Robin Michals | COMD 1340 Photography 1 DO97

Category: Class Topics (Page 2 of 3)

Week 9 – Light Quality and Direction

Light Quality

Direct light or hard light – the rays of light are nearly parallel and strike the subject from one direction creating hard edged dark shadows with little detail.
Examples: a spotlight, sun on a clear day, or a bare flash

Diffused light or soft light– the rays of light are scattered and coming from many directions. It appears even and produces indistinct shadows. Examples: overcast daylight, a light covered with tracing paper or other translucent material.

Directional/Diffused Light.   This light is a combination of directional and diffused light. The light is partially diffused yet it appears to come from a definite direction and creates shadows. The shadows are less harsh and contain more detail than in direct light. More subtle transition between light and dark areas. Examples: window light, sunlight on a hazy day, sunlight on a partly cloudy day or sunlight bouncing off a reflective surface.

Light Direction

Front light comes from in front of subject from the camera position and the shadows fall behind the subject not concealing any details.

Side Light comes from 90 degrees to the camera. it adds dimension and texture to the subject.

Backlight comes from behind the subject towards the camera.

Inspiration

Labs

Lighting Direction

Homework

HW 7: Lighting Direction

Next Week

Please bring in a small stuffed animal to work with.

Week 8 – Midterm – Critique Guidelines

Critique Etiquette

  1. Respect the presenter. Give them your full attention.
  2. Ask questions about your colleague’s photography. This is not the time to ask questions about your personal concerns.
  3. Start with the positive when you comment on your colleague’s works. Use the terms below that we have learned this semester.
  4. Be generous. Offer your thoughts. Your opinion and judgements are important. Do not leave the work of giving feedback to the others in the class.
  5. Conversely, please do not speak over your classmates.

Vocabulary

Framing: How the frame brings together the elements inside the rectangle juxtaposing them, creating relationships between them

Types of shots: how much information is in the frame

  • a long shot
  • a medium shot
  • a close up
  • an extreme close up.

Frame within a frame – use elements in the frame to enclose the main subject and draw attention to it. A frame within a frame can be a window or door or it can be items in the foreground such as branches.

Angle of View:  describes the camera position in relationship to the subject. The angle of view may be: 

  • a worm’s-eye view
  • a low-angle
  • eye-level
  • a high-angle
  • a bird’s-eye or aerial or overhead view
  • an oblique angle.

Rule of Thirds – Instead of placing the main subject in the center of the frame, divide the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically and place the main subject at one of these intersections.

Fill the Frame –  (get closer) – do not leave empty areas that do not add to the composition and plan to crop in later.

Diagonals – Sloping lines

Leading Lines – lines in the photograph that lead the eye to the main subject

Patterns – repeated elements. Break the pattern for visual interest

Figure to Ground -the relationship between the subject and the background sometimes described as negative and positive space.

Diffused light – light that comes from many directions and creates soft shadows

Direct light– light that come from one direction and creates hard shadows

Contrast: The measure of difference between bright areas (highlights) and dark areas (shadows) in a photo

High contrast : Large difference between highlights and shadows. Mostly lights and darks without many mid tones        

Low contrast :  Little difference between lights and darks. Mostly mid tones.

Frozen Motion-Motion is stopped and captured in the frame with a fast shutter speed.

Blurred motion-moving elements blur with a longer shutter speed.

The Decisive Moment: A term coined by Cartier Bresson- “the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression.”

CUNY Photo Challenge – deadline Oct 28th

Enter your best photo taken in the class to date.

Read the criteria of the judges and select the image you think best fits what they are looking for.

You will need to include a title, a brief description which could include the class and assignment or not and location.

Forward the submission email for 1 pt credit.

Homework

HW 6: Reflections

Week 7 – Digital Darkroom – Global Corrections

Guest Speaker

Thomas Holton

Terms

Aspect Ratio-the proportion of the width of the image to the height of a 2D image

Clipping-the intensity of the light falls outside of what can be recorded by the camera and there is a loss of detail.

