TAOP Part One: Looking through the viewfinder:Fitting the frame to the subject

Project: Looking through the viewfinder

25.1.11 Exercise : Fitting the frame to the subject (p.25).

The aims of the exercise were:-

  1. Find a subject that is clear in appearance, compact in shape and accessible from close to and from a distance.
  2. Get into a position to see the entire subject in the viewfinder and photograph as I normally would –without taking too much time to consider the composition.
  3. Take more care over the second picture, moving in and around to make the subject fit the frame as tightly as possible – right up to the edges if I could, but not beyond.
  4. Close in so that I can see none of the edges of the subject and photograph just a part of it.
  5. Move right back until the subject occupies only a small part of the frame and do my best to make a composition that stresses the surroundings. If the subject is easy to move consider placing it more effectively within its surroundings.
  6. Compare with the Workbook examples.
  7. Use either frames or the cropping tool and crop the picture using alternative possibilities.

Setting up

It was a dull, damp day but I wanted to get on with the exercises.  The easy way would have been to find something in the garden, but I wanted to be out and about with my camera. The day was pretty dark and I wanted something colourful.  A red postbox came into mind first but then I thought of the local playground which could be a good place if it was empty (I didn’t want parents rushing up to me and asking why I was photographing their children as this is a very sensitive issue nowadays).  I was in luck because there was only one young dad with his daughter and I waited until they had left.  Read the rest of this entry »

Project – Photographing Movement (2)

Project: Photographing movement

Exercise 5 : Panning with different shutter speeds (p. 21)


The aim of the exercise was to :-

  • Follow the movement of something moving continuously in front of me.
  • Compare the results of different shutter speeds.
  • Choose the photograph I like the best.

I thought about taking pictures of someone walking or cycling but decided, instead, to photograph cars.  I live just off a busy main road which has a 50mph speed limit, although the cars seem to go much more quickly (especially when I’m trying to cross over to the Common on the other side!).

To begin with, I stood on the pavement so that I could hear the cars coming round the bend and be ready for them. However, I then realised that I could be forming a danger to traffic if people were slowing down to see what I was doing and so I moved further back in the short access road to the Close.  The problem there was that I then couldn’t hear the cars as well, or see them. Read the rest of this entry »

Project – Photographing movement

Exercise 4 : Shutter speeds (p. 20)


The aim of the exercise was to :-

  • Focus in front of something that moves several times or continuously and use a tripod
  • Make a series of exposures from the fastest shutter speed to a very slow one, adjusting the aperture each time to maintain the same exposure.
  • Compare the finished images and find the slowest shutter speed at which the movement is sharply frozen.

My first thought was to ask my husband to ride up and down on his bike or walk up and down.  Then I thought of moving water – maybe our small water fountain – but I was told that it might not be a good idea because it was probably silted up at the moment.  Suggestion was made of a running tap but I didn’t like the idea of wasting water!  Instead we decided on a trip to Wisley RHS Gardens, mainly to see the butterflies, but, of course, there are water features there.


There are several small water cascades in the gardens but I decided to see the butterflies first in the Glasshouse where there is also a larger waterfall.  Read the rest of this entry »

TAOP Introduction: Focus at different apertures

17.1.11 Exercise 3: Focus at different apertures (p.18).

The aims of the exercise were to :-

  • Find a subject with depth (e.g a row of things seen from an angle).
  • Stand at an angle to the row, with camera on tripod and focus on an obvious point.
  • Take 3 pictures – widest aperture; mid point and smallest aperture whilst ensuring that  the shutter speed is adjusted to maintain the same exposure.
  • Compare the 3 prints and draw on each one what you see as the limits of sharpness.

Setting up

I had difficulties in choosing what I thought would be a good scene – mostly due to my inhibitions about using my camera in public places with a tripod which I know I will have to get over.  A line of cars would have been ideal but as soon as I reached a row parked on the road or in a car park various scenarios ran through my mind about people rushing along and saying, “What do you think you’re doing taking photos of my car!”  I had similar thoughts about rows of houses.  I think it was the tripod that was causing the problem in my mind because it takes time to set up and I couldn’t just take quick shots. I needed the tripod though to make sure I kept the same focus. Read the rest of this entry »



Berger, J. (1972) Ways of Seeing, BBC, London

Clarke, G. (1997)  The Photograph, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Easton, E.W. (ed), Snapshot. Painters and Photography 1888-1915, Yale University       Press, New Haven and London.

