27 Apr 2010

Assignment 2 - Elements of Design

After an unwelcome delay overseas waiting for the Icelandic volcano to quieten down I am now able to publish Assignment 2, Elements of Design.

The photographs can be viewed on my Assignments web site here:


Assembling the Photographs

Although I had an unfortunately extended period to shoot this assignment I only had a short time to edit and publish it and with a fairly large volume of shots to assess I ended up having to do some fairly radical editing.  I thought it might be useful to post some of the discards and review my thoughts on why I didn't use them.

This view of an office block was one I considered for diagonals.  I liked the patterns within the shot and the details inside each box.  The face of the building showed nice and light against the shadowed interiors.  So nothing wrong with it but I felt that it was yet another very symmetrical box pattern and too similar to the shot I used for verticals & horizontals so left it out.

This shot was going to be one of my implied triangles but even having worked on it to the extent that you see above I wasn't able to get the results I wanted.  I was pleased enough with the framing but I just hadn't managed to capture enough expression on the faces of the ladies being sketched and I felt that the whole image lacked punch and contrast.  Every time I tried to improve one aspect of the shot another was lost, particularly the eyes of the lady to the right.

This shot appealed to me enormously when I was taking it and I worked hard to get the focus point and exposure on the reflected building just right.  I was going to use it as an example of horizontals & verticals but in retrospect it had a few problems I couldn't resolve.  I felt the image was just too confusing for someone seeing it for the first time, the lines weren't truly vertical or horizontal and the litter covered a bit too much of the image.  However, it is still one of my favourite images.

This shot of the Grace building was also one of my favourites and I was going to use it as an implied triangle.  The image has one of those 'frozen in time' effects on me with the stark tree and walking man against the white of the building.  I also liked the twist that the building has to perform to show the front as well as the side.  The reason that this fell to the cutting floor was that I realised it was a real triangle and not an implied one as the brief called for.

This was a hard decision and I am hoping from some feedback on my choice from my tutor HINT HINT.  This I felt was a good contender for an implied triangle, a person reading a book under the Walgreens sign.  Firstly I wasn't sure that the relationship between the dominant parts of the shot, the person and the sign, was strong enough to properly suggest a triangle.  Secondly, it would have been the 11th photograph of my set and I wasn't sure if it would have been pushing my luck to include it.  By including extra photographs can we be awarded more marks or do we just take the risk of bringing our grading down?  I would love to know.

 I had points in a deliberate shape in mind here.  I liked the whole look of the image taken down from a high building into a hotel swimming pool area.  I would have liked at least one person in the shot but that wasn't a real necessity.  My main problem with the image was the shape that the points were trying to make (what was it) and did it really qualify under the subject I chose of 'Street Detail'?  I wasn't convinced.

The bright colours of this street sign attracted me and I felt that this might be a good distinct shape.  It has many of the attributes of the image that I finally used and even now I'm not certain which I prefer... dreadful indecision!

This grid around a tree trunk was one I thought of for a pattern but it could equally have been used for curves.  Because I felt it didn't truly fall into one category or another I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to use it or the 'element of design' I was trying to represent then becomes defined by the title and not the photograph.

I used exactly the same view of these lamps as my points in a shape but took the image at night.  Although I liked this view and the reflections of the rising sun and the streets in the glass when I took the image up in size I started seeing jpeg artefacts in the clear blue which spoilt the image for me.  I felt it was also nice to include a night shot in the assessment batch for some variety.

This shot through a glazed roof was on my list for diagonals but I already had a couple of strong contenders and thought the predominance of vertical lines in the building behind detracted from the diagonals created by the roof in the foreground (which wasn't quite as sharp as I would have liked anyway).  Had I focussed on the foreground and shortened my depth of field to throw the background into a slight blur it would have worked a little better.

Guess what... another triangle that was real instead of implied.  I must READ the brief better!  Still I liked the image, taken in Grand Central Station, particularly as the overhead lights and the yellow strip help to delineate the perspective triangle that the train creates.

This old bike on the streets of New York was one of the images I wanted to use for curves.  Getting in close to the steel pipe of the bike stand helped bring it into dominance as did controlling my depth of field to give the bike a little blur.  I like the shot a lot but definitely preferred my chosen image of the mail boxes. 


I always have doubts about my choices of photographs and find it much easier picking holes in other peoples work.  I also find that there are as many opinions about the merits of an image as there are people to ask but we do the best we can and hope  ;-) 


  1. Just popped in to your assignment site Nick. Just gets better :-)
    I like them all but the yellow taxis in Rhythm work well IMHO and it looks like the moving cab is streaking through the scene.
    I also single out Diagonals - would do any hotel room justice.

    BTW, I'm back in the saddle and just posted summary of the inadvertant european adventure I shared with tens of thousands of others :-(

    Hopefully post next exercises towards assignment 2 v soon.



  2. Heavens... that was quick Brian. You must be working on your stuff this morning like me! Thanks for your kind comments and good luck catching up on your work. I shall read your hard luck story with sympathy.