TAOP: Points Project

I’m on to part two of my photography course – ‘Elements in design’ and the first project is about ‘Points’.

Points are described as a fundemental design element.  To qualify as a point a subject should:

  • be small within the frame.
  • contrast with its surroundings.

The first section of this project asked me to consider situations I can think of which make a clear photograph of a point.  I’ve defined a few here:

  • a bright light in darkness, or a dark object against a bright background.
  • a small or distant object which contrasts with a plain background.
  • an object which stands out, through shape, from its surroundings.

It goes on to ask me to identify pictures I’ve taken previously which contain a subject that qualifies as a point.  I’ve scoured my archives and will talk about some of them below.

Within all the example shots I’ve tended to position the ‘points’ according to the rule of thirds – generally at the intersect at the edges, though in the first example more-or-less along the vertical line only – though an element of the image is at the top left intersect.  I do tend to conform to the rule of thirds, as it’s something I learnt early on in my journey into photography, and its become a default habit.  Perhaps that’s an area I can look at to move outside of my comfort zone in future – where appropriate.

Light in the Darkness
(ISO 100, 0.3sec exposure, f/13 aperture – shot on manual to achieve the high contrast and low ISO to minimise noise and because the camera was tripod-mounted so exposure time was not an issue)

The subject here is not so much an object, but an illustration of my first point – light within darkness, so the lit area stands out as a point against the otherwise-dark background.  It is on the large size though, and there are other elements present which could detract from making the image a pure example of a single subject as a ‘point’.

Dog in Water
(ISO800, 1/320sec, f/4.0 aperture – shot on aperture priority with ISO set to ensure ‘frozen’ action with the camera handheld)

The subject here is the dog in the water with a stick, and is a much clearer example of a ‘point’.  The dog contrasts distinctly with the water and is a clear primary element within the shot.  On reflection (and you’ll hate me for the pun), it would have been good to have a polarising filter to reduce the light reflected from the surface of the water as I think the colour of the dog would have stood out better against a darker background.

(ISO200, 1/200sec exposure, f/8.0 aperture – shot in manual mode, with a small aperture to get a great depth-of-field and with flash as the surroundings were dark and it was difficult getting to a place I could stand still for the shot, so I needed a short exposure to avoid camera shake)
The centre of the flower is the point within this image, the colour clearly contrasting with the white of the petal.

(ISO200, 1/200sec exposure, f/8 aperture – manual setup with flash fired as this was in my bathroom which only had dim lighting and no windows)

The positioning here is less-than-perfect, it’s quite a dull image to start with and the point I’ve placed it within the frame doesn’t help.  I actually have a cropped version which is a much more appealing image, but I’m trying to minimise post-processing within images posted here (and the image I prefer has a lot of post-processing).  Feedback from my tutor on assignment one highlighted that I tend to over-process and it makes it difficult to judge my photographic technique.

Below are a few more, which are much clearer points – included to demonstrate I’m able to identify points within images; but I haven’t gone in to detail as with the above examples.

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