Freeman, M. (2007), The Photographer’s Eye, the Ilex Press Ltd, Lewes, UK

Hockney, D, Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, (2012) Royal Academy Publications

Hughes, T (1957), The Hawk in the Rain, Faber & Faber Ltd, London.

Kertesz, A (2008) On Reading, W.W. Norton & Co, New York and London

Lardinois, B (ed)  2009, Magnum Magnum, Thames & Hudson Ltd, London

McCabe E. (2008), The making of great photographs, David & Charles Ltd, Cincinnati, OH

National Portrait Gallery (2010) Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize,  National Portrait Gallery Publications, London.

National Portrait Gallery, (201  Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011,  National Portrait Gallery Publications, London

Short. S, “Context and Narrative”,  (2010), AVA Publishing, SA

Silverstein, B & Gurbo, R , Andre  Kertesz : The Early Years, (2005), W. W. Norton & Co., New York, London.

Tetrault,, Amanda,  (2004) Phil and Me,  Trolley Ltd, GB


Glassman, A. (1992), “Visions of Light. The Art of Cinematography” , American Film Institute


Cambridge in Colour (2011) Understanding Depth of Field, http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/depth-of-field.htm (accessed 18/1/2011)

















http://photo.net/columns/michael-freeman/three-tips-to-help-your-photos-tell-a-story/ (accessed 17.1.2012)





Progress so far


I feel a little more confident in travelling around WordPress but not happy with how the theme layout (Fusion) looks and spent some time experimenting.  Fusion looks more organised and uncluttered to me but I’ll lose the Flickrstream link.  Is it really necessary?  It’s as if Flickr is, somehow, a lifeline to me as a photographer linking me with other enthusiasts.  Thinking about it, having a nice clear blog layout seems more important to me at the moment.  In any case I’m already on the OCA discussion groups and there are so many linkages that it can be quite confusing!  Settled for Fusion theme and I can do without the link, but I have asked for any feedback on it from OCA Flickr members who might have a look. Read the rest of this entry »

TAOP Introduction – Project: Focus

10.1.11 Exercise 2: Focus with a set aperture (p.17)

The aims of the exercise were to :-

  • Find a scene which has depth.
  • From the same place take 2 or 3 pictures, each focused on something at a different distance with a wide lens aperture.
  • Compare the processed photographs.
  • State why you prefer one photograph over another.

a- Setting up the scene

I had two trial runs to begin with.  Read the rest of this entry »

TAOP- Introduction

9.1.11 Exercise 1: Focal length and angle of view (p.16)

The aims of the exercise were to: –

  • Establish the standard focal length of my camera
  • Take 3 photographs of the same scene from the same spot utilising standard, wide and telephoto settings
  • Hold each of A4 printed photographs and move them towards or away from me until the printed scene appears the same size as my view of the real scene to establish the distance from my eye. Read the rest of this entry »

First steps

7.1.11 The Course material has arrived

The course material arrived yesterday morning and I stalked it for a few hours before settling down to some reading last night. All the information is clear and well laid out. I read the Assessment booklet which was possibly a mistake because I started to get hung-up on how everything should be presented at the end of the course when I haven’t even started to do any work!.  Read the rest of this entry »

01.01.11 Mini Project – Use of Macro lens 2

I wanted to improve on my previous attempt by using the cable release. I also experimented with the ISO.  This time I seemed to do everything more quickly and it felt easier using the tripod.  I used two different vases of flowers and the same grey card background I had used before (forgot to mention that previously).  The second vase contained roses, which were well past their best and waiting to be thrown away.  I had to move the tripod back to get the flowers properly in view.  I wanted to change the arrangement but petals showered down every time I tried to move the flowers around.  The dogs were very interested in this, paws up on the chair and I was worried that they would knock the tripod.  Read the rest of this entry »