Reflection of the week: 18-22 April 2016

It’s been an extremely challenging week and I am glad that the submission is now over.

This week was the most crucial week. It is the time where most students would be rushing their assignments to meet the deadline. For me, I felt somewhat calm about meeting the deadline.  I had worked hard throughout the Easter break, and had thought that my works has been consistently updated with the lecturer’s feedbacks.

Even though the lecturers advices were generally positive, there were still some sort of paranoia in me. Until I have submitted my stuff, I should spend the last bit of time to improve on my RJ/VL. I reviewed my works regularly by scheduling day by day tasks, making sure that I have acheieve the required standard in the many areas and not go out of point.

I kept checking on the items to submit again and over again, to make sure I have not left out anything and everything is in place. There are many decisions I have to consider on my time management, prior to the submission:

  • What are the priorty tasks for the day
  • When to make prints, and when to update blogs.
  • What meal should I prepare: to cook or to deliver.
  • Based on lecturer and peer’s feedbacks, what are the things I can improve on, and feasibly.
  • With the limited time at hand, what are important food/groceries can i buy from the supermarket to sustain me for the week.

Apart from the submission, there have been other personal things going on as well. I am aware that things will snowball and get ugly if not considered carefully. I  figured the deadline submission has the biggest pirority for the time being, and I cannot lose focus on it. Until this is done, I cannot began resolving other issues.

Overall I am pleased that my hard work has paid off.

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Articles

This page is about the interesting photography-related articles I have come across and thought it is worth penning down my thoughts. More articles will be accumulated over time.

 

A Day in the Life of Storm-Chasing Photographer Brandon Goforth

This article follows a day of storm chasing with Brandon Goforth, an extreme weather, nature, and landscape photographer based in Oklahoma, USA.

His powerful photos of gigantic storm clouds and lightning strikes in sprawling landscapes transport you right to where the action is—capturing what is both beautiful and violent in the unpredictable face of nature.

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Destroying nature is destroying life

“Destroying nature is destroying life” – This time Illusion CGI Studio were on assignment to help Robin Wood (environmental organisation), the environmental activists, by creating three powerful full CG visuals to raise public awareness of the ongoing destruction of animals’ natural habitats.

Like many others, I instantly fell in love with the illustration after seeing it. On first impression it looked like a double exposure of the animal and the negative human activities. The incorporation of 3D animation and graphic illustration to produce this level of detail, and the message is so visually powerful and provocative.

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This Photographer Lit Landscapes at Night Using LEDs on Drones

For his new project Lux Noctis, photographer Reuben Wu lit and photographed landscapes at night by mounting powerful LED lights to GPS-enabled drones. Reuben wanted to use them as flying lights. Using a prototype AL250 light mounted to the drone, he artificially illuminated massive formations in the North American landscape for his fine art photos.

This technique differs from the normal long exposure photography and how Reuben used drones to light paint reveals a landscape from a different perspective, which looks technically challenging. I presume he flew the drone with the lights facing away from the camera.

Reuben was able to produce moods of drama and tension through use of chiaroscuro, and the ability to illuminate isolated features of a scene. I also noticed on certain images, he included a human element to show the comparative size. Using the same light painting concept, this is one fine example of a photographer using technology to create something ‘provocative’.

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40 epic photos that capture the power of technology today

I began to explore more themes on contrasting elements that could contribute to something “provocative”. Though the photographers who have submitted entries of the creative ways in which they have captured “Technology Today”, this article explores how technology helps us preserve moments and memories; of how it powers both innovation and creativity.

To be honest I was quite inspired by these images that these photographers have captured and I picked a couple images that were more landscape oriented. My favourite among all was the two monks holding the tablet, in contrast with the cityscape. It reflects the complexities of secular living and how people (in this case monks) could use technology to navigate around the city.

I also kind of like the subtleties of the windmill image. The trail invites one to pass through the fields and to the edge of the horizon. It is as though walking through the trail one can find these windmills seem to be a ruthless, cold & scary beings dominating the fields.

佛学院 by linlin Li on 500px.comRuthless, cold & scary by Dennis Edmond Sørensen on 500px.com

into munich by Philipp Levinger on 500px.com

 

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Counterflow: Composite Photos of People Going Against the Flow

For his project “Counterflow,” photographer and visual artist Mauro Martins has created a series of composite photos showing people going against the flow in life by making their own path instead of following the masses.

I think this is quite an interesting project theme, something which we don’t often observe in our environment. It still looks realistic despite they were digitally manipulated. This black and white series is almost similar to the style of  Pedro Meyers, as well as Henri Cartier-Bresson, looking for the decisive moment.

The contrast between the single person against a crowded landscape, as Martins puts it, “It’s made to remind us that even if your own path feels against the flow sometimes, you should keep going if you want to.” His statement has the provocative element supported by  its strong visuals.

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Photos of an Abandoned Disney World Being Reclaimed by Nature

Photographer Seph Lawless visited River Country and captured a set of eerie photos showing what the various attractions look like now after years of being abandoned. He calls it a “real-life Dismal Land.”

I thought this series of images explores the theme “abandonment” of landscapes, which has a sort of provocative element to it. It shows the subtle eerieness of the park and also beautiful at the same time. This could be a possible direction for the development of my own photography.

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Photographer Shoots Life-Size Animal Prints in Destroyed Habitats

Nick Brandt’s photos offer a stark look at how humankind has impacted places where animals used to roam, but no longer do. He found locations where explosive urban development displaced animals due to the building of new factories, wastelands, and quarries. He then erected one of his animal portrait photos on a giant panel, placing the animals back into the scene.

