Coursework,  Coursework 1,  Learning Log

Exercise 1.3 Line

Brief Part 1: Take a number of shots using lines to create a sense of depth. Shooting with a wide- angle lens (zooming out) strengthens a diagonal line by giving it more length within the frame. The effect is dramatically accentuated if you choose a viewpoint close to the line.

For this exercise I left the camera in auto mode as per the earlier exercises. This was frustrating as I wanted to control elements that I found auto mode handled differently than I intended. However it did mean I was focused on looking for lines rather than thinking about settings which seems to be the goal of these Part 1 exercises.

I found when I first picked up the camera I was often being drawn to symmetrical, centre composed images (such as the one of the closed market stalls, image 3/6 above) . I found actually the resulting images were not as interesting as the images where lines were asymmetrical. The eye was drawn to the centre of the image and only the centre. Experimenting with using lines towards the edge of the frame or leading to other areas of the image seemed more engaging. I wasn’t always sure I achieved the best composition (it was pouring with rain in a busy city centre – I was mostly shooting quickly and instinctively!) but it did make me think more about what I was including in the frame, and how the lines within the image guided the viewer to areas of the photo.

I really liked the enclosed depth created by the bike rack railings in 4/6, the way the hand rail leads you to the “this way” sign and the guy seemingly looking at the camera in 5/6, and the way I follow the handrail in the glass zigzagging across the image in 6/6.

I also discovered that the point made in the text about how being closer to the line creates a greater impact to be true. One example of this was some church railings which seemed more dramatic when I stepped closer to them, and the resulting image draws you along the wall and out of the frame easier.

Brief Part 2: Now take a number of shots using lines to flatten the pictorial space. To avoid the effects of perspective, the sensor/film plane should be parallel to the subject and you may like to try a high viewpoint (i.e. looking down). Modern architecture offers strong lines and dynamic diagonals, and zooming in can help to create simpler, more abstract compositions.

Click on images to view larger versions

I really enjoyed this and found myself looking down at the shapes and lines on the paving below. This may also have been influenced by the wet weather; making the overhead shots I spotted almost impossible to photograph in the rain.
One thing I found particularly interesting was the effect this had on steps. by photographing them flatly, it disguised the depth of them. I liked where steps had different shapes and patterns to them than the footpath they were leading to/from and found the leaves brought a nice pop of colour and context to otherwise dull grey images.

Image 7/8 above is actually of a hand rail leading down some steps, I had photographed it originally as an image for part one, expecting the line to lead through the image. However I found actually due to the shape and light and framing, the resulting photograph was actually very flat and hard to work out. The scale isn’t clear, and the steps underneath looks very flat and therefore the context is somewhat lost, creating – I think – a more abstract image than I originally intended.

I liked the interest brought into the photos by placing subjects in, such as the pigeons in 2/8 and the sign and greenery in 5/8. While this may have lost some of the abstract flatness, I thought the images were more interesting as a result of them, and I tried to place them somewhere in the frame where the eye discovered them, rather than immediately saw them.

Review your shots from both parts of Exercise 1.3. How do the different lines relate to the frame?

The main difference I seem to find is that with the images from the first part, you are drawn into the frame via the lines, with the effect being very 3 dimensional. Whereas the second set of images, you are drawn across the frame in a very 2 dimensional way.

The text stated that leading lines should lead to somewhere within the frame, and I definitely found that to be the case with my images. The leading lines didn’t result in a subject being highlighted in the images and I wish they had. Maybe if I had had a bit more time on my hands to compose images with more care and patience, I could have created images with a greater impact from the said leading lines. Introducing subjects or considering more maybe the architecture highlighted by the compostion of the images may have resulted in more fulfilling images.

I did try this with the hand rail seen above, trying to capture people walking past. But as I set my camera to auto mode for this exercise, the depth of field was too shallow to compose the image as I wanted and either the subject or the lines were continuously out of focus.

Auto mode meant a lack of control on depth of field. While I don’t like this image or it’s composition, it was interesting to experiment with the idea of lines leading to a subject, and play with perspective a little.
These lines feel dramatic and imposing at first but I feel it ‘quietens’ as you explore to the top right of the image.

CONCLUSION: I will take greater care in considering both the perspective, and therefore depth of my images, as well as where any leading lines direct the viewer in future. I feel utilising these skills will help compose much more interesting images going forward.

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