Frame and Framing

Having read through part of my course handbook today, I found the subject of how we frame images within the photographs that we make. As I was wandering around on my way to the bus I took different images that could represent frames within a frame. These are not meant to be quality photo’s, just an exploration of framing. I didnt have my macro set up with me, so the photos of rain on the window are a bit wasted here, but to me they represent that with the right equipment you can frame an image within a drop of water.

I have used transitional spaces, windows, window display, fences, street lights and shelves in supermarkets for my initial exploration.

I hadn’t made a contact sheet in lightroom before today, so this was my first exploration. The contact sheet saved as a PDF, but I wanted the sheet to show here rather than have a link to it, so I opened the sheet in Photoshop and then saved it as a JPEG.

Lightroom (20170605_121006.jpg and 17 others)

Zoom Blur Experiment

Reading a photography book a couple of months ago I discovered a picture that was taken using zoom blur. I read tat the photographer had set a low shutter speed, rotated his zoom from wide angle to telephoto.

Preparing to go to an airshow last weekend I decided that I would try out the zoom blur. I took my ND filters, knowing that it was going to be a hot sunny day and I would need to slow my shutter speed down. Even with a mid to high Fstop my images would have been over exposed without the ND filters.

The following three images are images that I like (I have only used auto tone in Lightroom, no other processing).

Richard Keys

ISO 100, 1/6sec, F13, 170mm

I like this image even though there are some technical faults which could be corerected (some vignette from longer focal length, sloping horizon, yellow block to left of the bike, painted lines). This image was taken by moving the lense from wide angle to telephoto, moving the lense slowly before releasing the shutter, and the effect makes it look like the rider (Dave Coates) is heading for a crash with the crowd and is jumping of his buggy. The zoom blur creates a punchy image thats full of action.

Richard Keys

ISO 100, 1/13sec, F11, 27mm

Similar technical faults with the addition that the front of the scooter shows motion blur from not using a tripod. However, what I do like about this is that Dave is realtively in focus, and themotion makes it look like I am retreating from a moped that will soon hit me. The image also has context, you can see the barrier and the crowd on the left and in the distance, the other bikes and van in the middle of the image, and the grass to the right, all of which show that this is part of an organised display. This image was taken as part of a series (continuous high) where I was moving the lense from telephoto to wide angle.

Richard Keys

ISO 100, 1/20sec, F9, 50mm

What worked well here was turning the lense from wide to telephoto in keeping with the motion of the musician at the centre of the image.It creates a very shallow depth of field with movement towards the man as the object.


The following three images do not work.

Richard Keys

ISO 100, 0.5sec, F22, 85mm

There are a few things that do not work here. Not using a tripod leaves the image with noticable blur from movement of the camera. Not being in line with the lines on the concrete and paint mean that the lines show paralels and shifts either side, and they look very messy. Because of the position of the Hawk in relation to the lines it was not possible to have the plane, lines and myself all inline. Solution – don’t take the photo, go to a plane that is lined up or somewhere where there are no lines.

Richard Keys

ISO 100, 1/15sec, F5.6, 70mm

With the front of the bike being so close to the viewer, centre subject, having a blured light and movement on the handle bars all make this a poor image.

Richard Keys

ISO 100, 1/13sec, F11, 155mm

Aaargh, yuck, permanently delete me please. Poor contextualisation, handshake, subject to full in the frame. Disaster.


Will I be using zoom blur in the future? Yes, particulalry for sports photography. I took several hundred photos using this technique and there were a few that worked well. There were a couple of static images that looked quite dramatic as well, but I probably wont use this technique on static subjects. I believe that the best shots I got were when I was zooming from telephoto to wide angle in most (not all) instances, and more so when I was turning the lense at the same speed that the object was moving.

Be prepared to take lots of photos when making use of this technique, especially for sports photography so having spare batteries and an additional memory card are needed. Using a tripod would not have worked for these images, as the object was moving at high speed and making use of the full arena. If I knew that I was going to be taking images where the is no lateral movement, then a tripod would work, but in this instance it would have meant carrying extra equipment that would have hindered my photography.

Game of Thrones – White Balance – Light and Shadow

Being a photographer doesn’t limit me to learning only from photography. Composition, lighting, subject, object and balance can be studied by viewing art, sculpture, theatre and movies.