By shooting giant panoramas of life-size animal prints in their former habitats, Nick Brant has highlighted the human destruction of animal habitats, thus using provocative imagery to raise awareness among the public. The choice of using in black and white format effectively puts the focus onto the animal prints.

After shooting multiple photos of each location with a Mamiya film camera, Brandt stitched the images together in post-production to create epic panoramas. In this way, the animals are presented as ghosts in a barren, human-dominated landscape.

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I Built a Fake Elevator for a Portrait Project

For the past eighteen months, Dutch Photographer Dirk Hardy has been working on a personal project called Void,  developing an obsession for the elevator.

For Dirk Hardy, the thing that intrigues him most is the fact that elevators impose physical closeness with strangers and there’s no clear code of conduct to follow in order to avoid uncomfortable and awkward situations. He was astonished by the staggering amount of invisible moments lost during the trip in the elevator. Hence, the personal project in which he invites viewers to explores the kind of stories that could happen in the moment of confined space, with a voyeuristic approach. 

All of his images in this series are staged shots, and the elevator built from scratch, taking full controls over details and meticulously created compositions. In order to get the best possible image quality for large prints, he used a Hasselblad camera and shot handheld for half of the time.

I particularly liked the idea of looking into the intimate moments such as those in the lift. As these are private moments, I believed that Dirk Hardy choose to direct his sets, as a preconceived plan. If he were to shoot in a real situation, the end result might have been totally different.

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Iconic Shipwreck’s Fire Likely Caused by Light Painting Photographer

An iconic shipwrecked fishing boat in Point Reyes, California, was severely damaged by a fire, caused by a photographer’s long-exposure light-painting photo which involved sparks from burning steel wool.

The fishing boat at Tomales Bay was a local landmark and a popular subject of photos. If I were a local, I would be just as angry at these photographers. Which made me think bout the question: how far does a photographer go to capture beautiful photographs, at the expense of damaging the landscape? When dealing with stuff which concerns danger and safety; surely, there should, at least, be a certain level of risk assessments before the shoot?

It is precisely these reasons that policies and bans were put up to deter people from repeating the same mistakes and it also spoils the fun for everyone who enjoyed it.

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These Are The World’s Best News Photos of 2015

 

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Google discovers the key to good teamwork is being nice

In this article, the tech giant, Google discovers the key elements to good teamwork. Though unrelated to photography, I was looking up for ways of collaboration and the article caught my interest. 

Google’s data-driven approach found that the best teams respect one another’s emotions and are mindful that all member should contribute to the conversation equally. It has less to do with who is in a team, and more with how the team members interact with one another.

Matt Sakaguchi, who works in Google as a midlevel manager, took his team off-site to open up about his cancer diagnosis. His colleagues were initially silent but then began sharing their own personal stories. At the heart of Sakaguchi’s strategy was the concept of “psychological safety,” a model of teamwork in which members have a shared belief that it is safe to take risks and share a range of ideas without the fear of being humiliated. Google describes this psychological safety as the most important factor in building a successful team.

In my takeaway, it still boils down to positive communication. For teamwork and collaboration to be successful in any groups or team with interdependence relations, regardless of background, appointment or who the people are; everyone needs to be as genuinely humane in communicating with each other. It’s the choice of words, the kind of responses to the other party  that is the crux of communication that makes or breaks the team. This is difficult to achieve these days as everyone comes on with a ‘Me first’ mindset, which does not establish the psychological safety in any way.
Well, this is something for me to learn and I hope to be able to improve in this aspect in my collaboration works.

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Richard Moss: War Photogrpahy De-sansitised

In an article dated 2013, talks about how Irish photographer Richard Mosse and his two collaborators traveled the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012. They took video and photographs of rebel groups with Kodak Aerochrome film, resulting in photographs which constitute a series that rethinks the tension between a photograph’s violent or disturbing content and its aesthetic virtue.

Albeit the danger his group were exposed to, I think Richard Moss’s captures of the beauty and tragedy in war and destruction are a provocative one. Using special infrared cameras that capture the lush Congolese rainforest, he renders the landscapes into a beautifully surreal of pinks and reds. His concerns in this series are persuasive. It challenges the conventions of the generic mass media narratives and the way we assess conflict images. 

New York-based art collective Triple Canopy noted that Mosses images of cruelty can be sublime and violence can be ravaged or remake a landscape in ways we may politically detest, but also find them visually arresting and even beautiful.

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A photographer’s journey to find home in china

This series follows the development of Hungarian photographer Bence Bakonyi‘s attempt to find “home” during his one year stay in china. He started the voyage from the countryside to the man-made world. It is a photographic journey of a foreign space, as depicted in landscapes and inanimate objects.

 

Most images in this series, like the example below, shows the juxtaposition of two spaces; a contrasts of the old and new, the traditional and the modern. The overal tone in this series are subtle and the way he uses leading lines to seprate the contrasts are effective. I think his challenge of what humans called home is an interesting concept. It makes one think twice of the home we live in, and reflect on the consequences of humans changing the environment.

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Adobe: 5 Editing Tips for Music Videos

With the recent popularity of the Deadpool movie, industry film editor Vashi Nedomansky shares about his experience as an editorial consultant to the said movie. He created a custom 2-monitor Premiere Pro template for post production and introduced what he called the ‘pancake timeline’ editing.

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In my experience in using premiere pro, it was the first time I heard of this term which got me interested about his workflow. The more I read into it, the more I realised that the rationale of his editing workflow actually makes sense.

In the much earlier article dated in 2013, his editing tips for music video was a great insight of how he incorporated the technique into his editing workflow. I could definitely try out this editing workflow on my next video editing opportunity.

For the ‘Premiere pro template’ article, click here.
For the ‘Pancake timeline’ article, click here
For the ‘Editing tips for music video’, click here.

