Exercise 1. – Fitting the frame to the subject

If Muhammad won’t come to the mountain…

I visited Roundhay Park in Leeds last May to take some photographs of kids running around the playground and couple of family portraits. I was thrilled because I have never done this before so I thought it would be a great opportunity to take more interesting photographs than random tomatoes on a white board, especially for the course, so I kept a list with me which contained all required exercises.

It is important to step out the comfort zone, constantly challenging ourselves to experience different things,  I was a bit ambitious here, I quickly realised that kids aren’t the easiest to track, but I tried my best…

1. Fitting the frame to the subject 1.

Conventional viewpoint

This young chap was running towards me while I was running backwards to get him into the frame, because I was armed with the Sigma 85mm F1.4 lens on my Canon 60D. I did not use my 30mm lens at all as that would have been too wide for portraits and I wanted to stay away to get better chance for candid shots.

Fitting the frame

Fitting the frame

I needed to be very patient for this, he only stopped for a second so I could fit him tightly into the frame. The attention is entirely on him, the background is reduced, focusing attention on the subject rather than the surroundings.

Only a detail

Only a detail

Focusing on a single part of him changes the context, those cute little lips and nose could even be a little girl’s but the blue clothing gives a pretty good clue. Looking at this picture I sense vulnerability and innocence, much deeper than any other pictures.

Small part of the frame

Small part of the frame

For this particular one I moved back as much as I could just to get him into the frame and nobody else as it was pretty crowded. Shooting with a prime telephoto lens compresses the scene, although I managed to get some detail of the playground, next time I will switch to the wide angle lens to get more of the surroundings into the frame.

I think I managed to illustrate the differences between the pictures depending where the subject placed, how the story and the meaning of the picture changes. It proves that there are pictures within pictures, it is possible to tell different stories about the same subject in the same environment. This exercise encouraged me to look for specific angles, I took different pictures that I normally wouldn’t and I also learned that I should take my wide angle lens with me as well (or just the whole camera bag) just in case… every time. Lesson learned.

Same image, different crops

Original

Original

Crop 1

Crop 1

Crop 2

Crop 2

Crop 3

Crop 3

Crop 4

Crop 4

I prefer the third crop as the subject has an area to look into, the viewer tends to follow someone’s gaze and his position also suggests he is going to move to the right hence creating a dynamic and balanced image. Placing the horizon higher gives greater amount of foreground (grass) which enhances his position, overall it is a much better composition than the first or the fourth crop.

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