Tutor Feedback Assignment 5

I thought this assignment submission was a really good idea from the outset and attempted to convey a very worthwhile narrative visually. It was a brave step to try and tackle a subject that is so personally close to you, which you should be commended for from the start.

Photographically, some of these images worked really well, with the more subtly and less obvious metaphor working best I thought.

The first shot ‘Apathy’ although an interesting image, again did have a somewhat tenuous link, but I could understand your reasons for using Sepia here. I’m just not sure how well the subject matter conveyed this feeling, whereas the next image ‘Tangled’, inspired by Callaghan was very fitting. On a more general note, the images as a body of work could have been tied together more closely in terms of format etc … they are all shapes and sizes and all colours, which hasn’t really help them sit well together as a themed coherent body of imagery.

The terminology used within the submission was very accurate in relation to the subject matter, with some pieces really working well such as ‘Passing By’. I thought this image was very simple in its construction and the use of the slow shutter speed to blur the rest of the world as it goes about its business, was very effective. I also thought this image worked particularly well in terms of the background which was linear and repetitive, making full use of the static subject seated to the left. In this way ‘Going Nowhere’ was also well composed, with if anything a little too much foreground prior to the start of the road – which was the key to the how the imaged worked.

Lost’ was probably my favourite image from the series and really made strong use of the panoramic format adopted. I’d like you to take a look at two Czech photographers called Josef Koudelka and Ivan Lutterer who have both used monochrome panoramic imagery to great effect over the years.

Last ‘Melancholy’ also caught my eye as I thought it was both well-lit and nicely composed – fading to black on the right hand side. Could you have used a more significant backdrop out of the window here ? Perhaps a landscape or even seascape a little more in focus using depth of field and with the rain simply sprayed on the outside if the weather wasn’t correct for the shoot?

Learning Logs/Critical essays

I think you will need to include a link to all the reports and responses (if any) for the assessment of the module. It was also good to see that you had referenced some key texts within this submission.

Suggested reading/viewing

Koudelka, J.1997: Exiles. London. Thames & Hudson

ISBN-13: 978-0500542082

Koudelka, J.2011: Gypsies. 2nd Edition. London. Thames & Hudson

ISBN-13: 978-0500544020

Lutterer, I.2004: Panoramic Photographs: 1984-199. Prague. Studio JB

ISBN-13: 978-8086512258

Conclusions and targets for next assignment

Having completed all five assignments for this module it is now time to submit the work for formal summative assessment which has been discussed above.

You will be required to submit all five assignments, plus any amendments made in response to tutor feedback reports / details of your Learning Log / Workbook / Blog URL and all five Tutor Feedback Reports.

It is very important to get this part correct and not just send as much information as possible. The work is not ‘weighed in’ so you should be very selective about what is included / excluded and how you present the work methodically, in order to guide the assessor through the submission.

Assignment 5

Assignment 5

The theme I have chosen for this assignment is ‘depression’. I have suffered with depression for sometime and I have often wondered whether it was possible to express in a photograph some of the things I feel when I am feeling low. Each picture would be telling a story as well as metaphorically describing a state of mind. The project would be along similar lines to Gillian Wearing’s “Sign’s that say what you want them to say and not sign’s that say what someone else wants you to say”, in that the focus of each picture would be trying to portray a state of mind [1]. Except I would not be using signs but trying to tell a story solely through pictures, and the thoughts and feelings would be my own. In a way, though I would not be in the photographs, I would be the subject of them – the photographs are my white cards. Once I had chosen the topic I had some ideas for the kind of photographs I wanted top produce and even drew some very rough sketches. I found the project quite challenging as it is very personal to me. However I am pleased with the final collection of images. The idea of representing feelings as photographs means that the majority of these photographs had to be edited in post production. This was necessary to convey some of the points I wished to get across. For some of the photographs I needed a model, I was fortunate that my husband, Ben, willingly obliged.

