neopan 400
  • Nikon F3
  • Nikkor 24mm f2 lens


August 09 Photo Challenge Winners


The PhotoActive Forum members’ poll to find their top pictures from the August 09 Photo Challenge  is now closed and here are the results.

What a truly fantastic set of images were produced for the Photo Challenge – the subject was WINDOWS and forum members really went to town with some amazing and imaginative photography.

Photograph A
Anne

Joint 3rd place 14% of votes

Camera: Canon Digital Ixus 850 IS
Shutter Speed: 1/250sec
Aperture: f5.6

photograph A - August 09 Photo Challenge - Anne

This is what a good abstract photograph can achieve. Reality is fragmented in the reflections of the window to the point where the it is difficult to pin down any particular subject of focal point. If the picture has a weakness, that’s it – the yellow funnel does attracts the eye, but the large area to the top left – well over a quarter of the images is somewhat unrewarding.

However, the image appealed to me the moment I saw it and I think Anne has done a brilliant job – not only in recognising the potential of the reflections, but actually capturing the scene.


Photograph B
Stewart

Joint 3rd place 14% of votes

Camera: Canon EOS 20D
Shutter Speed: 1/60sec
Aperture: f11
ISO 400

Photograph B August 09 Photo Challenge

Colour, angles, geometric shapes, depth – this has them all, and an interesting composition as well.

I think Stewart deserves a real pat on the back for this one. One of the reason for setting the ‘Windows’ Challenge was to try to get forum members to hone their observation skills, and looking at this picture it certainly seems to have paid off.


Photograph C
Crookymonster

FIRST PLACE 34% of votes

Camera: Lumix DMC-G1
Shutter Speed:1/50sec
Aperture: f4.0
ISO 400

Photograph C August 09 Photo Challenge

‘Look up’ – how often have I said that to my students. Here, Sandra has looked up and lo and behold – there is a super picture just waiting to be captured.

Sandra has kept the composition absolutely simple with a straightforward diagonal. This angle also helps because she is not looking straight out into the bright daylight through the windows, the burnt out areas have been kept to an absolute minimum – just the little around and beneath the open window frame. This is all perfectly acceptable.

At first glance I thought that Sandra had used flash and that this was responsible for the lighter areas of the wall nearer the camera. However, this is not the case and I think the effect has been achieved by a pool of natural light. The fact that the wall sinks into shadow the further away it gets has actually added emphasis the foreground.

The colour combinations are just super.

The only thing I don’t like about the picture are those modern gizmos to open the window – we can’t blame Sandra for that.

All in all, a very worthy winner. Well done Sandra.


Photograph D
Steve Mc

Joint 4th place 6% of votes

Camera: Nikon D700
Shutter: 1/250sec
Aperture f8.0
ISO 200

Photograph D August Photo Challenge

I am surprised that this cracking picture did not get more votes.

No, I don’t suspect that Steve dodged the light areas in Photoshop to represent windows on the wall. Looking at the direction of the light, I think they are bright reflected patches from the early morning sun hitting windows out of shot over to the right of the camera.

Not too keen on the large dark empty triangle on the bottom right, but at least it is dark enough not to attract attention. Steve has captured an interesting and unusual moment and done it very well indeed.  I hope Steve moved around and took lots of pictures from different angles. There are always many opportunitoes in light like this. Well done, Steve.


Photograph E
Cathy

Joint 4th Place 6% of votes

Camera: Canon EOS 30D
Shutter: 1/200sec
Aperture: f8.0
ISO 160

Photograph E August Photo Challenge

Another abstract from window reflections and another great photograph.

I like the upright format and the way a little element of reality has been included with the plant bottom left. This has anchored the image in the real world and also added a strong feeling of depth to the composition

The colour combination of blue, yellow and a dash of red works very well.

Photograph F
Maria

2nd place 26% of votes

No camera information available

Photograph F August Photo Challenge

Atmosphere – remoteness, bleakness, loneliness and speed. These emotions are all in this very simple image.

I wish I could relax with it more in the certainty that it has not been entirely put together in Photoshop. I don’t think it has been – although it has had a bit of help. I’m sure Maria will share the story behind this fantastic image – please Maria.

The single telegraph pole has heightened the sense of wilderness in the picture – so too has the spray that can be seen in the mirror. This is from the speeding car and conjures up all sorts of stories in my mind – escape – running away. It’s all there if you care to look and let your imagination get to work.

Maria’s eye has been developing very acutely over the past couple of years, and she now has the ability to put together her camera skills and her keen sense of drama and movement.

