Sunday, 22 August 2010

My Photography Unit work.

When I was doing my previous degree, I found that I needed some points.  I found that there was a photography unit.  How bad could it be?  Well worse than it should have been that's for sure.

I just needed 3 points, as I missed some in the first year, having dropped from full time to part time.  An easy 3 points I thought to myself and fun too!

Or Not, the lecturer was unorganised and I had her for the tutorial as well...  Interesting tutorials.  We had to go or else we would fail, and yet we spent most of the time listening to her rabbit on.  Eventually we could get out into the campus grounds to experiment with whatever process she was yabbering on about (eg, depth of field, aperture etc etc) and no-one would have any clue what was what.

Luckily for me, I knew the basics of photography and would end up giving everyone a small and quick tutorial on the theme of the day. Lucky them and no charge to the uni either...  The assessment was a bit of group work which involved 10 pictures with a common theme.  I thought we had to take different styles of photos to show our skills (as it said in the unit guide), but apparently if we had just done the same style photo again and again, that would've been fine.  So, people with rubbishy looking happy snaps with auto settings, got a better grade than those of use who varied things and may have had a dud photo due to experimentation.

Then there was some boring assignment of 2000 words which I slapped together the night before it was due.  As did most others,  specifically remember chatting to one of my pals in the group work on MSN at about 3 in the morning as we helped keep each other awake while finishing.  The biggest assessment was a 10 photo portfolio on our own theme.  Photoshopping was allowed, but just to enhance the photo and no cutting and pasting either.  

So the unit guide said.

That didn't bother people much though and lo and behold they got quite good grades for it.

From the start I was convinced to use pictures of Transformers in my portfolio.  The tutor who had a thing for buildings and flower photography, didn't think they could be used as art.  Rubbish! Is what I thought and gave it  go.  Sadly, the bias of the tutor did indeed effect the grades given.  Previous students of the unit said this as well.  All those with flowers/buildings did really well whatever their pics were like.

So I plugged on, leading the tutorials, taking on the harder assignments, we all had to present a weeks theme to the class, we got to choose and everyone took up night photography or landscapes (weeks 10,11).  I went for Aperture (week 4) as there was no-one else going that early.  I ended up doing a very nice job by taking a cool photo of Stockade with his Allspark cube in his hand and changed the amount of background you could see by adjusting the focus.  Sadly I am not sure where those two pictures are at the moment.

Eventually I started doing my final portfolio of 10 pictures, based on Transformers around a theme of Shadows and Light.  I borrowed a spotlight from work, took it home and got to work.

Oddly enough, I called it :

Shadows and Light

This was my first photo of the set.  It took me about an hour and a half before I was satisfied with the photo.  We could photoshop it a bit, and I think the unit guide said we had to have some photoshop work in there, but as a puritan I am a strong believer of the skills of photography belong in correct scene manipulation so as to capture what is there, not mess around with it later. Plus my old computer was having issues with my copy of photoshop at the time.  The idea of this one was to have the energon axe shadow coloured orange as well as the actual axe.  I think I succeeded.
Masterpiece Convoy

This next one was my edited one.  Animated had just started and this Bumblebee has some cool light piping.  I didn't want that though, so I focused the camera on the shadow of his horns and tried to make the shadow as sharp as possible.  Editing wise I just adjusted the contrast a little and I think I may have brightened it a bit as it was quite a yellow shot.
Shadow of Bumblebee
Little bit boring this one. Same thing again, just with the shadow being more prominent than the toy.  Less sharpness and I was aiming for a whole body shadow over any particular area.

More Bumblebee shadow
I really like this Blackarachnia toy. Very feminine and has great light piping, especially with the four eyes!  This was a shot to focus on the lighty eyes and yet have a whole body shot.  A bit of macro work here as her feet are out of focus.  I actually did a really neat shot like this with Classics Bumblebee and thought it looked really cool.  Blacky here was trickier because her body is longer than stumpy classics 'Bee.  I think I may have brightened this one too, so as to make the background more bland

Blakcarachnia, Howdy.

Transmetal Tigerhawk was a cool and powerful character and he had the definite possibility of being menacing.  Here I have used an LED torch and done some 'light painting' (another favourite technique of the tutor's) to give him a scary looking shadow.

TM Tigerhawk

Woooo!  I like this next one. Masterpiece Megatron.  Such a nice toy!  With this photo I again did some light painting, using a normal torch with failing batteries.  I dig this photo, it says to me WWII propaganda photo, or give Megatron a bronze statue look.  It came out a lot better than I thought it would.

Follow me and we will CRUSH the Autobots!

Of course since I had MP Megatron out of his box, I had to use Krimzeek somehow.  Here I just focused the spotlight on him to get the colours onto the table he was standing on, a bit of macro photography and there we go.

This picture of G1 Ravage is one that was inspired by Ravage, using a bit more light painting (yes I was going to milk that for all it was worth!) I thought I would emulate his infra red sight ability in a visual form.  I had this Pikachu key ring that a friend gave me that had this red LED in the pokeball section thing and I just opened the lens for a few seconds and waved it around after turning the lights in the room off.  Ravage is sneaking about and can be seen via infra red, ala that G1 episode Wooo!

This is the Classics Ultra Magnus that came with Skywarp and a Nemesis Prime classics version as well.  I think the Nemesis was from the San Diego comic con as an exclusive.  Not too sure exactly.  Anyway, I thought the black and whit thing would look quite nice for some contrast and so did this.  A bit of de-saturation for the photo and the end result is quite good.  The tutor commented on how she liked this one too (at last!). 
Nemesis Prime and Ultra Magnus. Black and White!

This last one was being done at about 3am in the morning, so not only was I running out of ideas of how to do a variety of photos, I was getting really tired.  not exactly sure what I wanted with this one.  We have a newly acquired Animated Ultra Magnus against a newly acquired Fans Project City Commander. I think I wanted to get the light up eyes and guns of Ani Mag as a contrast to the other one. Whatever, it is a pretty poor photo I thought, but by this stage I didn't really care all that much. 

the problems I had with this one are many. Unsure of idea and the button for Ani Mag's eyes is on his chest. yes the Elite Guard Insignia, hence the blurring on the right of the pic, which is probably my hand moving out of frame after pushing the button.  Really I am surprised I could hold it o still for the photo after pushing the button.

Anyhow, the end result was Ok and was shown to the rest of the unit.  Someone in the lecture said 'Someone really likes Transformers' and during the tutorial as I was presenting my work, the tutor said something along the lines of,

I didn't think you could make art from those toys, and I thought you were being silly by working with them, but I can see that there is artistic work in your photos'

Or words to that effect.

Huzzah for me.  Still I only ended up with a credit for the unit.  maybe I should have just dropped my integrity and gone for the same boring macro shots of flowers.  Glad I didn't though.  that would have been very boring.  The most annoying thing I thought though was that for once in my units, I had some constructive criticisms for the unit survey and they didn't give one out for that unit.  I know the surveys are voluntary depending on the units, but hey, I could have offered some ways to improve upon what was already there.

I did discover the intriguing look of the Daguerro type photo.  A process of printing photos onto sheets pf metal using acids.  Colours manage to show as well as far as I am aware.  One day I will hunt down a daguerro photo and get it to look for myself.  So I guess the unit wasn't a complete waster and I did get my much needed 3 points and made some good friends.

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