  1. Apathy

I choose sepia tones for this image as to represent the colour being sucked from the world. The sepia tones also invoking old fashioned photographs which feel as though they are stuck in time. The dry, dead rose invoking similar feelings. The rose has no life in it, like the sepia tones in the image it is frozen and apathetic. The dried rose is supposed to be a metaphorical statement depicting those day when moving is an effort and nothing seems worthwhile.

  1. Tangled

This is a photograph of tangled leafless branches of trees. Here I was trying to convey the sense of tangled thoughts. When the mind is full of confused and chaotic thoughts it feels like a hopeless mess. The labyrinthine branches resemble a spiders web where thoughts can be trapped like flies or a broken mirror smashed to pieces and feeling disjointed. I was inspired by Harry Callahan’s photographs of trees against the sky in Ansley Park Atlanta [2]. Like those I kept the pictures of the branches in black and white, however I decided to crop the photograph to eliminate the tree trunks to give a ‘tangled’ feel to the picture.

  1. Vanishing Point

In this picture I am trying to convey the idea of wishing to disappear. My model is sat on the floor with his arms over his head, as I thought this would convey the fervent hope of wanting to vanish. I tried converting this picture to black and white but it did not work as well as it does in colour. This photograph has been edited in GIMP to create the impression of a vanishing person. As I am primarily trying to tell a story with each picture, I do not think using photo editing software to help with this deters from the image. Harry Callahan’s work is full of examples of experimentation with the camera to produce the images and idea’s he wanted to get across for example his ‘Eleanor, Chicago’ photographs in which he transposes the image of his wife over pictures of trees[3].

  1. Passing By

For this picture I used a Neutral Density filter and a long exposure to create the ghost-like images of people walking by someone in a busy square. The blonde woman is unknown to me and was waiting for someone. I wanted this image to convey the idea of people rushing and busy normal life whilst the subject remains still and left behind.

  1. Going Nowhere

The road that appeared to lead no-where is what attracted me to this landscape scene. I am using to it create the impression that sometimes it feels as though the road is never ending and leading nowhere. I converted the picture to black and white to further enhance the mood of the picture. In Black and white the road is much more of a central feature than than it was in colour. I considered cropping the photo to just show the road, but I think it works better like this, as the road seems far away in the distance further demonstrating the never ending and unattainable feelings I am endeavouring to convey.

  1. Lost

In this photograph I am trying to portray the idea of being lost. In black and white the wood looks vaguely sinister, the rubbish of the ground, the burnt out oil drum, gives it a unpleasant feel. Also I wanted to invoke the idea of being ‘lost in the woods’ and ‘not seeing the wood for the trees’, which is why I cropped the photography so that only the trunks were visible and not the tops of the trees. The figure is in the midst if the trees, also in dark clothing so he is ‘lost’ amongst the trunks and alone in this disturbing environment.

  1. Sweet Sanity

    I am trying to convey a lot of ideas in this photograph. The copious amounts of sweets alluding to the impression of taking so many antidepressants it feels like guzzling sweets. Also the sweets invoking the idea of feeling ‘sweet’ or ‘normal’ after taking the medication. Also the large amount of sweets in the photograph indicating the sometimes sickly-sweet dependency on medication.

  1. Deception

    Wearing’s ‘Signs’ collections show thought the thoughts and feelings of the people holding the card [4 ].Here I am attempting the reverse. The real thoughts and feelings lay hidden behind the mask the model is about to put on. For this photograph I took two pictures of him. In the first he is holding a white mask. In the second I told him to clasp his chin and smile in a fake way, further emphasising the ‘mask’. I stitched these two pictures in GIMP. Also I increased the contrast slightly to give darker tones to the image.

  2. Melancholy

    The water droplets on the window are the outward sign of how the subject is feeling. Melancholia is a frequent and prolonged visitor, usually there are no real outward signs so I decided to use the image of the raindrops on the window to demonstrate it.

