Photo Sociology Wishes You Happy Holidays And Happy Christmas

Richard and Action Man would like to wish you all peace and joy. May you be well, may you be free from suffering and the causes of suffering, may you be happy and have the means for happiness, may you live with ease.


Cork is one of the most beautifully decorated cities that I know. They really go for it with their Christmas decorations.



Action Man and I took a walk this morning so that we could enjoy the lights.



Some of the shop window displays are truly wonderful.







Creation – Exercise 4.1 – Fragments

Brief:- In this first exercise, you’ll use fragments of still life images to create a combined design. Arrange a still life set-up that includes a background (preferably an ironed white or black sheet) and three distinct objects. It would be helpful if at least one object was sized at least 0.5m or you’ll be photographing everything in macro. Use either sunlight from a window or one single source of electric light to cast shadows and bring out the 3D form of the objects. Photograph around the objects, both close and wide shots, not all from the front. Capture the edges and the lines of the objects as well as defined shapes within them – for example the sound holes of a violin. Capture edges where light and shadow create a sense of depth or recess. Take pictures of the textures and colours of the objects. Think of this project as collecting impressions and perceptions of these objects and let this guide your camera. You’ll need approximately 20 well-exposed images.

The idea behind this exercise is to imaginatively combine the different photographs into a single conclusive design. Have a look at some Cubist paintings and sculpture as inspiration. Notice how one object blends into another and how different viewpoints of the same object co-exist in surprising ways. The classic example of this is Picasso’s combination of the front and profile of a face, as in Weeping Woman, which you can see on the Tate’s website. Then look at Brendan Fowler’s Spring 2011 – Fall 2012 on the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) website, which attempts similar arrangements with photography. Combine the photos by arranging prints or by using Photoshop to assemble the images as different layers. Cut the images and choose only fragments of each image, matching up lines so they flow and placing shapes in meaningful juxtapositions as defined points in the composition. You should find the composition grows into a large picture. When you’ve finished the design, photograph it or save it as a finished picture.

Creation - From exercise 4.1 Foundations in Photography, the Open College of the Arts, Still Life, Experimentation

The final result is not as good as I would have liked, and I certainly could go back an rework this photo. It doesn’t fulfill the brief in relation to cutting and layering parts of different images to combine shapes and planes.

What it does do is make use of parts of three different photos, which have been shot from different perspectives, using the same single light source and turned them into a fourth photo. It hints at the kookaburra being created out of the shadows of the other subjects. I followed a YouTube tutorial on pixel dispersion to mingle the shadow from Action Man with that from the first kookaburra. It took a while to get used to, and once complete I felt the image was somewhat flat. I decided then to make use of the third bird, to see if I could make it appear as if it was being formed from the shadow. The result is OK. Now that I have an idea of how to use the technique I could make better use of it in the future.

I haven’t followed the brief if you’re a purist, but I am pleased with my interpretation.

Contact Sheet


Photoshop Tutorials; 2016; Dispersion Effect: Photoshop Tutorial; AT: (accessed on 26/09/2018)

Olympus OMD EM1 MK ii – Personal Photo Projects – Making Photo’s That I know I Wont Keep

This is a photo of an Olympus OMD EM1 MK ii
This is a photo of an Olympus OMD EM1 MK ii
(Click on photo for a full size image) My latest purchase.

Having recently received a small amount of compensation I have bought an Olympus OMD EM 1 mk ii. YouTube is a wonderful place to watch tutorials so that I can get to know the camera and how to set it up. Having to camera’s means that I can choose and attach the lens at home for each camera, and hopefully not have to make any changes whilst out. This will reduce the likelihood of getting dust on the sensor. It also means that I have quick options whilst on a shoot. This will be useful at Farnborough airshow, where I want a wide-angle lens for the static aircraft and telephoto for those in the air.

Having a break from my studies until after Farnborough has been wonderful. It has meant that I have caught up with so much of my personal photography projects. I have been able to complete much of my eating disorders photography, although I have no idea how I am going to shoot for PICA or orthorexia, these are also eating disorders, but I trust my creative process.

Naturally I have been walking around with my camera strapped around my neck. It would be wrong not to right? I have been walking around the same places that I have taken many photo’s previously, as I haven’t had the opportunity to travel this past week. I was fully aware that the majority of photo’s that I was taken would be deleted, so why do it?

Photography is about observation, learning to see and gaining understanding of light conditions, and for me it’s mindfulness. If my camera is in my hand I walk slowly, I look around for opportunities to explore composition, to find something new, to spot a bug or a butterfly and to exploit light and tone. This is all good practice and makes me more intuitive as a photographer. Mostly though I love photography.

Photography In Snow

The recent weather has been a wonderful opportunity to get out with my camera and explore snow.

I had heard that a camera on auto will underexpose as a way of compensating for the brightness of the snow, and this means that you lose detail and texture.

The morning was very cloudy and I shoot in manual rather than auto, and was aware that setting the white balance to cloudy would add a touch of warmth to the photo.

The best way to learn is explore and experiment, so I bracketed most of the photos that I took. This has given me the opportunity to learn how I should expose in snow, to get the results that I want.

Two mistakes – I only used cloudy for my white balance and also only used spot metering. This means I’ve only garnered partial information relative to exposing photographs in snow.