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Another Vietnam Photography 

What the western world remembers about the Vietnam War is defined by a handful of iconic photographs taken through the lenses of western photographers. But the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong had hundreds of photographers of their own who worked in perilous conditions documenting every facet of the war. They worked for the Vietnam News Agency, the National Liberation Front, the North Vietnamese Army or various newspapers. Others were self-taught civilians, many of whom anonymously sent their films to news agencies. Many of these photographs are rarely seen, even in Vietnam.

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When photojournalist Doug Niven first went to Hanoi, he was interested to see the war from the Vietnamese perspective. But to his surprise, there was not even a North Vietnamese book on the war. After tracking these war photographers of the days, He eventually uncovered thousands of images, many of which were still in negatives —never printed. There had not been a single comprehensive attempt to put all the war images together. To Doug Niven, he wanted to find out what pictures filled the memories of the Vietnamese people and if their view of the war was impacted by images in the same way.

“The vast dark forest was my giant darkroom. In the morning I’d rinse the prints in a stream and then hang them from trees to dry. In the afternoon I’d cut them to size and do the captions. I’d wrap the prints and negatives in paper and put them in a plastic bag, which I kept close to my body. That way the photos would stay dry and could be easily found if I got killed.” LAM TAN TAI

The result was Another Vietnam: Pictures of the War from the Other Side, the first published collection of images of the conflict made by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong photographers. Niven and Christopher Riley edited the book, a publication of National Geographic Books. This book was an attempt to put together pictures showing how Vietnamese people viewed the war, and what those photographs looked like.

I have only come across this article recently. Although the Vietnam war is something distant to me, yet viewing these documentary images does leave a huge impact on me, of my perspective about war.

In one image, new recruits undergo physical examinations in Haiphong, when all able-bodied males were drafted. By the mid-’70s the NVA grew to over half a million men, a force the U.S. military conceded was one of the finest in the world. Another image,  a young Viet Cong guerrilla stands guard in the Mekong Delta. “She was only 24 years old but had been widowed twice. Both her husbands were soldiers” Said the photographer, “I saw her as the embodiment of the ideal guerrilla woman, who’d made great sacrifices for her country.”

Yet another image: a victim of American bombing, an ethnic Cambodian guerrilla was carried to an improvised operating room in a mangrove swamp on the Ca Mau Peninsula. This scene was an actual medical situation, not a publicity setup. The photographer, however, considered the image unexceptional and never printed it.

Some of these images do convey hints of propaganda at some point, of patriotism in the face of foreign invasion. But at the same time, it showed how real and dangerous those situations were. At the thought of death in war, it made me empathise with the people whose comrades did not live through the day.

“I was certainly not taking photos for their aesthetic appeal. I was not thinking of beauty. Burned and shattered homes and dead bodies are not pretty. Any pretense of aesthetics was replaced by our purpose of recording the war.”  DUONG THANH PHONG

My experience in National Service has allowed me to better appreciate the people who lived through these dark times, but at the same time made me respect at the ingenuity of these Vietnamese photographers who captured these images in extremely dangerous conditions. Though this article I have come to better appreciate these series of images after understanding the context of these images from the photographer’s perspective.

This is perhaps why aestheticised images have no room in photojournalism; it does not portray the reality of the situation. But it is precisely the same reason why scenes of human suffering and hardship should be presented in a way that is ethical and considerate, yet also striking and thought-provoking.

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Aydın büyüktaş turns turkey upside down to form surreal city landscapes

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These are some of the most mesmerising landscapes I have seen yet. Digitally manipulated akin to that of the movie Inception, where the landscape warps and bend into a different dimension. Its visual is so surreal, it makes one wonder how it is done.

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Magical Night Photography Of Tokyo’s Streets by Masashi Wakui

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There is something “magical” about Masashi Wakui’s photography. It is taken at night, it is urban landscape, and there are many bright colours in contrast. I have the same style as him!

However, his image editing process is unique only to him and it is not something other people can replicate exactly to his style. I will analyses his style more in-depth here.

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This article is about shooting portraiture through the lips and tongue which tell stories through micro-expressions, and experience the joys of how things in the world taste along with presenting another form of touching.

This is actually quite a fun idea to play with, and the photographer Jason Bassett‘s process of developing this concept is so similar to the Rough Cut we are doing.

My takeaway from Jason Bassett is that he speak of the same things as with my previous entries:

“Being adventurously creative is less about just being different for the sake of it, and more about discovering yourself along with self-reinvention. …You don’t need to purchase super expensive equipment, in 2016 it’s easy to rent and affordable as well. You can also just use what you have, including a cell phone, or just borrow from a friend. You don’t need studio time, permits, or even a team of people.”

 

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This amazing composite picture by photographer Stephen Wilkes shows the different animals that visited a watering hole in the Serengeti over the course of twenty-six hours.

The image is part of Wilkes’ Day to Night project, which features composite photos of different locations, captured over many hours and then blended into single frames. Wilkes shoots an average of 1,500 photos now, for each of his Day to Night pieces. He then selects choice frames and spends many weeks editing the interesting areas together to show the passage of time in a single composite photo.

I was blown away by the richness of colours and the amount of animal details in the image. it reminded me of a time slice technique which I came across a while back, but in a more subtle approach. With all that time spent on shooting and editing, that is a lot of patience and dedication!

(11.01.16)

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Another ingenuity of photographers using available equipment and environment to build an image. Or in this case, portraitures. using short-throw projectors, home-built V-flats, fences, and many other unconventional techniques. It is these kinds of techniques that inspire me to work hard and seek creative solutions to problems on shoot.

many times from my experiences I have learnt that it is not about getting the most expensive equipment to do the job, but to understanding the capabilities of these equipment and improvise or work around to attain the same effect.