    Again I converted the photo to black and white to mirror the mood I hoped to invoke. This is one of my favourite images in the collection. However were I to take it again I think I would try and avoid the distracting white areas that you can see through the window, whilst they do provide a contrast to the dark tones in the image, they hide the raindrops. I tried to tone down the whiteness in GIMP.

  3. Worst enemy

    In this photograph I hoped to convey the idea that ‘you are you’re own worst enemy’. That there is a constant internal battle inside your mind. The two figure are meant to demonstrate that there is always a person following you, criticising everything you do and that person is of course yourself, the only person you can never escape from. The dark tones and slightly de-saturated colours in the photograph representing darkness inside your own mind.

    This picture is an amalgam of photographs put together in GIMP. The idea behind the picture was to demonstrate the saying ‘you are your own worst enemy’ and to show this photograph the same person telling himself off, or looking disapproving at the themselves. Unfortunately I did not have the room to photograph this quite in the way I wanted. I would have liked to get a little more room between the two figures. I desaturated the picture slightly to add to the mood of the photograph. By making it flat and grey in tone I wanted to convey a sense of hopelessness.

This is a theme I have wanted to explore for a while, this assignment gave me the opportunity to try it out. I think I choose the theme quite well, as soon as I had decided to do it, the ideas for potential picture came very quickly. I knew what I wanted to convey. One of the aims was to produce a series of pictures that had to be ‘read’. That elements within the photographs had a meaning beyond what was there. For example a lot of Diane Arbus photographs have to bee looked at quite closely for the meanings that lay hidden. Her ‘Identical Twins’ picture on the face of it appears to be just that. However looking more closely you see one of the twins is wearing a possibly sad expression so that they suddenly don’t seem so identical [5]. In depicting emotions and states of mind I wanted to be deliberately metaphorical, hence using the dried rose in one of the images.

However I think the images of my husband were slightly more effective in this regard. I am very pleased with the way the pictures of Ben came out, although there are changes I would make to them if I had more time. I would like to arrange the ‘Worst Enemy’ picture so that the standing figures feet are not interfering with his back. I stuck to my brief quite closely, however the ‘brief’ was not detailed as I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do and even what pictures I wanted to take.


  1. Cotton, Charlotte, 2007, The Photograph as Contemporary Art, London, Thames and Hudson

  2. Salvesen, Britt, 2006, Harry Callahan: The Photographer at Work, Yale University Press

  3. Salvesen, Britt, 2006, Harry Callahan: The Photographer at Work, Yale University Press

  4. 27/03/2014, http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks?gid=66092!&ws=acno&wv=list

  5. Clarke, Graham, 1997, The Photograph, Oxford University Press





Exercise 24: Sharpening for print

For this exercise I have chosen a picture of a Kea landing. I chose this picture as it has lots of detail which I think would be improved with sharpening. The background is out of focus as I was trying to follow the Kea whilst it was flying. So whilst I want to sharpen the image of the Kea, the background should remain slightly blurred.

To sharpen the image of the Kea, I used the ‘unsharp mask’ feature in GIMP. The first picture has no sharpening at all. After some experimentation I decided to set the ‘radius’ to 0.5 as this seemed to sharpen the edges of the feathers in the way I wanted. The ‘amount’ of sharpening was set to the following amount for the three images: 3, 5, and 10. I kept the threshold at 0.


Differences between the printed pictures


Having printed the images out the biggest difference can be seen between the original and picture 4. The details are much clearer in picture 4, the ‘noise’ seems to be more pronounced whereas in the original image the details are much softer. Picture 4 seems to be more speckled and the edges of the feathers seem to be more defined. The eye is much clearer in picture four than the original. The differences between the original and pictures two and three are much less pronounced. At first glance, it is hard to tell any difference between the original picture and picture two. However if you look more closely, picture two appears to be more in focus, some of the detail is clearer without the ‘noise’ or speckled effect which can be seen in image four. Again the eye seems to be clearer in images 2 and 3 however it is at it’s brightest in image 4. The colours in picture 2, 3 and four seem to be clearer than in the original. The colours in picture one are softer due to the due to the softer detail. The grass at the bottom of the image increases in sharpness at the amount of sharpening increases. In comparison in picture 1 the grass is quite soft in texture as opposed to picture 4 where the grass at the bottom of the image seems quite spikey.


