44 Juxtaposition

This exercise is to explore juxtaposition in a single shot. I have chosen to take the still life approach for a cover illustration of a book. This took me on a journey of thinking a lot about what to photograph and how. Then I started to also look at book titles and text to see what associations and objects I could find.

Equipment used Nikon DSLR, 105mm lens, tripod, 2x light stands, 2x flashes, roses, fake blood and hard board.


So the title I eventually chose was :

Bloody Valentine


As you can see form the images below I changed the blood pattern, flower position and camera angles many times before I was happy with some of the shots. This image I felt was the most graphic, feeling like I was laying on the floor next to the roses, seeing my own blood on the floor. I also like the reflection of the roses in the blood from this angle. Getting the colour of the blood and the right pattern as not easy and I am still not completely happy with the results. Im told to stop being a perfectionist…below are some of the other images that almost made it from the cutting room floor…

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42 Evidence of Action

The objective here is to produce one photograph in which it can be seen that something has happened.

Equipment used Nikon DSLR, 105mm lens, tripod, flash and diffuser.

I worked through a number of possible options here, breaking/broken glass, toppling glass of wine, amongst others, some where more action than evidence (after the event) of action. I finally settled on the one below:


Split milk….

Though a simple shot… I took many shots before I was happy with the final image, in the end casting the tripod aside as I was finding it to constrictive. The image above is the last of about 40 shots and one of the last few taken with the camera off tripod.




41 A narrative picture essay

Tell a story in a set of pictures.

Originally for this exercise I took a number of images that to be frank where just too ‘static’ which never made it into the final cut for the exercise. The images I have used are ones I have tried to liven up with movement either by freezing or blurring the action in the image! I don’t have any DTP software so have had to lay them out using my limited knowledge of WordPress. The subject of my photographs is making pancakes..

Equipment used Fujifilm X-pro 1 and 18-55mm lens. Nikon DSLR with 105mm lens, Nikon Speedlight flash. Processing with Nikon NX2 and DXO.



The star ingredients


Place about 100g of flour into a bowl


Then add an egg into the flour


Whisk the flour and the egg together with a splash of milk.DSC_6388_DxO

Heat up a pan


And pour in the mixture and cook till golden 


Add some sugar


And some juice if you wish…


But most of all … Enjoy!

I deliberately went down the path of excluding people in the images, as I considered it would de-tract from the story. I have consciously kept the text brief below each image brief just enough to give context to the proceeding image and action, wanting it to be more about the pictures than the words. I feel there is more to explore here in my approach and intend to come back to this at a later stage.

43 Symbols

The purpose of this exercise is to find symbols for a number of concepts; growth, excess, crime, silence and poverty. No photographs where required for this submission.

Growth : an egg; child to adult single shot or sequence or any baby animal to adult; baby or young of any species; plant growing in a sequence of shots; body building; tumours.

Excess : table full of food; piles of gold, jewels or money; rows of expensive gifts; someone eating with food down their face; obesely overweight images; images of over eating or gluttony; lots of gaudy jewelry worn by a single person; somebody surrounded by a host of superfluous possessions.

Crime : stereotypical burglar; crowbar smashing a window; police at a crime scene; police car speeding through traffic; looting a shop window; fighting on the streets after the pub or a football game; prisoners, prison, prison cells; 

Silence : a still lake; a sleeping child; leaf floating from a tree; fish underwater; early morning scene of a landscape; calm water with or from a boat; sand dunes in a low sun; 

Poverty : shots in Africa, India to name but a few; children in rags; begging on streets; soup kitchen lines; sleeping on streets; poorer urban areas, slums and ghettos; ill health and age; food handouts; care packages; Christian shelters.

Surprsising how many you can think plus there are also many symbols that portray these concepts. There are of course many , many more…

45 Rain

For this exercise the brief was a simple one, to produce a single image of rain for a magazine cover . Simple to say, not so simple to do in a single shot. There are many images that spring to mind when I think of rain, but most need rain funnily enough. The half day I had to take the shots was the first sunny day in about two weeks. Murphy’s law clearly has a sense of humour.