(06.01.16)

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What I like about this article was the ingenuity of using available material to build an image. In this case, a flat screen TV. How would I have  thought of such a simple yet useful technique for shooting still life. This is definitely a useful tip which perhaps I might utilise someday.

(02.12.15)

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20 More Movies About Photography That Every Photographer Should Watch

I came across this interesting article about twenty photography-related films that photographers should watch. I have also heard of our lecturers mentioning the film of “The Bang Bang Club”.

As I scroll down to read its description on the gist of these films; most of these films were relatively new to me until I saw a familiar name: Gregory Crewdson. I didn’t know he had a documentary sort of film. And that pique my interest.

I will definitely watch it when I have the time. until then, this sits in my pipeline of to-do lists.

(19.12.15)

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Create your own Glitch Art in seconds

I first got to know about Glitch art during one of the group crit for the second assignment brief. I wanted to find out more how such techniques could be applied to my coloured theme photography style. As i research about the process of creating glitch arts, this article came out, explaining about the mechanisms behind the glitch.

I learnt that Glitch art is about tweaking the code of an image file, sometimes known as data bending;  editing tiny portions of data to create errors in the image. German multimedia designer Georg Fischer has created a script that automates this process. While each tweak is never the same, experimenting with trial and error on the image coding could produce colourful glitches, and it can be quite fun exploring around.

New York based Artist Phillip Stearns has compiled a list of Glitch art resources and are not complete and exhausted. For more information, click here.

(12.12.15)

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Understanding the Differences Between Commercial & Editorial Photography

This article provides an in-depth explanation of images between Commercial and Editorial, and under what conditions which certain permissions are required for each of these.

The question about commercial photography is not whether a person is recognisable to you, but whether they are recognisable to themselves. Even people who are silhouetted or partially obscured may be able to recognise themselves based on contextual details such as location, clothing, or the other people around them. The same applies to locations and properties that are privately owned.

Editorial photos should be relevant and meaningful and engage readers by illustrating newsworthy subjects. Since the vast majority of people and places depicted in Editorial images are not released, they are not suitable for promotional use of any kind—they can be used in a journalistic or informative way only.

To be credible and maintain truthfulness, editorial images must reflect the subject matter in a way that is honest and factual. Slight adjustments in colour, contrast, exposure, etc., are acceptable, but modifications that alter the context of your photo are considered misleading and inaccurate.

This includes cropping, use of filters such as HDR, or digitally manipulating the photo in any way. Even sepia is a no-go, it doesn’t alter the physical facts but many people use sepia toning to imply age for a vintage effect which changes the context.

All in all, i think this article has explained both industries better than I have learnt from the lectures. Good read.

(28.11.15)

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These Pro Product Photos Were Shot in a Bathtub

After reading this article for the first time; a cheap alternative of how a clean white bathtub can be used to imitate studio lighting for still life objects, with a semi-transparent screen to diffuse the light. I though it was quite innovative, and the results were surprisingly convincing.

“What only matters are the results. The shoot isn’t pretty, but it saved time and money, and the results delivered.” – Krasa

How I Shot an Award-Winning Still Life with Beginner Gear 

This has been a very encouraging article for me. It shows the creativeness of a self-taught, enthusiast photographer, Attilio Bixio, who used still life objects to create a landscape without using any professional equipment.

The winning placement he receives is a testament that powerful visual imagery is not about using the best tools, but the ideas that comes from the mind, and the resourcefulness to achieve the same effect.

Springtime moonlight by Attilio Bixio on 500px.com

(22.11.15)

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15 Crazy Conceptual Portraits by Laura Ferreira

I was looking for references of colourful portraiture, ways which I could expand further from exotic oriental styles. The works of Laura Ferreira caught my eyes. It has that colourful, vibrant and contrasty style, consistent  in both outdoors and indoor shoots.

Based out of Trinidad and Tobago, the photographer, retoucher, painter, and gamer specialises in conceptual portraiture, fashion, commercial photography, and digital art. Admittedly though, I am completely mesmerised by her conceptual portraiture.

Kandyse McClure of Battlestar Galactica and Hemlock Grove by Laura Ferreira on 500px.com

Kandyse McClure of Battlestar Galactica and Hemlock Grove

In this piece,a portraiture of actress Kandyse McClure, captured by photographer Laura Ferriera.

The first thing I notice is the balance of warm and cool colours. I am drawn by three things structural: the intricate costume design, the shape of the candles, and the crease texture of the background cloth.

The bangle accessory on the arms of the Kandyse reveals some clues on how the image was taken. There is a long bright highlight, probably a large strip soft box lighting the frontal of the subject. The catchlight on the Kandyse’s iris seems to accentuate this. The reflection and shape of the candle suggests the image was taken from bird eye view.

I like how the shape of Kandyse’s hairstyle and the posture of her arms creates a harmonious flow, quite coherent with the round shapes of the candles and the backdrop.

Surprisingly, the photographer choose 50mm Prime lens for the portraiture.

What I have learnt from analysing this image were three things:

1) The costume gives character to the subject. The posture and hair style of the subject either makes or break the image
2) Creative use of light and doing away from the usual beauty dish lighting
3) 50mm F1.8 Lens works too.

 

Soo by Laura Ferreira on 500px.com

Ciara by Laura Ferreira on 500px.com

Danielle by Laura Ferreira on 500px.com 

(14.11.15)

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Weaving Dreams into Reality, and Capturing the Result

I found a photographer whose style is as similar as mine.  Rob Woodcox is a realistic surrealist, who finds happiness telling stories through his creations and crafting together photographs that weave dream with reality.