Differences between the on screen images


When the images on the computer screen are compared the differences are much more pronounced. On the screen the difference between image two and and image one is slightly more obvious. The details are much clearer, the colours seem brighter as they are more defined, the edges of the feathers also seem more defined. Images 2 and 3 on screen seem quite similar, the differences are much less pronounced which is understandable as I kept the amounts quite close. In image two the amount of sharpening is 3, in image 3 the amount of sharpening is 5. In image 3 the colours seem slightly better defined than in image 2 however there is the beginning of noise and speckles creeping into image 3. The colours in image 2 are more natural without any really noticeable amount of noise or speckles. The differences between image 1 and image 4 are much more defined. Whereas again the details are more defined, the colours seem brighter, image 4has a grainy ‘noise’ texture that is not present in image 1. The amount of ‘noise’ is greatest in image 4, less so in image 3 and there is not a noticeable amount of ‘noise’ in image 2.


Printed versus computer screen


When the printed images are compared with their on screen counterparts, the first most noticeable thing in the ‘noise’. It is much more pronounced on the computer screen than it is in the printed image. The details of the feathers and colours are much more defined on the screen than the printed image, though the colours seem to be more natural, i.e. not very grainy, or have much ‘noise’ in the printed images. The colours also seem a lot brighter on the screen, but I this is due to the light from the monitor. Comparing image 1 on screen with the printed image much more of the detail of the feathers can be seen on the screen than the printed image, though some of this could be due to the quality of the printer. The eye is much clearer on the screen than the printed image. The grass at the bottom of the image seems more highly contrasted on screen than in the printed image. There is a greater contrast between on screen images 1 and two than printed images 1 and 2. Image 2 on the screen is shaper, more of the detail is defined, the colours seems brighter than the printed image two. However the grass at the bottom of the printed image two seems more highly contrasted than the grass on the screen image 2. More of the detail is defined on screen than the printed image, though as I have said some of this could be due to the print quality of the image and possibly my computer screen not being correctly calibrated. The differences between image 2 and three are noticeable on than off. The differences between printed images 2 and 3 are hardly noticeable but can be seen if examined closely. Again the major difference between on screen image 3 and printed image 3 is the detail which is better defined on the screen. There is more noise on image 3 on screen than printed image three, As I have mentioned earlier, printed image three has hardly any noticeable noise or grainy features which are more easily seen on the screen. Again the biggest difference between image 4 on screen and printed image 4 is the amount of ‘noise’ in the picture. Image 4 on screen appears much more grainy, though the details in the picture are also clearer than the printed version of image 4. The grass at the bottom of the image of the printed version has more contrast than the on screen version.


For this particular picture, I prefer the adjustments made in image 2, which is the weakest amount of adjustment. The details are made slightly clearer but there is no noise or grainy quality to the picture.

Assignment 4: Real or Fake?

Selling the Dream

In December 2013 the Victoria and Albert museum had a touring photographic exhibition called ‘Selling Dreams: One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography’[1]. I visited the exhibition whilst it was at Auckland museum. The title of the exhibition was taken from Irving Penn[2], who saw his role at Vogue as ‘Selling Dreams not clothes’. The exhibition depicted 58 images which showed the evolution of fashion photography, with pictures from between the early 1900′s through to the 1990′s, and included some well known images such as ‘Model and Mannequin’ as well as some previously unknown work. The exhibition grouped the photographs into various themes, as well as charting the more controversial images that provoked debate, such as the infamous ‘Women in a Bath House’ by the late Deborah Turbeville [3]. All the images are designed to sell an ideal, a dream. The poses of the models, the lighting and background are all shot in such a way to create a particular mood, whatever ‘dream’ the photographer happened to be selling. For example ‘Jean Shrimpton at 91 Heigham Road’,[4] the background is clearly the hallway of a house, but it could be anyone’s home. The clothes she is wearing, an oversized jumper, again something that could be found in anyone’s wardrobe. In my opinion, David Bailey is trying to project the image of the ‘girl next door’ look.

