Tutor Feedback AOP Assignment One

As I have just submitted assignment two for AOP I thought it was about time I shared my assignment one feedback. Overall I was really pleased with the honest feedback, great to get a critical perspective on your work, it’s the only way to improve.

What follows in bold are my tutors feedback and my addition comments below plus a link to the original assignment one submission:

Feedback on assignment ‘Contrasts’

A good intro explaining your approach and the difficulties you have faced. Giving this kind of background to the shots helps me to see them as serious attempts and not just images taken from your archive.

Light and dark.
A good coupling of images from day and night, showing an excellent illustration of the title.

Straight and curved.
This pair took me by surprise, as I hadn’t expected that the first shot was actually a curved building, flattened off by a long lens. Using the same building was a really good way of illustrating the point well, and illustrates a previous point about perspective being the result of viewpoint, not lens.

Few and many.
You state that you think it may be cheating to keep the same viewpoint for both shots, but I don’t think you are here. The first shot doesn’t immediately say ‘few’ but when the second shot is seen it becomes few in comparison. Only two shots from the same location could do this.

Large and small.
You state that the golden bee is very large, but it is hard to see what the scale is. The smaller worker bees also seem large when seen against the foliage of the tree, so I’m not sure that you have got the second part of this. Also, your written text is incomplete.

Diagonal and rounded.
Two really strong abstract shots illustrating the two forms really well.

Liquid and solid.
A good attempt The sculpture is solid, but represents liquid, and the water is perfectly represented in that almost abstract way. Perhaps a shot of water lapping over sand might have given you the sort of image you had in mind? One which would match the sculptures ripples.

High and low.
I think you fulfilled the brief, but these two images were probably the weakest in a good set.

Hard and soft.
A good contrasting pair despite your reservations. They would have looked a bit disparate if you had not included the thumbnail to give it context.

Broad and narrow.
A difficult one to illustrate this one, you bravely tried to get it in one shot and had the extra restriction of keeping it in the ‘city’ context. I think the broadness of the lower building might have been better appreciated if it had been shot square-on from across the water. Some of the width is lost in foreshortening. Also, the camera is tilted back, causing converging verticals, and yet there is plenty of space above. A straighter version would have been more pleasing to the eye and shown your control of technical problems.
In your conclusion you show that the exercise has taught you about preparation and thinking through the shots beforehand. This is a good lesson to learn and will improve the quality of your work.

Learnings, a new beginning.
A nice piece on your progress, and an honest explanation of how you see your work at the moment, explaining the difficulties you have had. I think you are on course for producing some good work.
The important thing now is that you learn to take on a wider photographic influence. A good way to do this is to look at the work of many other photographers, both those you admire, and those you do not. Investigate the classic photographers, but also look at work by a wide range of different practitioners so that you begin to see how widely the word ‘Photography’ can be interpreted, even photography by practitioners who are outside of your own area of interest. This will give you a broader range of possibilities. Look at the ways that people see, the equipment they choose to use, their use of light, the field that that they choose to work in and the ways that they present their work. Composition is a critical element in all of this and I cannot over emphasise its importance.

Feel free to take a critical stance on the work you see, explaining why you think a particular photographers work is successful or falls below in technical or aesthetic terms. Looking at work this way will broaden your view of what is possible and give you more confidence in your own work.

On the last point, on looking at famous photographers  and the current photography art world. I have just really started to expand my understanding and to look at others work. See the Photographers Work category in this blog. 



Robert ParkeHarrison

I have deliberately not read any reviews of their work and have no reference of the series or exhibition these images come form . I say their work as I understand these images are the result of a team effort with his partner Shana. My comments are from my initial impression over the period of a week looking at a selection of images below.

Initially I find the world portrayed in these photographs to be a stark, bleak and depressing place. The monotony of the monotone, grey upon grey, the often single male figure in a shapeless suit struggling with an often seemingly impossible task. With an endless and bleak horizon with typically not a white or true black to be seen in the image. The human subject always at odds with his surroundings.

Then after a period I find myself looking at them differently. Though I still find them dark, there is also humour in the  fantasy of the tasks portrayed . Tying ropes to clouds, strange flying contraptions, huge cogs in the ground being fixed by a man with a over-sized spanner, too name a few.

All rights to images copyright Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison. Only used as educational example.


24 Primary and Secondary colours

This exercise required a dominate primary or secondary colour to dominate the image. And to produce images that matched the six primary and secondary colours closely;  red, blue, yellow (primary) green, violet, orange (secondary). Varying the exposure by 2/3 of a stop either side of the metered exposure to alter the brightness of the colour.

