Need to move on to part 5

I could spend a lot more time exploring the ethics of digitally enhancing photographs but my next assignment is supposed to be in by 7th September so I need to move on to part 5. Part 5 of DPP is called the final image and is about displaying photographs, either in printed form or on a website.  There is not a great deal to do in terms of exercises however there is plenty of research required before I’m able to complete the assignment which is to build a collection of 10 to 12 images on a theme of my choice.  The first project discusses, among other things,  sharpening the image, something that I have steered clear of as I haven’t been sure about how much is too much.  Feedback on my last assignment taught me that you don’t have to do this intentionally.  As I found to my cost, I had the export option in Lightroom set to apply quite a high level of sharpening when images were exported. That has now been switched off and I’m hoping that the first exercise, which requires me to apply different levels of sharpening to the same image so that I can make comparisons, will prove useful in helping me assess the differences. The second project requires me to research photographic web sites with a view to setting my own web gallery up.  I’m not sure how much benefit I will get from a web gallery at this stage of my photography but I will enjoy the research.  One thing I can’t bear is a web site that sends you round in circles or is not intuitive so this will be a challenge! With regard to the assignment itself, ‘a collection of 10 to 12 images on a theme of my choice’.  One of the first things it asks you to do is ‘return to the brief you set yourself at the beginning of the course’  what brief?  So I go back to the beginning of the DPP materials and there it is at the end of the section marked ‘Before you Start’.   When I started to read this, it was very similar to the information at the start of ‘The Art of Photography’, so I skimmed through it and missed the important bit at the end. So, if I was to write that brief now where would I start?   That’s a difficult one because  I did not at that point know what I would have learnt during the course.  Writing my brief now, there are certain learning points that stick in my mind, such as:

  • basic workflow, I’m following a much more logical set of procedures now
  • I am now shooting in RAW
  • use of histograms to check exposure
  • setting black and white points and checking for highlight clipping and blocked shadows
  • thinking about whether noise is acceptable and if so how much in my chosen topic
  • thinking about the dynamic range of my subject and what the most suitable lighting will be
  • would my topic be a suitable candidate for black and white conversion
  • how much if any, digital manipulation should I apply

I think I have decided on a topic; plants and flowers, although this has not been discussed with my tutor.  I did an assignment based around flowers for the Art of Photography and was quite pleased with the outcome at the time.  However whenever I look at them now I realise how they could have been improved, for example if had I chosen natural daylight in a bright room but out of the sun, or set the black point when I was processing the image so that my black background was black instead of dark grey. I have considered some other themes, the Bristol Balloon Fiesta for instance, my theme for assignment 1. The problem with that though is that the event only lasts for a few days and if the weather isn’t right, the balloons may not fly at all. Even if they do, I would have a very limited time to get my shots and one thing that I learnt from the black and white project is that I need to revisit the location time and time again. Although this is the same level course as TAOP, I’m aiming to step up a fairly big notch with this series of images. The preparatory work I need to do for this assignment involves researching and viewing the work of other flower photographers and looking for specific guidance on taking flower photographs, Heather Angel comes to mind as does Nancy Rotenberg and there are many more.  I will need to plan my schedule  though so that I have time to take and process the actual pictures


About Anne Bryson

I live in Gloucestershire with my husband Iain and West Highland Terrier, Isla. I enjoy golf, photography and my grandchildren, not necessarily in that order! Having completed a 10 week digital photography course with the Open University in 2010 and wanting to take photography further, I enrolled on the Open College of the Arts BA (Hons) starting with 'The Art of Photography' which I thoroughly enjoyed. Next came Digital Photographic Practice followed by People and Place. In April 2016 I progressed to level two with Documentary and in June 2018 enrolled on my latest OCA course, Landscape.
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