I prefer spot metering so that I can expose the subject/object correctly, which is great if you have one. This has worked very well on specific photos, and I’m happy to make adjustments in Lightroom to develop the background. Evaluative (centre weighted or scene) may have been more appropriate for general landscape/seascape, especially when trying to shoot weather fronts over the sea.

On the whole I have preferred the under exposed photos, but that’s because of the drama in the sky. The correctly exposed photos were better for the subject and for the snow.

Were my photos a true reflection on what the conditions were on the day? Not the ones I have selected. Why? The feel and mood are personal expressions of my journey and the walk I took, under exposed, moody skies, drama, emotion – they present a narrative which I will present on my blog either tomorrow or Saturday. It will fit in with my coursework on sequence.

Although I stuck with the cloudy setting I do know how to change the colour temperature of a photo using white balance and camera, and believe that a touch of warmth was correct on the day. To make the clouds any cooler or warmer would have looked unnatural.

Centre weighted or scene average could have improved the land and seascapes, but again I feel competent in how I can develop those photos to enhance the scene around what I exposed for, other than the weather fronts, which turned out poor.

If You’re not shooting in auto then you can alter the exposure to capture the detail that you want, snow, cloud, weather, landscape.

Biggest mistake, not checking the ISO, which meant I could have had much lower iso and had more control over shutter speed and capture more movement. Five hours of photography and didn’t remember to check and alter my ISO. I just assumed the quick shutter speeds were due to the snow. A school boy error that I feel stupid admitting. But hey. This is my learning log and reflects my learning.




Exercise 2.9 A Night Portrait

Brief: Photographing at night represents a challenge for the photographer, particularly for making portraits. The low light means either having to increase the ISO, which could introduce grain to the image, or using long exposures that will cause blur. Most photographers would use flash carefully balanced with ambient light and a slight increase in ISO. Here, you’ll use all the methods at your disposal: High ISO (3200 and beyond), flash and long exposure. Photograph a model of your choice. You’ll need a tripod for the long exposures, and your model will have to stand as still as possible. Exposures can be several minutes long so there’s bound to be some blur, but this can be visually effective in itself. Make a full length portrait. But also use flash, high ISO and street lights, aim to create three finished photographs, although you’ll need to make many more than that to ensure success.


I will begin with my final three developed photos and then talk through six photos that demonstrate my learning in relation to the techniques.

Exercise 2.9 A Night PortraitAbove – Not a full length photo, but I like how the light from the iPhone has lit up Nicks face. Developing was completed using the Lightroom adjustment brush to reduce the light reflecting from the phone onto Nicks hand, a quick export to Photoshop meant that I could reduce the red light that was behind his head, reflecting from a phone charger which was plugged into the far wall.

Exercise 2.9 A Night PortraitAbove – The two lights provide a little hint that the guitar player was in the street, and I have reduced their exposure slightly. He was under-exposed so I have increased the exposure upon him, again using the adjustment brush.

Exercise 2.9 A Night Portrait

Above – The movement in the lights of the tree and the players hands are effective, although the movement in his face makes this a poor photo. However I like the background being more visible in this photo. It was taken at 1/3 sec, F9, ISO 320 and with flash. I wanted to include some of the background and had experimented with shutter speed and aperture to get the result close to what I wanted (the PDF of all of the photos that I took can be seen here). I have slightly decreased the background and foreground exposure.

EXIF Data – Left – ISO 320, 1/80, F4.5 – Right – ISO 320, 1/80, F5.6 – Both shots made use of built-in flash – The aperture is the important factor here. The wider F4.5 means that there is more light in the foreground, and I think that this makes it clear that the flash was used. The background appears similarly visible in both photos, although the exposure on the guitar player has decreased with the change in aperture.


EXIF data – Left – ISO 320, 1/3, F9 – Right – ISO 320, 1/100, F7.1 – Both shots made use of built-in flash – The longer exposure on the left photo captures movement, and combined with the aperture allows for background light. This means that we can see some of the buildings across the other side of the river. Although I widened the aperture for the second photo, the large change in shutter speed has removed the majority of the background light. This has the effect of highlighting the guitar player. It evidences that a photographer needs to be aware of how they want to make their image, and that it’s not simply that a wider aperture means more background light. Aperture and shutter speed (along with ISO) work together as a triangle to make an exposure. The guy was kind enough to let me take many photos of him so that I could try out different settings.


EXIF data – Left – ISO 640, 1/50, F1.8 – Right – ISO 200, 4, F2.2 – Both – no flash was fired – The ISO is related to how quickly the camera sensor responds to the light that hits it. The digital calibration is based upon traditional 35mm film, where an ISO of 100 reacted more slowly to light. This meant that the light would have to rest upon it for longer to get a similar exposure than a higher ISO film. However, the longer the light is on the film, or in this case the sensor, the better the quality of colour and less grain is produced. conversely, the higher the ISO, the faster the reaction to light, but less colour information is connected and more noise (grain) is produced.

The photo on the left has a higher ISO, and despite having a much quicker shutter speed, has captured a lot of the light in the background. A very quick reaction. The second photo makes use of a four second exposure and an ISO of only 200. There is a huge difference in background light collected.