So rather than be defeated, I went for an alternative approach on a more macro scale than I had first planned. Having to make my own rain and shooting on a smaller scale.

Equipment used Nikin DSLR, 105mm lens, Nikon Speedlight flash, tripods, reflector, stand, paint tray, hose with a shower spray.


The above was my chosen image of the many I took, feeling it was the most natural looking of the set. My original intention was to produce an image of the water slashing into the tray. But I was not completely satisfied with the results (for this brief at least) and noticed how the water was dripping and slashing in the deck which is why I changed to shooting that instead.

Below are a images of the setup I used to achieve the shots.


To get a shallower angle I had to use a lower tripod for the final shot you see above. This tripod was was too small for my camera and would have toppled if not tethered to my other tripod behind.

These are other images that it liked from the shoot but discounted for various reasons, for this exercise at least:

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33 Cloudy weather and rain

This exercise is in a number of parts; the first to take the same scene in sunlight and under cloud, of two or three different subjects; the second to take three photographs on a cloudy day that make good use of the shadowless cloudy day; the third to take two or more images in rain. These tasks were completed over a number of days, waiting for sun, cloud and or rain.

Equipment used Nikon DSLR, 35mm, 105mm, 28-300mm lenses and a rain coat..

Sun & Cloud

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In the two images above, you can see the contrast is considerably increased in the top (sun) image, with the light highlights and dark shadows, the colours also have more contrast. The sun shot was taken at 1/125 f5.6 and the cloudy shot was 1/60 f2.8 meaning the is three stops difference between the two shots.


In the images above the left (sun) shot has considerably more contrast than the image (cloud) on the right. You can see that the shadows are very soft on the cloudy image and the overall tonal range and colour are flatter.



This image would normally be covered in various shadows from all the trees around the area. However under a cloudy sky you can see the tractor, field and stream without harsh contrasts.


In sun light these flowers would have harsh highlights on their tops and dark loss of detail in the shadow. Normally you would expose for the highlight loosing the details below, under a cloudy sky the contrast is much more even and the detail easier to capture.


During a sunny day it would be very difficult to hold the detail at the top of the building whilst holding the detail in the narrow alley way.



Rainbow over the Melbourne CDB, which can only be created by rain and sun at the same time. A good example of being in the right place at the right time.


In a seemingly never ending shower, these raindrops were beading quite nicely on some reeds nearby. It was so dull that I had to use flash to make them stand out from the reed.

I found this exercise a little difficult due to the disjointed nature of having to use different conditions over many days.

32 Variety with a low sun

For the low sun exercise there are a number of elements to answer, showing some of the advantages of shooting when the sun is low. Any subject in sunlight can be chosen for the images but they must show four elements; frontal lighting, side lighting, back lighting and edge lighting. Anybody who wishes to do this with repeatable results should look at buying the Sol app for their phone as it gives you accurate timings for the ‘golden hour’ and civil darkness etc. for any location.

Equipment used Nikon DSLR, 28-300mm lens and tripod as required. Image processing in Nikon NX2 and DXO.

Front lighting – sun behind the camera striking the subject fully.

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The sun here is very low almost in the water behind me. Trying to keep my inifnately long shadow out of the shot and the sun  glare from the windows has meant keeping very low and slightly to the right. 

Side lighting – with the sun to the left or the right.


With the sun setting over the bay the, west side of the Melbourne CDB buildings catch the last of the light before it quickly disappears, leaving the east side of each in heavy shadow and the lower foreground already dark. Being the tallest the gold top of the Eureka Tower is last to see the end of the days sun.

Back lighting – shooting towards the light.


The sun here is behind and slightly to the left of shot. I did not try punch in an exposure compensation here, instead I spot metered of the models face.

Edge lighting – sun outside the frame, lighting the edge of the subject.


Moving the subject round so the sun is clipping the back right of the model and the hair, creating an edge light. I kept the sun just out of top left of the image to create the halos in the image.