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Assignment 5 Feedback

Posted in Assignment reports on April 29, 2011 by Judy Bach

I found the final assignment challenging for various reasons so I am very pleased with my final report. I really value Robert’s observations and suggestions, who comments “this is good work showing attitude , feeling and atmosphere“. I am glad my Blog received a thumbs up too —“Your blog looks good“. How I hated using a blog initially , I felt exposed. I am a private person who keeps most thoughts to myself, I hated “going public” but have come to quite enjoy blogging. Robert has made some interesting suggestions that I would like to explore further following on from this assignment. Reading a critique of one’s own personal work can be difficult but it is important to look upon it not as criticism but as a guide to improvement. His comments about some individual images reflect to an extent some of my own thoughts when choosing my final selection. Robert commented my images “could easily be used for a magazine article about teenagers” but he also noted that my client brief was not really specific enough, “what would that magazine article be about ?”. Thinking about this with hindsight I agree, and now realise it probably made the assignment more difficult for me in terms of creating a cohesive set of images .

A successful “moody portrait


 Your Worst Nightmare

Robert liked the image but questioned its inclusion as he felt ” in a documentary article you need to stick to the actual facts” . Interestingly my husband also felt this one image was out of place and suggested I did not include it in my final selection. Reflecting on this I can agree that it probably is not a depiction of an actual event but a state of mind. My interest in surrealism has grown during the course and is something I would like to explore further but can understand why it really was not ideal to include this particular photograph with the assignment .

Community youth centre

Robert commented” Its a telling atmospheric shot” but ,and I agree completely, it would be so much better with youngsters in the frame. Time and opportunity meant I took the chance of including a people less shot. How I wish I had forced myself to just go and take it!

The Stare

Robert liked the direct eye contact of the taller boy but felt I should have waited for a more “engaging” look from the other two subjects in the frame, I was aware that their facial expressions were not as direct or as interesting .Following Robert’s observation I have cropped the image to exclude the other boy as this seems to intensify his stare. Interestingly whilst leafing through my paper cuttings I came across a piece about Alberto Korda who cropped his iconic image of Che Guevara to specifically “highlight the intense gaze”of his subject  (The Observer 07/03/10) Link to image of Che below.

However I would still have liked to have got the taller boy either on his own , or as Robert has said should have just waited for the right moment.

Welcoming committee

I nearly did not include this image, I was really unsure if the light was alright. I am so glad I did as Robert felt “ this is one of the best shots” , both my husband and eldest daughter urged me to use this, sometimes it helps to ask other peoples’ opinion as they are often far more objective. Robert felt this should have been my opening shot, I found it quite difficult to decide on my initial image, and think he is probably right. But as I commented in my assignment notes I wanted each image to be considered individually, not to be seen as a story as such , with a beginning, middle and end , but as a photographic essay with a common theme.

The Cage

Another atmospheric and telling shot” but “weakened” by lack of people. I was very aware that my presence around the youth centre might possibly be misconstrued. I felt horribly self- conscious and was not allowed inside the youth centre (any youth workers must have a CRB check). Access to the cage was only available through the centre but it is visible from behind the building. I had envisaged perhaps being able to take a shot through the wire fence whilst it was occupied but felt just too uncomfortable. Although the course has helped me become more confident approaching strangers I felt really unable to take what I felt would be a sneaky shot ,I did not fancy having to explain myself to the local constabulary! I totally agree that the image loses impact due to lack of any inhabitants.


“Good as a simple portrait” but is not really informative in context with the assignment I set myself. Robert suggests it would work well in “another kind of assignment” concentrating on the facial expressions of young people. In a separate section of my blog I have written about my encounter with Roger, a much older man, I concentrated mainly on his expressions as I photographed him and this is certainly something I would like to expand on.

The Threat

Well composed “strong photo“. Following advice from Robert about being careful not to make my images be too saturated and have too much contrast I have been careful when processing them but he has advised me “I think you could safely increase contrast here” to improve the light which is rather “pale“. I shall be doing this as I also think my main subject’s face is too bleached out.


Good simple composition with the hair really standing out well” I am glad Robert liked this image. I usually prefer to use available light for most of my portraiture work but used flash to increase the saturation of her dyed hair ,the colour is so much a part of who she is.

