"Photo School"

Well, the Practical Photography Photo School is over (although the next one has started straight away), so I thought that I would collate my 6 homework assignments in one place!

Module 1: Landscapes

Bridge over Ure
Taken in Ripon, just after sunset. Tripod, 50mm lens.

Grade: Bronze
Image is underexposed
Image isn’t sharp enough
Composition needs more attention

Module 2: Portraits


A Selfie?!
With the homework deadline looming, I could only find one willing model who’d put up with my endless experimentation – me! Taken at 9.30pm(!), ISO 400, 50mm lens at f/4.0, 1/25s fired with a remote shutter release. Silver reflector in my right hand to try and make the most of the light! I pre-focussed on a brush, then took lots, moving myself forwards and backwards until I had one with my front eye in focus. I think the brief has it as out of camera, otherwise I might have cropped the top and left a little to nail the rule of 1/3rds, and given a bit more contrast.

Grade: Gold – Pass with distinction

Module 3: Action


I made this homework hard for myself! Even on a very bright sunny day I was struggling to get a fast enough shutter to freeze the car and small enough aperture to get it all in focus, and had to push to ISO 400 which gives too much noise for my liking on my (ancient) camera. It also doesn’t do continuous focussing in shutter priority, and only 2-3fps in burst, which was nowhere near fast enough! Still, the ‘driver’ is (just about) in focus, the plane of focus is sharp, the subject fills the frame, it’s coming towards us, and there’s a sense of motion. Setup was camera on the tripod pointing at the end of track and pre-focussing slightly nearer then the end. I let go of the car and tried to fire the shutter as it launched. f/8, 1/640s, ISO 400 (and about 200 attempts)

Grade: Silver – Pass with merit
Image isn’t sharp enough
Nice effort, but focus on wrong point.

Module 4: Nature

The bumble bees absolutely love this plant! Bright sunny day so hand held my 100mm macro. f/6.3 – which isn’t wide – but this close needed the depth of field. 1/250s, with -0.7 eposure compensation (which may have slightly over-egged it, but the highlights were burning out otherwise). I did get some bee’s feeding, but had to use my flash which doesn’t meet the brief!

Grade: Silver – Pass with merit
Image is underexposed
Ever so slightly underexposed – even 1/2 stop more would make a huge difference.

Module 4: Black and White

I like the pattern these trollies made as they go away into the distance. Choose a wide aperture for a narrow depth of field, and tried to align the focal place with a vertical third. Handheld at f/1.8 and 1/640s outside Sainsburys!

Grade: Gold – Pass with distinction

Module 6: Animals

Feeling a bit sheepish

Full length portrait with my 75-300 @ 300mm. f/8 to try and minimise the softness of the lens, and 1/125 shutter so braced on the fence. Iso 400 which is the most I can go before too much noise kicks in. Tried to frame it to give the sheep some space, but put its eyes on a third. Used focus/re-compose as my camera has limited focus points. I really did try to get one of the neighbours cats, but they wouldn’t play with me. I’m not trying to fleece you, or pull the wool over your eyes!

Grade: Gold – Pass with distinction

So that’s a bronze, 2 silvers, and 3 golds. Not too shabby, but room for improvement.

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