A journey of photographic adventure, Two Views was born by two friends having a blast and learning from each other on a photo shoot in the autumn sunshine, asking the question “How can we continue to push our photographic boundaries in terms of technical knowledge, new challenges and creativity and have fun at the same time?” The answer we came up with was to set ourselves a project every two weeks, and then publish the results together. Two Views of the same subject / idea or technical approach. By the end of this year we will have covered 26 subjects and produced at least 50+ awesome photographs, and have learned a huge amount along the way! We’d love your comments, critiques and ideas, and if you want to “play along” too, please do let us have your shots by links in the comments sections! TJ & The Brunette

Monday, 28 May 2012

Low Key by TJ

I had two main ideas for this topic. The self portrait and a mini studio object shot. As I work in a unit I went for the self portrait, and the work setting gave me the opportunity to block out the blazing sunshine and photograph in dark conditions. For my chosen photo I set up my tripod and experimented with the shutter setting to cut out as much light as possible. I used a simple table lamp shining into my face as the only light source, and the photo had an exposure of 1/20 second. I was really pleased with the final exposure as it cut out the background without having to use any editing. The only editing I used was to convert the picture into black and white. Maybe the beads of sweat on my face are not that attractive, but it was a very hot day outside and this for me adds a bit of realism and atmosphere to the photo and I will remember where and when the photo was taken.

The other shots show the progression of how I got to my chosen shot. I took a photo with the unit open to find my position. I then toyed with the exposure to get a feel for the lighting in the unit. Once I closed out the light it was a case of playing with the exposure settings and getting that "natural" shot.

Low Key by The Blonde

Again I really enjoyed this assignment! It's fun to look at the world in a different way, and in your mind compose the shot you would like to create and then manipulate the camera controls to deliver. I went to the river one lunchtime hoping to get some interesting close ups of water (See filmstrip one below) which I wasn't that impressed with, and then luckily this swan drifted majestically into view! I was already three stops down exposure wise to create an under exposed image, and just had to tweak a little in the edit to convert to B&W and make the water even blacker. I like the composition (classic rule of thirds), the large amount of negative space also leads the eye in to the swan, and his pose was perfect, with the wings slightly lifted. The white of the feathers creates a pleasing reflection down towards the viewer and allows us to see the texture of the water. I think its quite peaceful and serene. I also experimented with some close up details on some black cars in the sunshine, converted over to B&W and slightly darkened them all again in the edit. I am pleased with them, but they don't have a great deal of "atmosphere" which is what I was looking to create with this assignment. So the swan won out in the end :)

21) Low Key

Well what makes more sense that to follow on from our High Key fun than with taking it to the other end of the scale! Low Key takes us into the world of under exposure and dark subjects against black backgrounds. It gives a moody atmosphere, which can work really well for portraits. Here's some good examples and tutorials. It will be interesting to see what subjects we both choose this time!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

High Key by TJ

This topic was great fun, and also gave me a good opportunity to experiment with my camera settings to achieve over exposure and removing shadows. The picture was set up in a bedroom with my white backdrop draped over a bed as I had no way of hanging it up. I set the camera up on a tripod and on a 10 second timer meaning I had to get around to the front and lay down on the floor on my stomach in order to get into shot. I also used a light reflector for the first time and this certainly made a difference in the eyes. I thought that I would have to use editing software to get the finished article, but actually this is the first topic we have done, where I haven't tweaked the picture at all in post production. The only thing I did was to crop the original photo, so what you see in the photo is my eye against the white backdrop. I was really happy with this exposure as it is hard to make out the line of my forehead above the eye.

In my other photos I had tried photographing an orchid and was pleased with the effort, but the flowers were on the way out so I really needed to find another white flower to pursue this idea. The portrait in the top left is the photo I used to crop for the main photo, which shows how the outline of my face seems to merge into the white backdrop. The bottom left photo I almost chose as the main photo keeping it as a portrait shot as not only was it nice and bright without shadowed areas, it was also not too bad a shot of myself.

