Adjusting the balance between person and space

I was not too sure how to approach this exercise , the brief is a bit ambiguous, “produce two images using the same general viewpoint and composition, varying the balance of attention between the person (or people) and the setting they are in” Pg 47 Photography 1: People and Place Open College of the Arts . Should I be trying to take them on the same day , one after the other? Or perhaps on different days altering the general viewpoint of the same place? Another consideration is how can I use the same composition but alter the balance? Focal length is an obvious consideration  when trying  to alter the balance in the frame, but surely if the focal length is  changed the composition is therefore altered! Oh dear my brain refuses to comprehend what must  surely be glaringly simple.   Scale within the composition is what I should be considering rather than concerning myself with the nuances.   Reading it again I  decided that it was better to take the two images one after the other , this enabled me to practice framing quickly and to try and alter the balance between person and place.

A major hindrance when photographing people is that they are unpredictable, once the shutter is released what is captured only represents a fragment of time, once passed the moment is gone.  Thinking back to all the previous projects and exercises they are all leading up to this point in the course , all the strands are coming together to put into practice how to photograph people and the places they inhabit with as much visual variety as possible.  To achieve diversity focal length, framing, and viewpoint, all need to be considered, at the same time as predicting what will happen in front of the camera, quite a skill to try and accomplish! I have chosen to show two examples, the first using differing focal lengths from the same viewpoint the second using the same focal length but altering the balance by waiting for my subject to get closer to me.

Example 1.I took the following two images using a 28-75mm zoom, both were taken from exactly the same viewpoint within a couple of minutes of each other. The shorter focal length obviously includes more visual information about the place than the longer one . A zoom lens is useful and versatile in a situation like this and it is difficult to change lenses quickly. Far differing focal lengths, for example a very wide view of 10-20mm compared to a 200-300mm from the same viewpoint would be far more effective to alter the balance  between person or place in a situation like this.

F9      1/100        ISO 200        @ 28mm        Daylight WB

 F14       1/100             @ 75mm         ISO 200           Daylight WB

Example 2.I spotted this old man climbing up a hill in Penzance and took the first image as he walked towards me. The second image was taken as he got closer to me. My viewpoint remained unchanged but the balance was altered simply by him physically moving towards me, and required just  a quick click of the shutter as he approached and turned to face me.

F7.1       ISO 200       1/60         @ 35mm


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