Some of the pictures from the 1990′s and later recreated images from fairly tales and classic paintings. The style is a lot more fantastical and makes full use of colour. ‘Le Manege Enchante’ [5] by Miles Alderidge depicts a woman with bright red hair seemingly asleep on a merry-go-round. ‘Blooming #3′ [6] another image from Miles Alderidge is a very bright colourful picture with elements of the fantastical. The woman’s painted face is nothing from real life, her long golden hair is an ideal rather than a reality. The doll she is carrying possibly possibly suggesting a fantasy from childhood.

All the images from the exhibition were intended for the fashion industry[7], who are not all that interested in depicting reality – the majority of women who would potentially wear the clothes they are selling would not look anywhere near as good in them as the models do. Through photography the industry is trying to sell the fantasy that this is what you could look like, or this is what could happen if you use our product. Therefore photo-editing, or ‘photoshopping’ as it is referred to, is common in this industry. The images I have named are selling an ideal or a fantasy, which whilst not a specific product in itself, means that adjustment to the photograph is more excusable, as the photographer wants to create the best possible image.

Real or fake?

For the assignment I created an image for a fake book called ‘Whale Watching Kaikoura’. As with the images from the fashion industry my plan was to ‘sell a dream’, namely seeing sperm whales in the Kaikoura bay under ideal conditions. It is possible to take a boat trip from Kaikoura and see sperm whales in the area due to the unique geography of the region. The idea for the front cover for the book was: A beautiful clear day, the classic ‘tail shot’ of a whale diving with mountain scenery in the background. All three of these elements are possible at Kaikoura but getting all three together is a lot harder.

The image I created definitely lies within the centre ground of the real versus fake argument. All the elements in the photograph are real. However all the elements have been adjusted in my photo-editing software, GIMP, to make the composite image appear realistic. I have encountered many images that have been obviously ‘photoshopped’, so one of my aims was to make the image appear as realistic as possible.

Firstly I took the image I would be using for the background landscape, and cropped it to the water line. I then found the ‘tail shot’ image and placed this below the landscape. The two at first did not look as though they could have been taken together at the same time, which was one of my aims, so I adjusted the images, as separate layers so the colours and light appeared to match. I mainly used the ‘curves’ and colour balance tools to achieve this.

The image I originally thought to use was this one.


As it is one image and not a composite, however the tail is not quite in focus and the overall light is quite dull, so I decided to make a composite image using the landscape from a photograph taken on a nice day, and a separate shot of a tail in focus. For the landscape, I eventually decided on this shot:


I liked the light in this image, as it is clearly a good day. I thought the low lying mist gave a dream-like quality to the image. Also there was a clear amount of sky above the clouds which I could potentially use for the title. After some editing, the vignetting in the top corners of the image became more obvious. I used the ‘clone stamp’ tool to get rid of these. For the tail shot, I had a choice of two I could use:

Tail shot 1

Tail Shot 2

I decided on the later, as the sea around it was sparkling in the light. Again with some adjustment I altered the colour of the ocean to more easily match with the chosen landscape shot. Once adjusted I think they look as though they could come from one image. I then had a few more decisions to make. Both the ocean below the tail and the sky above provide room for the title. Eventually I decided on placing the title in the sky, and cropping the image slightly so the tail was more the focus of the image instead of it being potentially lost in the ocean. I then set about finding the ideal font for the title, which I eventually found on a free fonts website. Of course were this book to be actually printed, the publishers would have to buy the rights to use this font commercially. I preferred this font over the more standard san-serif fonts, as it is reminiscent of pictures of the magic fish hook[8] from the legend of Maui, who pulled up the North and South Islands of New Zealand from the sea bed, which ties in nicely with the setting of the book.

