Hi everyone!

As part of my photography course, I have to track my development on a blog. The posts from September 2011 until January 2012 are part of a module called Project Management, for which I was required to work in a group of eight students to create an exhibition. The blog followed every step we took in order to create a successful gallery. The blog posts starting from September 2012 follow my final year on the course. I'll be documenting my research and analysis of my final year projects, as well as include notes of my Professional Practice unit - which prepares us for a range of post graduate options. Finally it also looks at a project called New Creatives, where I'll be working alongside an artists to help college students get more involved with art.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Time Lapse Link

Watch at 1080p for best quality

Time Lapse

I bought myself an intervalometer for my 7D. I already had one for my 1000D, but I thought if I want to create a timelapse alongside my project, I need it to be the same quality as my photographs. The images in this post are a quick sneak peak of what the time lapse will be like. The time lapse was shot in Horsell Common, but in a completely different area than my Succession project. This was just a test shoot, so I did try out a couple new things. I stayed in each location for 5 minutes and took photos every three minutes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

John Miller

I emailed John Miller regarding is forests series (see "set brief project") and this is what he replied:

Hi Elaine

Sorry for the slow response but quite busy at the moment.

Glad you like the trees. It is all done in camera, the only software involved is Lightroom where I might tweak the levels a bit.
I have been taking these shots for quite a few years now and have refined the technique. Its really about time of day, season,
weather and what you point the camera at. When selling in galleries it helps to be able to say that it is not software which can devalue the piece.
I tend to shoot my landscapes at short notice depending on the weather and work pretty much on my own. However I will bear you in mind if I get any
commissioned landscapes from people like the National Trust.

By the way nice work on your site.

There was a short video about my work on the Advocate site http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v90dIKGcIEs



Motion Blur

I want to get as many motion blur photoshoots as possible before I return to Portsmouth in the 5th. For my Succession project, I had 9 photoshoots before Uni even started! And that project has turned out pretty well. This way I'll be completely on top of my work and won't have to stress about it in the new year. Another reason for starting it so early is because I want to have as many different photos as possible - different colours, compositions, speeds, etc. This project is all about testing and experimentation.

My second shoot was last weekend in Chobham Common. It was a beautiful sunny day which created interesting shapes on the trees. The two images in this post are my favourites of the day. They are completely different to the first shoot in Horsell Common. Those images were quite dark, whereas these are very light. The top left images is very interesting, although taken in a very different style. It's not as straight as the other images, but I decided to keep it as one of my favourites because it's still very abstract. Instead of pointing at the trees and the bark, I looked at the top of the pine trees. It still has the look of a painting which is what I wanted to achieve. The photo to the right is a lot more similar to the images from the first shoot. I like the colours in the photo - the darker blue at the top, going into a very light blue and then changing into a light green/brown. To the left of the photo is just a hint of sunlight, which my eye immediately goes towards. I like how the trees go from the top to the bottom of the images, whereas everything that surrounds the trees are chopped into three sections.


Due to extenuating flat circumstances, see right photo, I was able to hand in my work a couple days early. Which ended up being much better than handing everything in on the day because there are always massive queues of everyone wanting to hand in their work at the same time. The photo below is of my final piece. The photo has been mounted on the 83x83cm mount board and the piece of text text to it, also in a square format, has been mounted on a smaller piece of foam board. I also handed in two copies of my reflective writing - where I have written about how I'd like to present it if I had all the money in the world, my development workbook and my research workbook. I will only receive my marks in February, so it's a long long wait...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Succession Text

By: Elaine de Vries

“Bare land almost never anywhere on the planet does not stay bare for very long. Plants very quickly start to colonize the bare land and over time an entire plant community develops... Ecologists call this process succession.” (Rutherford J). For this project I looked at the process of succession in the English landscape, specifically at Horsell Common in Surrey. The majority of England used to be covered in heathland, however over time 80% of heathland has been lost, mainly because birch and pine trees started to take over (www.horsellcommon.org.uk). Their growth created shade which ultimately resulted in the heather dying due to lack of photosynthesis.

Horsell Common has a preservation society that is concerned with the loss of heathland. The society clears specific areas of woodland in order for dormant heather seeds within the soil to grow. The reason for the restoration is to create a habitat for the 5,000 different rare species who can only survive in heather. The society has set up a 10 year plan to re-establish fields of heather and thus the Common has various stages of succession including a cleared area, heathland, overgrown areas and woodland. I documented these four steps to create a photographic piece of work as well as a timelapse. Because succession is such a long process, I was unable to take all four photographs in the same area. Therefore, I took every photo in exactly the same style – making sure that the horizon of each photo was exactly the same. To get the most precision and detail possible and no lens distortion, I used a 5x4 large format camera. 

