Exercise 1.6 – Light and Shadow

Brief:- Make a series of photographic studies of light and shadow. Use your spot meter to expose the highlights correctly, but make the shadows dark. Use the edges and corners of your frame to create dramatic compositions. You’ll need to shoot many exposures for this project, perhaps more than you’re accustomed to taking. Be observant and go out specifically with taking pictures in mind. Notice:- Sun streaming light in through windows, the way trees cast their shadows, patches of light cast through trees and shrubs, angular shadows across city streets.

I have really enjoyed this project and I have become more accustomed to notice what is going on around me, more of a feel for noticing people walking through highlights, and aware of how dark areas in a photo can create a mood.

For this project I have been out on several occasions and taken test photos on my smart phone which can be seen here. In fact one of my favourite photos was a test shot taken on my phone.

20170708_111327Keys R; 2017

The shadows on the wall do not come through well on the image, but to me its a message of hope. Being stuck behind a dark barrier, with light and colour on the other side, and a stairwell leading out, an exit.

The rest of the photos were made on my D7100, and have had some adjustments in Lightroom, dodge, burn, increase shadows, and crop.


These are the photographs that I think work the best because of the light and composition, and I am aware that 1 and 3 are more on the lines of silhouette than working with light and shadow, but in saying that they show good use of highlights and darks. I rarely convert my images into black and white, but I am pleased with how it works with the train.

Here are a few more that I liked.


A final word – I saw these images today


MacDonald I; 2017; Los Angeles Street Photography with the Fuji X100F

I like the shadow of the bike and how it is framed against the shadow cast by other street furniture, and the second photo, the leading lines, angles, perspective and composition.


Ian Macdonald Photography

Keys R; 2017; Exercise 1.6 Light and Shadow; Digital Sketchbook; https://photosociology.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/exercise-1-6-light-and-shadows-digital-sketch-book/ (accessed on 12/07/2017)

MacDonald I; 2017; Los Angeles Street Photography with the Fuji X100F; Ian Macdonald Photography; https://ianmacdonaldphotography.com/2017/07/12/los-angeles-street-photography-with-the-fuji-x100f-part-two/ (accessed on 12/07/2017)



Picture Analysis – Toshio Shibata; 2007; Red Bridge, Okawa


  1. Take a close look at the photograph above. What do you see? Write a visual description using short phrases and keywords. Describe the objects you see, their shapes, colour and tones, the direction of lines. There’s a picture to analyse in each part of this course. Always start your analysis by describing what you see.
  2. What took your attention first? And where did your eyes move to after that?
  3. A picture can have many subjects, but what’s the main subject? Apart from the objects depicted, does the photo have a metaphorical subject?
  4. Describe the quality of the light and shadow. Note the atmosphere or mood of the picture.
  5. Look carefully at the composition, the way the different shapes, lines and tones are arranged within the frame. Make a small sketch with notes explaining the composition. Do the lines or shapes have a particular direction? Note these down on your sketch.
  6. What does the title tell you?
  7. Name every object, that is every ‘thing’ that’s in the picture.
  8. Is what you’re seeing and what you’re describing the same thing? Or is there something you think you ‘know’ intuitively? Make a distinction between what you can see and what you’re guessing, feeling or intuiting.
  9. What is your felt or personal response to the photograph? This is your experience of it.

Red Bridge Okawa

Toshio Shibata; 2007; Red Bridge, Okawa

Initial Thoughts:- Leading lines, diagonals, light through bridge, imposing bridge, into source of light, light from top left, lighting looks wrong on right sides of bridge structure? HDR of bridge? Lightroom exposure mask? reflections from bright path, hint of trees/forest, physical journey through the bridge, emotional journey into the unknown as the bridge path goes into the trees/representing a journey into the soul, light rays from sun, good exposure and composition leads through the physical structure, a gentle but firm opening that leads to the emotional journey.

