Art of Photography

Rob Townsend

Assignment 5: preparation


Wow, assignment 5 already… seemed to have got through the Narrative & Illustration section quickly. Fewer exercises than Light, thankfully!

So time to choose the subject of the final assignment. I have one in mind. The timing might just work perfectly…

My proposal is to do the magazine spread / photo essay on the subject of…

Nice Carnival!

There’s an annual carnival in Nice, France around February/March and it’s a very colourful event, a real feast for the eyes. There’s a traditional carnival parade of decorated floats, and a separate event called the Battle of the Flowers where florally-decorated floats throw flowers at the spectators. I’ve been several times over the years so have got an idea what to expect. So next Friday we fly out to Nice for the last weekend of this year’s carnival.

Sample images

Here are a few pictures from previous years, to give an idea of the subject matter.


There are a few good reasons why I think this makes a good subject:

  • Very colourful
  • Unusual subject matter
  • Should be good light (usually is down that way, year-round)
  • Lots of variety of shots


There are however some risks inherent in my plan!

  • Event-specific, in a different country, so no opportunity for test shots (except possibly staking out the shooting positions on the Friday, if we arrive early enough?)
  • Only two opportunities to get it right – the flower parade on the Saturday and the main parade on the Sunday – so no scope for mistakes
  • Specifically – I need the weather to be good! It usually is, but a couple of years it’s been a washout…
  • Need to make sure I take the assignment seriously and don’t fall back into (pre-TAOP) holiday snapshooting!
  • I’m not wholly sure whether I can build a ‘narrative’ (beginning-middle-end) out of it, over and above a collection of related images… need to work on this at the planning stage
  • Editing down to a max of 12 images will be tough!!


I have a week or so to prepare in the UK so need to use this time well. My plan is:

  • Review more pics from previous years, for inspiration
  • Plan a shooting list of the types of images I want to capture
    • Various positions/angles
    • Various focal lengths
    • Colour combinations
    • People – candid shots?
    • Close-up / abstract / macro detail?
  • Review main points of previous sections/assignments to make sure I have these in mind – not as a strict tick-box exercise, more to remind and inspire me on what I should be taking into account when shooting and editing
  • Plan the narrative aspect of the event (in particular learning the lessons from the Car Boot Sale exercise, where I neglected to have an ending)
    • Beginning: setting up the public viewing areas, rows of empty seats, parade floats waiting to set off etc
    • Middle: parades themselves
    • End: packing up, crowds dispersing, cleaners clearing the streets etc
  • Plan a coherent ‘point of view’ persona – as a spectator I presume (again learning lessons from the Car Boot Sale series, where I mixed viewpoints: sellers, buyers, me)
  • Practical stuff!
    • I’ve got a new, fast 16GB memory card as I’m expecting to shoot a lot in burst mode, in RAW format
    • Got a second spare battery
    • Packing 2x primes (27mm, 35mm) and 2x zoom lenses (16-50mm, 50-230mm)
    • Taking a spare camera, just in case

3 thoughts on “Assignment 5: preparation

  1. Good luck – sounds like a very good concept and hope the weather is kind to you.

  2. Pingback: Assignment 5: Applying the techniques of illustration and narrative | Art of Photography

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