As I have said previously I regard the final image as selling the ideal conditions. The boat trip guarantees that you will see at least one whale on your trip. If you go on the right day, it will be sunny. Getting a shot of a whale diving with the mountains in the background is also possible, as I have taken one myself. So on the whole I do not regard the image I have created as being particularly misleading. These days I think people assume that the majority of the images they see have been edited in post production. For example photographs of food nearly always carry a disclaimer ‘serving suggestion’ and the food within the packet itself almost never looks like the photograph on the front. The image I have created was designed to be the front cover of a book about whale watching in Kaikoura, but I can’t imagine that book being of interest to a lot of people. The cover I have created was designed to be an attractive image which would hopefully have people at least picking up the book to look at the cover.

Final book cover



1. Selling Dreams: One hundred Years of Fashion Photography, http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/whats-on/exhibitions/selling-dreams, [31/01/2014]

2. V and A Selling Dreams: One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography, http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/media/media-releases/2013/v-and-a-selling-dreams [31/01/2014]

3. Jobey L, Last Tango in Paris, The Independent, April 25, 1993. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/fashion—last-tango-in-paris-1457295.html, [31/01/2014]

4. Jean Shrimpton at 91 Heigham Road, http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O82837/jean-shrimpton-at-91-heigham-photograph-bailey-david/, [31/01/2014]

5. Steven Kasher Gallery, http://www.stevenkasher.com/artist/Miles_Aldridge/works/828/#!828, [31/01/2014]

6. Artnet.com, http://www.artnet.com/artwork/426264960/425933006/miles-aldridge-blooming-3.html, [31/01/2014]
7. Selling Dreams: One hundred Years of Fashion Photography, http://collections.vam.ac.uk/search/?slug=selling-dreams-one-hundred-years-of-fashion-photography&exhibition=4561&offset=0, [31/01/2014],

8. http://www.mountainjade.co.nz/blog/traditional-maori-symbols-and-meanings-carving-ta-moko/ [31/01/2014]


Assignment 4 Real or Fake – test one

The object of this assignment is to produce a photographic image to illustrate an imaginary book or magazine cover. I could also choose an existing book and re-imagine the cover.

This builds on the previous editing exercises which were designed to question what amount of editing is permissible. In my case it also tested my editing skills and I know understand more of the photo editing software I use.

First of all I decided to try and fake the Tardis on fire. This proved to be a worthwhile exercise as I uncovered more photo editing techniques that will prove useful in the final assignment.

My first attempt at making the Tardis appear on fire was rubbish and did not look at all realistic. I then searched online to see if any others had a different approach. I found two tutorials on the subject on you tube which proved invaluable.

For my second attempt, I used G’MIC tool on GIMP. I selected ‘contours’ and ‘gradient norm’. This gave me an oultine of the Tardis. I then created three duplicate layer, and using ‘Gaussian blur’ I set two of the layers to different values blurring the edges. I changed the layer mode of  two layers to ‘screen’ which meant any black areas were transparent. I then used ‘colour balance’ and set the colours to more fire-like colours. This was achieved by moving the sliders to ‘red’ and ‘yellow’. I added a new layer which I filled with a picture of fire and set this as a ‘screen’ layer. I used the ‘Iwarp’ distort tool to warp the edges of the flames around the Tardis. Using the ‘eraser’ I tidied up the edges.

Basis of first 'Tardis on Fire' Picture

This created a nice image but it was not quite what I wanted. I wanted it to appear that the model Tardis was on fire. I brought up the original image and set the ‘fire’ image as a screen over the top.


When I first attempted this, I realised that The Tardis would be lit up by the flames and simply adding picture of flames would not do. This is a lot closer to how I imagined the image to be. As my very first attempt to set something on fire using photo editing software, I don’t think it is too bad. In this image it looks like the Tardis is glowing with the heat of the flames which is closer to how I wanted the image to turn out.