They have come together perfectly in this photograph

A
Anne
Camera: Canon Digital Ixus 850 IS
Shutter Speed: 1/250sec
Aperture: f5.6
This is what a good abstract photograph can achieve. Reality is fragmented in the reflections of the window to the point where the it is difficult to pin down any particular subject of focal point. If the picture has a weakness, that’s it – the yellow funnel does attracts the eye, but the large area to the top left – well over a quarter of the images is somewhat unrewarding.
However, the image appealed to me the moment I saw it and I think Anne has done a brilliant job – not only in recognising the potential of the reflections, but actually capturing the scene.
B Stewart
Camera: Canon EOS 20D
Shutter Speed: 1/60sec
Aperture: f11
ISO 400
Colour, angles, geometric shapes, depth – this has them all, and an interesting composition as well.
I think Stewart deserves a real pat on the back for this one. One of the reason for setting the ‘Windows’ Challenge was to try to get forum members to hone their observation skills, and looking at this picture it certainly seems to have paid off.
C
Crookymonster
Camera: Lumix DMC-G1
Shutter Speed:1/50sec
Aperture: f4.0
ISO 400
‘Look up’ – how often have I said that to my students. Here, Sandra has looked up and lo and behold – there is a super picture just waiting to be captured.
Sandra has kept the composition absolutely simple with a straightforward diagonal. This angle also helps because she is not looking straight out into the bright daylight through the windows, the burnt out areas have been kept to an absolute minimum – just the little around and beneath the open window frame. This is all perfectly acceptable.
At first glance I thought that Sandra had used flash and that this was responsible for the lighter areas of the wall nearer the camera. However, this is not the case and I think the effect has been achieved by a pool of natural light. The fact that the wall sinks into shadow the further away it gets has actually added emphasis the foreground.
The colour combinations are super.
The only thing I don’t like about the picture are those modern gizmos to open the window – we can’t blame Sandra for that.
All in all, a very worthy winner. Well done Sandra.
D
Steve Mc
Camera: Nikon D700
Shutter: 1/250sec
Aperture f8.0
ISO 200
I am surprised that this cracking picture did not get more votes.
No, I don’t suspect that Steve dodged the light areas in Photoshop to represent windows on the wall. Looking at the direction of the light, I think they are bright reflected patches from the early morning sun hitting windows out of shot over to the right of the camera.
Not too keen on the large dark empty triangle on the bottom right, but Steve has captured an interesting and unusual moment, but at least it is dark enough not to attract attention. I hope Steve moved around and took lots of pictures from different angles.
E
Cathy
Camera: Canon EOS 30D
Shutter:1/200sec
Aperture: f8.0
ISO 160
Another abstract from window reflections and another great photograph.
I like the upright format and the way a little element of reality has been included with the plant bottom left. This has anchored the image in the real world and also added a strong feeling of depth to the composition.
The colour combination of blue, yellow and a dash of red works very well.
F
Maria
No camera information available
Atmosphere – remoteness, bleakness, loneliness and speed. These emotions are all in this very simple image.
I wish I could relax with it more in the certainty that it has not been entirely put together in Photoshop. I don’t think it has – although it has had a bit of help. I’m sure Maria will share the story behind this fantastic image – please Maria.
The single telegraph pole has heightened the sense of wilderness in the picture – so too has the spray that can be seen in the mirror. This is from the speeding car and conjures up all sorts of stories in my mind – escape – running away. It’s all there if you care to look and let your imagination get to work.
Maria’s eye has been developing very acutely over the past couple of years, and she now has the ability to put together her camera skills and her keen sense of drama and movement.
They have come together perfectly in this photograp


Sunshine Photography Courses

Photography here in Bonnie Galloway has not been easy this year. Most cameras don’t like rain – and neither do photographers. And boy, have we had some rain.

photography course student on beachIt is very rare that during a day of photography tuition we do not get outside to take pictures at some stage of the day – even when it is raining. But there have been a couple of occasions recently when we have had to admit defeat in the deluge and concentrate on indoor portraiture, table top photography or interiors.

It’s all good for improving photographic technique of course, and a great deal can be learned about camera craft, light and composition, but it is good to have the opportunity to get outdoors and photograph the beauty of this glorious landscape of SW Scotland.

This last week we have been lucky and I have to say that the people who have been for photography tuition have actually brought their own special rays of sunshine with their happy personalities.

Warning – Photography Course plugs coming up!

