Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Triptych Photo Compositions– it’s all Greek to me.

Triptych comes from the Greek term meaning three (trip) fold (tych). This usually refers to a work of art that is divided into sections (3) and linked together.

Many modern artists have created pieces that were designed to be displayed together and the thus triptych has become very popular and over recent years more so in the digital photography field.

So why make triptychs anyway?
Many people can find the creation of a single image challenging let alone dealing with three associated images. But the challenge is worth taking on as it will enable you to expand your ideas around composition and structure, and will encourage you to reinterpret and re-evaluate your photographic images.
For those who follow my blog on a regular basis will have noted that I include a large amount of photos based on aviation. When I’m not running around doing my normal sports photography I like to capture  classic aircraft, specifically those from a by gone era, i.e. world War 1 and 2
After recently re-reading an article in one of my old photography magazines, I thought It would be a good idea to go back through my ever growing collection of old aircraft photos a(12,500!!) and see if I could compose a Triptych composition.
So what was I looking for in my photos?
Establishing a strong sense of unity and synchronicity across all three of my images was the most important element and to achieve this you can deploy different techniques;
·    Consider your angle of view. Do you want this to be similar throughout or deliberately varied for a specific effect?
·     How close or far away from your subject matter? Inconsistently sized subjects across your panels may result in a disjointed look.
·     Will the depth of field be the same across all the panels?
·     Keep your colour palette consistent and unified.
·     Avoid strong, distracting colours
·     Avoid having bright sections on the extreme edges of your outer panels, this will break the flow across your pane.
·     Use the natural shapes, lines and patterns to establish visual connections
·    Use the shapes and patterns inherent in your subject to establish visual connections across the three images
·     Consider mirroring effects to provide a sense of symmetry and balance.
·     Keep the elements in each panel roughly the same size.

I’m sure there are more techniques out there and at the end of the day it will be down to your subject matter.
For me the outcome is to create a story around the subject and as shown in my example above, I have focused on a particular scene I photographed at the Omaka Heritage Centre.
3 Photos, combined to form a Triptych composition (Digitally tweaked)
By taking several shots of the subject from varying angles , I  hopefully have captured the ensuing air battle and at the same time provided an interesting perspective through the implementation of triptych.
Thanks for popping by, and hopefully you found this article interesting. Pop back soon.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Up Up and Away

With Spring arriving in NZ, we have a group of very special birds that take to the air.
Now I'm not refereeing to our fine feathered friends but our lovingly restored war bird planes.

This weekend the war birds society based at Ardmore, NZ opened it's doors for general ground viewing and to knock the dust of the old girls as they undergo servicing and cleaning ready to grace our skies this summer.

It provided me with a nice change as I have been running around sports fields for the past few months and I always find it relaxing spending time walking around some of the best preserved and fully working World War 2 planes in the southern hemisphere.

The weather on Sunday morning was terrible to start with but by 10:00am the sky had started to clear with the sun working hard to break through the moody clouds. Therefore a polarize was a must.

I decided to take my tripod this time, along with both my 28-300mm L Lens, and my Sigma 17-50mm Lens.

First up the Mustang.
This shot was taken in colour to begin with then I converted it to B/W once in Photoshop.  The composition is not to bad and I tried to get reflections from the rain puddles close by. In the end I cropped it tightly and closed the image down.

F11, 1/180, IS0100, 28mm, -1 stop
I like the angle as you are lead towards the moody sky in the background. Which I'm sure this old girl is yearning for. I'm happy to report the Mustang did go up but no flybys across the airfield for me to work with.

My Second image is of the Spitfire. Certainly a classic icon and one I always enjoy photographing. This shot was taken as the plane returned from a scenic run around Auckland.

Again the composition is pretty much how I captured it including the tight crop. The only real post editing I did was the slight vignette and dropping the highlights from the clouds. Otherwise as you see it.
F6, 1/90, ISO200, 300mm B/W Custom WB=Cloudy (digital vignette)

My last photo is a combination of 2 images blended together. I did bracket 3 shots but felt the highlight (+1) , was to strong and blew out a lot of the shiny metallic areas. This is the engine of the P40 kitty hawk which is undergoing service ready for the summer season. I really like the composition of this shot, every time I look at it I reveal another part of it's amazing mechanics.

I used Photoshop to merge the Midtone and Shadow images. Then used a curve with a mask to adjust the shadows slightly. This I then followed with a contrast layer and then duplicated the midtone layer setting the blend type to Darken with a layer opacity of 40%.
Next a few brush strokes around specific areas to bring out some additional detail (sharpen 10% brush opacity) and Finally a gradient map with a circular mask to blend out from the centre so as to dull the colours towards the outer edge.
A quick crop and done
F5.6, 1/5, ISO100, 40mm (-1,0,+1 ) Tripod
So great to get back out on to the airfield and seeing these lovely examples being well looked after.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Sports Action 3 - Soccer

Weather on Saturday could not make up it's mind, rainy, windy, sunny, talk about 4 seasons in one day. 
This weeks game coverage is from the  Northern Premier League, Central United vs Melville United.

Central United 5 - 3 Melville United (HT: 2-0)
CEN: Regi Murati 2, Nicolas Zambrano, James Hoyt (pen), Aaron Bawdekar
MEL: Jacob Robb, Daryl Adams, Marc Evans

Camera settings: Initial White Balance set to cloudy, then changed to Auto, with exposure speeds ranging from 1/150 - 1/500. Average focal length 200mm, with -1 stop.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Time to tell a story

My Goal: Stop and look around.
As I spend more time in and around my local town I’m becoming acutely aware that there are so many cool and interesting things waiting to be explored.
For instance, I walk past a small opening between 2 shops around 6 to 7 times a week.  Not once have I even considered stopping to take a look. The strange thing is consciously I know the opening is there, but if anyone asked me what was down there... I would most likely shrug and say “nothing I guess

But early this week, after reading an interesting article on the famous American photographer William Eggleston, I suddenly realised that I’m passing a photo opportunity by every day, and perhaps I should stop just once and take a peek

And guess what I did….
The result was interesting and although the subject matter might not be to everyone’s cup of tea I think it does invoke a story.
f6.3, ISO200, 1/800, 40mm (Cropped)

The same goes for my next photo. I walk this tunnel twice daily as it passes underneath the busy motorway.
f6, ISO200, 1/125, 17mm
As I spend more time in my Urban/Street mode, I’m starting to understand more around ensuring that each of my photographs should develop a good platform to build from. I'm not just talking about a single emotional switch such as Happy, Sad, Tired etc., but more of an in-depth story telling mode.

When you look at any of the above photos, look beyond just the main focal point and re-discover the foreground and the background.  Take a good long look and explore the visual and only then will you start to understand the content and enable the cognitive wheel to start formulating a story.

Considering I have spent the last 10 years covering Sports and Action, which is easy to capture emotion, I’m certainly enjoying this Urban/Street approach and I’m becoming more aware of my surroundings and hopefully will be able to capture some cool images to engage with my audience.

I'm very interested to hear your thoughts, so feel free to comment.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Sports Action 2 - Chatham Cup Quarter Final

Travelled to the North Shore today to cover the Central United premier 1st team vs Birkenhead United FC in the Quart final of New Zealand's National Chatham Cup.
Birkenhead eventual victors by 3 - 0. Weather conditions where mixed with rain, sun, rain, sun....Made for an interesting photo-shoot as the light conditions changed as quickly as the weather.
Selected Action shots from todays game.

Camera Settings: Average ISO400, F5-6, 1/250 - 1,400, -1 exp, 135-200mm