Equipment used Nikon DSLR, 105mm lens, tripod and a macro light (some shots). Limited (no exposure or colour) post processing in NX2 and DXO.

Many photographs and prints later I have my final images for the six primary and secondary colours. I have marked which exposure I believe most accurately represents the colour for the printed image this a small x.

Primary colours (pigment)


+2/3 exposure


Metered exposure


-2/3 exposure



+2/3 exposure


Metered exposure


-2/3 exposure



+2/3 exposure


Metered exposure


-2/3 exposure


Secondary colours (pigment)


+2/3 exposure


Metered exposure


-2/3 exposure



+2/3 exposure


Metered exposure


-2/3 exposure



+2/3 exposure


Metered exposure


-2/3 exposure


For me this exercise opens a whole can of worms for accurate colour reproduction. Colour temperature of the light source & accurate white balance, the errors in uncalibrated monitors and printers, colour temperature of the viewing light (prints). Combined with how well the eye adapts to lighting variations and light temperature better than any camera. But that’s all probably going a little to far for this exercise.


26 Colour converted to tone

The exercise asks us to photograph a red, yellow, green and blue subjects in a single frame, convert to black and white and digitally apply the same colour filters. With a grey card visible in part of the frame.

As you can see I chose coloured pencils and placed them onto an 18% grey material. Equipment used Nikon DSLR, 105mm Micro, ring flash and tripod.

Original in colour – as you can see red, yellow, green and blue on a grey material.


B+W unfiltered – the unfiltered image shows the colours converted to tones in proportion to the colour image.


B+W red filter – the red filter has made the red pencil tone considerably lighter, and the  blue pencil much darker in tone.


B+W yellow filter – the yellow filter has made the yellow pencil a little lighter, but the others are now a similar tone to the unfiltered image. 


B+W green filter – the green pencil is now lighter in tone whilst the red is darker.


B+W blue filter – the blue pencil is now close to white in tone and the red is almost black.


Apart from the yellow filter the results are as I was anticipating. The filter & matching pencil colour make that tone lighter, whilst make the others darker as more of their wavelength is blocked by the filter. Clearly from this exercise you can see how  an understanding of colour for black and white photography gives you considerable control over the final image. 

23 Control the strength of colour

The purpose of this exercise is to show how you can control the strength (brightness) of colours by adjusting the exposure. These beach side boxes have many primary and secondary colours painted on them and so make good subjects for this exercise.

Equipment used Fujifilm X-e1 camera, tripod and 18-55mm lens, all normal post capture processing was limited to just making a smaller JPEG file for this blog so that the exposure affect can be viewed.

As you can see from the images below they range from -1 stop over exposed, where the colours look ‘washed out’; to the metered correct exposure; then to +1 stop over exposure  where the colours look darker and ‘richer’. 7 photos in all with 1/3 stop change in exposure between each shot.

+1 stop (over exposed)


+2/3 stop


+1/3 stop


Metered (~correct exposure)


-1/3 stop


-2/3 stop


-1 stop (under exposed)


As you can see if you have a more over exposed first image say +2 stops the colours would be very washed out and any more than a stop under exposed say -2 stops the colours would be very dark or ‘muddy’. The better colour rendition for me is at the -1/3 or -2/3 exposure compensation.

16 Multiple points

Hmm harder than it sounds and it sounded hard in the first place. The idea of the exercise is to create a still life using a number of points, re-arranging the subjects to control the composition, not by chnaging the framing of the camera. Equipment used Fuji camera and tripod. All post camera processing in NX2 and DXO.

DSCF7073_DxO DSCF7074_DxODSCF7075_DxO DSCF7076_DxODSCF7077_DxO DSCF7078_DxO

Due to the thin frames of the glasses the lenses become two points. The colour lines below are to help show the shapes implied by this layout.


After having placed the objects a number of times I decided that they looked too much like they were in two lines, so first I moved the glasses then the wallet to breakup the bottom line and top lines and create the shapes shown in the thumbnail.

DSCF7079_DxO DSCF7080_DxO


Previous attempts… 

I had a number of attempts at this exercise. This was one of those attempts which I felt was to static and not really answering the brief. Ten small polished stones, wooden copping board and a stone kitchen bench. I setup a wooden chopping board and ended up reacting a stone triangle and there was a triangle reflecting off the bench from the light above..

Image 1 – 10 below..


And so the last image completes the third triangle in the image. The two smaller upward facing opposed by the larger more substantial downward facing triangle.

There are multiple lines and shapes I the final image, as noted in the image below:


Shiny surfaces and flash (without a modeling light) are difficult to position and light correctly without making a number of test shots. I hope as I read through ‘Light Science and Magic’ I’ll learn how to do this a little more predictably..