Jules, pictured above getting sand in her wellie boots’, came down from her home near Glasgow. This is what she said about her day of photography tuition:

“…my big thanks are for the wonderful and invaluable learning experience I had today. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute and felt very welcomed by you both in your lovely home.”

photography course - landscape on the coast of Scotland

Paul, his daughter Laura and his friend Di came up from Leeds, Yorkshire for a photography course – they are pictured above. Again we had a lot of fun, a break in the weather and wonderful light down on the coast. Paul wrote:

“We learned a lot in a short time, you are an enthusiastic, very competent and patient teacher and that helped a lot. You have an ability to explain complex things in a simple way – e.g. light direction and exposure and water buckets.”

Buckets? Yes, well, my photography students know all about buckets, and Light Monkeys, Rectangle Monkeys and ‘What catches their eye’.

Find our more about Photography Courses in Scotland


New Canon Ixus touch-screen compact

Canon have announced the release of the new Canon Ixus 200 IS.

Many of you may know that I have been a fan of the various models of the Canon Ixis for some time – at present I am never without my little Ixus 960 IS. I take it everywhere.

Canon Ixus 200 is


The new Ixus 200 IS has a touch-screen feature to enable users to select objects or faces. The camera will then track the selected object and automatically keep it in focus. Another touch-screen feature is the ability to review images by dragging a finger across the big 3 inch screen.



Features of the Canon Ixus 200 IS include:

  • 12.1 Megapixel Sensor
  • Wide-Angle 24mm Lens
  • 5x Optical Zoom
  • Touch Screen, Advanced Scene Detection Technology
  • Optical Image Stabiliser
  • Shoot Movies in HD

The Canon Ixus 200 IS is available from September 6th (in various colours!) in the PhotoActive Camera Shop for just £279.99

canon-ixus-200 IS


Photoactive Camera Shop with Amazon


Using picture composition

Moving on from my recent post about leading lines and composition.

John Glover commented on that post by asking a question about just how aware is a photographer of all the rules of composition when actually taking a photograph.

Let’s take the question a few steps further and ask how much can an understanding of the rules of composition help a photographer capture a better picture – or, indeed, might an understanding of composition actually hinder or even inhibit a photographer?

My belief is that the more you know the easier things become and the more you can push back the boundaries of photography and express yourself.

I know John Glover is a very talented artist – he can paint the most beautiful portraits that capture the very essence of his subject’s personality. But he can also paint landscapes, and boats, and houses – in fact, John can paint just about anything he wants to paint.

Why? Well, mostly because he is very talented, but I suggest that part of that talent is borne of understanding and training. You see, John is a very fine draughtsman. He understand the rules. The basics.

It is the same in photography.

I was once told when I was working for The Sunday Times that I was known as the photographer who took uncroppable pictures. Shooting ‘uncroppable’ pictures was fine for an outfit like The Sunday Times – they really appreciated good photography and were prepared to use big pictures uncropped (I do not recommend this strategy for most freelances wanting to sell their travel pictures).


In this composition the eye tends to move around in a big circle around the light central area - gathering visual information as it goes

There is a lot going on in this picture, but the circular composition leads the eye in a big circle around the light central area - gathering visual information as it goes


In truth, all pictures are croppable – you simple cut a piece off the image. But not if you want to preserve the integrity of the whole composition and the meaning of the picture. I enjoyed producing pictures in which every part of the subject was in some way linked visually; pictures that needed all their elements to tell the story.

I became fascinated with this concept.

The example here might help explain what I’m trying to say. It shows a street scene in Jaipur, India,

I had spotted the obvious potential of a picture with the cows in the foreground, and positioned myself to include them in a fairly wide-angle photograph of the street – a very busy place with people moving around all the time.

I took a photograph (get one in the bag – the cows might move). I looked behind me and saw the cycle rickshaw and lady with her three children coming towards me. I turned back towards the cows and the street scene and waited for the people and the rickshaw to pass me knowing that they might create another interesting part of the whole composition.

As they got just in front of me I started taking pictures. The first shot was just a little too early and did not work (see photograph below). The second shot worked perfectly.

The point is – I knew absolutely that the composition was going to work a fraction of a second before I pressed the shutter. Everything came together: the rickshaw overtook the family and moved further into the picture, while one of the children kept his eyes on me. At this moment the other rickshaw up the street pulled into the road to turn around. The composition was complete. I pressed the button.

I also knew when I took the picture that the composition had a circular form in which the eye might move around the light area in the middle gathering information before heading round the picture again to see more.

leading lines and circular compostiion in photography

This photograph did not work. The pieces of the composition had not yet fallen into place. Compare this photograph to the one above and notice the different positioning of some of the key elements of the composition. Some of these differences are slight, and quite subtle - but they matter a great deal

 

TIPS

  • A travel photographer must be aware of everything moving around him – look behind you.
  • A photographer should ALWAYS think ahead – anticipate the action
  • Press the button the very instant all the elements of the composition fall into place
  • A photographer should always be aware of good composition


Challenge photo after Photoshop edit

When I offered some critiques for the Photo Challenge pictures which did not get into the PhotoActive Forum Poll, one of the suggestions was for a lovely photograph taken by forum member kerrybrau.