Cream, curved, diagonal line of path from bottom left through the centre of the image, leading to the background. Repeated red diagonals of bridge structure, repeated lines, rectangles and boxes of bridge, dark background hints of mystery, Trees in background with rays of sun lighting them from top left background, triangular shadow of bridge, dominant highlights and midtones, bright, sunny, cheerful, title says the photo is about the bridge and does not refer to the emotional journey that I see, reflections of light from the path, lighting looks wrong on some parts of the bridge structure (too well lit on some of the uprights on the side that is receiving no sunlight, some of the oranges should be reds or at least darker orange, a hint of road hidden in the trees on the left and right hand side of the image. Front lit image that hasn’t been rendered void by going into silhouette, demonstrates some post processing which has been done effectively. Has not removed dirt, tarnish and stain so the bridge structures look natural.

Toshio Shibata; 2007; Red Bridge, Okawa; in Robert Enoch; 2017; Foundations in Photography; Open College of the Arts; Barnsley; P42

Exersize 1.7 – Evaluating Your Photographs

I have previously used my student blog to describe my process of evaluating my photography. Although in that post I was referring to the process that I use to evaluate enent photography, the same applies to all of my photographs.

“My process.

Evaluate photos on my camera – delete blurred, poor composition, partial shots (half a car), distractions, blurred sponsorship (I email and twitter participants and sponsors to promote my work).

Evaluate photos on Microsoft photo viewer. Same process as above but can check clarity and composition in closer detail.

Categorise photos into folders, in this instance, cars, sponsors, event.

Remove duplicates and keep the best overall, subject, composition, technical (Tudor method of evaluating photos –  https://youtu.be/WYcokY2Pgjk  – Christian Tudor http://academy-of-photography.com).” Richard Keys; 2017; Evaluating Event Photography – My Process; https://photosociology.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/evaluating-event-photography-my-process/ (accessed on 04/07/2017)

In the above quote I talk about removing photographs with “blurred sponsorship” as the original post was in relation to event photography. However the same process is followed in regard to any brief that I follow. That may be in relation to a Foundations in Photography exercise or on any project that I am personally undertaking.

There are also many occasions that I develop a photo in Lightroom or Photoshop, then return to it a day or two later and then delete the photo. An image that I initially liked, may not fit in with what I wanted to create, once I have had time to return to it. I believe it’s too easy to retain images, because of the investment that I have made when creating photography. This is certainly something that I am getting better at. I understand the investment. I do not go and take a photo. I get an idea, I consider why that idea is important to me, what I want to represent. I may then make a formal or informal plan (photographic brief) of how I am going to achieve the result that I want. Then I go out with the intent of creating the image or series of images, and of course these may not be successful so I go out again and either reshoot from the same place, or go somewhere else, depending upon what I have learned from the mistakes of the first shoot.

I have improved my workflow as I have developed as a photographer, and often the time involved in evaluating my photography is longer than in taking and planning photographs, especially when it is event photography and I have made lots of images. I do get frustrated when I need to go and reshoot for a project that I am working on, and when I have developed an image and then do not think it is suitable for the brief. I would rather get it wrong and learn from my mistakes, than present an underpar image.


Keys R; 2017; Evaluating Event Photography – My Process; https://photosociology.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/evaluating-event-photography-my-process/ (accessed (04/07/2017)

Tudor C; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYcokY2Pgjk (accessed 04/07/2017) also http://academy-of-photography.com


Exercise 1.8 – Bracketing Exposure

Brief:- Put your camera on a tripod or stable surface. Set to manual mode. Make a photo of anything you like at the optimum exposure according to the light meter reading. Now deliberately under-expose by one f-stop or by reducing shutter speed (e.g. 1/30th sec to 1/60th sec). Take another shot, underexposing by an f-stop. Now take a shot over-exposing from the initial optimum exposure by one f-stop or increasing the shutter speed. Take another shot over-exposing one stop further. Upload these photos to your computer to view them better.

I followed the brief as outlined, but have arranged the photos from under exposed to correctly exposed and then over exposed. For most series I took five images. I will begin with my favourite series.

Exp 5

I do not like photographing in churches, as the light meter on my camera does not work properly when I am shooting in higher ISO settings. I initially tated with an ISO of 800, but with the light setting showig the correct exposure, the image was over exposed. So I dropped down to ISO 640, and underexposed by 2 stops. I was using a tripod, my camera set to spot metering, and white balance to cloudy, and apature at f10. The focal point was the stained glass window. The initial photo was taken at 1/60sec and the final image at 0.5sec.

