Project: Shapes – Exercises 8 and 9

Project: Shapes

Exercises:8 and 9  Triangles, Rhythm and Pattern

A – Exercise 8: Real and implied triangles

No. 1 – a triangular subject

Triangular sign warning of steep cliffs.

No. 2 – Triangle by perspective converging to the top

To me the shadows at the bottom enhance the base of the triangle.

No. 3 – Inverted triangle by perspective

This is the roof line of a cloister at Watts Cemetery

No. 4 – Still-life arrangement : implied triangle with the apex at the top

No. 5 – still-life arrangement: inverted implied triangle

No. 6 – People triangle



I can see more than one implied triangle here – one formed by the left leg of the man wearing blue jeans and the legs of the lady ,and another (inverted) formed with the ladies feet as the apex. I noticed the shapes formed as the people were walking by and  focused in to capture an image of just their legs.

B – Exercise 9: Rhythm and pattern


There is rhythm in the tiles here with the patterned relief below them.


knots, curves and faces form the patterns here.

May 2011

Project : Using lines in composition – Exercise 7 : Implied lines

Project : Using lines in composition

 Exercise 7 : Implied Lines

I can see implied lines as follows:

To me the lines in the first picture give a sense of flow and movement because they are  curved, whereas the straighter lines in the second images create more tension in the movement between the man and the horses.

Analysis of two of my older images

No. 1

The donkeys are positioned between shallow diagonal steps and their eye-lines are also diagonally positioned – one towards me (in curiosity) the middle one downwards and looking slightly ahead whilst the one on the right is looking further ahead. Although they are standing still their positions and eyelines give a sense of readiness to move at any minute.

No. 2

The trees form a curve which is  enhanced by the lighter curved markings on the sandy path. This gives a sense of movement forward into the distance.

No. 3

This was taken whilst studying Part 2 but when I had just gone out and about with my camera. My walk (without the dogs) took me along a path near to a golf course and these golfers in the distance attracted my attention

The golfers are forming their own line whilst there is an implied line between the one teeing off towards the hole.

Two planned photographs

No. 4 

No. 5

For photograph 4 I took a diagonal shot which shows the edges between the table, benches and wall more sharply.  The planks of the table also lead the eye off into the distance.  In photograph 5 the pointing hand again leads the eye along the horizon.. There is a implied triangle in both images.


I actually prefer the first set of photographs because there is more sense of movement whereas the last two photographs are more static.  I think that’s probably because I planned to take them rather than having an instant response to a scene which attracted me.

May 2011

Project: Lines – Exercise 6: Curves

Project : Lines

Exercise 6: – Curves

No. 1

I was very taken by both the curves of the ladies and also the circle they created as they leaned to organise the table.  An argument could be made that they form a triangle rather than a circle but I think their curved postures are more circular here. I cropped this to emphasize the circle.

No. 2

One of the gravestones at Watts Cemetery, Compton which shows the curves within curves which are very reminiscent of the whole style and layout of the cemetery and its chapel.

No. 3

I cropped this to emphasize the curves of fruit and their arrangement.

No. 4

These are more gentle curves here in Seaford.

May 2011

Project: Lines – Exercise 5: Diagonals

Project : Lines

Exercise 5 – Diagonals

No. 1

The structure of the London Eye presents very strong graphic elements.  The supports are actually diagonal and  I emphasized these here by tilting the camera slightly and using a wide angle lens (17mm). The converging diagonals also form a triangle.

No. 2

A close-up shot of the window pillars of Watts Cemetery Chapel in Compton, Surrey. (   Here I tilted the lens (38mm) upwards so that the vertical lines converge and also create a greater sense of height.

 No. 3

Again at Watts Cemetery.  I was immediately attracted to the red diagonal pump handle and the green spout on the watering can.

No. 4

Patchwork fields in Seaford, East Sussex.  I was standing on the cliffs by the sea and looking downwards.  I used the tripod and set my lens at 84mm so that the perspective was compressed.  These are softer diagonals set off by the different colours of the landscape.

May 2011

Project: Lines – Exercise 4: Horizontal and vertical lines

Project : Lines

 Exercise 4 – Horizontal and vertical lines

For this exercise I decided to look at image thumbnails almost with my mind’s eye (like when you quickly scan and almost see things subliminally) and see which images leapt out to me as being either horizontal or vertical.  The exercise brief refers to lines in photography as usually being the edges of things, with contrast often being the quality that makes them stand out.

