Catalyst – Photography Assignment

The following are my 5 photos for submission for Media Objects photography assignment, and the 500-word reflection. I will also be sending the 5 photos to you (my tutors) in a separate email, in case WordPress compresses the photos.

Water

Water

Earth

Earth

Sun

Sun

Love

Love

Heat

Heat

I approached the given theme ‘catalyst’ by reflecting my interpretation of it. For me, catalyst is first and foremost changes in chemistry. This led to me to think about growth and decay – the life cycle of a plant. However, as the project called for still images, and I had a limit of five, I could not do time-lapse – not did I have the time to do so.

I thought about the aspects that affect plants – namely the four elements. I altered ‘air’ to ‘sun’, because sunlight is key in a plant’s growth. For the 5th photo, I borrowed Captain Planet logic, and went with ‘heart’, or rather ‘love’. That is, the loving enjoyment of the fruits of labor – eating. Digestion is also a chemical catalyst.

Water and Earth are simple too approach but hard to execute. At different ends of the spectrum, water and earth respectively are ever moving, and completely stationary.

To capture the fluidity of water, I had to use high shutter speeds to capture the droplets to prevent blur. My main focus as a new photographer was composition and lighting, and I am very proud of this photo as the best of my series, because of the lighting of the water droplets.

I chose to capture a sprout in the soil in order to create a dynamic narrative to a still subject. This was done with a shallow depth of field in order to focus on the sprout. The same idea was behind ‘love’, by focusing on the details of the food items. Weber influenced the composition of these two photos when he said that “the most important part of any picture is a clearly recognized center of (picture) interest” (38), which is why I placed both focal items about one-third away from the edge of frame (86).

Sunlight is difficult for me to capture on camera, due to the fickle nature of light. I opted to show light through shadows instead. I am not happy with the clutter that I left in the photo, and should have removed some items to create a less noisy photo, but composition wise, I chose Weber’s suggestion to use lines as strong compositional guides (68), and used the shadows heavily to lead the eye to the focal point.

Perhaps the worst photo of the lot is ‘fire’, or ‘heat’. The lighting conditions were poor, I did not choose good camera settings for the photo, and the planning wasn’t done, meaning the photo looks amateur. I am quite pleased with how the steam wraps around the handle of the spatula.

Overall, I am happy with 3/5 photos, which I deem to be satisfactory as this was my first time taking photos while putting creative and technical considerations into practise. On my friends’ behest, I shot entirely in a 50mm prime lens in order to force myself to think of composition and positioning more, and I very much appreciate the difference in mindset this makes. On my next project including photography, I will be focusing more on lighting as well as staging a good photo.

References

Weber, Ernst A. Vision, composition and photography. Berlin; New York: de Gruyter, 1980. Pg 36-39; 44-45; 58-59; 68-69; 86-87)

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To balance out your looks

Today I went to hang out with Julia and hand in my script. The weather had said it would be a mad storm. It was raining when we met up, but not so heavily.

We went to QV (bumping into Mai on the tram) for me to run my errands. I took a while to decide between what socks to buy, and then Julia got her chocolate. We went to Melbourne Central to grab a quick lunch – she wanted pizza, but lo and behold, my influence saw her queue up for Maccas along my side.

We sat and talked for ages – fighting over who would eat the last McNugget – and it was nice to be around her for a while because we haven’t really talked properly for a long time.

To cut a long and repetitive – and in many ways personal – story short, Julia and I sat around in many different places and talked for a long time in each of these places. We covered topics that I don’t think I would have dared to start with her any other time, but for some reason today it seemed fine.

I talked to her about Mela a lot – I told her about how happy I am now. It’s nice to have someone tell you that you’re in a good and healthy relationship, confirming what you’ve come to accept.

We decided it was time to go home at around 6, and terrifyingly enough when I was on the train, the storm clouds rolled in low on the skyline. Just 10 minutes later, my train was in the midst of the storm.

Luckily, as I kept heading towards home, the rain eased – but the clouds did not. I nervously waited for my bus to arrive, and then impatiently waited for my mom to arrive to pick me up from the bus stop. The hurry, it seemed, was necessary, because not 5 minutes after I closed the front door behind me, rain started pounding down.

I’ve had a strange evening. I’m not sure what it was but it was strange, and I didn’t like it.

Anyway. Going to Mela’s house tomorrow.

Alex.

The Thunder Of Guns Tore Me Apart

…You’ve been…THUNDERSTRUCK!

Last night (or very early this morning) was the best way to greet us into Halloween 2009.

Just before midnight, (well it would be much earlier but I only noticed it as I was getting ready for bed) a ferocious rain started pelting outside my windows, so hard that my mom was worried some windows would be shattered. I replaced my toothbrush in the glass, and a momentary flash of cold blue cut itself into the warm glow of my bathroom. I looked up in time to hear a deep rumble announce itself outside the window. I quickly washed my face, excited about what must be going on outside, and ran up the stairs to my bedroom. I drew open my curtains, and turned off the lights. I was suddenly grateful that my bedroom had a view over most of Wheelers Hill and Mulgrave.

Another split second of brilliant cobalt revealed the sky to be filled with storm clouds. The rain was violently lashing itself against my windows, angry that its natural ferocity would be thwarted by a pane of human glass. The thunder became more volatile, ripping itself from the sky instead of allowing itself to rumble quietly. I picked up my mobile phone and texted Carmaine, Catherine, Eunice, Jade, anyone who I thought would be watching the show. I was half right, only Catherine and Eunice were enjoying the spectacle Mother Nature had given. I looked at the time, 12:02. Happy Halloween, She was saying. And don’t forget who’s boss.

I was on the phone with Catherine for a couple of minutes, just silence, static and the occasional “WOW!” emitted from me when an especially glorious fork slashed through the clouds. Then I was on the phone with Eunice who lives closer to me, and there was one time when two flashes came very close to each other, and at the same time both of us yelled in excitement. Eunice was annoyed that she hasn’t yet seen an actual lightning strike, just flashes, but after I hung up on her she texted me to say that she has, and it had made her day just a little bit more complete.

I sat there for almost another hour, willing Mother Nature to please, one more big one, just give me one more big lightning strike and I’m happy. The rain had ceased, respectful of the attention that Mother Nature required for her show, and somewhere in the distance a wail of siren sounded before quietening again.

People say that when there’s a thunderstorm, it’s the skies being angry. But it didn’t feel like anger last night, just a reminder of the awesome power that nature holds.

It felt peaceful.

(Probably not for whomever the siren was aimed towards.)

Alex.