Game induced trance

Robert said “the longer exposure time is interesting here” and “something worth exploring further“. I have started to experiment with long exposures and included one in each of my two previous assignments (On the Edge assignment 3, and Rush Hour assignment 4). As stated earlier I have developed a growing interest in surrealism that has led to me using longer exposure times and something I fully intend continuing with.

No Go Zone

A “strong shot” with a “wonderful blue cast “. I had only minutes to compose and obtain this shot and Robert felt the leading lines worked well drawing the eye into the frame towards the cyclists.

The Threat——more contrast

As suggested I have increased the contrast and additionally the saturation very slightly.

Assignment 4 feedback

Posted in Assignment reports on January 9, 2011 by Judy Bach

I am really pleased with the feedback for this assignment. Before Xmas I had emailed my tutor Robert to tell him I was not at all happy with what I had chosen to do and was going to re-take the whole assignment. However I finally chose not to (see blog entry Dilemma in Thoughts on progress section 14th December) and am so glad I submitted the set of images I had carefully planned and taken. I tried to use the light constructively for this assignment and Robert commented “You’ve managed to get across the atmosphere of the place by using the light and using backgrounds well” . Having been warned about over-saturating some of my images for assignment 3 I used softer more muted tones for this assignment , Robert commented ” What post-processing you have done is well balanced and doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb or detract from the theme here , which is embodied in the light, the connection people have to the sea, the sense of stillness or quietness and distance“. This does not mean I had not made mistakes, I closely framed a couple of the images and do agree with Robert’s critique that they would have worked far better with a wider view. He also had a couple of suggestions for some post-processing changes to be made in PS, which I shall also be doing, but on the whole a very positive and encouraging report.

Waiting.The light and space worked well according to Robert and he liked the conrast of the sharply focused boat against the background , but he felt the line of dark rocks behind cause a destraction.   Time to challenge my PS skills yet again, Robert has suggested some techniques to try. I am unsure as to the ethics of removing things that are physically present, the rocks form part of the bay the fisherman works in but can understand how the dark line does create an unwanted element in the frame.

Gone Fishing. I agree entirely with Robert’s comment about my framing, I have chopped part of his body off and there is too much empty space above his head! This would have been a much better composition if I had stood back a bit and included more detail in the frame. I love tightly framed portraits and could not resist taking this fisherman’s picture.

Mount’s Bay Rowing team. Again a tightly framed image that would have been better with a wider view, but with good colour and light Robert commented. He suggests removing the red sign in PS with the clone tool and I do agree. The blob (what else can I call it ?! ) of red colour is ugly and of no visual advantage at all. Now that it has been pointed out to me I find my eye keeps looking from the rowers across the frame towards it.

Time and Tide. I felt this was the most successful image of the assignment, and Robert commented ” This is a lovely atmospheric shot. You could print this as large as it’ll  go“So really pleased with feedback for this.

Rush hour. “A good wide landscape shot again considering light and colour well“.  But the ugly post in the foreground really needed to be avoided, quite a simple matter of me having moved nearer and additionally Robert further suggests cropping the right hand side to improve the composition and balance. I shall therefore crop as suggested , not too sure if Iwill be able to “remove that bar in Photoshop with some clever use of the clone tool” though!He also suggested this may have been the better first image of my assignment, I nearly chose this as my initial photograph and am cross I changed my mind.
The Mount’s Bay Duck.  Robert commented on the “lovely light” and the “strong and unusual subject” I chose for my final image. He mentioned he thought I should have perhaps waited to catch the occupant of the vehicle  in a more telling moment. I had not really considered the man’s movements or gestures and now realise this was a failing on my part as I was concentrating on the light and framing not the person within the vehicle.

Rush hour —-post removed in PS (uncropped version)

It was actually easier than I anticipated to remove the post, possibly due to the textures and tones of the beach and surrounding area, which made it more simple to make my removal look more  realistic than any of my usual attempts . The image is certainly improved by its removal , a valuable reminder to always check the composition BEFORE pressing the shutter!

Rush Hour ——cropped version.

As suggested by Robert I have also cropped about 3cm from the right hand side to improve the composition.

Mount’s bay rowing team ——-minus the red blob!

