Test Photo for Paranoia – Recallibration of Screen and Printer Required – Keep it Simple Sunday – Violin

I’ll begin with Keep it Simple Sunday. I don’t do anything complicated on a Sunday and I don’t turn my computer on. As much as I enjoy photography, I find Lightroom and developing my photography equally enjoyable and mindful. However it is an intense process for me. I only use my computer for developing, photography, my website and study – so it stays off on Sundays.

Which means I can recalibrate my monitor or printer and it definitely needs it. My current project Mental Illness/Mental Wellness is coming along and I printed out one of my test images yesterday. It’s sitting in front of my fire so I can consider whether I like the concept. I think I have a problem with the yellow cartridge – I’ll find out tomorrow.


The colours are so far off its scary. However – I like the on screen version. The photo involved me asking a security guard to talk into his radio whilst looking at me. Using a 10 stop ND filter, ISO 100, f22, 1.3 sec- panning onto him. In lightroom I’ve burned the doors and repeatedly dodged the background of the security guard. The A3 photo is on watercolour and the a4 is matte photo paper.

Even without having the correct colours in print it’s good to have the photos printed. I am going to overpaint in acrylics – think abstract – think Kandinsky (Can’tdon’tsky in my case as I have no ability – but hey – can’t remain in my comfort zone). If the overpainting doesn’t work it doesn’t work, but if I can get what’s in my head onto the photo that will really help with the project. The project will involve 24 photos depicting mental illness and mental well being – portrait orientation and 1 landscape orientation as a book cover.

I’ve been out with my camera making further test shots, researching how to research and plan projects, and one of my favourite things – reading blogs from other creative people. There are some truly amazing people out there whose talent is inspiring.

My recommendation for other photographers – follow photographers blogs but don’t limit yourself only to photography. Follow other artists, writers, poets, musicians, designers. I get so inspired by the creativity of others.

Oh and one more thing – I’ve been trying to teach myself to play the violin. I only started 4 weeks ago. God it’s so hard. However – I’m definitely improving. I can play the scale of D major. I’m following an online tutor – but decided to skip forward from open strings to scales. It made sense to me that if I learn the scales then my fingers will be more used to the positions of the notes than learning each finger separately.  And if your one of my neighbours – I’m sorry to be hurting your ears.

Exercise 1.9 – Soft Light Landscape

The brief for this exercise is lengthy so it can be found at the bottom of the page.

Landscape photography is not something that I enjoy as a rule. I don’t feel enthusiastic about it. However, I really enjoyed this exercise. I had been to counselling and I really needed to be behind my camera. It grounds me, helps me get back into the moment, and it stops me from over analysing. I didn’t take a tripod with me, but I did follow the brief in relation to bracketing exposures and taking the photos from different angles (and focal lengths).

Once uploaded to Lightroom, my process was similar for all of the photos – Remove chromatic aberration, enable profile corrections, set white point by holding down the alt key whilst increasing the white slider (until I get yellow or white spots that indicate clipping), do the same for blacks to set black point but decreasing the black slider, then use levels to increase the mid-tones, and finally increase the shadows slider if I thought was necessary. I usually increase clarity to +21 and vibrance to +17. Next I used control E, to export to Photoshop as I prefer the spot healing tool in Photoshop than in Lightroom.

Developed Images



Exercise 1.9 Soft Light Landscape


Image 1 – my favourite out of the three. The solitary tree has a strength and a calmness to it, and was similar to how I was feeling. The image has an OK depth of field, its not brilliant, but I am pleased with the final result. I used a graduated filter to burn the sky and diagonally either side of the tree, to make the tree pop a little. Considering the dull, flat original the end product has turned out OK

Image 2 – Another photo that look decidedly uninteresting as taken, but I took it because of how the thistle stood out, and the colours of the heather. As well as the instruction for luminosity, I have used an adjustment brush with -.3 exposure to burn the heather and grasses around the thistle, another adjustment brush to dodge the thistle and semi-circle to its right. This gives the thistle a frame to stand within. aesthetically it is a better photo than the first image, but doesn’t meet the brief as I have lost the depth of field by bending down to ensure a lower eye level, so the focal point is closer to the camera.

Image 3 – Fits the brief well. Good depth of field, natural luminosity through out, strong use of shadows and smooth tone gradient. Having the edge of the trees in the foreground means there is a strong frame for the village in the centre (mid-ground). But not an inspiring subject.

Image 4 – Good depth of field. Strong foreground, and I like the background a lot. The sky, the horizon and the sea add a needed softness to contrast the foreground, I also like the light on the sea. Having the Abbey in the mid-ground provides an object and the surrounding church and housing create a subject.

Summary – I believe that I am competent with the basic tools in Lightroom, so that I can add luminosity to a photograph. I also have enough knowledge and technique to dodge and burn effectively so that I can bring out an object so that it becomes a focal point. I do not enjoy landscape photography and I believe that it shows in this selection of images. However, I did enjoy this exercise and taking so many photos in a short space of time (around 300) has meant that I have started to discover subjects in the land that I would have overlooked photographically. It isn’t to say that I don’t notice and enjoy these things when I walk around, because I do. But my enthusiasm in photography is with macro, events and sociology. I know that I need to use a tripod more often.