I liked the picture very much but it lost impact because the image lacked contrast and ‘punch. Well, my friend Alwyn has put himself on the case. Alwyn was so taken by kerrybrau’s photograph that he has done a bit of editing and tweaking.

I have to say that this has, to my mind, improved this photograph tenfold. Had it been presented for the monthly Photo Challenge like this, there is no doubt that I would have put it straight through to the poll. I think it could well have won, too.

If you are in any doubts, take a look at the original photograph and my comments

photo challenge picture after photoshop editThis is what Alwyn had to say:

Hope you don’t mind – but I was really taken by the shot that ‘kerrybrau’ took and could not help ‘borrowing’ it from the site and playing with it…!

So you’ll find a slightly cropped, curve adjusted and a little sharpened image attached as a rework. It could have been pushed a bit further but the old cill was starting to clip. I’ve probably upset copyright, etc etc but I could not resist seeing what was ‘hidden’ in the image. The lighting is still a little flat – but it’s a super little picture. Maybe curves/levels etc could be a subject for the blog.

Had to send this by email as I could not attach a file in a comment.

Hope you didn’t mind me fiddling too much?!

Kind regards,
Alwyn

Thank you Alwyn, I’m quite sure that kerrybrau will greatly appreciate the effort you have put into making something very special out of his super photograph.  But just in case, if he does want to sue, I’ll pass on your email address.

PhotoActive Photo Challenge Critiques 2

The high standard of entries for the August PhotoActive Challenge, Philip Dunn offers more critique for some of the photo entries that did not quite make it to the PhotoActive Forum Poll.

Ian proc

NIKON D90

Shutter Speed: 1/200sec
Aperture: f5.6
Exposure Compensation -0.3

PhotoActive Photo Challenge photo critique Ian proc

I very nearly put this through as one of my top favourites. It’s a super photograph: a great subject and really powerful colours. Had Ian just straightened it a tiny fraction I think it might have tipped the scales with me.

No matter I still like it very much – perfect exposure, very well framed. Well done Ian.


kerrybrau

NIKON D50
Shutter Speed: 1/500sec
Aperture: f4.0

PhotoActive Photo Challenge photo critique kerrybrau

It is such a shame that the slight dullness of the image lets this shot down because the subject is wonderful and the angle and crop are absolutely fine. Although I would also like to see a crop with the blank sky cut off and perhaps a little more included beneath the window.

Kerrybrau’s idea of using black and white for this image was a good, sound one. But the picture lacks contrast and punch. Apart from the sky, there is no real white anywhere.

I notice that the image is still in RGB colour mode. Why? I suspect kerrybrau has desaturated it from a colour image and lost a lot of tones in the process, but not converted the image to greyscale. I wrote on the blog a short while ago about converting RGB to Greyscale. Take a look at Converting RGB to Grayscale and see if it will help you (In the post I used the US spelling grayscale because that’s how Photoshop describe it).

In essence, you go into Channels and decide which channel you prefer. Usually it is either Red or Green Channel that is best. Blue is normally the poorest. If you simply convert all the channels to greyscale you can often end up with a flat image.

If you are seeing great pictures like this kerrybrau, you are well on the way to producing some real winners.


Phil North

NIKON D2X

Shutter Speed: 1/125sec
Aperture f11.0
ISO 800

PhotoActive Photo Challenge photo critique phil north

I beautifully observed picture, perfectly exposed.

I might question why such a high ISO was used because it seems Phil did not want the view though the window in focus. If that was the case he could have easily used a slower ISO, smaller aperture, and thrown the distance out of focus completely.

I do think more interest could have been generated if there was something to attract the viewers attention through that little window. In that case, a smaller aperture would have been needed to gain sufficient depth of field.

However, the patterns of the trees though the window do mirror very nicely the patterns of the rough stone wall. Maybe it was this that attracted Phil to capture the picture

David Martin

Canon EOS 40D
SShutter Speed 1/50
ISO: 100

PhotoActive Photo Challenge critiques

A picture with animation and the power to pull the viewer’s eye – and all from the simplest of subjects. Initially I find this image very attractive indeed. Certainly the colour combinations are kept to a minimum and this has added to the appeal.