(a) Horizontal lines

No. 1

Several horizontal lines jumped out at me here, almost like stripes, with light and dark and colour contrasts.

No. 2

The horizontal slats of the bench glow against the green and brown of the background.

No. 3

Taken in the middle of the day.  I haven’t manipulated this image and still can’t understand how I managed to gain a horizontal shadow of myself!

No. 4

The horizon caught my eye here and the lambs are level too.

 (b) Vertical Lines

No. 5

A lighthouse which has been moved inland  back from edge of the cliff. There are horizontal lines at the bottom and on the lower roof but I think the vertical aspect is strongest, especially with the vertical fence around it.

no. 6

Standing in line and waiting for the competition results to be announced.

No. 7

Steeple pointing skywards.

No. 8

There is a triangle here of course, but the vertical lines are strongest, with the contrast of the rough tree barks against the smooth finished pole.

May 2011

Project: Points – Exercise 3: Multiple points

Project : Points

Exercise 3 – Multiple Points

A group of objects implies a network of lines and can also create a shape.  The problem of placing several points is to group them together attractively, in a relationship that is active rather than obvious and static. (p. 55 Workbook). What immediately springs to my mind here is a flower or plant arrangement and how difficult this can be.

The purpose of this exercise is to set up a still life using between 6 and 10 similar-sized compactly shaped objects.  The camera is to be fixed firmly in one position aimed down at the background, so that the composition is changed by rearrangement rather than framing with the camera.  The objects are then to be placed one at a time with the aim of producing a final grouping which is not so obvious as to be boring. Once you have the final photograph draw a sketch indicating the ‘lines’ relating the objects and any basic shape or shapes they form.

When I was small I tended to make up stories and act them out myself rather than playing with toys like a dolls house.  I think I regressed somewhat for this exercise because I decided to use some small items we have to see how I could arrange them.  They were kind of a similar size if laid flat although some are taller and rounder.

I decided to set up in the conservatory where there is good natural light and used the tripod as suggested, focussing downwards onto the inside panel of a small coffee table which constituted my background.  To get the correct focal distance I  set the lens at 59mm, f11 being 0.7m away.

No. 1

No. 2

I moved the car to allow placement of Betty Boop and then to add balance between them.

No. 3

Another rearrangement to allow for the inclusion of the dog, with a triangle forming between them.

No. 4

Everything rearranged here.  If I had left the blue/gray car at the front it would have made it appear much larger than it is and dominate the  image. the composition is becoming egg-shaped overall.  There are also two opposing triangles – dog with two cars and Betty Boop with two cars.

 No. 5

This is a cross between an almost circle and an almost parallelogram

No. 6

The final step was to sketch the sixth photograph, indicating the ‘lines’ that relate the objects and any basic shape or shapes that they form.

The objects in themselves are angular apart from the teapot which is round. As a whole they are almost a circle, with a triangle in the middle between BB, the dog and the teapot. .  To me the composition is lacking in coherence because, although two of the objects have eyes which are looking in a certain direction (which may be a distraction in themselves) , they are so different that there isn’t really a relationship between them.  The different colours are distracting somehow as well in this case


I was surprised how tight the frame was and how I had to keep moving the objects around to gain some kind of balance between them.  I was also not happy with the way the camera was focussed downwards and decided that it might have been better to focus on the level of the table instead. I actually did this exercise on the 6th April at a time when I had been wondering whether to compose an entry for the OCA Rollwithit competition just for the fun and experience.  With the learning from the exercise I decided the next day to again use one of our small objects – a Chinese wooden mouse pulling a cart.


This time I used a grey photocard background because I anticipated that there would be some exposure problems between the brown mouse and the white toilet roll (which there were) and hoped that the gray card would ameliorate this which it did.  I had several attempts, using different metering modes and ended up with an image in which the highlights of the toilet roll were hardly clipped and the mouse wasn’t too underexposed.

When I uploaded to Flickr and also the OCA page I was surprised how many positive comments there were and also how many viewings (97 at today’s date of 24th April).  It was fun doing it and  I thought of two more I could do – the mouse offering to rent out his roll and then one including Betty Boop because she’s quite cute and makes me smile.  Because of the timing I just went with Betty Boop and decided that, this time , I would do something outdoors which would seem more natural and try to get right down to ground level which meant no tripod.  Instead I balanced the camera on a book to provide a more stable base and used the remote release so that I could hold down the camera on the book to keep it steady.  Here’s the result:-

To me the composition was coherent, colourful and told a story.  Again there were positive comments but much fewer viewings.  Maybe because mouse was less evident and, certainly, it is a kitsch image which isn’t to everyone’s taste. There were some excellent and creative entries and I wasn’t downcast at all at not winning.  This was a departure from the usual type of images I produce, from the start of the exercise to the final outcome.  It was fun and I enjoyed it.

