The Alice Room
This project involves hunting for strong shadows and highlights in an outdoor environment lit by strong sunlight… Try to make pictures with feeling.OCA Foundations in Photography Course Folder, pg40
Unfortunately the weather this week has been rain and over cast and the forecast for next week is the same. However, I am lucky enough to have stayed in an Air B&B home called ‘The Ravens Retreat’ in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK. This home/ b&b has to be the most inspirational place that I have ever been in.
When I was here, a street light shone through the blinds. The combination of light and blind cast a heavy golden glow within the room intermingled with dark shadows. The fact that ‘The Alice Room’ is Alice in Wonderland themed, meant that the tea party character mural and significant objects to the story which were around the room looked other worldly, film studio setting even. It made my very early day as I woke up saw the amazingly lit scene in front of me and immediately thought shadows and camera setting practice. I eventually fell asleep just after 4 am a very happy photographer.
While I was taking the photographs, I experimented predominantly with the ISO and SS settings. I looked at and altered the F-stops where I could according to the reading on the light meter. One thing that I was very keen to do was add as much grain to some of the images as I could. I did this to add to the overall feel of being on film as the optical texture to me reminded me of the old black and white films that I would watch with my Grandad Lake. To get to this I adjusted the ISO to 3200. I had never shot that high before!
The contact sheet of the shots can be seen here. I deleted some as I reviewed them in camera due to the fact they were either blurred or underexposed due to the lighting which I was unfamiliar shooting in. The contact sheets also show larger thumbnails and a two column presentation due to the fact that the images are quite hard to study any smaller.
I printed the sheets out at home and marked the ones I liked and made some quick notes on why I liked them, comparing photographs with each other. I then opened them up again in photoshop to have a large look at their composition and to see if they needed to be adjusted in any way. One thing I found out was, to my dismay, my iMac monitor did not marry up with what was being printed out. My tutor had already suggested I bought a calibrating kit so that the same could be seen across screens so I purchased a Datacolor Spyder X Pro calibration tool and used it to calibrate my monitor.
The printer still does not print the images out that I can see on my monitor, but that is not worrying me as I never use it for photography printing preferring to get my work printed by a professional lab.
My next stage is to choose six photographs from the shoot that I like due to their combination of properties, for example – composition, colour, light and shade, texture, and visual appeal, which for me personally, includes the grain.
I chose the five above images, all of which I have altered very slightly using Levels in Photoshop. The only one I am puzzled about is the close up of the horses rump which has an orange tint to the light that is coming through the window. Because of this I had a look at the properties of each photograph above. I was looking to see if there was a specific setting four had been on which meant they were yellow while the ‘Rump Tail’ was orange. However they are all different because I had experimented with high ISOs. There are others that are orange, is it because it was raining at the time I took these, would this alter the colour coming through the window? Was it because it was also nearly dawn so the light changed within the room according to the change outside?
I chose these photographs for different reasons. I like specifically how the shadows and the light contrasts with the mural and the horse’s form and engravings. So we have either a bedroom scene or a close up image and the shadows and light add an extra dimension.
I found experimenting with the camera settings great fun and annoying at the same time, mostly due to the fact that some exposures were fine and others far too dark. BUT, I have left this shoot with more practice under my belt and further understanding of the cameras ISO settings in a dark room environment.