The process of succession is an endless cycle. When the area has been cleared, the heather starts to grow. However, since the area is still surrounded by woodland, their seeds fall onto the heather causing trees to grow. Over time, the trees take over the heather and the Horsell Common Preservation Society would have to chop down the trees again. I wanted to emphasize this concept in my photographic work and therefore put four photographs of the different stages in a circular format. The image could be looked at from any angle, and it would make sense. For my time lapse I portrayed the idea of succession being endless by making sure the order of the scenes reflected the order of succession as well as looping the video. The main idea of the timelapse was to create a context for the work as well as presenting to the viewer that succession doesn’t happen in a day. 

Foam Board

During my tutorial, Judy told me about all these fantastic ways of displaying my work, however they all cost a ridiculous amount and I really couldn’t afford to spend any more money on this project!

I started looking into foam board, and seeing whether anyone sold foam board the size I needed it to be (A1). Quite a few people did sell it, however they old sold packs of 10 sheets, which first of all I don’t need, and secondly was very expensive.

After more research I found a website that did absolutely massive sheets: 1440x1220 mm for £20. But they also had an option to cut it into a specific size (£7.50 extra). I measured my print (on the website it said I could receive the print a bit larger) and realised the print was about 82x82cm. Therefore I asked if they could cut it into a 83x83cm sheet.

One thing I’ve learnt from this project is to do EVERYTHING well in advance, the amount of times things have gone wrong or I’ve had to get images reprinted or foamboard re-cut is incredible.

Anyway, now I have two massive sheets of foamboard (and two even bigger boxes) and one 83x83 sheet of foamboard...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Time Lapse Final

Change quality to 1080p!!!


I have finally finished the video! I received a few music samples from my brother and decided on the second one he sent me. I think it works really well with the video, I especially like the start where it's quite calm, and in the final scene (of the first loop) it starts to build up.

Website Design

 Once again, I redesigned my website. I am really picky with the look of my website and just wasn't happy with it. I didn't want my website to be too full, but I didn't just want to have University work on there either, so I spent ages looking for a theme that I liked. I tried out a couple, but none of them really worked until I found the one.

The top picture to the right is what the website looks like when you open it. There is a 'carousel' of images that I have chosen. It includes a bit of my work outside of uni, but also has a couple projects. The images below is when you scroll down on the page. Again, it's like a blog layout, but I think it works a lot better with the carousel of images at the top. I uploaded nine posts, although with this layout I think I will be able to add more without it looking like too much. I wanted to make sure all my photos are the same size and layout, because then the rows and columns will fit nicely together, rather than it being scattered around. I was even able to upload my video, so I'm really happy I can just integrate that instead of having a separate link.

 Finally, When you click on an image it brings you to a new window where there is a little description of each of the projects. In this window you can either decide click back to the main page, of you can use the arrows the go to the information page of the next project.

I'm really happy with the current layout, the only thing I'd like to change is the white border around the images (that I made to create the same size for each image). I'd rather choose a size where you don't have to see that border as it looks quite messy.

New Creatives

 I went to Havant college on the 26th of November so an afternoon to discuss what everyone has been up to so far and how their ideas have developed. This is the first time I've been to Havant College so I was really excited to meet everyone. Oliver explained that last time there were only 2 or 3 students there, but we should expect more this time. However, there were only three students once again. It wasn't too bad though because all three of them were very passionate about the topic.

 We sat down around a table and got some A3 sheets and just wrote down everyone's idea. Then we went around the group and each talked about what we liked about the idea and how it could further develop. It's surprisingly hard! The three ideas by the students were very different from each other. After we discussed the ideas, we gave the students some time to work independently on their ideas. Do a bit of research and start with a general idea. If they had any questions they could easily approach us. We finished off with having a quick chat with the students individually and see what they had been up to.

I really enjoyed the day and am definitely looking forward to how their ideas have progressed next time!

80x80cm Print

I originally wanted to print my picture acrylic mounted, however after quite a few tutorials Judy and Daniel both said that they'd prefer it if the picture was printed off massively. Having already spent lots and lots of money on printing pictures, I wanted to look for somewhere affordable. I came across Jessops photo printing service where they print XXL posters in a square format and decided to go for the 80x80cm print.
I picked it up from the shop in the biggest tube I've ever seen, and when I got home it looked fantastic!! I'm really happy with the outcome and definitely prefer it being this size. You can really see all the detail in each of the four photos. It's printed on a semi gloss paper, as Daniel mentioned he thought the glossy print I printed was too glossy and the matt didn't look as good. 
The next issue is.... how will I present it? We always have to present our work in a professional manner, so just having this print hanging on the wall wouldn't give me a very good mark. I spoke to Judy he mentioned all these really expensive things, that would look great, but with the size of my print would be over £100. I did some of my own research and found a company that sold massive pieces of foam board. I double checked the size of the print, as on the Jessops website it warned you that the print might come out slightly bigger, and good thing I did, because it's actually about 82x82cm! I ordered a foamboard and with their special cutting option asked for it to be cut 83x83 (so there is room for mistakes). It should arrive tomorrow morning!