Waiting——-rocks less contrast

I managed to use the quick selection tool and reduce the contrast of the dark line of rocks as suggested by Robert, my PS skills are not great and I am sure there is a better way to do it than I managed but I will see how it looks when I print it. Re-reading Robert’s critique I realise he was not suggesting removing the line of rocks completely,  just to try and  “diminish its prominence“, which I feel has worked well.

Assignment 3 feedback

Posted in Assignment reports on October 6, 2010 by Judy Bach

I am relatively pleased with my feedback , Robert commented ” This is a good, extensively researched assignment” . However my use of closely framed objects for some of my images was, he felt, more about the object than the place. Reviewing these again I can see he is right. This is something I really need to consider, especially when preparing for the next assignment. He has given me a list of suggested reading/viewing, so I plan to spend some time doing this. Luckily I have a week off work soon and plan to use the time doing this research. Although Robert found my photo’s “well presented” he also felt I have a tendancy to over saturate and use high contrast, something I must bear in mind.

School images.

   I really needed to include more background information to show more of  the “school environment” .



  Aggh why did I choose such a shallow depth of field for this image? . I missed the opportunity to really show the large area of the classroom. This is something I really must start to consider, I often use a very wide aperture that enables me to shoot quickly and hand-held, but I had my tripod with me therefore there was really no need to do this. I like out of focus backgrounds but did not stop to consider that it would be detrimental to the impact of this image and its representation of how a space is used.

Robert felt this was the best of the school set but notes ” it’s clear your main focus is not on place but object” he is  right, I intended the pencil-case to be a symbol , therefore it is a photograph of an object not the place.

Shallow depth of field problem yet again which “denies any reading of the space”. I really need to consider how important background information is to help understand how the space is used in a building.



Museum images

  Robert liked how I had framed the old man but I had placed my subject too low in the frame He also felt the composition was most distracting, I did not include the step in the frame! He suggests cropping the image and also when in a situation like this to use flash in addition to the ambient light, as I have lost any light in the background thus excluding background detail. My failure to consider the lighting meant I lost an opportunity to capture a more detailed image.

Cropped. Reviewing the image I can see how badly I had framed my subject , I have cropped but still feel it is  less successful than I initially thought. It improves the composition, but I was unable to crop the distracting sign out entirely and still keep him framed by the doorway, which Robert did like. A reminder to always check for visual distractions and frame more carefully.

Robert commented my subject looks bored, Ireally thought I had caught him in a pensive mood—-he had just finished talking about his younger days , the backgound table is slanted and the background needs to be in focus as well as my subject to give a sense of place.

Robert thought it would have been interesting to have included any visitors in a wider angled view, we were the only visitors that day . I think perhaps the images below place a bit more emphasis on the building in use.

F6.3      1/80            ISO 400     @ 28mm        Custom WB      @ 5000

I love taking photographs of  mannequins etc , but I realise I was the dummy including these in the assignment because I can agree entirely with Robert’s view that they are about the object not the place. I allowed my heart to rule my head , wider angled views that  included the figures would have been far more visually imformative and perhaps have then shown the museum how I really wanted it to be seen.

I took a few wider views that also included  mannequins in the frame and reviewing these can see how they  give a sense of how the space is used, that my closely framed images do not.

Examples below.

F3.2 1/80  ISO 400 @ 28mm Custom WB @5000

Minack images.

Robert agreed it was ” a good idea” to photograph here during a performance and liked how I had framed the image. He did think I should have framed the actress in the middle differently and waited for her to move but it was quite difficult during a live perfomance . I personally like her central position and am unsure where else in the frame I could have placed her.

Robert commented fill in flash would have helped, but did acknowledge this was not feasable (flash was forbidden during the performance) . Although he thought the hues of the sunset were “ lovely” he felt a wider view would have made a better composition. I agree with this comment, sadly I am unable to return and retake this. The widest focal length lens I had with me on this night was 28mm.

Robert suggests that a much lower view from the stage area “could have been the decisive coverage“. Access was denied to the stage area during and after the performance but  I did return another day and took the image below from that viewpoint but did not feel it was such an interesting photograph as the one I finally chose to include in my assignment. Additionally a much wider view would be far more impressive and informative. Until I started this course I really did not use a wider angle of view for much of my photography, something I feel has hampered my attempts in this assignment and something I have not always considered when composing my shots.

