What Matters is to Look

Find a good viewpoint, perhaps fairly high up (an upstairs window might do) where you can see a wide view or panorama. start by looking at the things closest to you the foreground. Then pay attention to the details in the middle distance and then the things towards the horizon. Now try and see the whole view together, from the foreground to the horizon (you can move your eyes). Include the sky in your observation and try to see the whole visual field together, all in movement. When you’ve got it, raise your camera and release the shutter. Add the picture and a description of the process to your learning log.

I left this exercise quite late into the unit as I don’t often get the opportunity to shoot from a high viewpoint but with the completion of the rest of the unit I am compelled to finally attempt the exercise 3.3.

Due to the current restrictions on movement I chose to shoot this image directly from my office window at home. opening up the window to get a clearer view of the back gardens I noticed that everyone had their washing lines filled taking advantage of the afternoon sun. I really appreciate the area I live in, the terraces are very similar to those I grew up in so it feels very much like home. Living in Manchester which is only a few miles from my birth town it’s very much the idea of Britishness for me, I’ve always been interested in how these generation of housing came around and became they typical for the Northern aesthetic.

In term of taking the photograph I wanted to capture a really natural scene, something that we see everyday and I think that the casualness of the image helps achieve this. This type of image doesn’t come naturally to me so I always feel that it is never executed as well as it could have been. The restrictions in my ability to move around leaves me little to work with in terms of looking for the traditional rules of leading lines, light and shadow and focal points. The washing lines I first saw are not as obvious in the image as I would like, a different angle would have helped with this, also the natural framing of the houses doesn’t really lead to anything other than a shed roof and central tree.I do like how matter of fact it is and as part of a series may work well in setting a scene of theme but as an individual image I think it would have benefitted from me waiting for my neighbours to be out in their gardens to add some life to the image.

When choosing my setting for the image I have settled into a fairly standard practice across most of my work. I always shoot in RAW to give me the freedom after the fact to change the look or feel completely. I tend to think of aperture size first as this affects so many variables, for this image I selected f6.3 to ensure there is sharpness through most of the frame whilst allowing foreground and distant horizon drop out of focus as my goal was the mid frame. Next I look to balance the shutter speed and iso dependant on the desired effect, as there is plenty of available light I knew I could use an iso of 100 and maintain a high shutter speed to freeze movements in the trees etc. In this case a shutter of 1/500 which results in my preferred option of slightly underexposed as I would rather boost shadows than try and reclaim blown highlights. Post processing was mainly corrections to bring the RAW to natural colours but I then applied a slight boost to contrast with curves, a pass of unsharp mask and finally tweets in colour balance to give the image more of a film tone with a init towards cyan and yellow akin to fit tones of home shot images of the 1970’s.

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