Exercise 4.3


Capture ‘the beauty of artificial light’ in a short sequence of shots (‘beauty’ is, of course, a subjective term).

The correct white balance setting will be important; this
can get tricky –but interesting – if there are mixed light sources of different colour temperatures in the same shot.

You can shoot indoors or outside but the light should be ambient rather than camera flash.

Add the sequence to your learning log.

In your notes try to describe the difference in the quality of light from the daylight shots in Exercise 4.2.


For this series I went to different locations where a variety of light sources and colours were apparent.

For the most part the shots where hand-held except on mount Coot-Tha for the shots of Brisbane and the woman photographer.

I used a variety of lenses from the 24-70 mm. f 2.8 Tamron SP, 70-200 mm. Tamron SP and a Sigma 150 mm. f 2.8 macro.

After many years smoking, drinking too much coffee and getting older I have to drive up the shutter speeds to keep the photo’s acceptable, this requires some higher than I’d like ISO numbers; hence the choice of Nikon D5 as my camera as it handles low light very well.


The Sporting Page, Chelsea.

The Worlds End Pub, Chelsea.

London bus.

Cat in a carpet shop.

Photographer, Mt. Coot-Tha, Queensland; Australia.

Brisbane, Mt. Coot-Tha.

Two cats indoors.

Display, Brisbane museum.

Woman using her phone, Koala centre theatre near Brisbane.

Girl waiting for a bus, Fulham.

Contact sheet 1.

Contact sheet 2.




Artificial light can be tricky to get right but is very rewarding when it is.

The different colours and the varying harshness is different from daylight because it is constant once the sun has gone down.

The different light sources also have varying colour temperatures which makes white balance tricky at best.

If there are a mixture of lighting types within a frame white balance can become impossible, the photo of the Worlds end pub is one such case.

It has incandescent, tungsten, HID car lights and coloured lights all in one shot; very tricky but quite pretty.

Bailey’s chip shop was another challenge, varying light sources and different skin tones added to the equation.


I love the city at night, the colours, the reflections and the people and places all take on a different persona once the sun goes down.

Although the white balance can be tricky in post processing, your camera will be fooled; there’s always the lack of places open for coffee when it is cold.



Exercise 3.2


Start by doing your own research into some of the artists discussed above. Then, using slow shutter speeds, the multiple exposure function, or another technique inspired by the examples above, try to record the trace of movement within the frame. You can be as experimental as you like. Add a selection of shots together with relevant shooting data and a description of your process (how you captured the shots) to your learning log.


This exercise sounds easy in concept but in practice it’s a little more difficult.
Most of these difficulties were self-imposed as I always try to find something a little different from the mainstream.
Armed with my new camera and tripod I went out over a period of many weeks seeking some good movement shots.
I tried slowing the shutter and allowing the subject to move through the frame.
I tried panning, a technique I will have to work on a lot more.
I also tried to keep my ISO as close to 100 as I could.
The OCA student guide says not to use Auto ISO so I tend to forget the setting as I’m going along.











For this exercise I looked at photographers such as Robert Capa, Robert Frank and the one I really liked was the OCA student with Parkinson’s disease.

I agree with Gerry Badger regarding Francesca woodman’s work, you only have to look at it to know she was a troubled soul; dark and troubling images that probably reflected her feelings of despair.


Motion can be either implied such as an object caught still even though it must be moving such as a plane in flight or shown as in a moving bus at night. As this exercise called for movement within the frame I chose the latter as it’s more obvious to the viewer and that’s what I wanted to show.


I tried in part to imitate some of the Photographers mentioned. The bicycle rider was taken as the sun went down on the King’s road and the Bus was taken near Fulham Broadway station. The first was handheld and shaky with the long exposure, I added tilt so as to differentiate it from my fellow student and the second was tripod mounted, the girl in the poster had a haunting effect on me so I decided to wait until a bus went past. The others where standard longer exposures to catch motion, I’m particularly fond of the landing geese and the fountain that looks like a firework display.

My dark room – the computer.

I have a confession to make……… I am a nerd, a computer geek.

As one of the American founding fathers once said ” there never was a good knife made of bad steel”, so I feel about slow computers and internet connectivity.

Editing the bigger files of my new camera was causing my old computer to hesitate when manipulating images especially  RAW files.