As he shares about his ideas, concepts and processes of his works, I am particularly drawn to this piece, titled “Colours of the Wind pt 5: Orange”, a portraiture of a female model in the woods.

one thing was the definitely the saturate use of orange colour, balanced with a contrasting cool colour of the sky in the background. The tree adds interesting structure to the image, adding depth to it. I love how the light falls onto the face of the subject, and there is contrast of luminosity  in the image. but I think it is the leaves thats made the composition work.

As to whether I would be able to replicate similar effect on my portraiture works, I think it would be very challenging, because the weather condition is mostly cold and wet, and can be quite erratic.

Colors Of The Wind pt. 5: Orange by Rob Woodcox on 500px.com

This is yet another instructing portraiture, with the paints constructing a mass of colours.

The Celebration Art by Rob Woodcox on 500px.com

 (03.11.15)

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Unbelievable Portraits of a New Guinea Snake Charmer and  His Python

Researching for ideas of my portraitures, coloured themes for portraitures are so broad and daunting. I stumbled upon this article by photographer Juan Osorio and I was instantly mesmerised by the exotic image of the snake charmer and the python.

There is so much beauty and detail between the portrait and the animal, in focus and well-illuminated with the black background, and yet the process of setting up the shoot seem to be extremely challenging. The choice of lighting equipment was well thought of, considering working with a delicate animal and that these camera lights might cause stress to it.

New Guinea

(24.10.15)

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Tutorial: The Secret to Shooting ‘Balancing’ Photos with Ease

As I was thinking about my still life images; subjects, techniques, method of execution. constructivist approach seems to be getting difficult for my theme. I struggle to separate blue background from my subjects, and the shadows and reflections were still visible.

As I read about the article on how to balance still life objects, which eventually got me to think of unconventional ways of stacking my objects, and the way to light them up.

Weekend donuts by Dina Belenko on 500px.com

The idea of utilising transparent  base surface and how to set it a short distance from the coloured background, and photographing it form an angle. All the shadows that show the volume of the objects will remain in place, but the shadows falling on the background will disappear. This was a brilliant trick I had not thought of, which help me get on with my still life works.

(18.10.15)

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Hypnotizing Colors and Patterns Captured on Camera by 500pxer Eric Dufour

The style of architecture photographer Eric Dufour can be described as minimalist, strikingly simple, even 2D at times. Buildings fold in on themselves until they have no depth, stairwells become pieces of art, even doorways and security cameras become points of interest.

As my idea of using colours and structure in my photography assignment, I was researching for references of interesting, colourful structure. Architecture photography was one of the possible outcome I could work on.

Eric Dufour’s architecture images kept me captivated in the sense, I love the uniformed and structural, yet not too complex and the colourful patterns that made the image interesting.

Polychromie by Eric Dufour on 500px.com

Street light by Eric Dufour on 500px.com

(10.10.15)

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Depict Artist Spotlight: Alexis Coram

This article shines a spotlight on artist Alexis Coram, a photographer, videographer and time lapse creator based in San Francisco, who produced an amazing time lapse of the Aurora Borealis igniting the Alaskan sky.

I find this piece of moving image inspirational, just by watching the movement of the lights flickering in the night sky. What I am even inspired, was how time lapse technique became part of a tool for her story telling and vision. It conveyed the experience and the emotion of that moment in a way that no still photograph could not achieve.

“Time-lapse takes sequences of still photography and transforms it into a living, breathing, rapid journey through time.” – Alexis Coram

In a way, a moving image can be a still image with moving sequences, or a sequence of still images. I think cinemagraphic approaches are one of the  better methods to convey the vision of landscapes in video form. To tell the story and my vision, I want my moving images to be adaptable to both aspects.

 

(03.10.15)

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This Week in Popular: Top 25 Photos on 500px This Week (21)

Looking at inspiration form various photographers on 500px.com. This post caught my interests because of how the colours these photographer use to make their breathtaking landscapes.

I think about autumn colours, going  macro, or visiting the coastal area, etc. I wonder if I will be able to do all these within the short timespan.

Amsterdam. by Remo Scarfò on 500px.com

(27.09.15)

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Behind the Scenes: Shooting & Processing Amazing Cosplay

I have done cosplay photography in comics conventions, meeting strangers and making new cosplay friends. I love photographing cosplay people of all walks of life. It make me less stress on how perfect cosplay portraitures should be. It is more of meeting new people and discovering of what angle and composition works and what not.

This article caught my eye, as photographer Felipe Buccianti  explains his process from linking with the model to the capturing of the cosplay image. The preparation process is just as important as the final image itself.

Just as he says, what makes a great (cosplay) photo is a combination of research, prep work, coordination, scouting, execution, and thoughtful post-production. It seems daunting, but taking extra time to plan and prep your photoshoot will yield the interesting and visually stunning images every photographer wants to have in his or her portfolio.

Joker and Harley Quinn by Felipe Buccianti on 500px.com

(26.09.15)

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Everything You Need To Know About Model Releases

This article is about using model release forms in commercial and stock photography sites. Through the explanation of this article and its examples, I have a better understanding of how model release forms are needed in different contexts.

Areas which model release are not required:
If the person is small and there are no context or details that can make it recognizable.

Areas which model release are required:
If the person in the image is the main focus or if his/her distinctive features can be identified from the silhouette, you need a model release.

Body parts and tattoos: Normally a model release forms are not needed for detailed shots of body parts, like hands or feet. Though in some cases, a person may be able to identify themselves due to tattoos or birthmarks, in which case a model release is required.

Location and context: Even if the model’s face is not clearly visible there may be contextual factors that could make him/her identifiable. Factors like unique outfits or clothes, locations, photo shoot setting, etc.

