Hello everybody, Mason here. I’m a new member of the Web Comm team, well, sort of new, I’ve been here for two months. You might recognize the name from a brief post I did a few weeks back or from the recent campus communications workshop that the web marketing team was a part of. Anyhow, let this be my official introduction into the Web Comm blogosphere.
The first thing you should know about me: I’m a photographer. Or better yet, I’m OU’s photographer. I’m here to get great images of OU’s campus, student life, faculty, staff and traditions (amongst other things). I LOVE taking pictures. It’s what I’ve always done. Finding that balance between objective documentation and artistic expression is what I love to do, and I’m one of the few lucky ones who happen to make a living doing it.
That said, I’m also beginning a weekly blog post that’ll feature five of my photos centered around a certain theme. As you might have guessed, I’ll be posting it on Friday. Cute title, eh?
For future reference, these photos (and more) are available to you in all their high resolution glory. Just shoot Morgan (firstname.lastname@example.org) an email about which photo you want along with its intended use and she will (most likely) be able to send you the high-res version.
This week, let’s take a look at some of my favorite sculpture shots around campus.
No. 1 “Disc Ruin”
With an object like this, located on one of the busiest places on campus, there’s literally thousands of pictures of this thing already. A question I’m constantly having to ask myself is, “How can I differentiate my photography from everybody else’s?” It’s a good question. One that I’m finding to be more and more important as the days go by, and as my surroundings become more and more familiar. Creating interest in the photo was the goal here. I kept three things in mind: Framing, depth of field and lighting. A great way to highlight the fact that an object is a circle is by placing it dead center in a square frame. More interesting though is what the sculpture itself framed, the walking path in the background. I kept a shallow depth of field to keep the focus on the sculpture. Just as important though is the time of day I shot this. Most of the pics you’ll see of this on instagram, flickr or wherever were probably shot mid-day. In my opinion, Mid-day = terrible pictures. The noon sun creates high contrast, harsh shadows and blown out backgrounds. This photo was shot a little before 8am where the sun was at an angle and casting softer, warmer light.
No. 2 “The Spoon Holder”
Again, the challenge here is finding out how to take an interesting picture of something you’ve seen a hundred times over. One great piece of advice: change perspective. When shooting anything, whether a friend’s portrait or a cupcake you’re about to devour, consider perspective. Most of the time, being on the same level as your subject will make worlds of difference in your pictures. Most people don’t realize that because it often means getting down low (and sometimes dirty). Because this object is so short I had to lie down on the grass, in the dew, while people looked at me like I was a weirdo. But if I got the shot… totally worth it.
No.3 “The Dance”
I’m featuring this one not so much because of anything photography related but just because it’s my favorite piece on campus. The way her pose and dress seem frozen in movement make it seem picturesque to me.
No. 4 The Fountain in front of Adam’s Hall
For this shot, I wanted to try and capture as much of the surroundings as possible. In order to do that I was forced to use our 16-35mm lens. I say forced because I’m not the biggest fan of wide angle zooms. Typically, I’ll shoot with our 35mm prime lens, and that’s usually wide enough to take care of 90% of the situations I find myself in. But, on occasion, I need something a little wider like in the shot above. I ended up hopping up on the rails lining the water to get some height on the fountain, and, using the rule of thirds, framed the shot. The reason I don’t like shooting at such a wide angle is because of the inherent distortion that you’ll notice around the edges. Look at the top right corner of the picture and you can see what I’m talking about. Now, this is something that can be fixed in lightroom or photoshop, but I like to get as much right in camera and rely as little as possible on post processing.
No. 5 Bizzell Library Statues
For this last picture I wanted to touch on a hotly debated topic in the photography world. It’s know as “The Dutch Angle” (or “dutch tilt”). What that’s referring to is, not surprisingly, the angle that a picture is taken. For more examples click THIS! Some photographers hate it while others do it all the time. Why is it such a point of division? Basically, some photographers see it as a cheap way to make a not-so-interesting shot into a sort-of-interesting shot. The picture above is a perfect example. When I was shooting this, I wanted to grab as much drama as I could from the statue. I played with the settings, swapped lenses, moved around a bit to change my perspective but to no avail. The statue was 7 feet above me and there was no way around that (unless we had a drone). So, I framed the statue in my viewfinder and annoyingly tilted my camera to create the angle you see above. The shot came through, and it was, indeed, a sort-of-interesting shot.
So, what’s your take… are you for or against the Dutch Angle?
See ya next Friday!