Assignment 3. Colour. Tutor report.



Open College of the Arts
Tutor report


Student name  
Sue Churchman
Student number           
Art of Photography
Assignment number      


Dear Sue

Many thanks for the assignment and well done for completing in what I know how difficult circumstances at times.
Overall Comments

The assignment was submitted with digital files and learning log for commentary.  This was followed up with a set of prints.  For comment on the individual images, the prints were used.
This assignment has come together well – considering your rather nomadic travels over the past few months.  It is good to see how you have been able to utilize the opportunities to take images.

You are showing good experimentation with subjects for your work and this is allowing you to develop a wide range of skills
 have made some amendments to your categories below.
Amendments to category for some images:

On Fire – move to similar colour

Café Zik – move to colour contrast

Colour Wheel – place in colour contrast section

Nibbles – remove from set

Ancient and Unloved – move to complementary

Feedback on assignment
Colour Harmony
Reflective Thoughts

In this image it is really good to read on the blog how the Tom Wood exhibition has inspired you.  The reflection does work well against the window display.  The curve with the diagonal framing adds dynamism.  There is clear colour harmony
On Fire
In this image the composition is very strong.  However I could not see the indigo colour – the print is far redder/orange then the web copy.  I would consider placing this as a similar colour

This print has clear blue and orange as the two main colours.  The detail of the rust is captured.  There is a slight blur on the bottom of the net (at the bottom edge of the frame).  A square crop could remove this – the square also changes the composition as the ring becomes more dominant.

An interesting approach which shows the colours well.  The blurs probably need to more part of the frame to have more impact.  A longer shutter speed with movement to the camera can help achieve this (this techniques is real trial and error!) 

Below is one of my own Images (I don’t often include my own work – but blurry lights is something that I have been taking for many years).

Similar Colours

Café Zik

First of all I would swap this image to contrasting colour.  The colours of the purple and yellow are complementary and do draw the eye to the image.  This is an interesting viewpoint ass the image seems to be taken from a low viewpoint.  Do keep experimenting with scenes such as this as it is good to take images to explore.  For examples shooting through the pattern in the chair backs could be interesting.

Village Communication

In this image the red does dominate, as it is so strong.  The little pink hue behind then picks up the colour.  You have written well about the composition of this image on your blog.  However do watch out for clipping the bottom edge of the telephone box on the bottom edge of the frame.

The warmth of the pots with the soft muted tones works well to give similar colours.  The repetition of the curves throughout the frame lead eye around.

Colour Wheel

This is an additional image and a really good example of how colour can be used as the main component of an image.  Well executed and framed.  This image could be used in colour contrast to replace Nibbles.
 Colour Contrast


In this image red and green are used, which are complementary colours.  As this image is weaker artistically I would remove from set and replace with the colour wheel image, which has clear contrasting colours.
Mixed Primaries

This image clearly has colour contrast.  The image is well composed.  I am not sure if the soft focus on the top pencil shaving is successful.  When trying different amounts of focus when using depth of field (particularly when working close up) - it is worth taking a few at different apertures.
Ancient and Unloved

This is a well-composed image with soft tones.  The blue and orange are complementary colours and you should move this image to that set (it will replace the On Fire image).

This image has clear contrasting colours with the red and blue.  The diagonal framing leads the eye across the frame and the vertical lines combined with the curves of the carvings allow the eye to circle round inside the frame.
Colour Accent

Keeping Fit
In this image the bull is the colour accent.  It is quite dominant in the frame in terms of size.

Red Danger

This image shows a clear accent with the red van.  This is much less dominant in size in the frame than the example above.  The line of trees creates a frame to pull the eye to the colour accent.

In this image the gold acts as the accent to pull the eye into the frame.  I would crop the image to remove the scissor handle on the right hand edge of the frame, as this is distracting to the eye.
St Christopher’s Place

The red is clearly a colour accent here.  The framing is interesting as the eye at first struggles to understand the scene.  An interesting and well observed image.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays Context
Your log is showing good development.  Do remember to add in research – for example the Tom Wood exhibition you went to.

Do also tag any post with research in clearly with ‘research’ so that it shows up nice and clearly in your labels list.  For formal assessment the assessors like to be able to navigate to your research really easily.

 suggested reading/viewing
Do continue to visit exhibitions as and when you get the chance.

