BA Phot

Assignment 1, Square Mile - image history

- text - contact sheets - tutor feedback

This page contains a selection of annotated working images for the first assignment. The contact sheets are here.

The proposed layout for these pages is to have a section for each day or subject, describe the day, show a selection of images below and highlight the image that I think is most successful.

19Jun Rush Hr - 20Jun St Martin - 23Jun Tower Br - 25Jun Rush Hr - 25Jun Sth Bank - 29Jun Kidbrooke - 13Jul Kidbrooke - Canary Wharf 15Jul

Panel V1.0 - Panel V2.0 - Panel V2.1

19th June

Rush Hour and St Martin-in-the-Fields

Rush Hour 1
Rush Hour
New Eltham Station
19th June 2018, 7:53
Fuji X-M1, 16-50mm @ 50mm (75mm)
1/350 sec; f/5.6; ISO 400

The rush hour shots worked quite well. I will try the exercise again with a longer lens to foreshorten the view. I had intended to photograph from the footbridge seen in the shots but that is impossible because of the "windows". The first image gives a better sense of the crowd (and also the emptiness of the only other platform showing the one-way traffic at this time of the morning), but I like the moving train and the more detailed view of the individuals within the crowd in images two and three.

I had envisaged an interior shot of the window and will probably go with that. It might need a crop. There was a rehearsal for the lunchtime concert at the time the photographs were taken and that might be incorporated. I had forgotten just how powerful and simple the window is, suggesting just through distorted lines the cross and Jesus's head on one side as often depicted.

The journey to town did not suggest much more in the way of subjects, though there are some tenement blocks that might contrast with Lewisham's newbuilds.

Rush Hour 1 Rush Hour 2 Rush Hour 3 St. Martins East Window 1 St. Martins East Window 2 St. Martins East Window 3
Rush Hour #1 and St Martins East Window, images taken 19th June

20th June

St Martin-in-the-Fields

East Window, St. Martin's in the Fields
East Window,
St Martin-in-the-Fields
19th June 2018, 11:39
Fuji X-M1, 16-50mm @ 33mm (49mm)
1/30 sec; f/5.6; ISO 640

I like the addition interest and complexity of the rehearsal. That naturally first takes attention and then focus shifts to the unusual window.

23rd June

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
23rd June 2018, Time
Fuji X-M1, 16-50mm @ 16mm (25mm)
1/400 sec; f/5; ISO 1600

Passing through London Bridge today and over Tower Bridge. Saturday, sunny and very busy, I tried to capture both the architecture the mood of the tourists. The sample images processed so far, comprise:
a panorama including the City, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge;
tourists photographing the bridge as it opens:
two versions of tourists posing for selfies:
Tower Bridge and the Mayoral HQ (the notional target for the day) and a second version trying for the artificial colours (though not the proportions) of a 1960s postcard because the configuration of tourists on the artificial grass is reminiscent of that era.

Tower Bridge Tower Bridge Tower Bridge Tower Bridge Tower Bridge
Tower Hill, images taken 23rd June

25th June

Rush Hour 2 & South Bank

Rush Hour, New Eltham
Rush Hour
New Eltham
25th June 2018, 7:41
Panasonic GX7, Zuiko 40-150 @ 78mm (156mm)
1/500 sec; f/8; ISO 200

A repeat visit to the station but the results were no better - that's not a great problem because I was reasonably pleased with the first set. I had hoped for a shot with greater clarity on the waiting passengers and more blurred train but did not achieve it.
[26th - Having had the chance to process the images, they are a little better, although the softer lighting for the earlier shots was preferrable.]