It is really apparent that there are details in the highlights on the first image, and the colours can be made out in the stained glass window with hardly any light or detail in the shadow. The final image has detail in the shadow and is correctly exposed for the areas nearer to the camera and the ceiling, but the rest of the image is over exposed, the window highlights have some clipping and that creates flare on the stained glass.

I have then opened the images in lightroom and combined them to make an HDR image, with auto tone, removed chromatic abberation and enabled profile corrections. Finally I used the vertical transform to correct the uprights. I have not made an HDR image before so I am really pleased with the result.

HDR From EXP Comp (1 of 1)-2

Learning:- buy a remote trigger so that I do not have blurring from the movement of pressing the button, and shoot in MUP (mirror up).

The second series was taken the same way but without a tripod.


Image 1 – f5 1/10sec- Image 5 – f5 0.4sec – all images ISO 800.

HDR From EXP Comp (1 of 1)

The HDR image is of poor qaulity, I was not using a tripod, so the lights are blurred. I had the ISO to high for this series.

Here are the other series that I made for this exercise.


ISO 400, f9, Image 1 – 1/8sec – Image 5 – 0.5sec


ISO 200, f13, Image 1 – 1/160sec – Image 5 – 1/50sec

Exp 2

ISO 200, f13, Image 1 – 1/500sec – Image 5 – 1/125sec

Exp 4

ISO 100, f9, Image 1 – 1/200sec – Image 3 – 1/25sec


ISO 500, f5, Image 1 – 1/20sec – Image 5 – 1/5sec

The key learning for me has been to ensure that I use a tripod wherever possible. I do not always take one with me and I need to do this more often. I could increase the ISO and use faster shutter speeds so that I reduce handshake, but that does not work when bracketing exposure. For bracketing images, where the focus is to take the same photo with different exposures, a tripod is a must. The point of bracketing exposures is so that you can review the detail in the highlights and shadows in different images, and then develop them from the photo that has the detail in the area that you wish for it to be. Bracketed exposure also leaves the ability to create HDR images, where you can retain detail and smooth exposure through the whole of the image, and again, to do so a tripod is required. Increasing the ISO for a single where exposure compensation is not required, can be useful to use a faster shutter speed and eliminate vibration, but increasing the ISO means that the sensor has increased sensitivity to noise, so grain will be increased.

I am very pleased with the HDR image of the church – but I must use a remote shutter release.

Trent Parke – Exercise 1.6 – Light and Shadow

Before you start this exercise, have a look at the work of Trent Parke.

Trent Park

Not all, but a lot of Trent Parke’s photography is in black and white, and this is certainly a good way to reinforce highlts and shadows, but it is also a good way to demonstrate perspective and depth. I found that many of Parke’s photos have a mood attatched to them which is emphasied in monochrome. His Dream/Life series has a morose and rather depressing feel in many of the images, although there are some with a more warming feel.

I sometimes get worried about the grain in my photography, but many of Parke’s images have grain, which I find adds texture and does not take away from his photography at all.

First thoughts on Dream/Life:- Perspective, Depth, Activity, Grain, Silhouette, Evening, Autumn, Winter, Joyless.

Parke 1

Trent Parke; 1997; AUSTRALIA. Sydney; Dream/Life series; https://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?ERID=24KL534BCY&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&VP3=CMS3#/CMS3&ERID=24KL534BCY&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&POPUPIID=29YL53FJQU03&POPUPPN=19  (Accessed 30/06/2017)

Context, perspective, timing, height, smallness. The timing of this decisive moment is excellent and I expect Parke had planned this image so that he got the right time of day when the sun would shine between the two skyscrapers. He may also have had to return to the scene so that he would get the person running past the highlight between the shadows.

Parke 2

Trent Parke; 1998; AUSTRALIA. Sydney. Summer rain; Dream/Life series; https://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?ERID=24KL534BCY&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&VP3=CMS3#/CMS3&ERID=24KL534BCY&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&POPUPIID=29YL53ZKONE7&POPUPPN=3 (Accessed 30/06/2017)

Viewer, leading lines, hesitation, autumn, winter, despondent. That could be me in the photo, or any viewer, although I am sure that the reaction that I had to this photo is based upon my dislike of getting wet. The man has a shirt on, probable after work, on his way home. The emotional impact of this photo is more important for me that Parke’s technical ability, and that demonstrates how good this photo really is. I am studying photography and my aim is to evaluate this photo so that I can improve my own photography, and yet the evaluation is rendered secondary.