 Pointers for the next assignment

Assignment 4

Applying Lighting Techniques

Your next assignment is on lighting techniques.  This is an assignment that can challenge many students.  The key is to consider carefully your choice of object to photograph.  To help you with the assignment look at a range of still-life photography.  It is not so easy to recommend photographers to look at, however you can look at a variety of images in magazines and brochures.  You should note how different types of lighting could change the mood of the image and the appearance of the subject.

In addition, don’t just stick to the obvious viewpoints – think creatively how you can photograph the object – front on, side on, looking up, looking down, looking inside, looking across in fact any which way!   Seriously don’t just stick with the obvious and take time to play around with a variety of lighting.

 For photographers who use natural lighting you can look at the still-life work of Edward Weston. 

Landscape photographer David Ward is renowned for his use of natural light when shooting close up details on location.
There are many video tutorials on the web, which provide good techniques on lighting.

This link provides a useful demonstration on using a reflector:

 For a good series of video tutorials on lighting the following site is useful

then go to the video library section.  The early videos – episodes 1-6 are particularly useful for some DIY equipment tips.

 Another very useful site for video tutorials is:

 For details on using off-camera flash the following website is useful:

There is also an American commercial photographer who posts useful videos on his blog with regard to the use of studio lighting – this may suit your style of photography:

 Consider how the light can change dramatically during the day – from early morning to the midday sun to the evening sun.  The colour of the light and intensity will change dramatically.  This assignment does not require any lighting equipment.  You can soften light by using reflectors – a piece of white card and piece of card covered in foil will achieve good results.  You can also diffuse light by shooting through a window, which you cover with a thin fabric or greaseproof type paper. 

In your notes do take the time to include details of your different lighting set ups – a simple drawing can help here.  Or alternatively photograph your set up – compact/mobile phone cameras are ideal for this.  The assignment requires you to experiment with a variety of different lighting.

it is worth taking the time with the assignment to be as creative and experimental as you can!

The links below are all good examples for the OCA group on Flickr and show very inventive choice of both lighting and subject!



Any queries do let me know.













Tutor name:
Andrea Norrington
2nd April 2013
Next assignment due
30th June 2013 (happy to extend if needed)

Assignment 2. Elements of Design. Tutor report.

As suggested by my tutor I am making reference to my feedback on my submission for Assignment 2, Elements of design. 

It has taken me a week or two to get around to this as I have moved to Muscat for one month to complete some work, now into week two and finding my feet and starting to find the time to go over Assignment 2 and make any changes I feel are necessary and to push on with Part 3, Colour. 

The amendments that I have elected to make are included in assignment 2.  

Feedback on assignment 2
Single Point
This is a very strong image.  You have considered the composition in order to keep it as uncluttered as possible.  The strong light adds to the translucence of the petals at the edges of the flower. One small point – where the pistil comes in from the edge of the frame is it slightly off from the corner.  You could crop the edge here to place the green right in the very corner and this would strengthen the composition even further.
Fig 1. 
I have selected another image taken of the Stargazer Lily,this time a vertical image, and using photoshop editing have cropped this image to ensure the pistil of the flower comes into the frame from the corner.  This I feel gives the viewer a distinctly different image from the original submitted, there is a loss of colour at the base of the image, the crop had removed some of the petals but what remain appear translucent as before. 

Two points
Where you have taken inspiration from Beth Eggleston – it would be good to drop an example of the image in here for reference if you can.  The decrease in aperture shows good understanding of exposure control.    The composition has something unnerving about it – I think it may be with the left flower being cropped in the frame.  The image does challenge the viewer from conventional flower photography.

Several Points
In this image the arrangement has been created to form the triangle shape.  The red of the petals do work with the red in the leaf and you were right to leave it in colour.  For me the composition is unbalanced.  There is so much going on in the right of the frame and it all peters out to the left – the image feels as if it wants to tip over.

I tried a square crop below, which is an alternative.  This is an image that you may wish to rework.  A darker background may also help add weight to the image.

Combination of Vertical and Horizontal Lines
This is a strong image; I particular like the more unusual colours of the flowers.  The lighting is good as the petals are clearly seen with detail and texture but without being overexposed (so easily done with white petals).