24th April 2011

Project: Points – Exercise 2: The relationship between points

Part 2: Elements of Design



Exercise 2 : The relationship between points


“Two dominant points in a frame create a dimension of distance, a measurement of part of the frame” (M. Freeman, p. 70, 2007).

With a single point the main relationship is with the frame.  However, when there are two points the relationship between the two dominates the composition.  Usually one point attracts more attention than the other due to its size or placement in the image for example.  However, a pair of eyes attract attention equally.  This exercise invites us to notice how each eye competes for attention so that one moves between the two without settling.  Have you ever tried the same in real life?

The exercise suggests that we photograph the eyes last, but I wanted to put these ones first.  They gazed at me unwaveringly and I can see myself reflected in them twice over.  We are asked to make sure that  the eyes are equidistant from the centre of the frame but, that’s another thing,  eyes are rarely exactly the same size as each other, and the same usually applies to our ears, hands and feet etc.

The first part of the exercise  asks for two normally occurring situations where there are two points.

No. 1

Spotted through the window of a café in Corfu.  Two ladies intent on their destination.  I think the taller one attracts my attention the most due to the colour of her hair and her clothes.  She is also nearer to the edge of the pavement.

No. 2

The donkey on the left has a nice overcoat which attracts attention.  S/he is also paler and larger. There is an implied triangle between them.

No. 3

A study in blue.  The large toilet block dominates with the block of colour but is balanced by the man, also with a blue coat, as he walks past.

Let’s end with another pair of eyes – mine this time and a self portrait so I can’t see myself reflected in them.

7th April 2011

Project: Points – Positioning a point

Part 2: Elements of Design


Identifying the graphic elements in a photograph involves dissecting the image to establish the importance of the role they play.  This part of the Course covers points, lines and shapes that mark out and enclose the two dimensional image.




A single point draws the eye and focuses attention. If a subject is to qualify as a point it has to be small in the frame, and contrast in some way with its surroundings (p.51 Workbook).  My query is, “how small is small?”.  Is it less than a quarter, or less than a half?  I will keep this in mind when doing the exercises.

I noted several examples of points to get me thinking around the topic:-

Horse in a field                        One tree                       Steeple against the sky

Plane in the sky                       Moon in sky                 constellation of stars(?)

Vase on table                           birdbath on lawn         bright scarf/tie on sweater

Shadow/silhouette                    boat on sea                 buoy

Lamp-post on pavement           lighthouse                   person/object on the horizon

Flag                                         statue                          duck/swan on water

Kite in sky                               balloon in sky

Exercise 1 : Positioning a point

Three photographs in which there is a single point, placed in a different part of the frame, in each example. Justify your reasons for each placement.

No. 1 – In the middle

The placement in the centre emphasizes the boat being alone in the middle of an expanse of water.

No. 2 – a little off-centre


I chose three photographs here because I was unsure.


2a (colour)





I’m not sure this can classify as a single point because Dora is there as well (with nose down, snuffling)   However,  Digby is looking directly at the camera and his paler colour makes him stand out as a focus of attention.  This is what I wanted to capture.  He is off centre, although the balance is maintained by Dora.  I made a black and white copy to see if that shows him as the point of focus.


2b (black and white)

To me Digby does look like the single point.



The boat here is just off-centre/above the middle line and I think the placement here emphasises its smallness against the background mountains.


Although the front of the plane is in the centre, its plume extends to the side of the frame and, to me, this makes it an off-centre point.

3 – close to the edge

I was driving when I saw this so stopped and took the shot through the windscreen.  The dark lamp stood out against the blue sky.  I focused to capture just the top of the lamp outlined against the sky and vapour trails.


I’ve realised that I rarely photograph a single point. I usually frame a single person or object either in relation to other points or compose so that they are larger in the frame than would qualify for a point – for example

I went a walk with the dogs this afternoon and thought I’d try again with a single point of-centre.  It isn’t easy with Dora and Digby because they rarely stay still unless they are either rooting around with nose to the ground or asleep!  Here is Digby again and I converted to black and white to check whether he constitutes a point.

29th March 2011