Assignment 2 Tutor Feedback

2.Ashley Rosser


This assessment from my tutor is more critical than the last.

Upon reflection I have to agree that the assignment does have the feel of an exercise than an assignment, more canned than an artistic response to the brief.

Were I do disagree is in his assessment of the subject matter, in the non photographic section of the community  as a whole they don’t remember what it took to take a photograph.

Heck, one of my younger co-workers didn’t know how to address an envelope he was so used to communicating by electronic means.

My experience while doing this subject backs up my theory, young people where fascinated with the process and thought it was weird.

I however have to agree that I failed to get it to appeal to a  neutral viewer and this I must remain vigilant of.

The viewers perception must always be at the forefront of my execution of ideas, this I will have endeavour to be constantly aware of in the future.

Corrective Actions:

I will endeavour to do more research etc.

I will be re-shooting this assignment with a different idea and Photographs.


Assignment 1 Tutor Assesment.

1.Ashley Rosser


This is my first assignment of the course and a first try at higher education.

Considering  that the last time I was at school was in the 1970’s I don’t think my Tutors assessment was all that bad.

He’s correct that I need to do more reading and research, especially self initiated.

Corrective actions taken:

I have made my Photo’s bigger.

I will visit more galleries both on-line and in the flesh.

I will do more self initiated research and read more.

How to deal with image noise.

Noise in digital images is always present even at low ISO levels especially in dark or light solid backgrounds.

Modern sensors are better at this than older ones but it still remains an issue.

The problem I faced was how to deal with it in post processing, too much noise reduction and your image looks blurred, not enough and the image doesn’t look good either.

There is a balance somewhere but it’s a razor-thin line between the two extremes.

Up until now I have kept my noise controls on camera turned off or low and in post processing I use a little luminance adjustment.

Searching through YouTube, adobe video’s and my copy of Stunning Digital Photography by Tony Northrup I think I came across a way to have my cake and eat it so to speak.

Median image stacking is a technique of using several shots of the same image layered in Photoshop and blended together to remove noise.

Here is a quick image I took in my hall, it’s taken at 85 mm. f 8  102400 ISO.

Quite noisy I think you’d agree.

I took 13 shots at those settings and median stacked them.

This is the result, much cleaner.

What surprised me is that the stacked image file size is 60% of the original.

There must be something going on in the process or 40%  of my original was noise.

In order to use this process I think a tripod and static subject are necessary, or a very steady hand.

All I used in Light Room was auto tone levels, camera standard under camera calibration and lens corrections which included remove chromatic aberration selected.

I used those settings on all 13 shots.

The last shot is the original with 25 luminonce dialled in.

The stacked image has removed the noise without removing sharpness or detail, it only took 5 minutes extra to complete!


Exercise 4.5


Make a Google Images search for ‘landscape’, ‘portrait’, or any ordinary subject such as ‘apple’ or ‘sunset’. Add a screen-grab of a representative page to your learning log and note down the similarities you find between the images.
Now take a number of your own photographs of the same subject, paying special attention to the ‘Creativity’ criteria at the end of Part One.

You might like to make the subject appear ‘incidental’, for instance by using juxtaposition, focus or framing.
Or you might begin with the observation of Ernst Haas, or the ‘camera vision’ of Bill Brandt.
Add a final image to your learning log, together with a selection of preparatory shots.

In your notes describe how your photograph differs from your Google Images source images of the same subject.



For this exercise I decided to make my subject Bicycles, the most common form of transport on Earth.

When I searched for images they all appeared to come from catalogues and web sites selling them.

To differentiate my photo’s I had to search for the unusual or different in order to stand out.

I went out at different times of day using various focal lengths to achieve my goals.



As you can see from the majority of these shots most are taken side on and under good lighting conditions.

They are product photo’s, informative but very bland.

Only three show people with their bicycles.


Club outing

At rest

Awaiting an owner

Busted 1

Busted 2


With helmet.

My top pick……

Contact sheet 1


Contact sheet 2


For this exercise I looked at photographers such as Rut Bleeses night shots of London, Tony Ray Jones, Brassei and Sato Shintaro.

None of which fit my particular subject very well.

The problem if it can be called that, is an ordinary subject is Ordinary.

Subjects such as Apples and sunsets have been done so often that it’s hard to come up with something different.

This statement from the OCA course sums the issue up nicely.

“While we’re not expecting you to go to Japan to photograph Mount Fuji, the difficulty of seeing something in an original way confronts every artist and photographer.

The problem isn’t so much the iconographic subject – after all, it’s often said that the whole world has been photographed.

It’s rather an expectation of how a photograph of a particular subject should look”.

Rob Bloomfield, Expressing your vision, page 94, OCA 2014.


I’m still not satisfied that I have produced images that show my chosen subject in a way that is more interesting and different from those of my screen grab.

I tried by changing the angle of view as well as varying the time of day and showed the bicycle in its more natural state, not the pristine environment of a catalogue.

Do they succeed at the Creative criteria for the course, maybe; the shadow image does.


This was a very interesting exercise that posed the problem of making the normal seem interesting or by making images that are different to the norm.