You have cropped tight on the vertical edges to the flowers, however a gap is at the top.  I would experiment with a tighter crop all around, and one where you leave a gap all around.  See which you prefer.

In this image the subject matter is very abstract.  The image is quite dark and could be lightened.  The focus is very soft with only the water droplet sharp.  By making this part of the image lighter you can draw the eye to it more obviously.

These are beautiful roses  - the curves of the petals have been well captured.  The soft lighting allows the colours to be kept. A wonderful image – well done.

A very interesting composition where the contrast of the different textures plays a major part in the image.   The lighting has been kept soft to allow this texture to be seen.  You are clearly gaining confidence in using studio set ups and this will be further developed in assignment 4.

Implied Triangle 1
A very effective composition.  Again the lighting has been selected to tone with the softness of the objects uses.  The use of the tint in the background here also adds to the image.  It is a refreshing change from harsh white.

Implied Triangle 2
An image full of triangles!  The lighting here is more direct with the shadow adding the triangles that have been formed.

For this image you have used Photoshop to manipulate the image.  However I think the image is strong on its own without this.  You could consider subduing the colour rather than removing it completely.  However I would look at this image again. 

Again another strong image where you have clearly considered the composition.  I would consider that a little more light (reflected in) could be added to the back layer of petals.  This would help to lift them from the background.  Otherwise a good image.


Assignment 1. Contrasts. Tutor Report

Assignment 1.  Contrasts
Tutor report

Having received and taken on board the comments and advice from my tutor I have made several adjustments to Assignment 1. 

All of which will be added to this my learning blog, over the next few days.  The changes will be included in the assignment alongside my original submissions.. with information as to what changes I have made and why they have been made.

Dear Sue

Many thanks for your first assignment and the link to the blog.  It is good to see your work (and get an insight into Oman as well as your other travels).

If you have any queries with any aspect of this feedback please do get in touch.  With regard to filters, which I know you are about to purchase I would again recommend that you look at neutral density filters and in addition I would think a polarizing filter will be most useful to help with the glare from the very bright light conditions.


Overall Comments

The assignment was submitted as a series of digital files via a link on Skydrive.  A link to the blog was also sent.  Accompanying information for the images was contained in a blog post for the assignment.


The assignment was clearly presented on the blog with information to explain each of the images.  In your explanation you are clearly describing your intention with each image.  In addition you are starting to reflect on how you can change or improve your images.  Do continue to do this with future assignments.


It is clear that you considering your images and taking the time to explore the settings on your camera.  Do continue to add in the technical settings on your photographs, as it will help you to learn the f.stops and how they affect the depth of field in images.


The range of subjects shows a good insight to your various types of photographs.  It is clear that the images of natural forms – for many,few and rounded are a particular strength.


Assessment potential (after Assignment 1)

“Formal Assessment: You may want to get credit for your hard work and achievements with the OCA by formally submitting your work for assessment at the end of the module. More and more people are taking the idea of lifelong learning seriously by submitting their work for assessment but it is entirely up to you. We are just as keen to support you whether you study for pleasure or to gain qualifications.  Please consider whether you want to put your work forward for assessment and let me know your decision when you submit assignment 2.  I can then give you feedback on how well your work meets the assessment requirements.”


Feedback on assignment


In this image you have shown a waterway.  This is shown to be very narrow.  The image has a mountainous background, which sets the context.  I would consider cropping the sky out of the image, as it is so much brighter than the rest of the image.   The crop then reduces the scene and draws the eye much more to the waterway.  This crop could also be used to eliminate the person as they stand out due to the red clothing.  An example crop is below.






In this image the river contrasts to the previous.  The width is clearly seen.  The pier/jetty at the bottom right of the frame helps to anchor the image.  The soft light avoids harsh shadows and the image many features soft tones of greens and blues.



This image works well with the following image due to location chosen.  The low tug contrasts to the crane shown in the next image. The bright colours dominate.  The image is a little light and could be darkened slightly.  This will help to intensify the colours.



In this image the crane is the ‘high’ point.  However I feel that this needs to dominate the frame more to make the point.  One option is as you say to use a longer lens.  Using a longer lens also helps to compress the distance so that elements within the frame appear closer together.  Another option is to do a selective crop of the frame.  A quick example is shown below.