Exercise 1.9 Soft Light Landscape

Brief:- Search your local area for a landscape, cityscape or other external environment where you’re able to get a wide view of a large expanse of space. Try a high vantage point. The subject of this exercise will ideally be lit with diffused light, so you’ll either need to wait for an overcast day, or photograph before the sun comes up or just after the sun has set. 1 Photograph the landscape using a tripod to keep your camera steady, with an aperture of f22 (the narrowest aperture) because this will give you most depth of field (focus). Shoot a variety of viewpoints and compositions with the horizon low in the frame (more sky) and then high (more earth). 2 Bracket your exposures using the shutter speed dial. You may have to make long exposures of over one minute depending on the available light so it would be useful to use a cable shutter release to prevent you jogging the camera. When you make long exposures you’ll notice how light ‘gathers’ in your photograph and moving objects will blur. Don’t worry about inherent bright spots like street lights or car headlights. 3 Upload your images to a computer. 4 Assess your photographs carefully. Choose one or two that are the most successful. 5 Look for the place within the image that has the darkest shadow in it and use Levels to make it black or dark grey. This is likely to be a shadowy edge or a silhouette. Do the same with the lightest point following the instructions in Exercise 1.2. 6 Use the middle slider to increase the mid-tone luminosity as high as you can before it becomes unnatural or blocky. Your goal is to increase the perceived luminosity of the photograph. 7 Now re-assess your photograph. Does it look real or unreal? Have you gone too far with the processing? Does it represent the view you saw with your eyes or is this an ‘image’ only a camera can create? 8 Save As…version_2 and respond to your own re-assessment. You may decide the photo looks better less ‘luminous’ or more ‘contrasty’, for example, or perhaps you prefer it in black and white.

Research Point – Diffused Light – Gabriele Basilico

Brief:- To prepare for the next exercise, look online at the cityscapes of Gabriele Basilico. Notice the smooth quality of light, the sense of space and the way architecture seems more like sculpture, with its shape and form emphasised. And look at the broad tonal range in Mike Walsh’s landscape below, which comes from the naturally occurring light and dark tones in the landscape.


I had a look through some of Basilico’s photography and it took me a while to get into. I have a resistance to black and white photography “if you can’t take photos then take them in black and white it will at least have mood”. It is not a helpful attitude to have, but I do think it is harder to work with light in colour photography then in black and white. I have not researched what other people think, I am aware there is a whole debate about black and white v colour, so I am prepared to be corrected.

However, after a while doing some research I found some photos that I really enjoyed. As one of the aims of the brief is to explore the tonal range then I have viewed the histograms in Photoshop and will show the images with the respective histogram.

Sanfransisco 2007

Basilico; 2007

The perspective and the angles are what catch my eye here. I like the view from above as it’s not one that I experience. I also like the levels of contrast between the highlights and the darks. This is definitely not an example of making a photograph in diffused lighting. The shadows and the highlights give this away. The histogram is interesting though. I would expect the peaks in the whites and blacks, but the tone throughout the rest of the image is smooth.

Basilico montecarlo with Histogram

Basilico; 2007a

Perspective, leading lines of roads, non flat horizon, cars – all create an interest due to the movement of the eye through the image. Then to learn the photo is of Monte Carlo, but it looks dirty. The photo was taken in 2005 or 2006. This throws up a mental challenge for me. Through my years of watching Formula 1 on TV, and knowing of the harbour, the casino I have come to believe that Monte Carlo is a place of beauty for the rich and famous. I have had to look really closely to explore the “dirt” – there does not appear to be too much grain, but on close viewing the focus is not clear from the mid-ground to background. This is a more neutral photo than San Fransisco.

Bor de Mer with histogram

Basilico; 1984

Crisp, journey, transition, ferry framed by dockside and by light of sky and reflection of sky in water. The sky shows that the photo was taken with cloud that may be slightly broken in some places but also diffused lighting. I have learned to see that reflections of objects in water always look as if the light is from above wherever it comes from. That may seem obvious to many, but I only became aware of this at the start of Foundations in Photography, when I started to look with my mind open. The histogram does not show a smooth tonal gradient, but that is to be expected with the white from the sky and the highlights in the water. However, I am going to ignore the histogram and say that what I see is a balanced image with blacks, shadows, mid-tones, whites and highlights. Additionally I have evoked memories of the ferry from childhood and that does have an impact upon me.

Sotto la pelle di beirut with histogram

Basilico; 1991

Even before the title I became aware that this is a photo of a war zone. Houses falling to pieces (blown apart), bullet holes, the possibility that the photo of the man is a missing person photos, and what appears to be a military vehicle further up the road (it isn’t, but its enough to add to the image of war). To me the broad and smooth tonal range of this photo is the most obvious out of the four. There is an ease to the eye because of the lighting, which is added to by the composition, where all of the leading lines point to the centre of the photo.