The following article is an excerpt from 500xx tutorials.

What is a model release?
In the photography industry, a model release is a binding legal agreement between a photographer and their model or any potentially recognizable human subjects. This agreement ensures that everyone is aware, feels compensated, and has consented to this type of usage. There are multiple versions and formats of model releases, but all of them must share five main statements to cover commercial licensing, like we offer with 500px Prime:

  • The model authorizes the photo to be published;
  • The model authorizes that the image can be used commercially;
  • The model authorizes the use of the image for advertising and editorial purposes;
  • It is made clear that the model will not be further compensated beyond what is agreed on at the time of the shoot and no longer has any rights to the photos.

(20.09.15)

Richardson Brown Travel Prize 2016 Proposal

Recently I was shortlisted as an eligible student and are invited to apply for the award. My first thought was that the email came at a pretty bad timing; The week before easter holidays, and the submission deadline the week after the break. And there was no time for lecturers consultations since it was related to further learning for my third year.

The week for the proposal submission was extremely hectic as it was the interdisciplinary week and I had to respond to  film collaboration submission deadline. through the help of a few lecturers, I eventually managed to put up a proposal in the nick of time.

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Update:

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Reflection of the week: 03-08 April 2016

Reflection of the week: 03-08 April 2016

It has been an extremely hectic week. 

the week after easter break opens with the interdisciplinary week where I could learn skills outside of my course, respond to the submission deadline for film collaboration video, submit a proposal for the Richardson Brown Travel prize, as well as accommodate my cousin who came to visit me for the week. It has been an extremely hectic week as everything was happening all at the same time. 

I had enrolled for the name card design session on Tuesday, and the Japanese book cover making session on Wednesday. I could not attend the pinhole photography session as I was too tied up with making the Japanese book cover. I wanted to crash in for the night photography on Wednesday evening but did not know it took place the day before. 

For name card, I have already a design on photoshop, and it’s just a matter of translating onto the Indesign software. however, my main motive was to consult the lecturer of my designs on a certain paper material. overall it was a positive response, and he gave me further advice for research development.

Japanese book cover making was a fun process. I have never done it before and it was my first experience. the instructional guides provided by the lecturer was useful. During the process, I made some alterations. I fumbled over a few mistakes but managed to improvise with the lecturer’s support. 

When she asked me why I attended these interdisciplinary courses, my response was that the advice in these courses have been beneficial to my research development for my self-promotional assignment. (INDEPENDENT)

by the time for Group Critic session on Thursday; even though I had sought out various channels for collaboration work for learning agreement,which is pertaining to my field of research, I was already getting flustered for being unable to find any success. I found a possible collaboration with a third-year fashion student but have not established a proper discussion. with less than two weeks left, I have to best make use of the time I have. (TRANSITIONAL)

Responding to the submission deadline for film collaboration video, in my opinion, communication has always been a last-minute response from my partner’s side, and I thought her sense of urgency and accountability could be improved. throughout the easter break, I kept suggesting to her to inform me her filming plans and how I could support her. I could at most give her encouragement as she seems particularly stressful with her own assignments. 

As she planned to shoot her video on Wednesday night, and suddenly told me of the clips she needed at the last minute. I had to recreate the sequence on Monday evening and deliver her the footages the next evening after the interdisciplinary courses. the funniest thing was that despite my reminders for the past week, she submitted the video for her side without knowing I needed to submit as well. I spent the last hour of the deadline to get a copy of the original video and frantically compress it to the requirement.  (ABSOLUTE)

I was shortlisted to apply for the Richardson Brown Travel prize. I thought it came at a really odd timing, a week before the easter break and submission deadline the week after the break. which in between I did not the chance of consulting my lecturers on 1 to 1. anyway, I managed to enlist the help of Andi Sapey and James Cant and explained to them of my plans. I managed to submit a proposal in the nick of time. I was glad that I did research on traveling to Scotland over the two week holidays. (INDEPENDENT)

I felt a little bad as I had not been able to properly accommodate my cousin due to my busy schedule for the week. anyway, he was able to explore the city center on his own and I could spend some time with him when I have pockets of free time.

Interdisciplinary week

Lecturer Juneko once asked me how I felt about the Interdisciplinary courses and what made me choose the ones I have attended. My response was that I chose the courses that were beneficial to my promotional package plans for my third year. I could consult the lecturers for advice about my plans.

Namecard Design – 060416

Before the Tuesday session, I had already created two variations of my card design during the Easter break. It was only a matter of translating them from Photoshop into Indesign. His lecture notes were particularly useful as it made me think of the details I have not included in my name card proposal previously.

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During the session, Graphic Design lecturer, Darren leader introduced a G.F. Smith paper reference book, explaining to us about the different paper materials we could use to print name cards and postcards. After browsing the pages, I have picked out a few possible paper material for name cards, postcards, and considered other prints as well.

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After the session, I consulted the Graphic Design lecturer about my design concepts.  I had the idea of using a translucent paper material for my name card. Overall it was a positive response, and he gave me further advice for research development on the paper material.

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Making Japanese Book Cover Box – 070416

Learning how to make a Japanese Book cover box has been a fun process. I have not done it before and it was my first experience. It was also a great opportunity to know the attendees.

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During the process, I made some alterations to the original guide. I fumbled a few mistakes but managed to improvise with the support of the lecturer.

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Final Product

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This session has piqued my interest in exploring the possibility of incorporating these Japanese book cover box into my packaging plans. I hope to be able to learn the art of making Japanese books someday.