Color Profile-the data for a digital device, such as a printer or monitor, which describes its gamut, or range of colors. Used to match the gamut from one device to another.

Exif Data-information stored by the camera in the file.

Gamut-range of colors

Histogram- a graphic representation of the tones in an image. A spike of data on the left side indicates underexposure, on the right overexposure.

Neutral Value-RGB values are equal or gray

Non-destructive Editing-adjust the image without overwriting the original image data. Instructions are written to a sidecar file that tells the software how to interpret the image.

White Balance-the setting that adjusts for the color temperature of the light and that will make a white object appear white or a gray object a neutral value

Global Corrections

Global corrections adjust the entire file. In the Lightroom CC, it includes the controls under Light, Color and Effects. In Lightroom classic, this includes everything in the basic panel: White balance, Tone and Presence.

Using the Histogram

The histogram is a graphic representation of the tones in the photograph. It is a guide to exposure decisions. Most images look best when there is a full range of tones from black to white in the image. But there are no iron clad rules.

To access the histogram in Lightroom, from the keyboard select: Command 0

Or get it from the three dots on the right menu bar.

From the top of the histogram, there is a triangular button. Toggle it to turn on/off show clipping.

To maximize the the tonal range, adjust a photo to have some tones that are totally black and totally white but only a few so that you don’t lose detail in either the shadows or the highlights.

Looking at the histogram, we can see that there is not a true black or white. To raise the contrast of the image and use the full tonal range, use the following adjustments:

  • Select show clipping on the top left of the histogram. Adjust the blacks slider to the left until you see bright blue flecks on your image.
  • Select show clipping on the top right of the histogram. Adjust the whites slider to the right until you see bright red flecks on your image.

Most images improve with:

  • shadows slider to +50 add detail to the dark areas
  • the highlights slider brought to the left to bring detail into the highlights.

In this photo of the pier in Coney Island, the histogram shows that is underexposed. But we also know that it is an evening scene and that there is nothing in the photo that should be bright white.

Lightroom Workflow:

  1. Optics: enable lens correction. If there is architecture or a strong horizon line, geometry>upright>auto
  2. Crop.
  3. Color. Adjust the white balance if necessary.
  4. Light
    a. Exposure slider-use to adjust the overall tonality
    b. Set black point using show clipping
    c. Set white point using show clipping
    d. Use shadows slider to brighten mid tones.
  5. Effects – Adjust clarity (mid tone contrast)
  6. App: color – Adjust vibrance and or saturation
  7. Detail panel – Sharpen-amount at least 50

Lightroom CC Resource

Lightroom Classic Resource

A few tips for Lightroom Mobile:

  1. To access the histogram, tap on the image with two fingers. If you can’t really see the histogram background, brighten the display.
  2. To see the image before your corrections, press on the image.

Lab Exercises

Midterm Critique

Global Corrections

Homework

Midterm Project

Week 6 – The Interplay of Light and Dark

Field Trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Meet in the classroom in V111 at 2 pm or at 990 Washington Ave at the main entrance to the BBG at 3 pm.

Light and Dark

The word photography is rooted in Greek meaning “ writing with light “  One of the main concerns of photographers is how light illuminates a scene or subject. While we focus attention on light, it’s easy to not pay attention to shadows. Shadows, although dark, can be as dynamic as light. The shadows shape light, define texture, and act as compositional elements. 

Contrast: The measure of difference between bright areas (highlights) and dark areas (shadows) in a photo

High contrast : Large difference between highlights and shadows. Mostly lights and darks without many mid tones                

Photographer: Daido Moriyama

Low contrast :  Little difference between lights and darks. Mostly mid tones.