Again a wider viewpoint would have improved the composition.






I have invested in an ultra wide 10-22mm lens and on a  return visit to Cornwall in April  2011 I managed to take some much wider images of the Minack Theatre as suggested, shame there was no performance. Images below were taken at 10mm and are visually more informative , the sheer scale of the Minack is far clearer here than with my previous images.

All images         F14             1/100            ISO 100          @ 10mm           Daylight WB

 Gwelva images.

  I agree with Robert’s comment that I needed a higher viewpoint  making the Mount take on more importance within the frame.

I was trying too hard here to make an image that says something about how it is seen and used.My attempt at an “arty” image” but without too much thought about how it would be interpreted. Robert  commented that ” the boat and the sea” create the “sense of place , use and interaction“, hence the depth of field is too shallow excluding what are the most important elements in the frame. The image below, excluding the sign, is more representative of what was needed and being asked for .

F7      1/400      ISO 100      @ 70mm     Daylight WB

A “nice sunny shot” but once again not wide enough excluding the surrounding area.

The most successful shot and one I was particularly pleased with.Robert commented “ I love the quality of the light, the expansive sense of space and particulary the sense of scale here” . He has suggested removing the small figure of a boy lying down in PS . I shall give it a go, but I rather liked him in the frame showing  how two individuals were using the space.

Gwelva # 4. Evening———–boy removed in PS 

This was quite awkward for me to do but viewing the image on my computer screen I can understand why Robert suggested doing it. The eye is lead  towards the small single figure in the frame , the boy created a distraction.But until I print it A4 size I will not be able to really judge just how accurate my PS work has been for this image!

My House images.

I must confess I was getting desperate for ideas when I took this image , and as Robert points out  although its “amusing” my closely framed image is once again about an object not the space!!! Wider (yet again) would have said more about the function of this room not the person within it.

I am glad Robert liked this image, a long exposure that took me ages to set up but has suggested cropping out the white walls which I will do. This suprises me as for the majority of my images I really needed to go wider.

Cropped. I think Robert’s suggestion to crop has improved the image. Attention is placed fully on the figure as “that’s what this is really about”

The surgery images.

This set of images were the last ones I took and I feel more successful in fulfilling the brief of the assignment. Perhaps I was starting to consider more how and what to frame ,however I could still have gone wider .

Toxic  although “interestingly manipulated”,Robert advised me that I needed to perhaps include the surrounding area to create a more “powerful” image.

I have re-taken and included more of the surrounding area. The room itself is an L shape and quite difficult to include everything so I do not think these images below are exceptionally great. I can see that by taking a wider viewpoint the purpose of the room and how it is used is better portrayed. I have created 2 more versions of the image as my original idea was to try and convey the halluciogenic effect of drugs but actually now feel the 3nd (normal) version works better with the other images as a coherent set.

Assignment 2 Feedback

Posted in Assignment reports on July 7, 2010 by Judy Bach

Some  thoughts .

I made mistakes in assignment 2.I realised the light was causing problems, and noted it down in my journal notes, but failed to really consider alternative viewpoints, or methods of dealing with it, such as fill in flash. Fill in flash would have helped improve at least two portrait type images , Follow the Jester and Queen of May for the day. I think the most successful image, from a personal point of view, was my final one, Time to go home. Robert noted “here you have managed to capture a strong feeling that is lacking in some of the other portraits”  I really thought about how to use the lower lighting later in the day to my advantage, although Robert suggested I perhaps still needed to use  fill in flash . I am not too sure why I made these  mistakes but do wonder if I was too caught up in the frenzy of making sure I got some images rather than simply waiting and considering more. He also commented my images seemed to be somewhat out of sequence, this is something I must look at because I thought I had arranged them in a logical (to me) order. I really do need to improve my skills in difficult lighting situations.

Perhaps on a brighter note one of the images was very successful!  Colour Blind , about which Robert commented “ This woman in yellow and green is a sensational portrait subject” . However he felt a clear background would have improved the shot, he did question if I had any other frames of this woman, but I have no other full length ones, only head and shoulder shots. What a pity!