Youtube & Videos

A hyperlapse journey Centriphone – an iPhone video experiment by Nicolas Vuignier

Bullet time is a visual effect or visual impression of detaching the time and space of a camera (or viewer) from that of its visible subject. This effect was originally achieved photographically by a set of still cameras surrounding the subject. The cameras are fired sequentially, or all at the same time, depending on the desired effect. Single frames from each camera are then arranged and displayed consecutively to produce an orbiting viewpoint of an action frozen in time or as hyper-slow-motion. This technique suggests the limitless perspectives and variable frame rates possible with the camera, best known in the film, The Matrix.

However, with the idea of centrifugal force, Nicholas Vuignier managed to create a sort of pseudo bullet-time effect, just by swinging an iPhone camera around his head. This technique, with the right frame rates, could possibly eliminate the need to use many cameras in order to create the bullet time effect.

The development process is not with a few unsuccessful attempts. This video shows the process of Nicolas Vuignier from conceptual idea to finished product.

(180316)

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Footprints Across Asia in 1 Year 

Daniel and Gina recently completed a one-year journey across Asia that spanned 12 different countries. Throughout the trip, the couple documented major locations with a series of photos of them jumping in front of the camera.

Those self-portraits were then turned into this wonderful hyperlapse video showing the duo running across the continent in just 3 minutes. There wasn’t a third person to help shoot photos, so everything was done with a tripod and a string (to keep the distances the same throughout the shots).

I thought this was quite a clever way to do travel photography and showing the many locations. It keeps the visuals really interesting. I applaud the couple for their dedication and commitment in producing this wonder video.

(070316)

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How to Make Flexible LED Panels (DIY Flex Lights!)

In this video is about making some flexible LED panels that are not only extremely practical but also perform well when it comes to colour rendition and brightness. What a brilliant way of making LED lights without spending too much on light accessories!

I would love to try this out if this were indeed less expensive than the light accessories, but unfortunately im not too good in electrical engineering hence i wouldnt know much about wiring and stuff.

(290216)

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The Surprisingly Simple Way Benjamin Von Wong Creates Epic Shoots

Benjamin talks about the course he taught on CreativeLive to Kenna Klosterman. Benjamin breaks down his complex photo shoots into simple elements anyone can manage. He talks about how technicals skills are easily acquired but the real art is in telling a story.

Benjamin Von Wong’s works have risen to a very prominent status in recent years. I have been aware of his works for a long time. While he claims himself as a ‘concept artist’, a ‘visual engineer’, I had never taken his works to inform my practices until now. His photography style has never been appropriate in my next project assignment.

When it comes to ‘Collaboration’ in photography, Benjamin Von  Wong is the person that comes straight into my mind for reference.

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Wild Scotland

Two weeks of study week and I had to complete some assignments and make my own research. well, inspired enough to make my own research on dramatic Scotland landscapes. Trying to plan a big road trip to visit these wonderful places during the school holidays.

Anyway, these sequences were captured using drones and mostly at the golden hour. As much as the footages are stunning, the music design made it even better.

(150216)

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 Two Film Students Just Made One Of The Best Ads For Johnnie Walker Ever

Film students Daniel Titz and Dorian Lebherz came up with an epic spec ad for Johnnie Walker, with no brief whatsoever. I must admit it is a job well done considering they’re film students.

What I like about the film:

  • It’s Scotland landscape.
  • The cinematic approach is well synergized with its narration. Great capture of the landscape atmosphere.
  • The storyboard of the film focuses on different aspects of the characters, other than the actual product, and with the added twist in story revealed towards the end.
  • Seems like a two-person filming production, with the two character. That means a four-man team in terms of manpower and logistics aspect. Must have been some intense planning.
  •  The style approach does not use fanciful camera movement, but the technique of making one of the character vanish and appear again is its main selling point.

I think these points above are what makes the short film unexpected, emotional and beautiful. For the original article of the video I found, click here.

(120216)

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Why Medium Format Cameras? Hasselblad Infomercial 

In this Hasselblad Infomercial, Photographer Karl Tylor explains the advantages of shooting in Medium Format Cameras (MF) as compared to smaller format cameras such as the 35mm format.

The difference is that  MF is much larger in size than the 35 mm because its camera has to hold a much larger recording sensor. Hence, a larger lens is needed to project the sensor. This C-MOS sensor not only has more megapixels, it also has a better dynamic range. This means that MF cameras can record more light than the smaller format cameras and that gives much better tonal transitional values and a much greater tonal & color accuracy.

Because of its large sensor capabilities, this gives the image a super high-resolution quality and silky smooth tonal range. The dynamic range is fourteen-stops and the image is in its true 16-bits, which is significantly more than a DSLR camera. MF cameras lenses are designed to have a higher optical clarity, or better optical quality, than a DSLR. In the case of the Hasselblad MF camera, it also delivers a shallower depth-of-field compared to the same aperture settings in DSLR.

In the case of the Hasselblad MF camera, it also delivers a shallower depth of field compare  to the same aperture settings in DSLR. The weather sealing on the Hasselblad means it could also be used outdoors even in the most challenging conditions.

The advantages of using MF Camera is that it is a better precision tool than DSLRs and it is designed to meet the most demanding client’s needs. However there also limitations in its capabilities. These cameras are not suitable for capturing rapid successions such as in sports and action photography. Its can be used in many other genres and in large scale prints.

(070216)

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The 100 Magical Decisions That Go Into Each Photograph

David Turner, one of Hallmark Institute of Photography’s resident faculty members, discusses his mindset when putting together the elements of a lw key lighting on-location photography. Video produced by Adam Quirós, Hallmark’s video instructor and principal at Ambient Film Production.

I find this short three-minute video inspirational and very relevant to my project assignment, especially in writing my progress for my essay reports. It makes me think back of each and every of my shoot sessions and my image making progress; analyse what were the decisions I made that produce the successful outcome, as well as reflect on the things that did not went well or failed.