Sweating Glass, 1931, Photographer: Alma Lavenson

Shadows –  dark areas in photo that can range from black with no detail to dark tone with detail

Uses of light and shadow: Light and shadow are complementary elements in photography. The quality and direction of light affect how a subject looks while  producing shadows in various forms

  1. Contrast and Drama :  Shadows can be used to create contrast to produce a dramatic effect. Attention of the viewer is drawn to tonal contrast which can not happen without shadows. In this interplay of light and shadow, the lighting effect is enhanced by the shadows.  
  1. Shadows can be used to direct the viewer’s attention. Shadows can be be shapes that may be used as compositional elements  to direct attention to the center of interest in a photo. Also shadows can surround a light area to make it a center of interest.
  1. Reveal form: Using shadows will give form to subjects and make them look more three dimensional. The shadows don’t necessarily need to be black for this to happen. As long as one part of subject is light and one part is darker the photo will look more three dimensional. For dramatic effect, direct light will produce dark shadows. But for some subjects, dark hard shadows can be distracting or cause loss of detail. For subjects where detail is important, using partially diffused light will make soft shadows that will show form and maintain detail. 
  1. Reveal texture: Side light with shadow will show texture
  1. Shadows can be shapes and patterns that can be used to complete a composition.

How light falls on your subject is key to using shadows in photography. The best direction for a combination of light and shadow will be light coming from the side. For dramatic effect photograph when the light( direct light ) is at a lower angle which  will produce longer dramatic shadows. For less dramatic effect, use diffused light.

Exposing for photos that contain light and dark areas you will need to use exposure compensation. If there is large dark areas in the photo, the meter will over expose the light areas. In this case you need to use exposure compensation to lower the level of the lighter areas. 

Lab Exercises

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Homework

Midterm Project

Quiz 1

Next week on Oct 19th, there will be a quiz. Review the class topics pages for weeks 1-6.

Week 5 – Exposure

Light Quality

Light is either direct or diffused.

Direct light: the light strikes the subject from one angle and creates sharp shadows. Sunlight is an example of direct light.

Graduation, New York. 1949
Photographer: Roy DeCarava

Diffused Light: the light hits the subject from many angles and creates soft shadows. The light is diffused on an overcast day or in the shade.

Mother and daughter pausing in the ruins, which was still their home. Claremont Parkway. 1976-82.
Photographer: Mel Rosenthal

Measuring the Light

Exposure is the amount of light that comes into the camera to create the photograph.

Exposure is made up of three components:

  1. ISO-Sensitivity to light.
  2. Shutter Speed-the length of time that the camera’s shutter is open during the exposure.
  3. Aperture-how wide the cameras lens opens to allow the light to come in.

All three are measured in stops.

How your Camera Meter Works

Acronym: TTL – Through the Lens

The meter in your camera is a reflected-light meter.

A reflected light meter averages the tones in the scene and selects the aperture and shutter speed values that will make the whole scene medium gray.

Watch from :45 to 1:34 for an explanation of how your camera meter works.

What your camera meter "sees"
What your camera meter “sees” From Photography, 10th Edition, Stone, London, Upton, P. 70

Challenges

There are certain predictable situations that will fool your meter.

  1. Backlight – a common example is a person against a window or against the sky. Add exposure to get the right exposure for the main subject and allow the background to be overexposed.

2. Landscapes with sky. The sky is brighter than the ground and to get a good exposure of the land portion of your photo, often you need to over expose the sky.

3. Snow

How to control exposure

With a camera: Use Exposure Compensation set to plus to increase the light and set to minus to decrease the light.

Exposure compensation scale
Exposure compensation scale set here to minus 1.3

Exposure Compensation-a way to force the camera to make an exposure either lighter or darker than the meter reading. Good for backlight or extremes of light and dark.

With a cameraphone: Touch the area where the main subject is and then drag the little sun icon up or down to increase or decrease the overall exposure.

Using Exposure for Creative Effect

Sometimes, you don’t want the tones in your image to average out to a medium gray. You want to tones to be low key-mostly dark or high key-mostly light.

Red Jackson at a window
Red Jackson. 1948.
Photographer: Gordon Parks
Eleanor, Chicago. 1947.
Photographer: Harry Callahan

Lab Exercises

Exposure Challenges

Homework Due Next Class

Low and High Key

Upcoming Schedule

October 12 – Field Trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Oct 19 – Quiz 1

Oct 26 – Midterm Project due

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