A journey of photographic adventure, Two Views was born by two friends having a blast and learning from each other on a photo shoot in the autumn sunshine, asking the question “How can we continue to push our photographic boundaries in terms of technical knowledge, new challenges and creativity and have fun at the same time?” The answer we came up with was to set ourselves a project every two weeks, and then publish the results together. Two Views of the same subject / idea or technical approach. By the end of this year we will have covered 26 subjects and produced at least 50+ awesome photographs, and have learned a huge amount along the way! We’d love your comments, critiques and ideas, and if you want to “play along” too, please do let us have your shots by links in the comments sections! TJ & The Brunette

Friday, 30 December 2011

The Rule of Thirds by TJ

This was an interesting topic, and a nice introduction for me into photography techniques. I think when I look back at many of the recent photos I have taken, I have been applying the rule of thirds without even realising it. For this topic I purposely when out taking pictures using the grid display on the camera to apply the rule on all the photos I took. I went out with the intention of being more concerned about applying the rule than the actual subject matter itself, although that didn't really work out as once I decided on my location I wanted to get as good a picture as I could. The scene is on the river Thames at Maidenhead with the Brunel railway bridge with its huge sounding arches spanning the river. I applied the rule twice on this photo. The water line was a natural line for the bottom third of the photo, and by placing myself in the picture I put myself in the right hand bottom third by using a tripod and timer. I quite liked this touch as it wasn't intended to be a portrait, but by putting myself in the photo it kind of opens up the rest of the photo and gives a good sense of scale with the bridge in the background. I used back and white partly due to the overcast weather conditions, a nice tip that was from The Blonde, and it does I feel add a little depth and atmosphere to the photo. I played around a little with the contrast, but pretty much left it as is.

The other photos tell the story of the project set up. Firstly there is the original colour photo and then follows a black and white version with the grid lines which explains in vision the principle of the rule of thirds. The picture of me with the landscape background was taken at Winter Hill near Marlow. The bridge photos were also experimental in terms of different views of the bridge in the main picture, but to have the rule of thirds applied. The final photo of Maidenhead bridge was taken the other side of the main bridge where I applied the rule on the horizon line and from the left hand top corner.

The Rule of Thirds by The Blonde

It's funny how sometimes when you concentrate on something it becomes SO much harder to do! I would say 9 times out of 10 i probably follow the Rule of Thirds when composing a shot anyway, but as soon as you go out with the intention ONLY to follow it, it seems to become much harder! I finally chose this black and white shot of a tree taken on Sunday in Bushey Park, the weather was so grey and the light so flat that B&W seemed to be the best plan and gave me the ability to tweak the contrast in editing to make it a bit more dramatic. I used the Rule of Thirds to "create" the frame of the shot using the tree and to lead the eye nicely from the foreground into the lake and distant trees. The branches helped by jutting out on a third too! And I am pleased with the composition it creates. Below are a few other shots taken for this assignment both involving the main subject being on one of the main thirds if not precisely on a cross over point. I particularly like the shot of the kid feeding the goose, and couldn't decide on colour or B&W so gave you both! :)

Sunday, 25 December 2011

6) The Rule of Thirds

The first of our photographic rule or technique assignments starts with probably the first composition rule you will learn when you study photography: The Rule of Thirds, sometimes known as the Golden Rule. It basically encourages you to set up your shot to be the most visually pleasing and dynamic as possible. So that the eye of the viewer is lead gently around the photograph and the various components within, and is not challenged by competing elements. Its easy to learn, and something that most people that have the photographic "eye" do naturally anyway. You simply imagine the frame of your shot is intersected by two lines, both vertically and horizontally, and you place key planes (e.g. the horizon) or points of interest either along the lines or at the intersection points or both. For some examples see here, and more in depth explanation is found here. Good luck! Later on in our assignment series we will deliberately break the Rule to show that all good rules should be broken :) But only once you have learned them!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Christmas by The Blonde

