Sunday, September 18, 2011

P14: changing light / changing views

Following on from the end Project 13, this further exploration of how light changes the dynamic of a scene has a little more interest in it.  The request is to shoot a specific location five times during the day: morning, mid morning, noon, mid afternoon and at the end of the day.  Unlike the previous project the suggestion is to reassess  the composition each time.  Once again the nature of the project suggests a location close to home enabling me to visit several times without too much travel or being forced to occupy one spot for a long period of time.  A small park North of where I live, the Denninger Anger, provided the location, offering clear views over small hills with large buildings as a potential backdrop.  As with the previous project I have opted to use a full frame DSLR with a 35mm prime. Using a prime ensures that the only variables in the framing will be my location and shooting direction.

When I arrived in the morning I selected a westerly view as the sun was rising from the east, although low cloud meant that this did not matter too much.

In this first photo at 7am I have limited the amount of sky in the shot to avoid blowing out the sky and as there was little of interest there.

By 9am the sun had finally broken free of the clouds and the sky became very much more interesting.  The shadows indicate that it is still early in the day and my bike shows how I get around when doing these projects.

By 1pm, the sun is now very bright although the sky is quite cloudy in the distance.  The heavy shadows beneath the trees have forced me to adopt a different framing moving to the left and at the same time enabling me to take advantage of the sweep of the grass line

At 4pm the denser cloud cover was back although not so bright that I could not capture the cloud structure and the landscape without under or over exposing the image.  This is very similar framing to my 2nd shot, however, I have used more of the sweep of the path, shifting my view to the left.

Finally at 7pm, as the Sun went down, I had a choice expose for the land or for the sky.  As the sky was far more interesting I opted for it.  I have some detail in the buildings, but the overall effect is more of a silhouette than a landscape.

In each of these 5 shots the variation in angle was subtle, the biggest difference was in how much sky I allowed into the frame.

I completed a 2nd sequence, this time looking back across the park towards my position for the first sequence:

Once again the angle and framing is very much dominated by the quality of the sky and the amount of shadow being cast by the strong summer sun.

Finally on the way home, the dying sun rays illuminated a leafy lane, very pastoral, but still in the heart of the city:

Key Learning:

  1. In line with project 13, the fundamental learning is to understand where the sun is and to use that knowledge to plan a shoot
  2. Secondly that the amount of sky in a shot is very much determined by the balance of brightness between land and sky

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