Assignment 3: applying what you have learned so far

[20 – 30 photographs, 12 to be submitted for the assignment]

Think of it as a photographic essay, and put a premium on the variety of images it offers – for instance, variety of scale, of color, of composition and of quality and intensity of light.

For this assignment I chose to focus on the contrast between the industry and nature in my neighbourhood. I wanted to show the relationship between industry and the Saltholme nature reserve. The nature reserve was created as a result of the local industry, so without one you can’t have the other. I found this to be a challenge to try and capture shots where the industry and nature co-exist.


Teesside has a large petro-chemical industry, consisting of chimneys, cooling towers which are set in a mixture of shrub and grassland along the River Tees. I took this photo to set the scene and give a context for the images that follow.

Cropped skyline

Following my tutor’s feedback I cropped some of the cloud out to produce a letterbox effect which really gives a better sense of scale of the industrial facility, whilst retaining the cloudy sky.


2. The RSPB nature reserve at Saltholme has enabled people to come and enjoy a variety of nature walks. I used a shallow depth of field to emphasize the sign in the foreground, which eludes to the people out of focus in the background.

Repositioning the sign

My tutor liked the bokeh effect I had created of the people in the background by using a wide aperture (f/4.5) but although the sign was sharply focused he suggested that it was too tight to the edge of the frame. Luckily I had taken a horizontal and vertical version of this viewpoint. It was easier to crop the horizontal version (above). I feel that this second version works better. The positioning of both points (the people and the sign) so that the sign is further away from the edge of the frame has meant that there is a closer relationship between them. The sign refers to people keeping to the footpath and then your eyes are drawn to the blurred figures in the background.

3. The vertical chimneys that impose on the surrounding countryside.

My tutor suggested that a more dramatic shot would be more appropriate here. I can see how this would create greater variation in the types of photos for this assignment. Following my tutor’s suggestion I returned to the same location early in the morning whilst the sun was low. I captured the below image, I altered the saturation and colour temperature slightly to create a more dramatic image.

Image 3 change


4. The intention of this image (above) was to contrast the structure of the wheat with the chimneys in the background. I wanted this to be subtle so I used a shallow dof to keep the focus on the wheat. I also used a vertical frame to fit the structure of the chimneys and crop. My tutor suggested improving the contrast. I have increased the contrast and saturation (below) to give more depth to the view.

Changed contrast and saturation


5. By rotating the camera I used the chimney and smoke to create a triangle. That something considered to make the landscape look ugly can be made into something more visually pleasing. I then converted it to black and white to emphasize the white of the white smoke. Below I have followed my tutor’s advice and cropped some of the top right-hand corner since the main area of interest is opposite.

Cropped top right-hand corner


6. Panning and using a fast shutter speed enabled me to blur the bridge in the background whilst the bird remains focused. My tutor had suggested rotating the image slightly to make the bridge deck horizontal. I have done this in the image below.

Bridge levelled


7. These telegraph poles create an implied inverted triangle. My tutor liked the symmetry of this shot but felt that I should have made more of the masts and the the red balls hanging off the wires. Subsequently I returned to the original image and increased the frame so that the masts had some space from the edges. I then increased the saturation to bump up the the blue sky and green grass. The red balls still looked insignificant so I then used Aperture’s dodge tool to increase the exposure of the red balls, which stand out better against the contrasting blue sky (below).

Dodged and cropped


8. The RSPB visitors centre is a magnificent building, having won a number of awards for it’s environmentally friendly design. I used this shot to capture the curvature of the building whilst retaining the context of the industry and conservation area in the background.


9. Shallow dof and a single point. I was very pleased with my tutor’s feedback for this image.

10. Smoke trailing across the frame. I wanted this image to be dark due to the nature of the industry. My tutor had suggested that capturing the lights of the setting at night would add a splash of bright colour. This is an area that I had never been to at night. When I arrived the industrial landscape was spectacular. I was unable to safely get to the same spot where I photographed image 10, but I wanted to try a type of image that my tutor had suggested which I have included below.

Industry at night - replacement for image 10


11. Red accent and sense of scale. The pylon dominates the image, reflecting into the water near the duck.


12. Capturing the right moment. I waited until the bird was looking towards the blurred bridge in the background. The bridge is probably too blurred for this to be a stand alone image, something my tutor pointed out, but it fits this set because the bridge has already been illustrated. The barbed wire is crooked in this image so I realigned it in Aperture and dodged the bird to increase the feather colour and detail (below).

Re-aligned horizon

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