Whatever the success of my first portfolio submission (see last post), it’s time to move on to the next two daunting photo class assignments.

Although, I have to say, even if I flunk out and the professor says I have no talent and will never have talent, I have learned such a tremendous amount, it’s staggering. And we’re only 4 weeks into the course.

When I started, I couldn’t work with my camera outside the Auto mode. Now I shoot every shot completely in Manual, setting aperture, shutter speed, ISO and metering.

And the assignments have really opened up my way of thinking about taking a photograph. The latest projects, received last Thursday and due March 6 and 13, are no exception. I’d love it if anyone wanted to join me in this and post to Flickr. I could use the support. Click “read more” to see the assignments.

(By the way, the image, of course is not mine, but from Ansel Adams, who never would have followed any of the assignments laid out in this post. He never seemed to monkey with depth of field or focus or panning. He almost always got everything in focus in all his photos. Then held the camera still and took great art. But for those of us who aren’t Ansel Adams, the assignment may prove valuable and fun.)

ASSIGNMENT: Motion, Due March 6

Turn in three images capturing motion following the perameters below.

RULES: The same focal length lens must be used for all shots. No photos of cars, motorbikes or other vehicles allowed!

Shoot this assignment B&W.

A) Freeze or Stop Motion

Use a person or animal to defy gravity

*Use a shutter speed of 1/125th or higher
*Shoot in bright daylight (uh, when?)
*Shoot within 10 feet of your subject

B) Blurred Motion to Emphasize Movement

Describe motion with the flow of time by slowing down time

*Use a shutter speed of 1/30th to 1 second
*Shoot your subject moving across your field of vision, not toward you
*Shoot in low light or shaded areas to allow for a slow shutter speed
*Shoot between 3 to 8 feet

C) Panning

Show the world rushing by at warp speed

*Move the camera with your moving subject to blur the background.
*Experiment with many shutter speeds from 1/60 and slower
*When you are photographing the subject, use a tripod and pivot the camera from left to right.

ASSIGNMENT: Depth of Field/Space, Due March 13th

Turn in three images capturing motion following the perameters below.

RULES: The same focal length lens must be used for all shots.

A) Shallow Depth of Field

*Use the widest aperture your lens has
*Shoot in bright light outdoors
*Keep the focus on the front subject/object
*Shoot within 3-5 feet of the nearest object/subject noting how close your lens can focus
*Experiment with different vantage points and subject-to-camera distances

B) Great Depth of Field

*Use an aperture of F/16 or F/22
*Shoot in bright enough light to get a proper exposure
*Keep the focus on the front object/subject
*Create equal importance throughout the scene with equal sharpness. The foreground and back ground are tied together to define the space.

C) Select Focus

*Use aperture of F/4 or the widest your lens has
*Shoot in bright enough light to get a proper exposure
*Focus on middle ground subject
*The foreground and background should be out of focus and your middle ground subject should “pop” forward

If I’m sussing out this professor correctly, it’s not going to be enough just to complete the technical aspect of the assignment. She’s going to want reason and sense behind the composition. For instance, there should be a visual and communication reason behind why something is blurred in a photo and something is drawn out in focus.

I have to say, this is the best part of this class. I’d never challenge myself to this extent if I were just trying to struggle through learning photography on my own.

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