So I decided to build a new one but which way to go ? Intel or AMD.

Intel traditionally  are faster but expensive where AMD are slower but half the price.

Delving into the murky waters of on-line geekdom I discovered that AMD had finally pulled even with Intel performance wise and they still retained a price advantage albeit only slightly.

They gave parity and saved several hundred  pounds in price, awesome.

Armed with my new-found knowledge I ordered the bits, an AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPU, new memory, new S.S.D, an Nvidia GTX1080Ti video card and the painfully expensive Asus motherboard.

I also decided to get a new case, Windows 10 pro and a power supply while I was at it.

One day later all these boxes arrived, I was like a child on Christmas morning.

Several hours later I had it built, I triple checked the connections and got ready to load my shiny new copy of Windows; I flipped the switches.

Wouldn’t even get past POST (power on self test), not even the BIOS (basic input output screen) would appear.

More checking on-line and I found that the incredibly expensive memory I had bought was none standard i.e it was overclocked.

Never mind, update the BIOS and all  should be well, it wasn’t; still wouldn’t boot.

It was about now that I was starting to panic, had I wasted thousands on junk; even worse, had I broken it somehow and would be unable to return it?

I did what all Brits should do in such circumstances, I made Tea then slept on it.

Prior to disassembly and shipping it back I decided to try one last thing.

Deep in the small printed motherboard manual somewhere it mentioned putting just one stick of memory in slot D1, totally counter intuitive but it should maximise memory compatibility or so it said.

I gave it a shot not thinking it had any hope of working.

A lot of beeps later it booted to the BIOS screen, I was elated.

I then proceeded to test each stick of memory in turn in slot D1, they all worked.

I then tested each of the eight slots in turn, they worked, puzzling.

I then loaded each one with a stick of memory building up to all four sticks, it worked!

I still have no idea why it worked after all this messing around but it does.

Windows loaded easily and I spent another day or two taking my software and passwords from my old computer to my new one.

This whole stressful build reminded me of the old saying ” Computers are like old testament Gods, all rules and no forgiveness”.

How true!


The trials and tribulations of printing.

Not too long ago I bought a new printer and was somewhat bothered by the fact that I had to keep adjusting how bright the prints came out.

In order for your photographs to be seen as you intend on your blog you must calibrate your monitor, most monitors are too bright and blue.

To get your prints to match the screen is another matter and more difficult.

It never really occurred to me, although it should have; that monitors are back-lit and have light shining from behind the image whereas prints are seen using reflected light.

This revelation also exposed a problem with my room lighting, the bulbs and the curtains where giving a yellow cast, I fixed that with daylight led bulbs balanced to 6500K and I only work when the sun is down; not ideal as the walls are painted a light cream colour but much better than it was.

After many You-tube  Videos I went out and purchased a Colormonki display calibration tool and a Spyder 5 printer calibration tool.

Calibrating my monitor was as painless as the blurb on the Colormonki Box suggested it would be, just load the software and place it on your screen; it takes about ten minutes and will remind you when it needs re-doing.

It also came with what they call a passport which  when used with Photoshop and Lightroom , helps colour balance your  photo’s in difficult lighting conditions; very clever.

The Spyder 5 loads and prints colour swatches and then scans them in order to match your screen with the printers output.

You have to do it for each type of paper you’re using and it produces a profile for your printer.

I found the plastic guide to be awkward and gave me inconsistent results until I discarded it and placed the reader directly on the swatches.

This was very time-consuming but gave me excellent results.

I am fairly confident that I can produce very good prints and after all the expense it should prove cost-effective compared to a professional print service.

A windfall and new gear.

It’s been a while since I did any work on this course due to a financial crisis that required me to sell all my camera gear.

Good news is I recently had a bit of a windfall that allowed me to get back on track financially and get some new gear.

I went a bit wild but got a Nikon D5 and the Tamron F2.8 Trinity plus the Nikon 200 – 500 f5.6.

I also purchased a Gitzo tripod and ball head.

Damn! now I’m all out of excuses and must get cracking.

No more complaining about depth of field or not having a lens long or wide enough for what I want to do.

Exercise 2.7

Brief :

Use a combination of small apertures and wide lens to take a number of photographs exploring deep depth of field.