OK so I have only written up the research today and I have already completed the photos for the next exercise. However, I read through the course manual before starting on workflow, so I have been exploring lighting, time of day, contrast, cover, clouds, white balance and diffuse lighting from the start of the course. I prefer to shoot in bright sun with no cloud cover when making macro photography, but prefer broken cloud the rest of the time. Maybe I would enjoy shooting at sunrise or dusk, however I am never out doors at those times. I have a routine in the morning (health related) that means I am not out at sunrise anytime of the year, and you wont find me out at dusk at this time of year, too many drunk people, means too much anxiety. I did enjoy exercise 1.9 Soft Light Landscape (the results were not as enjoyable as the exercise), and I will publish that over the next few days.


Basilico Gabriele; 1984; Bord de Mer; in http://www.archiportale.com/news/2012/11/eventi/gabriele-basilico-la-mostra-bord-de-mer-al-museo-pignatelli_30291_32.html (accessed on 14/07/2017)

Basilico, Gabriele; 1991; Beirut 1991; in https://www.internazionale.it/foto/2015/04/13/guerra-civile-libano-anniversario (accessed on 14/07/2017)

Basilico, Gabriele; 2007; San Fransisco; http://www.floornature.com/goodbye-to-gabriele-basilico-8489/ (accessed on 14/07/2017)

Basilico, Gabriele; 2007a; Basilico Montecarlo; Gabriele Basilico, Marco Belpoliti, Jean-Michel Bouhours; Arles; Actes Sud; in https://hollydarjeeling.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/artist-research-gabriele-basilico/ (accessed on 14/07/2017)


Re Organised Website – Can Focus on Study and Sociology Projects Now

My website :- www.photosociology.info was looking a little untidy. I have spent the day reorganising it, so that I can now focus on my study and projects. It has taken me a while, but I hope it is brighter, more professional, and consistent now.

I have also added to the macro gallery and arranged the site so that I have a page for insects and a page for flowers. I have renamed our other photos to general.

I have had a period exploring different genres and I am aware that there are three that I really enjoy :- Sociology, Events and Macro. These are what I really feel enthusiastic about and bring me a lot of enjoyment.

The three projects that I am working on are Homelessness, Mental Illness/Mental Wellbeing, and The Media and Social Control. My homelessness project is ongoing, and I have a project board, plan and draft proposal for Mental Illness/Mental Wellness, and a draft plan for The Media and Social Control. The exploratory photos for the mental health project are coming along slowly, but they are giving me ideas about technique.

Tomorrow will be getting my printer working, and uploading exercise 1.9.


Macro (1 of 1)MacroMacro

Have a good evening.

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)



Chasing the Dragon (Carnival Clown)

I went to my own carnival

A dragon it did smoulder

Chased it down, that line of brown

I wish I could have told ya.


I wish I could of told ya

Exactly how it felt

A cold hot breeze, down through my knees

I felt my body melt.


I felt my body melt

I was wrapped in a moist, warm womb

10 more hits, 10 lines of shit

Without them – just gloom.



My raspberry ripple, melted ice cream, rush

Has vanished, I’m now scuz

A knock comes loud, fall through my cloud

Bollocks – Fuck – Shit, it’s the fuzz.


Bollocks – Fuck – Shut, it’s the fuzz

The scag has now turned stale

I’m in a fix, I NEED a fix

I face a stretch in jail.


Inside is so much easier

I even get to eat

It wern’t like that in my dismal flat

I’ve landed on my feet.


I’ve landed on my feet

But the H is hard to score

I share a pin, and sell my skin

I am a heroin whore.


I was a heroin whore

Initially – what a rave

But six foot down, now whose the clown

In my six by three feet grave.


Do You Have Experience of Abstract Overpainting of Photography?

I have just started a photography project on Mentally Illness – Mental Wellness, and as some of the photography is abstract I want to experimenting with overpainting in the style of Gerhard Richter.

I intend to make a composite image of 3 photos, reduce opacity to 70% and print them onto watercolour paper. Then overpaint in an abstract fashion (not colouring in the photo). My thoughts are to experiment with water colour pencils or oils.

If you have any experience I would love to hear what you learned, what didn’t work and what worked well.

left-imageMuseum Visit (2011)


https://www.gerhard-richter.com/en/art/overpainted-photographs (accessed on 09/07/2017)

Achievement – Asking Members of the Public to Help Me Make Photos

I’m currently begining a project Mental Illness – Mental Wellness. For two photographs I wish to make it need other people involved. Yesterday I went out with my camera to make a series on paranoia. I spoke with four people and they all agreed. It’s an achievement for me whenever I ask people to be involved with my photography. I have severe social anxiety and I don’t like to be around people.

For this series I’ve been taking three photos of each person which I will blend together, darken the highlights,  print on A3 watercolour paper, then paint in some detail with watercolour pencils. I haven’t done this before so I’m looking forward to it.