“Everyone thinks we’re a genius, like ‘Oh my god. That’s amazing. This picture’s like it’s all one big piece of magic. It’s a hundred little pieces of little things that you do right.” – David Turner

(041215)

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 The 2016 Pirelli Calendar by Annie Leibovitz – Behind The Scenes

The  Pirelli Calendar is known for its history of racy photos by renowned photographers that often show models in various states of undress. The photographer behind this year’s edition is renowned portrait shooter, Annie Leibovitz, and instead of focusing on themes of sexuality and shooting scantily clad models and celebrities, Leibovitz has taken the photos in a completely new direction instead, to feature portraits of notable women professionals — women who have made a mark in art, entertainment, business, philanthropy, and more.

“The whole idea was not to have any pretence in these pictures, and be very straightforward and show these women exactly who they are,” Leibovitz

I stumbled upon this video while trying fish out video tutorials about lighting in portraiture shoots in the studio. Although not quite the kind of tutorial I was looking for, but through this behind the scenes video, I could already pick up quite  a bit of stuff:

  • The idea of the shoot was that the subjects are not pretentious. hence, its how the photographer interacts with the subject to nail the best shot.
  • Annie Leibovitz uses a medium format camera for her shoot. This accentuates the use of such cameras as a professional photographer. I needed to try out these cameras in the school studio.
  • Throughout the shoots, there were no complex lighting. Perhaps because the style of photography was to go low light. But with just one light source, it is clear that the focus is on the subject, rather than the technical aspects.
  • The inclusion of anything else other than the backdrop is okay, something which  I couldn’t understand. I guess it adds more details and textures to the black and white portraiture images.
  • However simple the studio shoot, there are still many people involved in the preparation.

(101115)

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Colour in Story Telling

Fellow classmate Laura sent me this interesting video about how colours can tell a story. Certain colours evoke certain moods and have a psychological impact. And utilising correct lighting  in the cinematic creates the colours visual intended for the mood in the story.

This video makes me re-think my approach to the project assignment. The colours I used in my photography works are not just a mere single colour, but a mass of colours in bright lighting condition.

While there are no set guidelines as to how colours should be used, through this video I  have come to recognise the importance of understanding the cognitive effects of colours which do help in informing my works.

(251015)

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What do Photography, Videography, and 3D animation have in common? Lighting.

This is a lighting tutorial by Dugly Habis for the 30th Anniversary of Dedolight International Competition 2015. The video shows by using a Dedolight kit and some other lights in one single room, how three different cinematic atmosphere can be created.

What I feel compelling about the video was the explanation behind each and every of the lighting equipment used in a room; the sheer amount of consideration as so many lights were used to focus on different aspects of a scene, as well as neat tricks.

(191015)

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Video Techniques

Cinemagraphs are still photographs in which a minor and repeated movement occurs. Cinemagraphs, which are published in either animated GIF format or as video, gives the illusion that the viewer is watching a video.

I came across portrait and fashion photographer Linsay Adler who uses this cool technique to capture motion in her photography. Further exploration (link) shows that this technique is a possible moving image and quite relevant for landscape, still life, and portraiture. I think it would be interesting if I could be incorporate this into the video aspect of my project assignment.

Double exposure is a well-known photography technique which has been around for a long time. I had this idea of utilising this technique to illustrate my photographic principles.

I found this video while searching for image references of double exposure for my photography assignment. The way this technique was used in the video was absolutely amazing, and something I had never thought of in application. I wonder if this could be incorporated into my video aspect of my project assignment.

(061015)

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David Lachapelle: Land Scape

Analysing David Lachapelle’s Land Scape series has been a fascinating experience while gathering inspiration about my project assignment. However when I came across the video version of his behind the scenes shooting, I was literally blown away.

For more of my analysis of his works, click here.

(011015) 

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Oliviero Toscani | OFFSET 2013          

I first came across Oliviero Toscani while reading Liz Wells “On Photography, A Critical Introduction” about his case with the Benetton, and had developed a fascination with his photography works since. I stumbled upon this conference  video  of him sharing his portfolio works, and learning about the creative thought processes behind his project briefs, his approaches in his photography, as well as his thoughts and views of the photographic world was inspiring for me. I admire him for his daring concepts, to think outside the box, and challenging the limits of photography in the commercial world by employing thought-provocative imagery.

OLucy Outdoor Location Shoot

We went to a few locations for a day of road trip: Cromer, Sherringham and Wroxham.

I was extremely excited about the trip as it was my first time traveling out of Norwich since I arrived in the UK. Upon arriving Comer, we realised free carpark space was rather difficult to find and we spent quite a while looking for one. Then we walked a short distance to the cliffs.

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We could not access to the beach the proper way as there were some constructions going on. Where the fences ended was a narrow trench. It was quite dangerous to go down from here. I went down myself while Lucy stayed behind to record some ambience sound. Eventually, I got a sequence of the coastline from where I was. I had no idea that the coastal area would be as cold and windy.

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The next location was Sheringham. We walked around the area, looking for interesting subjects. Lucy suggested a staircase to the beach. Hence, I framed my composition of the walkway in contrast with the coastline. However, the area was all too quiet. the challenge was to get people to walk over to this stretch of the pathway.

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Next location was Wroxham. We arrived there sometime near the evening time. There was a brilliant sunset but I could not find any unique vantage points. We walked around the area for a while, and the swans were following us. I could tell Lucy was already very tired from all the walking. Eventually, went back to Norwich empty-handed (from this location).

All in all, I had a great time exploring the coastal areas. I really appreciate my partner for bringing us around.