Because of the small apertures you’ll be working with slow shutter speeds and may need to use a tripod or rest the camera on a stable surface to prevent ‘camera shake’ at low ISO.

Add one or two unedited sequences, together with relevant shooting data and an indication of your selects, to your learning log.
Achieving deep depth of field might appear easy compared to the difficulties of managing shallow depth of field.

We’re surrounded by images made with devices rather than cameras whose short focal lengths and small sensors make it hard to achieve anything other than deep depth of field.

The trick is to include close foreground elements in focus for an effective deep depth of field image.

Foreground detail also helps to balance the frame, which can easily appear empty in wide shots, especially in the lower half.

When successful, a close viewpoint together with the dynamic perspective of a wide-angle lens gives the viewer the feeling that they’re almost inside the scene.

Process :

The process was pretty much the reverse of the last exercise.

This time I used my widest lens setting, 18mm. and closed it down to the high f-stop numbers, the distances remained the same as did some of the subjects; this enables me to truly compare the effects of aperture and lens length.

Pictures :

f 22     1/10th. sec.


f 14    1/60th. sec.

f 14    1/8th. sec.

f 22     1/15th. sec.

f 20     1/20th. sec.

f 18     1/25th. sec.

f 16      1/125th. sec.

f 14      1/30th. sec.

f 13      1/40th. sec.

Contact sheet.

Analysis :

A wide-angle lens also distorts the image somewhat.

Despite having a depth of field measured in feet and inches the background is more discernible than in the previous exercise.

The second and third shot are of the same subject, just different directions to give you some idea of how much background an 18mm. lens includes at higher f-stop numbers.

Reflections :

The equivalent to these photo’s on a full frame camera would be 27mm. and f 33.

Not the widest of angles or deepest of depth of field but enough for me to be careful how to use these combinations.

I can’t wait to be able to get a full frame camera and some faster glass, then at least these mathematical gymnastics would come to an end.

Every You tube video and every text-book references to 35mm. full frame .

As I grew up on 35mm. film I tend to reference images the same way.

The effects of lens length, focal distance and aperture however remains a constant, for this I am thankful.

Exercise 2.5

Brief :

Find a subject in front of a background with depth. Take a close viewpoint and zoom
in; you’ll need to be aware of the minimum focusing distance of your lens. Focus on
the subject and take a single shot. Then, without changing the focal length, set the
focus to infinity and take a second shot.

The closer you are to the subject, the shallower the depth of field; the further from the subject, the deeper the depth of field.

That’s why macro shots taken from very close viewpoints have extremely shallow depth of field, and if you set the focus at infinity everything beyond a certain distance will be in focus.
As you review the two shots, how does the point of focus structure the composition?
With a shallow depth of field the point of focus naturally draws the eye, which goes first of all to the part of the image that’s sharp.

It generally feels more comfortable if the point of focus is in the foreground, although there’s nothing wrong with placing
the point of focus in the background.

Process :

I set up my tripod so that I had a view through a Celtic cross headstone.

Pictures :

55mm. f5.6 1/125th. sec. ISO 100

55mm. f5.6 1/320th. sec. ISO 100

Analysis :

In the first shot I focussed inside the hole of the cross so it would give a little depth to what is a shallow image.

The second shot I focussed on the Angel as my lens had everything out of focus at infinity, see more on this below.

The hole in the cross now becomes a frame that focusses your attention on the Angel.

Research :

The beyond infinity focussing of modern lenses isn’t a new phenomenon to me, I’ve notice it in many lenses I have owned or used.

The reasons for this bad habit endemic in modern auto focus lenses had never really bothered me but during a quick look on the internet it seems that many manufacturers have different reasons for why this happens.

The most popular reason seems to be to allow for lens expansion at high temperatures, this is why Canon telephoto lenses are white.

A good explanation was found at the B&H photo site in an article by Todd Vorenkamp which I’ve linked below.


Analysis :

What can I say, I cheated; sort of.

As you no longer have focus markings on many modern lenses who can tell where infinity is any more, gone are the days of hard stops and the reassurance that you’re at infinity.

Hyperfocal focussing is also more difficult if not impossible to get accurate.

I wonder how Ansel Adams would’ve dealt with it.