An exercise involving portraits, ideally using the same subject and framing, but different lighting conditions. I needed to have a couple of attempts at this. While on the first attempt I was doing different things, the difference in lighting effect was marginal so I did them again, using natural light only, natural light with a reflector, and two images where I used a softbox (closer from the side, then further away from the back). I stuck to the same location. With hindsight I should have used some others, as I had limited variation from the natural light source which was daylight coming in from the window. Still, there is still quite a stark difference where artificial light is introduced, evening the lighting and reducing shadow on the subject’s face.
I can’t believe the great man has gone. I discovered him through my older brother who had the Changesone compilation, and was probably only 10 or 11 at the time. I then went about getting the whole back catalogue, listening to him constantly through my teens, and wishing I was born twenty years earlier so I could have seen him as Ziggy. I’m gutted now I dropped out of following him, at least as intensely, for a few years – from the late 80s through to probably the mid-90s (when he put out Buddha of Suburbia, Outside, Earthling), but I’d found dance music by then and the psychedelic scene (including Gong, whose founder and lead singer Daevid Allen passed away last year, Hawkwind, Steve Hillage, Ozrics, Eat Static, The Orb, Orbital etc etc).
I did manage to see him ten times (Sound and Vision tour twice, Tin Machine, Heathen mini tour at the Royal Festival Hall, Move Festival in Manchester, Isle of Wight Festival, Ziggy 30th Anniversary show at Hammersmith, and three times on the Reality tour). Could kick myself now though about the shows that I missed out on.
The second exercise in the ‘People Aware Module’ of OCA People and Place. It’s about finding different backgrounds for a portrait, either full frame or torso. I found the backgrounds below in a park, hence all were woods, stone, shutters etc. The guidance notes state how ideally backgrounds should have tonal and textural simplicity from edge to edge. The exception to this might be where a subject is deliberately placed to show context of their environment. I settled on the shutter for the background (but taken from with the subject at an angle rather than flat on – and admittedly probably a bit too close) for the portrait as it was the cleanest background and provided a good contrast I thought. I used natural light and a reasonably long focal length of 75mm (equivalent – a 50mm lens on a cropped sensor) to limit distortion of facial features, and a wide aperture of f/2.8 to soften the lines on the shutters.
The first exercise in People and Place asks for four portraits, starting with a close crop of a subject’s face; then scaled to show the subjects’s head and shoulders; then torso (with arms and hands); then full figure. The images below were all taken in one sitting using natural light with the camera mounted to a tripod and using a cable release. For the first two at least, the elements of focus are the face and eyes. In the third, the eye is also drawn to the subject’s hands. With hindsight I might have set the series up differently, so that the light was stronger on the side of the face closest to the camera, but there are later exercises that deal with lighting where I can take alternatives. Likewise I mainly kept focal length at 70mm (apart from the full figure – as it wasn’t practical to distance myself any further from the subject) as other exercises explore the effect of using different focal lengths on a subject.