Friday, 18 May 2012

High Key by The Blonde

I REALLY enjoyed this assignment! I was surprised how easy I found it to manipulate the camera's exposure controls to get the effect I wanted, and only needed a few subtle tweaks and crops in post production. I love the "painterly" feel to the shots, sometimes saying less is more, and although you can't pick out all the detail in the flowers, it focuses the eye on the almost sensuous curves of the flower leaves, and leaves you to fill in the rest yourself. It also focuses very much on the textures and has quite a 3D effect I think. I had trouble deciding between the colour or the black and white versions (see filmstrips below) But in the end really liked the fact that although it is in colour, the only colours are the white and green, so it has that monochrome feel to it. Also you will see below I had some fun with a Christmas ornament, I really like the over exposure effect on the sequins and would happily have that on my wall as a canvas print! I think High Key might be a regular feature in my photographic portfolio from now on!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

20) High Key

For our next assignment we will be focusing on achieving a photographic technique. High key photography is where you use unnaturally bright light to blow out most if not all of the image shadows, leaving the focus very much on texture and composition. It creates an almost painterly effect, and images that are generally very calm and peaceful for the viewer. It requires manipulation of exposures to over expose the image and thus remove shadows. Lighting source and positions are key, so placement of lights and reflectors if in the studio, or where to place your subject against natural light if outside are crucial. Although photo software can achieve similar effects, this topic is all about getting the shot with the camera first, with some tweaking in post production later, and learning about lighting and our cameras exposure controls along the way. We have some useful resources in the technique and some examples here here and here! Enjoy!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Bridges by TJ

I have come to the conclusion that the bigger the bridge the harder it is to photograph. When the opportunity arose to take a work delivery up to Hull, the Humber Bridge was always going to be my "bridge" photo. What this topic has brought home to me is sometimes photographs can require a lot of planning. The Humber Bridge is a wonderful suspension bridge, the problem for me is that it is 200 miles from home. Therefore my window of opportunity was small as I could only spend about an hour getting my shot. I was therefore in the lap of the gods as far as the weather goes, and I was stuck with having to take a photo mid afternoon where as the lighting conditions at daybreak or sunset would have been better. Another problem was I wasn't really able to explore the local area to find the best places to take photos from, and so with hindsight it would probably have been easier to have stuck to a bridge closer to home and been able to really put more planning into the shot. So this was a big challenge, and in the short time I was there I got onto the bridge and onto the shoreline under the bridge too. For my chosen shot I was down on the beach by the bridge, and the sun came out for a few minutes and came a lovely glimmering effect on the water. Rather than zoom in on just the bridge I liked the "complete" effect I got with the photo; the beach in the forefront, the tiny boat  under the bridge, the light refection on the water and the wonderful backdrop of clouds. I would love to have another crack at this bridge as it is an amazing structure and with endless photographic potential.

For the other photos I tried a few different angles from the shoreline. The structure is so huge you would have to retreat some distance to get the whole bridge in the one shot, and the trade off for that would be losing some of the close up detail you get nearer to it. I did consider using a black and white photo for the main shot, but felt that in this instance it would been too "safe" an option. I've included one shot from the footpath where I was able to get an unusual shot of the bridge through some railings.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Bridges by The Blonde

Living as close to the Thames as I do I had a large number of bridges to choose from, but I always had this one in mind, which is across part of the flood reduction stream of the Thames near where I live in Datchet / Eton. It leads to the Eton College playing fields, which as well as being the school playing fields, is also open to the public and is a really peaceful place for a walk or a run. I knew I wanted some interesting light for this shot, and we had been suffering from weeks of grey overcast days and rain here in the UK, so when we finally had a break in the clouds and some blue skies, I waited with bated breathe for it to hold out until sunset and then at 8pm leapt into the car to the bridge. Sunset is one of the trickiest subjects to get the exposure right on, and I found the camera's auto settings found it hard to balance the dark foreground with the light sky, so I used the manual exposure correction settings to compensate, and the beauty of digital photography is of course that I could see how far to go (as opposed to the old days of film where all you could do was "bracket" your exposure by several stops each side and waste alot of film in the process!) I found about two stops of under exposure gave me the depth of colour in the sky I wanted, the silhouette of the bridge and still a little colour in the grass in the foreground. The filmstrip shows some other shots in B&W, and the earlier shot just before the sun got lower in the sky, which I do like for it's blue tones, but for me the "winner" is when the sun sank a little lower and shot some golden rays across the water and gave a highlighted golden glow to the grass in the foreground. The water was beautifully still so I got an almost perfect reflection in the river also. All in all I'm really pleased with this one!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

19) Bridges

We have both been "flirting" with Bridges as an assignment for a while now! I have seen several near where I live and yet still not got round to shooting them! So we decided it was high time we made it an assignment! What comes to mind of course is the architectural bridge, but the word could also apply to a card game, a musical bridge or bridging gaps in relationships or building bridges and connections with colleagues for example, so it will remain to be seen if we both go the literal route, or the more esoteric! If you want some inspiration here's a few examples!