The man in the left, the leading lines taking the eye across the road to the silhouettes walking away, through the heavy rain. The quick shutter speed that catches each drop of rain, and again, the hesitation to step into the rain. Excellent composition.


Parke 3

Trent Parke; 1999; AUSTRALIA. Sydney; Dream/Life series; https://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?ERID=24KL534BCY&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&VP3=CMS3#/CMS3&ERID=24KL534BCY&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&POPUPIID=29YL53ZKZ0OX&POPUPPN=23; (Accessed on 30/06/2017)

Battlefield, war, space, silhouette, detail in the highlights, use of caption. All of the photography that I have seen from Parke on magnum has a caption, and it works for this image. It does not work on all of them though, or at least I question whether it is necessary on them. From my perspective the captions in Parke’s photography on magnum do not add to the photo, especially as my mind will focus on the words first and then at the image. It detracts from my ability to respond to the photo from my own perspective. Once I have read the caption I am asked to view the image from Parke’s perspective, and then try and stay with the photo long enough to become immersed in it. Parke’s photography does not have the caption added on in-public and this works better.

I certainly prefer the style of Benjamin Lowy in Iraq Perspectives (2011), where there is only a brief caption at the beginning of the book and none with the photographs. Benjamin invites the viewer to immerse themselves in his photography and to dare to relate.

First thoughts on Dream/Life:- Perspective, Depth, Activity, Grain, Silhouette, Evening, Autumn, Winter, Joyless.

First thoughts on The Seventh Wave:- Movement, Fine Detail, Ethereal, People.

First thoughts on The Seventh Wave:- Shadows of People in highlights, Dodge, Burn, Perspective.


Benjamin Lowy; 2011; Iraq Perspectives; Duke University Press; Durham



Project 1 – 100 Photos – Exercises 1.1 – 1.5 and Summary

Project 1 100 Photos

Project 100 Photos Written Evaluation (this is the original formatted word document of this page)

Exercise 1.1 Uploading, organising and reviewing your photographs

I have chosen not to use Bridge as I have the Adobe Creative Cloud package and have spent some time getting used to Lightroom. Julianne Kost from Adobe has a YouTube clip that talks through the differences and advantages/disadvantages of Bridge v Lightroom, and after having watched that I am going to stick with Lightroom for now. It is possible to do all of the exercises in exercise 1 using Lightroom.

When I import photos from my camera I sort them into unique folders. I can export to different folders from Lightroom via Library – Export, or add to collections if I wish to do so. I have edited my preferences and catalogue settings previously to suit my needs, including automatically write metadata to XMP.

Open Lightroom, import, apply metadata pre-set (custom – photosociology).

View in Grid, + or – to change size of view, label or colour using keys 1-5 for rating 6-9 for colour. For this project I used Red(6) for photos that I would edit, Yellow(7) for those I wanted to comment about in my summary, and Green(8) for images that I could make into a sequence. Press F2 to rename an individual or selection of photos.

Export, into custom subfolder, custom file name, set file to suit needs (generally JPEG 1080 or TIFF full size image)

Exercise 1.2 Basic Image Editing

In develop module I can alter sections of the histogram, darks, shadows, exposure (midtone), highlights and whites.

Comaprison White black point

I set the black point and white point by right click on whites/blacks with ALT pressed. For the whites this brings up a black overlay and when white starts to appear on the overlay then the whites have started clipping, and for the black you get a white overlay, and as you decrease the blacks you get black yellow, red and black appear when you are clipping. Picture 1 is the original and picture 2 has the white and black point altered to their optimum levels.


Exercise 1.3 Adjusting Colour

I have continued to use the same photo for this exercise. Lightroom has a custom white balance tool as well as pre-set adjustments.

White Balance and Temp SliderImage 1 has a custom white balance that was set using the white balance dropper with the selection being set on the neutral fence in the background. Image 2 was using the temp slider towards cold and image 3 with the temp slider increased to warm.

