Art of Photography

Rob Townsend

Assignment 5: shooting day 2 and more lessons

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Review of yesterday

After looking through the 700+ images from yesterday (!) and hacking them down to a more manageable 190 I attempted to build a set of images that I could use for the assignment if the second shooting day went awry. Truth be told, while I could indeed have built a decent set of a dozen images from yesterday’s harvest, I was glad to have today to have another go. I was missing a few key shot types from my shooting plan: I didn’t have a decent establishing shot and I didn’t have enough portraits of the participants. And I had too many closing shots to choose from.

Fundamentally, the limitations of shooting from the roadside (mostly over people’s heads) and the lack of variety in subject matter (the floats generally adhered to a formula of extravagant floral display + pretty girl) meant that there was an underlying sameness that led to a lacklustre narrative. It didn’t scream “joy! excitement! awe!” like I wanted it to.

So I think I might rescue one or two of the best images from yesterday and weave them into the story I’m constructing out of today’s photos.

Lessons from today

Today the weather was bright and sunny again. Perhaps too sunny…! We paid extra for seating with an elevated view, which paid dividends in terms of getting a better viewpoint on the event, especially with the telephoto lens. I had an aisle-end seat so could move around a bit more than I expected, allowing variations on the viewpoint.

The main issue was that the terrace of seating was at the east side of the city square, and so the low afternoon sun was in the audience’s eyes for much of the event. Some good light was achievable by shooting off to the side, parallel to the seating rather than perpendicular. However, there was still an element of harsh shadow that one had to work around.

About three-quarters of the way through, I abandoned the seats and got down into the crowd, right in the thick of it. This gave me an opportunity to shoot in more favourable lighting conditions, and also to get more eye-level views on the subjects I wanted to capture.

The main lesson of today was: read the brief properly! For some reason I had in my head that the assignment required up to 15 shots. Turns out it’s a maximum of 12. So the editing task just got slightly tougher.


Short version is: I reckon I have more than enough good, relevant shots in the bag that will allow me to build a compelling narrative that will evoke the emotions that I am seeking in the viewer.

My biggest challenge now is editing them down from nearly 400 to a round dozen…


One thought on “Assignment 5: shooting day 2 and more lessons

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

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