I am not sure what David has done to create the ‘zoom’ blur effect on the right hand side of the picture. It does remind me of the old idea of zooming in (or out) as the shutter is opened. If that is the case then David must have cropped off the right hand side of the picture because the effect of doing this in camera is to cause a blur that is centred on the centre of the image.

No, I suspect this was done afterwards in Photoshop with careful selection and blur. It shows great visual imagination

The only problem is  - but it makes my eyes go funny.


PhotoActive Photo Challenge Critiques

I have just endured my monthly tussle to choose my favourites among the photographs entered for the August PhotoActive Forum Challenge. The photo challenge subject for August was ‘WINDOWS’

What a job – and it gets worse. It gets worse because the picture seem to get better – this, of course makes the choices far more difficult.

All I can say is very well done everyone who entered. If you picture is not among my top favourites – or among the ones here for which I have offered some photo critique and constructive criticism, please do not despair.

I will try to critique some more of the entries as soon as I get the chance. As you can imagine, this is very time consuming – but I do enjoy it.

Well done everyone.

The Poll to choose the Top Favourite from the August Photo Challenge is now open on the PhotoActive Forum

More critiques to follow soon…


Gordon

NIKON D50
Shutter speed: 1/3sec
Aperture: f18
ISO 800

mixed light photography - PhotoActive Photo Challenge

I have been pleased to see that some entries for this month’s challenge included twilight – or ‘Mixed Light’ shots. Great – this is a wonderful time to take pictures – after the sun has gone down and the colour temperature rises dramatically (blue light) just before it goes completely dark. And what happens when it goes dark? People switch on their lights – low temperature light (yellow light). Hence – Mixed Light.

Gordon has timed this shot perfectly to get the best of both colours. I am not jumping around about the composition but the colours are wonderful.

I would have like to see Gordon put the camera on a tripod – this picture is a bit shaky. With the camera resting on something solid it is not necessary to push up the ISO. Keep it down and use a long exposure

Anyway, very well done with a great effort Gordon. I was really pleased to see this.


Carl

COOLPIX P6000
Shutter Speed: 1/212sec (really, that’s what it says on the EXIF)
Aperture: f5.8
ISO 200

photographing windows - PhotoActive Photo Challenge

Carl lives quite near me in Kirkcudbright, so I know this particular window he’s photographed – it has fascinated me for ages. I’ve been meaning to take some pictures of it but there is always a car parked in front of it. This has put me off.

However, Carl has used that parked car very effectively, and its windows add an extra dimension to the picture. I like the way the flowers in the window across the street are reflected. The subtle colour combinations also appeal to me.


John Glover

No camera information available

photographing windows Pin Mill - PhotoActive Photo Challenge

What a cracker. A subjet that is very close to my heart. In fact a place I am very fond of – Pin Mill on the River Orwell in Suffolk (or is it Essex?). I learned to sail many years ago down there.

John has created a tremendous feeling of depth by looking thought the silhouette of the window frame. A simple device, but in this case a very effective one. He has done exactly the right thing by exposing for the outside scene and allowing the window frame to go black. A very lovely photograph.


Phil

No camera information available

photographing windows - PhotoActive Photo Challenge

This picture is so near being a very good one. The idea is good and, technically, Phil has done exceptionally well with a very difficult subject and lighting situation.

So why is it not among my top favourites. Well the answer is it was. In fact it has been in and out several times during the decision process. In the end I began to realise it was the storyline that did not quite do it for me and I came to the conclusion that I do not think using two people quite worked.

The image is already divided into two halves by the window frame. Two subjects are also dividing and competing for my attention AND my imagination. Because of this, neither has my full attention.

I think Phil would have made a real success from this if he had concentrated on one subject – perhaps the lady on the right. The dark door behind the lady on the left would have balanced the composition nicely.

Anyway, a brilliant and well-thought out picture with lots to say, and it’s good to see a picture with people in it.

Keep up the good work Phil


Fwilk

SONY ALPHA 300
Shutter Speed: 1/4sec
Aperture: f5.6
ISO 800

photographing windows - PhotoActive Photo Challenge

Another mixed light picture – and this is in the truest sense a picture about windows.

I know Fwilk enjoys street photography – photographing at dusk in low light conditions can put a whole new slant on that. Here the colours are very intense and easily attract the eye.

However, I feel slightly let down because I cannot see a little more of the person in the restaurant. Failing a better view of the diner, ideally there might have been the front view of another person facing this subject – maybe the waiter or her companion. Yes, I know the angle would make that very difficult – but such are the problems of capturing really good candid images.

However, a great try and I know that Fwilk will be coming up with something really powerful in the future.