When it comes to adjusting colour channels Lightroom works differently than photoshop layer adjustment, but there are colour sliders that can be used.

Colour Sliders

I reset the image and then I decreased the blue for photo 1, and increased the red and yellow in photo 2. For this particular set of images I do not like either of these settings and would return back to the custom white balance as above.

Here is the photo that I have made with a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop. It is one that I will use to promote my photography with the Formula 4 championship.

Richard Keys

It has the white balance set with the custom dropper and in Photoshop I have carefully cloned out the green wing mirror. The wing mirror is a part of the car and some may argue that it should be left in the final photo, however, I believe that its bright green colour becomes the place where the eye goes to, which ruins the image in my opinion.


Making Selective Image adjustment

I am not used to using Photoshop for layer adjustments as I tend to use Lightroom. I have learned how to use brush adjustment on selected areas using the brush tool, invert and gradient filter.

RE Comparison

I used Robert Enoch’s Columns photo for this (Robert Enoch 2017). Photo 1 is the result of following the Photoshop method and photo 2 has been adjusted in Lightroom. The results are slightly different but both ways are effective. I found the photoshop method quite complex – but that is because the process is not familiar to me. However, it does make sense, and gives a smooth process for selective masking. In Lightroom My process for the sky was – select gradient filter, shift drag, shift T to toggle brush, O to highlight mask with a colour, erase brush, erase mask the parts of the scene that I did not want selected, shift T to revert back to grad filter, O to remove colour, reduce exposure, DONE. Then I used an adjustment brush with auto masking for the pillars and the trees in their vicinity, increased the exposure and increased the warmth. I prefer the Lightroom method, but I can also see the advantages of making more use of Photoshop for the process. Being honest with myself the Photoshop layer mask process has given a better result than my method in Lightroom, so I do need to get used to work with Layers in Photoshop.


Exercise 1.4 Cropping

I find that cropping is subjective. At the photography society that I attend, it is apparent that different people have preferred formats for their images. Some prefer 1:1, others 4:3 and a few that like 16:9 or letter box formats. When I am cropping images I use intuition and crop an image in a manner that I think looks good.

Here are two examples of how I have cropped images to bring out the best from these photographs.

Crop 1

I took this photo because of the intensity on the drummers face. When I cropped the image I did so in a manner that brought us closer to his face, so that we can see his concentration. I removed some of the sky but let the crowd remain. The crowd gives context, whereas the dull sky detracts from the image. In hindsight I should have cloned out the back of the trombone player in front of the drummer.

Cropping 2

I have mixed feelings as to the cropping of this photograph. I like the sky in the original image. The blue in the top left and the bright white around it does look very dramatic. However I wanted to show the rays of light and the static aircraft, along with the lack of crowds at the end of the day. It’s a goodbye or an end to a good day. I removed the foreground and straightened the horizon whilst cropping. Personally I like the letter box (faux panorama).


Exercise 1.5 Experimenting with your light meter.

I have a Nikon 7100D and can change the size of the spot and centre weighted area for metering, and along with this I can change the focus area and mode. When photographing the British Touring Cars Championship I set my focus to AFC (continuous servo auto focus with shutter half pressed) and 9 focus points. This was so that I could have the focus tracking the cars that I was photographing. I overexposed the image by 2 stops. I tried having the exposure on spot focus, centred weighted 13mm) but found that the camera was still setting the exposure for the whole scene, and the cars lacked light and impact. As the aim of the day was to make high quality action photos of motorsports, then the over exposure gave the cars the impact that I wanted, even if the back ground was over exposed. I would rather have my focus point having the correct exposure and then developing the background than the other way round.

This weekend I have returned to macro photography and have had to change my light metering to average for the whole scene. I use Vello extension tubes behind a Tamron 18-270mm lens. It’s a good set up for me and I like some of the photos that I make with this. The aperture is difficult with this set up, even though the Vello come with the correct electrical connections, the aperture does not respond to changes in the f stop. I have to set that before I connect the tubes. That whole point is quite irrelevant as this set up gives me such a tiny field of view even with the smallest aperture settings. When taking a photo of the centre of a flower and the light is balanced across the scene, then centre weighted and exposure with balanced light metering works well. However  I have found that when photographing a dark central subject, such as a bug, on a light flower (pink), then the light reflecting of the flower becomes over exposed if I use spot metering for the insect. So I change the metering to average for the scene which brings down the clipping from the edge. It is then quite easy to use the adjustment brush tool with auto masking to bring back up the exposure on the bug.

