Exercise 2.2: Viewpoint

28th February 2021

Does zooming in from a fixed viewpoint change the appearance of things?

Select your longest focal length and compose a portrait shot fairly tightly within the frame in front of a background with depth. Take one photograph. Then walk towards your subject while zooming out to your shortest focal length. Take care to frame the subject in precisely the same way in the viewfinder and take a second shot.

OCA EYV (2014: Exercise 2.2: Viewpoint)

Location

This exercise was completed around Lake Lothing in Lowestoft, Suffolk. This walk was chosen because the journey takes me through contrasting environments which will enable many different backgrounds to be shot and compared for this assignment.

Technical

  • Camera: Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
  • Lens: Panasonic 14-42mm (28mm-84mm 35mm equivalent) f/8, 14mm, 42mm
  • Settings: Aperture Priority, ISO 200, W.B. Direct Sunlight, Spot metering
  • File type: RAW

Reflection

I found the technique quite confusing. I could not remember which came first, the longest focal length or the shortest focal length. On numerous occasions I approached the order incorrectly, so I had to re-shoot some images, which, to be honest, did elevate my blood pressure.

The other difficulty that I found that arose was the framing of my subject. The portrait was meant to be shot tightly within the frame but on three occasions I had shot with my camera in landscape orientation which meant that too much background appeared within the composition.

On writing this evaluation and looking at the images that were shot in landscape orientation, I have found that these shots have an abundance of information on how viewpoints and sharpness change with the different positioning of the camera and subject.

While completing this shoot, I was curious to see what would happen to the backgrounds if my subject had their photograph taken in front of a rising background and a sloping one. For these images I placed my subject on the middle step on a bridge and I shot upwards, and on a pathway that sloped downwards slightly. The end results were very interesting and showed dramatic changes from one image to the next.

The results

The contact sheet below shows exercises 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4.

The difference when comparing the shots were quite amazing. I hadn’t thought that shooting in a variety of situations would throw up such a diverse set of background changes. In fact I have found comparing the images within the pairs and within the images as a set very educational.

The differences noted are:

  • Subject matter is in focus in both images however the background is either in focus or slightly out of focus. The larger the focal length of the lens the more out of focus the background will be
  • Different focal lengths emphasise different elements within the picture frame, some elements disappearing altogether
  • Perspective becomes distorted

Further research

Taking into account that some of my outcomes from this shoot were gained by incorrect procedure, I will need to re-shoot this exercise. The retaking of the images will help me to gain a fair test result by completing the exercise technique as explained within the OCA EYV course folder. As well as satisfying the college brief, reshooting this exercise will also help me to secure the practice within my head, enabling me to recall the technique naturally and quickly if I needed when out on a shoot.

Another aspect that I will focus on in my second shoot is the focal length of the lens. I will take a zoom lens with me and shoot one image at 28mm and another with a larger focal length than previously used. This will increase my visual learning and I will be able to see in my minds eye how images will behave with different focal lengths used.


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