This was a hard one for me! I think we all "know" what Christmas looks and feels like, but it's not always easy to express! I went with the simple Christmas tree, and am pleased with my depth of field highlighting just one bauble. I used a bit of a soft focus tweak in editing which also had the added benefit of making the points of light from the lights look like little stars, so although not the MOST inventive photo, it does say CHRISTMAS!!! to me *grin* Two other variations on the theme are below, but I much preferred the composition of the one I finally chose.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Christmas by TJ

The Christmas topic proved to be a bit more challenging than I thought it would be. Having had a lot of snow the previous 2 years leading up to Christmas, this year has reverted back to the traditional snow less Christmas Thames Valley. So in scenic photographic terms a bit of a shame as the shot I have chosen would have been wonderful with a sprinkling of snow in it. I took the picture in Henley on Thames at 7:30 in the morning to maximise the effect of the Christmas lights between total darkness and the sun coming up. I was very pleased that the moon played ball and took its place in the picture too! I played around with the brightness and contrast a bit, and decided in the absence of any snow to use a soft focus in the editing. I think for me the picture captures a typical town centre Christmas scene at this time of the year, and I deliberately kept the street lights in the picture as it all adds to the festive atmosphere.

The other shots I considered were two different ideas. I got my gorgeous niece Anna to pose in front of their Christmas tree. Its a lovely photo and I was very tempted to use it, but I think she steals the show rather than Christmas! The 2nd idea was much more studio for me. I used a glass of wine in focus in the foreground with the newly decorated Christmas tree at my mum's house as the out of focus background. So I was kind of experimenting a little with depth of field here. I was pleased with the result and on a braver day I might have used it too!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

5) Christmas!

Well it had to be really didn't it! :) So many ways to capture this season, here's a few ideas pages for you for some inspiration! And a couple of tips pages here and here! Let some festive photography begin!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Red by The Blonde

I knew I wanted to do something more "studio" for Red, after being on location for the first three assignments, and had come up with loads of ideas, of which I only actually got round to trying two! So maybe we will have to have another Red version 2.0 at some point! 

The shot I chose is actually a recreation of one I shot many years ago at photography college, easier then as I had an entire studio lighting rig to play with! I wanted to capture a close up of bubbles in a drink with something red in there for interest (and to meet the assignment of course!) You can see the unedited version on the far left of the film strip, all I did was crop in and up contrast slightly in editing to make the black background very black and reduce the slight reflection on the glass, so that the finished result is quite abstract. The second mini photo shows my "studio" ! Of course I used a tripod, and fill in flash to freeze the bubble movement and create a nice "lift" to the bubbles, but I also maximised natural window light from the left hand side and a reflector on the right to bounce light back in. 

The next two were a red lipstick idea I was playing with, I quite like the "long hair" one, it's a little unusual and intriguing not to see the eyes of a subject and leaves you wanting more!

Red by TJ

"Red" was a topic that I really enjoyed and the possibilities really were endless. My original idea was to find an unusual red letter box in a building perhaps or the traditional red telephone box. However I soon came round to the idea of using red balloons. The challenge was then to find a location. I had grand designs of going up to London to one of the bridges over The Thames and dropping a load of balloons and then taking as many photos from different positions as possible before the tide took them away. But in the end I settled on the village of Medmenham close to work, and so was able to spend a bit of time setting up the tripod and trying out a few ideas. I hadn't necessarily intended to be in the photo myself, but I brought along a red Arsenal shirt just in case. The effect was created using colour isolating Tinsii software. I sharpened the image and tweaked the brightness and contrast to get the final effect. I think the image certainly captures "Red" and has enough there to grab and perhaps hold the viewer's attention.

The other photos I tried out were having the balloons in the water, and the image with the balloon in full stream nearly made it as my chosen photo. Lord knows how far the balloons have travelled now? Next stop London!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

4) Red

The next topic is simply "red" excuse the pun! By tackling one colour a whole world of opportunities opens up. It's a kind of anything goes topic as long as red is involved. A photo of an object, clothing, a location or perhaps a photo edited in red. Or could red perhaps be interpreted as emotion such as anger? This topic is due for posting early December. We have found a couple of great sites for inspiration click here and here.