I can’t get out to a gallery at the moment because of managing health and prior commitments. But I can still observe, evaluate, critique, learn and develop.

Game of Thrones is amazing. Reading the books was a joy and I’m loving watching the box sets. One more series to go and then I’m ready for July. Bring it on.

But enough of the thrill of the story, where does it fit in to developing as a photographer?

White balance is new to me. I’ve been taking photos and then making use of lightroom to process my images. “But Richard” – I hear you say – “if you learn how to manipulate and use white balance you have more creative control in your camera”.

and that’s where game of thrones comes in. Game of Thrones is set across a vast continent – snow in the far north, seasonal inland areas, hot coastal cities and desserts. Scenes are shot outdoors, inside tents, in rooms with a mix of day light and candles, in vaults, cellars and temples with only candles for lighting (I’m beginning to see where additional lighting is used of screen too).

I’m starting to notice blue lighting, yellow lighting and white (bleach) lighting.

Today I saw series 5 episode 9 – the fighting pits in Mereen, and it made sense of what I had read about low saturation with high vibrance. The skin tones were natural and the colours quite muted but still observable. It created a natural scene in the arena where the subject (fighting in the pits) and the object (the fighters) were dominant.


I’ve also been evaluating and deleting photos from the airshow I went to last weekend. I took around 3000 photos and I’m having to be stricter with myself than I have been in the past. Is this a good quality photo? Will I really use this photo? Is this photo of a good enough quality to send to the subject? I often give photos to people. For example with the Tour de Yorkshire I sent photos to the teams and riders.

If it’s a no to any of those questions I make a quick mental note of why I’m rejecting the image and how I could have taken it differently.


Time to read then bed. Night.

Photography and its Role in Conflict and Peace (continued)

Research Trail

I have undertaken a lot of research now:- watched interviews on Youtube; read interviews; read journals; read books; taken quotes and also read a report United Nations Internation Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

I will write up my research at the end of the week, so my focus hear is on learning, and research. From my persoanl journal yesterday.

  1. I have spent more time than was necessary on this research project for the level of study, and the intended aims of the research trail learning. Partly because of my enthusiasm and partly because of poor methodology with research.
  2. Use google scholar and wikipedia references to develop a list of resource sources – yeah I understand that Wiki is often not encouraged for academic research, however, by searching “Documentary Photographers Wiki” I got a list of international documentary photographers with links to them and 12 references to books, journals and publications.
  3. Youtube search for TED talks and interviews (Primary Resources)
  4. Make heavy use of British Journal of Photography, Magnum and Aperture
  5. Other on-line photo journals and newspapers for written interviews, and stories written
  6. OCA student resources
  7. When making notes copy and paste into a word document, and include the source, name of book/journal, author, year, publisher and page (a fraction of time now saves a chunk of time later)
  8. Keep referring to assignment outline and stay on track

Motion Blur Zoom Experiment with a 10 stop ND Filter

Coming to you live from underneath the tail of a Hawk fighter/trainer aircraft. Sitting out a thunderstorm at Durham Tees Airport.

There hasn’t been much flying today so I haven’t got many aircraft shots. I love airshows but I didn’t come here to photo them.

From a photography perspective it’s been a good day. I came here to experiment with zoom motion blur using a 10 stop ND filter. I saw some photos a couple of months ago, and was waiting for an opportunity to experiment.

I’ve had my shutter speeds slow so I could take photos of a motorbike stunt rider, releasing the shutter whilst already zooming in or out.

It’s been a lot of fun. I have a few images that I like. I chose not to bring my tripod as I was carrying two cameras and food, so I was aware that I would lose some photos because of hand shake. But 3 memory cards and spare batteries mean that not having the tripod was a compromise I could afford to take.

Feeling like a happy bunny.

Photography and it’s role in conflict and peace – Research trail – Introduction to HE Part 2

It’s been a day of contemplation and consideration. I made use of a bus journey to develop an ITEP map (similar a spidergram or mind map). I have plotted my primary and secondary research methods and planned which individuals and organisations that I wish to contact.

The most thought provoking part of the day was considering the work of Benjamin Lowy in his book Iraq | Perspectives; Benjamin Lowy; 2012; Duke University Press.