How I wish I had waited a few more weeks, but I really wanted to keep up a reasonable pace for the course and not delay sending any of my assignment work to my tutor. A two week holiday was looming therefore rather than postpone I chose a set of images that I now realise did not completely fulfil the brief for this assignment. Even more annoying I took far better images whilst away & could have produced a much stronger assignment. The only upside is that I  managed to complete a lot of the exercises &  also gave me some time  to start to consider what, and how, I aim to approach the next 3 assignments. Holidays are a great time to catch up and take photographs, no work or home commitments to  get in the way (hubby does get fed up though when our day revolves around what I need, or want to take pictures of) .

Robert suggested I need to consider more what is” visually effective” and really look at “what is happening”. He advised me to “try to observe people …..and identify their  expressions, postures,and actions. When you remember someone, what do you visualise?”  I feel the images below are more engaging than my submitted set, I certainly spent more time looking and simply observing people around me, therefore not in any particular order I have posted the ones that got away !!!!

The assignment set I wished I had submitted . Mazey Day, Penzance, Cornwall. June 2010.


Assignment 1 Feedback

Posted in Assignment reports on March 28, 2010 by Judy Bach


I enjoyed project one immensely, and had very positive feedback for my first assignment  from my tutor, Robert Enoch who commented ” what is wonderful about these photographs is that I feel I’ve met someone“. I have gained a lot from the exercises , they have forced me out of my comfort zone of head/head and shoulder shots. I love portraiture work, but very rarely compose full length. For the assignment I wanted to try and explore more unusual ways of depicting an individual and was especially pleased with The Ring, and Alone Again, both of which I would not have contemplated prior to starting the course, so I feel photographically I have moved forward. My Photoshop skills are not that brilliant so I am not too sure how to tackle the small adjustments to some of my images suggested by Robert. I must confess I thought the course was mainly portraiture based and hence am approaching the next section People Unaware with a little trepidation!

My Mum. Robert commented “ This is an excellent example of a formal studio set-up made informal and direct by patience and luck”  He has suggested I could possibly brighten the light in the eyes and decrease the brightness on the nose in PS to remove destraction from the eyes. I agree with this and will try but as I have stated I am not an expert in Photoshop skills–I am self-taught, but will give it a go.

The Ring. Robert liked how I had removed the focus from my subject’s face and commented, “the quality of the light and colour is sensation, eerie, telling of old age in time passing” He felt more light was perhaps needed on the jewel itself, and I do agree.

Age is just a number. Robert suggested that perhaps my mum looked  a bit “self consious”, this was quite a complex picture to take and I did take lots of shots, perhaps comparing her facial expression  to the one in My Mum it does look more contrived.Additionally the harsh light on the top of her head rather spoils the image.

  Eve. Robert commented about the ” vital looking expression with lovely soft and even light“.  But he felt it was a less succesful image than my initial two. He has suggested I try to remove the blue colour at the top , he felt it creates a distraction within the frame, I do agree and this was something I was not too happy with when printing. Time to try my PS skills again.

Waiting. Robert liked the colours, framing and the light but felt I had caught “an in-between expression“. I was not too sure what he meant initially but reviewing the image I can see there is a perhaps   a what are you going to do now ?  expression. I nearly did not include this picture but liked the contrasting tones and am glad Robert appreciated this also.

  Table for one. This was staged, Robert guessed it was and felt it needed something ,”an action or gesture” , to improve it and I do agree. I was attempting to depict the loneliness of dining alone but have succeded in only obtaining a rather bland expression in an empty looking room. Additionally the flash created harsh shadows, I should have considered the light more.

  Alone again. I was especially pleased with the feedback for my final image of the assignment, “This high contrast photgraph shows your talent for design and lighting with a perfect blackout on your mother’s figure. The light and my mother’s expression for this image were very important for me , I prefer to use available daylight if at all possible. Hence I was really thrilled with Robert’s comments.

I must thank my mum for being such a patient model also, thanks Mum xxx

Eve less saturation.

In PS I have reduced just the Cyan saturation to remove the distracting blue hue at the top of the frame as suggested by Robert. It certainly improves it.

My Mum——-eyes brighter version

I have managed to make her eyes slightly brighter , I do not want to alter the image too much. Not managed as yet to make the nose less bright!

Finally —–less bright nose, its not too obvious, especially here on the blog but is an improvement.