Expressing Your Vision

Assignment 1 : Square Mile

Brief :

Make a series of six to twelve photographs in response to the concept of ‘The SquareMile’.

Use this as an opportunity to take a fresh and experimental look at your

You may wish to re-trace places you know very well, examining how they might have changed; or, particularly if you’re in a new environment, you may wish to use photography to explore your new surroundings and meet some of the people around you.

First Impressions


This being my first time in school for almost forty  years is a daunting prospect and this first introductory assignment was tough for me.

Let me be clear here, I don’t like London; It’s full of noise, pollution and people who have no clue where they are ( just ask a local for directions to somewhere ) and the traffic is insane.

But it’s where I ended up after two years of homelesness.

So bearing that in mind I was given the above brief.

What would or could I do when I have no attachment to the city I’m living in?

I decided to approach it from the idea London conjured up in my mind and tried to express what it is to me and what views others may form of it.


The equipment I used for all these Photo’s was the same, a Nikon D5200 and the kit 18-55 mm lens.

All of the images were lightly post processed using Photoshop CC and lightroom CC.

Mainly a little horizon levelling, a small ammount of sharpening and some cropping where necessary.


The lost.

The homeless.

The kind.

The young.

The traffic.

The relaxed.

The game.

The Law.

The Thames.

The scary.

The war scarred.

The memorials.

The Proof sheet.


Research and Analysis.

I didn’t do any research for this first assignment as it’s a none scoring section and I had to devote many hours in getting up to speed on Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC both by Adobe.

I’d used Nikon Capture NX2 previously and still prefer it over Phoshop and View NX blows Lightroom away, at least for the light editing I do.

I also had to devote a lot of time working out WordPress.

Most of my references to these three programs, I’m old skool I don’t call them apps; where mainly on you tube.

I have found Chelsea and Tony Northrup’s you tube chanel and the two books I purchased on the Adobe programs to be invaluable.

Their Weekly videos are very entertaining and informative.

I also watched various videos from Jason Lanier and a TV show on BBC4 about the beginnings of British Photography.



As previously stated I spent an awful ammount of time and money getting up to speed on the Industry standards, Lightroom CC and Photo shop CC both by Adobe.

Compared to Capture NX2 by Nikon they are very complexed and not as intuitive, I have still to find an easy and quick way to level the horizon in Lightroom CC for example.

What went well ? The photo with the lady and the pram turned out much better than I could’ve imagined considering I was hand holding at a low shutter speed and using a technique I’d never attempted before.

What went Poorly ? a lot, I still have a lot of shots with camera shake in them which I’ll have to concentrate more on eliminating and I still have a lot to learn regarding  software such as Adobes Photo shop CC.

Did I meet the criteria for the assignment ? I think so but as usual I’m my own worst critic, nothing is ever good enough and I have a lot to learn.


Exercise 1.2 – The Point

Brief :

1. Take two or three photographs in which a single point is placed in different parts of the frame.

2. Take a number of images in which a point is placed in relationship to the frame.

Process :

I decided to go with four photographs, one set was Aircraft in flight and the other a geometric scene of dusters on a radiator.

I again used my trusty 18 – 55 mm.

Research and analysis :

For this exercise I looked up Gestalt theory mainly in Wikipedia.

Essentialy it describes the way we view the world and percieve it.

My best reference was an old science series I remember watching way back in 1980 called ” The real thing” hosted by presenter James Burke.

In it he explains that your eyes really don’t see and that it’s your brain that interprets the signals from your retina and decides, based upon experience ; what the world should look like.

As he says in episode one ” There’s a shape in your head for every shape outside it” .

Reflections :

This exercise was more interesting to me than it first seemed.

I went out three times to photograph points in a frame on the streets of Fulham and failed miserably every time.

The problem was of visual clutter, no matter how garish the point, it was always lost within the visual noise that is a London street.

The park with it’s views across the river offered a more interesting perspective but again the ground level was entirely too cluttered for my taste, hence the Aeroplane shots.

I didn’t do four of those because an aeroplane fits the frame anywhere as long as it’s flying.

For the other shots I happened across a radiator with some cloths and a dart board above it.

This made for a simple and uncluttered environ to test out the different points within a frame theme.

I again only include two because to me the red light artfully  affixed with Blu-Tac would seem out of place and very noticeable anywhere within the image with the exception of a central and low to middle position within the frame.

In answer to question one of the brief, you evaluate pictures the same as all the others you view, nothing has changed except there’s now an unidentified object drawing your attention; the real question is “was it intentional” ?

I feel they should have purpose and enhance the structure of an image.

Yes, there is a right and a wrong place for a point and only an individual can judge for themselves if it works.

I believe a point can be in relation within an image and also help balance an image but placement is key as is it’s relevance.

The Michael Hoppin gallery is exhibiting some interesting work by Manuel Franquelo titled “Things in a room”.

When viewed on line these images appear Meh! at least in my mind but when I happened by and decided to visit the exhibition they made more of an impact on me.

These images are printed in 1 to 1 or larger.

The curtains are to me the most impressive measuring a good twenty feet by ten feet.

Just goes to show, size does matter.

Project 1 – The Instrument Exercise 1.1

Exercise 1.1

Take three or four exposures of the same scene. Don’t change anything on the camera and keep the framing the same.
Preview the shots on the LCD screen. At first glance they look the same, but are they ?

Perhaps a leaf moved with the wind, the light changed subtly, or the framing changed almost imperceptibly to include one seemingly insignificant object and exclude another.

Time flows, the moment of each frame is different, and, as the
saying has it, ‘you can’t step into the same river twice’.
Now bring up the histogram on the preview screen.

The histogram is a graphical representation of exposure – the camera’s sensitivity to light.

As you page through the images you can see small variations in the histograms.

Even though the pictures look the same, the histogram data shows that in a matter of seconds the world changes, and these subtle differences are recorded by the camera.

If you refine the test conditions – shooting on a tripod to fix the framing, moving indoors and closing the curtains to exclude daylight – still the histogram changes.

Probably some of the changes are within the camera mechanism itself; still, the camera is a sensitive enough instrument to record them.
Add the sequence to your learning log with the time info from your camera’s shooting data as your first images for Part One.

              15:07.42                             15:08.38

15:10.38                               15:12.53


I had my camera mounted on a tripod and set on auto mode.

The numbers below the images are the times, in 24 hour format; when the exposure occurred.

As you can see the images appear identical at first glance but are they ?

The reflections in the windows change and if you were to view the histogram the colours shift slightly both left to right and also in amplitude on the display.

The images, whether taken seconds apart or minutes; only show slight differences in Histogram shift but the difference is there.

Adobe Lightroom 6/CC Video book Training for Photographers

This is a wonderful guide to adobes Lightroom 6/cc of 300 illustrated pages written by Chelsea and Tony Northrup and Published by Mason press of CT USA.

You can order it in hard copy or, as I did; download it in PDF format.

You also get access to 14+ hours of video on their web site at

Photoshop CC essentials for Photographers

This book is written by Chelsea and Tony Northrup and published by Mason Press in CT USA.

It’s a basic illustrated user guide of 304 pages which comes with ten hours of video tutorials via their web site.

The book also comes with free updates as Adobe does updates to it’s program adding new features occasionaly.

It’s very easy to follow and written wonderfully in respect to a novice.

You can purchase a hard copy or as I did, in PDF format as a download from their web site