This is a very strong image.  The depth of field has been controlled so that only a few are in focus.  The selection of main flower in the middle as the focal point is well considered.  The exposure is well controlled.  A wonderful image – well done.



This image contrasts well with the previous.  The use of the sodium vapour white balance setting gives a slightly unreal effect to the image.  The small depth of field has been well utilized to bring the front bloom to prominence.



A well spotted subject where you have used the lines of the posts to lead your eye around the frame.    The image is quite light in some areas.  There are several techniques in Photoshop that you can use to selectively darken and lighten areas.  This video gives a good tutorial on one method.

When taking images such as this, do consider where you put the focal point – this is the part of the image should go to first.  In this image the post in the foreground appears to be the focal point but is out of focus.



This image shows the rollercoaster to its full scale.  The use of the angle allows the loop to be shown and the straight track.  Hope you enjoyed the ride!



This is a strong pairing and shows good originality of thought.  The softness of the clay has been captured by the slight blur on the wheel.  The colours are also soft which further adds to the feel of the image.   The line at the bottom right is slightly distracting but appreciate that it was probably hard to avoid.



This image contrasts to the previous – here the colours and the object are harder in feel.  The burner is slightly off centre in the frame with the right edge clipped – this is something to watch for when composing images.



The cable here is shown to be rough.  The composition is good with the cable at an angle dissecting the frame.  I think you could go in even closer here for a more abstract image.  The small depth of field is well chosen to blur out the background.



This contrasts well to the previous in terms of subject matter.  I think again you could go in even closer here to abstract the object.  Assignment 2 is a good place to start with making abstract images.



This image shows the diagonal by way of the segments in the fruit.  The use of the purple offsets the green – something you will see more of in assignment 3.  The fruits could fill the frame more so that there is less of the purple and more sense of the lines diagonally radiating out.  An alternative would be to shoot a similar shot to rounded but place the object(s) on the diagonal.



This image of the flowers shows rounded and repeats the shape via the flower centres and the shapes formed by the petals.  The bottom flower is in sharp focus whereas the top one is out of focus.  The lighting is well controlled as harsh shadows are avoided.  There is a small glimmer of something in the bottom right, which is distracting.



A very well executed image of the pencil shaving.  The bright orange gives a real edge to the image and complements the hint of blurred blue in the background. 



A simple but well staged image that illustrates pointed very clearly.  Well done.

Diagonal and Rounded

The large barrels in the cellar work incredibly well against the lines formed by the diagonals.  The light has been controlled well.  The wide lens allows for all the view to be seen – however do watch for the effect of distortion when shooting very wide.









Learning Logs/Critical essays

The log is showing good development of the exercises.  These are being regularly posted.  The explanation is clear and it is good how you are making comments on your thoughts on each exercise.  Please continue to do this.  You will find as you progress through the course and your technical and artistic knowledge increases that you are able to comment more and more on each of the exercises.


Do remember that you can go back and add to any part of the course.  No part of the course is ever finished until you submit for formal assessment!


I did particularly enjoy the images you took at Portobello Road.  This type of approach is very suitable to assignments later on in the course.




Suggested reading/viewing

You are starting to mention looking at the work of other photographers – you make reference to The Photographers Eye and Johannes Itten in the post on Assignment 1.  Do continue to expand on this.  It is good to see that you are visiting exhibitions and including images from these visits. 


Pointers for the next assignment

Elements of Design


For assignment 2 you are required to look at elements of design.  The key to this assignment is to select from ONE of the group of subjects listed. 

Photographers you could look at for each group are:


Flowers and plants

Niall Benvie; Heather Angel; Ernst Haas, Robert Mapplethorpe (the flower images only!!)



Ansel Adams; Charlie Waite, Joe Cornish; John Davies


Street details

Lee Friedlander (the urban images); Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Raghubir Singh,


Raw Materials of Food

Edward Weston (still lifes); Irving Penn (still lives); for animals look at Steve Bloom; Andy Rouse.


If you wish to choose your own subject, please let me know in advance.






Tutor name:
Andrea Norrington
2nd April 2012
Next assignment due
30th June 2012