I have found light metering in dark settings quite difficult to master. When bringing up the ISO the light metering on the Nikon can be unpredictable with high ISO numbers. The meter will often say that a scene is exposed properly but it has over exposed it. Going back down on the ISO has often meant an under exposed image. I have got this wrong on several occasions. My learning – when shooting in conditions that require a high ISO, the best option is to drop down the ISO by a setting or 2 and then over expose. This means there is less noise than staying at a higher ISO and under exposing. I still have a lot to learn in this regard.


British Touring Car Championship – Sun 11th June

I am familiar with my camera and use it in manual mode anyway, so it wasn’t something that I had to get used to, and having photographed at a few other events I am also used to changing camera settings quite quickly. Once I got going I worked quickly and ended up with 139 photos in 32 minutes. When I am photographing an event I am looking for several things:- Something that provides commentary about the event, the participants and the sponsors. I use twitter and google+ to send images to the sponsors, organisers and participants as a way of promoting my photography. I had these in mind when I began this project.

Getting started was harder than the photography. Once I begin shooting my focus is in the moment on what I am doing – but before I began I found the task quite daunting. The pit area is quite cramped and there were a lot of people around, and I get really paranoid that people will judge me for taking shots of things that aren’t interesting. It took me a while to decide to start the project, but once I had it flowed quite smoothly.

I used different shutter speeds, focal length and ISO. The ISO was quite interesting when it came to making photos of cars and people inside their tents from the outside, adjusting the ISO to get the right exposure for the inside.


I could take these further in Lightroom (left Image) and use a brush tool to reduce the exposure on the canvas, but it would not be worth doing as the image does not say anything to me.

These are examples of images that have important points of reference for future photography in relation to leading lines and the eye being drawn around a photograph.


Photo 1 has the leading lines of the metal frame, and the red painted line, that create some sense of space, inside and outside. Photo 2 has the side of the car drawing your eye back to the man on the ladder, and the framework for the canvas tent draw the eye back to the car. However neither of the photos have any point of interest for me.

Sadly I made a mistake on a couple of photos that if I had got correct I could have used them to highlight my work with participants and sponsors.

Missed Opportunity

On the first image there are a couple of mistakes. It is not straight, which is easy enough to adjust. However, due to the writing on the backboard (either side of the crash helmet) cloning the man’s arm out will be difficult. It would be possible if I were to resize another image that I took with a different focal length, and use that as the source point. I am not going to do that as I took other images over the course of the weekend that will be as effective and without the additional time that it would take for the cloning to be effective.

The photo on the right could also be used, it would be easy to process in Lightroom, but it just does not work for me. The other photos that I made of the car from alternate focal lengths have other objects that would end up messy to remove as they have sponsorship writing around them.

These are samples of changes in focal length.

Richard Keys

When using Lightroom to set attributes for the images in the 100 photos project I used key 8 to set a green attribute for images that I could present as a sequence. The sequence below is of Nicolas Hamilton. It is relevant to the weekend of the racing at Croft because of the status of Nicolas Hamilton. He is the brother of Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, and Nicolas is hugely popular with the crowds. He is also a driver who gives a lot of attention to his supporters. He was incredibly busy signing autographs for people, and every time he went back in doors to prepare for the race or rest between races, another line of people would arrive, and he would immediately come back out and sign more autographs. He is an example of exemplary professionalism. Unfortunately he had a poor weekend as far as his driving was concerned, crashed out of qualifying, and then in race two he stalled off of the line. This has meant that I do not have many photos of him racing against other cars, and that’s a shame as they would have made better photos. (I have not developed any of the images in this sequence – they are here as unprocessed examples.)

Nicolas Hamilton Sequence


Julieanne Kost https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp2AThZiaBY&feature=youtu.be

Robert Enoch; 2014; Foundations in Photography; OCA; Barnsley