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;  (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; (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;; (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

Exercise 1.6 Light and Shadow


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: Sunday streaming in through windows, the way trees cast their shadows, patches of light cast through trees and shrubs, angular shadows cast across city streets.


Pannet Art Gallery

Today we visited Pannet Art Gallery in Whitby as part of a family day out. It was not a planned study visit for me, but I thought I would take some notes for my studies – Foundations in Photography. I am preparing for the Workflow exercises on Shadow, so my focus was looking at shadows, highlights, contrasts and diffuse lighting.

The exhibitions were predominantly acrylic, oil and water colour; there was no photography.

Three artists caught my eye, although they didn’t necessarily fit the brief that I was researching. However – light is the medium of artists and photographers and without light we cannot create.


Colin Cook; Grand Canal; Venice; (Accessed on 29/06/2017)

The luminosity in the painting is more impressive than the photo, and there was slightly more depth in the shadows. The luminosity and shadow detail were what caught my eye. There is a richness and subtlety to the colours that appeal to me. I am aware that some of the photographs that I develop can appear HDR as I have a tendency to over contrast my images. Cook’s photo has an intense dynamic range that has also has a gentle quality.


John Freeman; SS Rohilla Rescue;

This was not the image on display at the gallery but the diffused lighting and broad tonal range are similar to those in his painting at the gallery. The colour saturation decreases gently across the frame but the vibrancy is consistent.

Sue Atkinson also had two paintings on display. She is a member of Leeds Fine Art Club and The Fylingdales Group of Artists.

A New Year, Runswick Bay

Acrylic   30 x 40 cm

£695.00            Sue Atkinson; A New Year, Runswick; (Accessed on 30/06/2017)

Again I must say that the photo of this painting really does not do it justice. The luminosity and the light were striking on the painting in the gallery. However, the learning for me was the importance of setting and position in relation to photography and other images. I first looked at this head on, and walked quite quickly past it. Then I sat down and spoke with a friend about 12ft away from the image and 4ft to the left. Then I really saw the lighting. Displaying my photography online will have its advantages, but it will also have drawbacks.

Learning – Consider how best to display a series of photographs. What interaction do I want the viewer to be able to have? How can I make use of multi media and different environments with my photography?




Preparation and Exploratory Photography for Project 2 Shadows, and Development of Sociology Projects

Foundations in Photography – Work flow – Project 2 Shadows.

I have briefly looked at the work of Trent Park and Gabriele Brasco, along with reading the brief for exercise 1.6 – 1.9. I am in company this week so I was aware that I wouldn’t be able to focus as much as I wanted. However – this is perhaps better for my development. Instead of going ahead with preconceived ideas I have been able to use our days out to learn from the environment that we have visited, try some ideas, and now have two places to return to for the exercises.

Learning – reading a brief and exploring a new environment with the brief in mind means that ideas develop naturally and I can then build my creativity into this.

The light meter on my camera is inconsistent when my ISO increases and I must review an image to test my light meter.

I don’t like taking photos in churches.

I am not able to upload my camera test images at the moment but I have also explored a little on my android.


Father Brown – BBC productions (Alibi; Chanel 132; SKY; shot from Android on 28/06/2017)


I took this photo of the back cover of a book in a second hand book shop. I apologise to the author and publisher for not crediting your work – I didn’t make a record of the book title, author or publisher.


An example of diffuse lighting – I photographed this photo inside the Natwest bank in Whitby on a day out.

Development of Sociology Ideas

I have a few projects in the pipeline, but the next two that I am developing are on mental health and stigma, and social control. I have decided how I can move forward with these by making a montage and a magazine style documentary, and have collected more articles for this along with some exploratory photography.

My homelessness project is an ongoing project that I will continue to develop over the next two years, and Making My Mark is a project that falls within the scope of my Beauracracy project. I am collecting images for these longer term pieces of work, but focusing on mental health and social control are my priorities.

White Point and White Balance

I have been exploring white point and white balance by taking a series of images of the sky from my flat window. The images are not inspiring at all, but it doesn’t matter. The process has got me to explore what I think white point and white balance are.

My initial thoughts were

The brightest part of the image was the white point.

When developing photos you can’t recover clipped highlights because when part of an image is maximum white 255, 255, 255 then there cannot be detail.

White balance is the colour shift in the scene based upon the tone of the white in the image.

I had no understanding of light and weather conditions affecting white balance.

I did know that I liked being outside just after it had been raining because everything was more vibrant.

I did know that overhead bright sunshine made everything duller and lose vibrancy.

Learning:- light is not the same. Cloudy conditions – diffused lighting.

Light has a colour temperature in relation to blackbody radiation. (Newton, Kirchhoff, Plank, Wien, Einstein) Manjit Kumar; 2008; Quantum – Einstein, Bour and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality; Icon Books; London; p14 and Chapter 1.

Cooler temperatures have a longer wave length so light is redshifted,  hotter temperatures have a shorter wavelength so light is blue shifted.

Bright over head sunshine – hotter temperature (of light in kelvin (5500), bluer light with less vibrancy.

Cooler sunset – red shifted light (3500 – 4000k) yellow to orange.

Cooler sunrise – redshifted light (3000 – 3500k)- red to yellow.

Slightly cloudy – (6500 – 8000k) greener

Cloudy – overcast – deep shade (9000-10000k) (accessed on 28/06/2017)

As light changes then colour tone of light changes so colour tone of scene has more or less red, green, blue.

White balance is also affected by the green/magenta shift especially with artificial light.


Manjit Kumar; 2008; Quantum – Einstein, Bour and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality; Icon Books; London; p14 and Chapter 1.

Being a New OCA Student – Time and Health Management – Thank You OCA

I am really enjoying studying. I haven’t studied for a while so a couple of things have helped me a lot.


Reading other students blogs. By reading the blogs of other students my concepts and creativity are becoming more flexible, open and dynamic. I follow blogs of non – photography students such as fine artists and writers and these have a positive impact upon how I think about photography.

The group email for Foundations in Photography is good for me, as I struggle with social contact. The group email means I can connect with fellow students. OCA have developed a positive student forum so that we can get the most out of our studies. ocastudent and the group email are excellent platforms for engagement. At this moment in my life attending a university in person wouldn’t be possible so I appreciate how OCA have developed the student platforms, it means I can get so much more from studying than what I expected from open learning.

I have my own photographic projects outside of my studies. The most important of these are my sociology projects. However I have been to a few events recently so sociology has been on the back burner. I have developed my events photos so I can refocus on sociology, and I am now reading the light and Shaddow project in Workflow.

My health comes first – sleep, eat, meditate, connect with friends. Then I do what I can. Recently it has been evaluating and developing photos, alongside getting out with my camera. Now I can re read my sociology project notes and FiP study material. When I have 15 minutes spare I listen to youtube – several photographers and lightroom/photoshop experts that I follow.

Since starting FiP I have had more creative ideas, started writing again and brought a violin. I’ve never played before and am enjoying learning. Creativity = bliss. Thankyou OCA.

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

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