Thursday, 4 July 2013

My Thoughts Leading Up to the Second Assignment for DPP

My immediate reaction when reading about the second assignment for Digital Photographic Practice was that it would be a challenge. What I started to realise as I prepared for it and take part in it was how rewarding a challenge it was turning out to be. Rewarding because it made me look at lighting in particular in a very different way.

   Previously I had been aware that lighting was key in photography and the basis for all photography but I hadn't looked specifically for this trait in a photograph I was planning to take. Instead I was mostly looking for composition and indeed interesting subject matter qualities. While these are of course important aspects of most photographs, I found personally that by starting this assignment I was learning a lot more about technical aesthetics of a photograph than before. So I saw the key ingredient for Assignment 2 as being variety, with the main variable being lighting.

   The fact that the type of lighting I had been asked to find or replicate was strictly high-contrast made the assignment much more useful and provocative than perhaps low-contrast lighting would have for me. I thought it was important to be aware that, even though all the scenes were high contrast, they modelled the subject differently because of the way the light fell or was set to fall on it.

   I have been reading a couple of books, which cover in some detail, the various lighting situations you can encounter and how to go about photographing them. One, 'The Digital SLR Handbook' states it is 'better to 'Sacrifice detail in the less important areas of your image' - M. Freeman (2011). Well, I thought this would be beneficial to me because the most challenging part of the assignment for me was the forbidding of post-processing, where all photographs had to be straight-out-of-the camera jpegs. Hopefully, I would be able to incorporate what I had learnt so far from these books into the assignment.

   Through another book, I had been becoming much more familiarised with histograms. In particular I was interested in how histograms could quickly show which parts of the soon to be taken/resultant image were predominantly gathered in terms of brightness. In fact, the book 'Mastering Digital Photography' stated 'you can interpret it [the histogram] at a glance' and how 'a histogram is, in a way, a map of the image' - M.Freeman (2008). I was quite optimistic about using the histogram while shooting as my camera possessed a histogram within the (electronic) viewfinder. This potentially meant I could be sure of not clipping highlights for example, while still shooting with the camera to my eye. For the assignment I decided I would turn the histogram on for both the viewfinder and the LCD screen.