The problem with my chosen subject is that they don’t stand of their own accord, they must be held in place by something else.

This limited the opportunity for variation on the theme, unless they were being ridden they were locked to a post or bike stand.

The slightly zoomed in shots of the handlebars, the broken wheel and chain still are recognisable as bicycles but are different from the Googled images.

Exercise 4.4

Brief :

Use a combination of quality, contrast, direction and colour to light an object in order to reveal its form.

For this exercise we recommend that you choose a natural or organic object such as an egg, stone, vegetable or plant, or the human face or body,
rather than a man-made object.

Man-made or cultural artefacts can be fascinating to light but they also contain another layer of meaning requiring interpretation by the photographer; this exercise is just about controlling the light to reveal form.
You don’t need a studio light for this exercise; a desk lamp or even window light will be fine, although a camera flash that you can use remotely is a useful tool.

The only proviso is that you can control the way the light falls on the subject.
Take some time to set up the shot.

The background for your subject will be crucial.
For a smallish object, you can tape a large sheet of paper or card to the wall as an ‘infinity curve’ which you can mask off from the main light source by pieces of card.
You don’t need to use a curve if you can manage the ‘horizon line’ effectively – the line where the surface meets background.

Taking a high viewpoint will make the surface the background, in which case the surface you choose will be important to the shot.
Exposure times will be much longer than you’re used to (unless you’re using flash) and metering and focusing will be challenging.

The key to success is to keep it simple.

The important thing is to aim for four or five unique shots – either change
the viewpoint, the subject or the lighting for each shot.
Add the sequence to your learning log.

Draw a simple lighting diagram for each of your shots showing the position of the camera, the subject and the direction of the key light and fill.

Don’t labour the diagrams; quick sketches with notes will be just
as useful as perfect graphics.

In your notes try to describe any similarities between the qualities of controlled lighting and the daylight and ambient artificial light shots
from Exercises 4.2 and 4.3.


Process :

For this exercise I attached a large roll of blue art paper to my wardrobe and draped it over my coffee table, this gave me a decent back drop.

Next I set up my camera on my tripod varying the distance to subject and I used different lenses.

I set up my SB 5000 flash on an old tripod and an old cheap TTL flash on camera, I used the SB 5000 in radio AWL mode and TTL.

By varying the distance and direction of the flash, using flash modifiers and also using various different lenses I came up with the following shots.


Photographs :

Diagram notes: rather than do separate  drawings for each shot please refer to each of the settings listed under each photograph and refer to the master drawing above.

The angle of the flashes are measured from the subject and assume that 0 degrees is the direction the lens is pointing at.

800 mm.  f 64 @ 1/200th second .

Distance to background 1 m, Subject distance 2 m.

Hand held off camera flash only with head zoomed to 200 mm. and a height of 1.5 m. 225 degrees off set.

150 mm. f 8 @ 1/200th second.

Distance to background 1 m, subject distance 0.38 m .

Hand held off camera flash only with head zoomed to 14 mm. and a height of 1 meter using the wide-angle panel and diffuser  dome.

150 mm. f 8 @ 200th second.

Distance to background 1.5 m, subject distance 0.38 m.

Hand held off camera flash with head zoomed to 200 mm. and a height of 0.5 m, 150 degrees off set.

150 mm. f 8 @ 200th second.

hand-held off camera flash with head zoomed to 24 mm. using the wide-angle panel at a height of 1.5 meters and a 270 degree off set.

400 mm. f 25 @ 200th second.

Distance to background 10 cm, distance to subject 2 meters.

On camera flash was fired over my shoulder at the ceiling using its wide panel.

The off camera flash was at a height of 1.5 meters at an angle off of 225 degrees using its wide panel.


Contact sheets.

Research :

The first thing I had to research was how to get my flash to talk to my camera, using the manual and the excellent Nikon videos I managed it.

The next order of business was to look at what others had done in the way of still life pictures, I concentrated mainly on the painting masters such as Monet in order to see what I preferred.

Then I watched plenty of YouTube videos on flash photography in order to get a sense of the mechanics of it.

Analysis :

Although I used a constant picture angle, changing the direction, height and angle of the flash guns gave very different effects.

The more shadows and the darker the background gave a mood as well as a sense of three-dimensional form.

The softer and more direct the light and the mood lightens but your left with a more two-dimensional shape, brighter but flatter colours that are rather unsatisfying.

Getting the two to balance takes patience and skill.

The main differences I noticed in the qualities of light between these exercises was that flash photography is like the Ambient artificial exercise but without the colour/white balance problems and obviously I can control the amount and direction of it.

Reflections :

This was a very interesting exercise that challenged me to think of every aspect of the finished product.

Getting a decent background took several days visiting art shops before I found the right size and colour of paper I needed.

Finding a subject was easier but the local super market thought I was strange holding fruit up to the light.

The flash guns can’t talk to each other, If I had two of the marvelous Nikon SB 5000’s I could have set ratios of light between the two.

As it was the Simple and cheap TTL flash would only work mounted on the camera and couldn’t be set as a master flash.

This  posed some exposure problems until I found that both set to TTL worked well.

Overall I enjoyed this exercise.

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.