I subsequently tried to do the picture again. This time the flames were created within GIMP using a ‘turbulent cloud’ filters. This is closer to how I saw the picture.

Tardis on Fire


Exercise 23 – Alteration

The aim for this exercise is the deliberate alteration of a photo. The idea is to remove an element from the picture that takes up approximately one eight of the picture. In the picture I have chosen I have removed two elements that together make up about one-eighth of the picture. For this exercise I shall be using the Clone stamp tool in GIMP.

The major difficulties in this exercise is predicting the way the light would fall on the image when the two elements have been removed. The Clone stamp tool is very useful in this task, however I found that if I was not careful particular imperfection in the picture were continually repeated as that was the particular piece of the picture I had copied. I have not done this sort of alteration to a photograph before, as I prefer to get as much right in camera as possible. This way I don’t have to spend as much time in front of the computer. As to the arguments as to whether an altered image is valid I would repeat that it depends as to what purpose of the image. If the picture is supposed to be a true depiction, then altering it can be misleading. If it’s purpose is solely art based, then alteration is more excusable.

This is the unaltered image

This is the original unaltered image.

This is the original unaltered image.

This is the image with some elements removed.

This picture has some elements removed.

This picture has some elements removed.

The problem is when an image is to be used both as an art form and a true depiction. I refer to the case of the film poster for the film ‘The Heat’. The film itself comes under the heading of art, however the film poster is supposed to depict what is actually ion the film. Some controversy surrounded the posters as one of the stars was ‘photo-shopped’ so that the actress was depicted as being a lot slimmer than she is in the film. To my mind this is misrepresentation and completely unnecessary.


Exercise: Addition

For the first part of this exercise I will be taking two landscape photos. One where the sky is perfectly exposed and the second where the landscape is perfectly exposed. Then using photo editing software I will be merging the two together.

As per the instructions in the exercise, having first selected my landscape, I set the camera up on a tripod and took two exposures. One where the landscape was perfectly exposed and one where the sky was perfectly exposed.

These are the two photographs.

As you can see the landscape in the first is virtually black but the sky and clouds perfectly exposed. In the second shot the opposite is apparent; the highlights have blown out in some of the clouds in the sky, and it looks generally washed out. Using GIMP I combined the two images using a layer mask.


There was a fair amount of editing involved in combining the two images. To accurately select the sky I used the colour select in gimp and kept clicking until all the sky was selected. Usually to photograph a high contrast scene such as this I would use a gradient fliter which can compensate up to a couple of f stops. At the moment I use GIMP which has no facility for automatically combining a number of images to create a hdr image, beyond using layers. However since my use of layer has been fairly limited, I welcome any any to practice!

The second part of this exercise is to take a sky from one picture and put it on another picture whilst keeping the image as realistic as possible.

These are the two images I will be combining. I will use the sky from the first photograph and put it into the second.

This is the final image.


This was an interesting exercise as this is a lot more post processing than I would normally do. However this is not for ‘ethical’ reasons but more the fact that I have to spend more hours in front of the computer editing when I could be outside taking more photographs. I am not wholly against this kind of editing; it depends, as I have said repeatedly through these series of exercises, what the purpose of the picture is. If it is supposed to be an accurate depiction of what is actually there then I would not swap the sky on the picture for an arguably more interesting one. If the purpose is for ‘art’ and you want to make the picture as beautiful as possible then swapping the sky would be more justifiable. In this specific case a more interesting sky transposed onto a landscape can make a scenic photograph look better. However what attracts me to take a landscape photo is how the whole scene looks. Until now I had not really considered taking the sky from one photograph and putting it on another. When done seamlessly it can create stunning images, however done badly people can easily see it is a fake image. Creating one image from two others that have no connection with each other does not seem entirely legitimate. There are many images on sale that are precisely this, but they are not pretending to be anything other than art as opposed to a reflection of something real. As I have said regarding the post processing of images, in my opinion it very much depends on how the image is used.


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