Composing an email that I will send to Getty Images Reportage, the Telegraph newspaper and Stop the War Coalition was really a positive exercise. I decided on my research themes because I believe photography can be used as a platform for change because an image creates an emotional impact and provokes thought. But I have also added a question about the role of photography in propaganda. There is a possibility that photography can be used to halt change by creating feelings of outrage, hatred and justification for violence.

So now I have a counter arguement.

Doing the ITEP map gave me the opportunity to collate keywords and phrases that I can use in Google scholar to aid my research.

In the words of Hannibal Smith “I love it when a plan comes together.” The A Team; Universal Television 1983.

The email I composed.

I am a photography student with The Open College of the Arts, and I am currently exploring the role of photography and it’s Role in Conflict and Peace.
I have a few of questions that I would like to put forward and would appreciate your input if you have the time.
1) What is the aim of using images during a time of conflict?
2) Who are the intended audience?
3) Does photography have such an emotional impact that it is in its own right a medium for social and political change?
4) With the rise of organisations such as ISIL, is it realistic that any one image can be used as propaganda for opposing sides in conflict, and thereby changing the role of photography to one of maintaining impasse and preventing change?
Many thanks.


Photography and its role in conflict and peace – Research Trail – Introduction to HE

Photography and its role in conflict and peace

Tutsi corpses in an abandoned school, Nyarubuye, Rwanda, 1995 (Sebastião Salgado)

Tutsi corpses in an abandoned school, Nyarubuye, Rwanda, 1995 (Sebastião Salgado)

Migrations – Humanity in transition; Sebastiao Salgado; Aperture April 2000

Sebastiao Salgado:Exodus by Lelia Salgado; Taschen Books 2016

I watched Salt of the Earth – A bio documentary about the photographer Sebastiao Salgado recently, and felt awestruck – by the images, the stories of the individuals, groups and cultures, and also of the lengths that Sebastiao went to to document the plight and suffering of people, around the world.

Although The Salt of The Earth covered a vast proportion of Salgado’s creative work, I cried when watching the plight of those who were fleeing from the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 (Genocide against the Tutsi)

To me, the image above highlights pain, suffering and abandonment. Just looking at the photo, without reading the book or reflecting back to the film, questions come to my mind.

The man in the background appears to be nonchalantly walking past the scene as if this is an everyday occurrence, so I wonder how quickly does it take for a person or a culture to become desensitised to death and murder… or is he walking past afraid, afraid to reach out, fearful of his own safety…or was he involved in the murder of these people?

Where are the police? Why are there no crowds of people horrified by the tragedy? Who will bury the dead? How long have the victims been left after their death? How were they killed? Who killed them? Why were they killed? Who cares?

Who Cares? The question is not a flippant disregard for the plight of these Tutsi, it’s a question for me to consider when making photography. Do I care? What do I care about? Do I want to use photography to create drama for the amusement of those who are in no way connected to the suffering of those I wish to document? Or do I want to use photography as a means of eliciting change in the world?

Can photography be used a means of creating change? Personally – I hope so I will explore this during this project.


Sebastiao Salgado

Sebastio Salgado

Starting Point :- Salt of the Earth – Decia Films – Written by Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier.

Other sources Viewed



Blogging – As a Learning Log

I have had reservations about how to go about using other peoples images as reflective practice and learning. My reservations were more about how to use the images of others without falling foul of copyright.

I have no problem with the idea of blogging as a learning log. I think it is far more effective than keeping a note book and printing images or collecting them in a scrapbook.

I am currently going through “Introduction to Studying HE- Developing your learning log” and thought it would be useful to review and OCA Blog. I have just had a look at he learning log of James Payne, and particularly liked his page on photographic lighting. He discusses lighting in general (and I will read the rest of the blog in more detail later), but I particularly like where he talks about diffuse lighting (from large light sources) creating soft shadows, and small light sources creating hard shadows.

I feel that as a photographer I should know more about light – Photograph (LightWrite or writing with light). I have a basic understanding of lighting, shade, time of day, weather – my favourite lighting is post rain sunshine, where there is enough cloud cover to soften the light and enough light to create clarity and depth of contrast. But my understanding is basic and I have a lot to learn.

I keep a written journal at the moment to reflect upon my practice and development, but I wouldn’t say that it is critical learning or indepth reflective practice. James has helped me to see how I can be more reflective and critical.