It is important to be original. This brief encourages experimentation and risk-taking. Utilising the idea of the ‘rough cut’ this brief requires you to think creatively and show a willingness to break ‘the rules’ in pursuit of an innovative, fresh and exciting outcome.
Rough Cut : Clarity of Direction
In my previous assignment, I was interested in the exploration of vibrant colours in complex yet harmonious structures. They were saturated and crisp, with a constructivist approach. In this task, with the research references and advises gathered, I decided expand on the same theme “colours”, but in the opposite direction of my style.
What I am interested in this experimentation, was to investigate how colours integrate with structures under low light conditions to form an image, but in soft focus to the point of basic geometric forms. This informed experiment was the result of daily observance of the weather condition whilst working on the earlier assignments, as well as the progression of my peers during group crits. Instead of the usual constructivist approach, I will be looking at nightscapes in different weather conditions, and utilising various different techniques to achieve the desired effect.
- Bright, Daylight lighting
- Saturated and crisp
- Constructivist approach
- Soft Focus, Bokeh
- Natural Nightscape
- Suprematism-ish approach
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Rough Cut: One
The early stages of planning, I developed the idea of blurring landscapes using shallow depth of field. Making full use of the long night time of winter, I decided to take “colours” out into the night with the opposite style.
Scouting various landscape locations made me realized a different set of challenges posed, mainly the wet weather and cold temperature. The best time for the shoot was during twilight time as this maximizes the spectrum of colours as compared to night time. This restricts my movement to one location a day with an extremely limited timeframe of the shoot. I developed a cross-out method to plan my locations and experiment. I found this systematic approached to be helpful for me.
Of my three lenses, my initial choice was a prime lens as it would produce a more compact and creamy shallow depth of field or bokeh. After testing, however, I realized the bokeh became oval shape towards the side of the frame. This was caused by spherical aberration when the light is refracted in the lens barrel. Which also means, I needed either a wider angle lens to reduce the aberrations or get the lights close to the centre of the frame as much as possible. Subsequent attempts I considered the extent which I could distort my landscapes. The idea of shooting moving objects came into mind.
Rough Cut: Two
This landscape was originally taken from a multi-storey car park one evening hile searching for high vantage points. I used multiple exposures to produce a greater dynamic range of luminosity. However, the idea of exploring glitch art for landscape was conceived much later.
Creating glitch art involves around bending the image data. As I explored glitch art generator websites, I found a colourful combination setting which worked well with my landscape. However, the only drawback was that the output image turned out to be low resolution even though the original input was at high resolution. Replicating the exact effect with other glitch generator websites proved to be unsuccessful. After analysing the output image, I decided the idea to recreate the glitch in high resolution is quite tedious but feasible.
As the original combination was done in a glitch art website, the high-resolution glitch effect was the result of hundreds of different parts of the image pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle. The colour effects were achieved by overlaying different colour adjustments.
Rough Cut: Three
The use of kaleidoscope has always been effective in still life and portraitures, seldom on landscapes. I wanted to explore how mirrors in a Kaleidoscope distort landscape. In this experiment, I attempt to investigate the Kaleidoscope effect in landscape.
I built my kaleidoscope using tile mirrors and brought it out of my house for some test shots, to get a feel of the effect. The next afternoon, I brought it out to the hill. It was a wet and windy evening. Standing at the edge of the vantage point, I held the mirror on one hand and stabilizing the tripod on the other. After a couple of shots, I eventually assess the windy environment to be too risky to continue. As I return back, pondering for a safer solution, that was when the idea of using laptop screen and kaleidoscope developed.
The original image was a picture of a super blood moon taken outside my house. I blend the image together using multiple exposure, and projected it onto the laptop screen in my room. Unsatisfied by the result of the reflected symmetry produced by the kaleidoscope, I went on to explore beyond the symmetrical pattern. I rotated the mirror at slow shutter speed, and got an interesting result. In this investigation, I experimented with the exposure settings in my camera, the speed of rotation of my mirror, as well as the brightness of my laptop screen.
Rough Cut: Four
In this experiment, I attempt to investigate the effects of landscape as a physical print. Influenced by the severe smoke haze due to forest fires caused by irresponsible farming practices in the South East Asia region, I looked at the burning of landscape photographs to illustrate the importance of protecting the environment.
As I consider the location of my shoot, I wanted to conduct the burning outdoors, in a safe and controlled environment. The idea of using my front garden pathway developed as I thought the fallen leaves were relevant. I reused one of my earlier images which was a failed attempt. I prop up the photo paper and had a bucket of water ready at the side before igniting with a lighter. The plan eventually fell through as the lighter was too weak in a windy evening. On my second attempt, I smeared some barbeque lighting gel behind the paper and lit it.
I did a time-lapse sequence with my 24-105mm lens for two reasons. First was safety, and second so I could pick the best frame out of this experiment.
Rough Cut: Five
In this experiment, I explored the effects of light refraction using convex lenses from a broken lens, inspired by photographer Sam Turd’s “Lens Chimping” Technique.
The dismantling of the lens proved to be unsuccessful. With the few small fragment of glasses extracted from sawing the lenses into half, I experimenting with different focal lengths between the glass and different lenses. The tiny glasses created some blurry and distorted visuals but were too small for landscape.
I eventually concluded that the fragment of single convex lenses did not produce a fruitful result, and I would probably try a double convex lens instead.
Rough Cut: Final
Revisiting the kaleidoscope effect in my rough cut, I found that there is potential in further developing the technique. Since I am playing with lights with mirrors for my landscape, I figured the best way forward was to consider what kind of lights could be incorporated into the image. Candles and Christmas lights were obvious choices.
I found some Christmas lights in my house, I decorated my desk with the lights, and experiment again.
Behind the Scenes
Again, I experimented with the following three elements:
- Brightness between the camera and the laptop brightness.
- Distance from the camera to the laptop.
- The speed of rotation of my kaleidoscope mirror.
After playing with different landscape images, in this case, I deduced no two images have the exact same effect. Then I discovered a fourth element: height of the camera in comparison to the laptop. this, I had to adjust the height of my camera in accordance with the Christmas lights.
By using the mirrors to “drag” light, I created light trails in the process. Eventually, I found the one with the most interesting composition.
On my post process, I made some exposure correction and saturated certain colors as how I would normally do in my style. Overall I am pleased with the outcome of the result.