Rush Hour 2 Rush Hour 2 Rush Hour 2 Rush Hour 2
Rush Hour #2, 25th June
National Theatre
National Theatre
South Bank
25th June 2018, 13:40
Fuji X-M1, 16-50 @ 21mm (32mm)
1/640 sec; f/7.1; ISO 400

On the South Bank, I started with the Hayward Gallery, as that is the building seen most clearly from the train, but the most gloriously grotesque building is the National Theatre behind it. There is a raised main road between the two with the dome of St Paul's in the distance and I spent some time trying to get a blurred red bus passing out of shot (developing something of a leitmotif for the project) but there is just too much traffic to get a clean shot and I gave up. Incidentally, for future reference, the shutter speeds for the two bus images shown are 1/50th and 1/40th. The two train images are both at 1/50th.

On the way back to the station afterwards, I passed the skatebord area under Festival Hall that makes such a refreshing contrast with the austere, grey buildings above and took the shots for what will hopefully stitch into a panorama. The lighting confused the iPhone in panorama format and so the main image is a stitch fron six Fuji shots. The iPhone panorama is shown below as it includes a delightful artifact of one of the boarders that brings to mind Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase.

Lighting was difficult throughout the day, very harsh resulting in an excessive dynamic range. I reverted to my usual practice of bracketing the exposures.

p.s. There was an absorbing exhibition combining the work of Ansel Adams and William Eggleston at the Hayward in 2002: I am inclining towards the latter. Here's a Guardian reveiw.

South Bank South Bank South Bank South Bank South Bank National Theatre National Theatre National Theatre National Theatre South Bank South Bank South Bank
South Bank, 25th June

29th June

Kidbrooke and Lewishan

29th June 2018, 10:32
Fuji X-M1, 16-50mm @ 28mm (42mm)
1/850 sec; f/5.6; ISO 200

As mentioned in the blog, I was disappointed that I could not convey more of the "story" of Kidbrooke with a single image. The photograph of the building in progress dominating the railway platform will have to do for now.
[1Jul] Another idea, get a shot of a Kidbrooke Village sign with the buiding site and highrise behind it. That might be sufficiently ironic to make my point.

One of the Lewisham snaps will be ok with a bit of work, probably the second below (taken from the top of the shopping centre car park).
[2Jul] If I get to return, I could try getting to the street of houses on the left of the image and get an angle on the last few houses in the row with the highrise looking over them.


Kidbrooke Kidbrooke Village Lewisham Lewisham Lewisham Lewisham
Kidbrooke and Lewisham, 29th June


Return to Kidbrooke and Lewisham

Kidbrooke Village
Kidbrooke Village
13th July 2018, 11:41
Panasonic GX7, Olympus 14-42 @ 14mm (28mm)
1/200 sec; f/11; ISO 200

First to the park next to Eltham station with the intention of photographing Canary Wharf which is obscured by trees from the station itself (se first image below). Regrettably, there is no line of sight from the park either and so Plan B to snap them from Blackheath is now operative.

Then to Kidbrooke "Village" seeking the ironic juxtaposition of that title and the building site surrounding the station. My conception of shooting from the opposite platform did not work (insufficient empasis on the sign which is partially obscured by a lamppost) but a 4-shot stitch panorama with the station sign in the forground is successful.

At Lewisham, I had noticed what looked like a row of houses in the shadow of the largest apartment block (see above). When I got there, I found it to be a school, which reduced the conceptual impact, but there are some worthwhile shots.

On then to London and Parliament Square in the hope of getting a shot of the Trump balloon (for posterity, not for this assignment), but it had been taken down and I was not prepared to wait for its return.

Overall, not a wasted day - the results are better in processing than I thought when taking the shots.

Eltham Station Kidbrooke Village Kidbrooke Village Lewisham Lewisham Lewisham Lewisham
Kidbrooke and Lewisham, 13th July


Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf from Greenwich Park
15th July 2018, 13:09
Panasonic GX7, Olympus 40-150 @ 45mm (90mm)
1/2500 sec; f/7.1; ISO 200

The final shot is of Canary Wharf from Blackheath, or more accurately, Greenwich Park. This was taken on the hottest day of the year from quite a distance and the detail is softened by the heat haze and pollution. The choice is between a tight crop on the towers or a wider view to include the contrast with the classical buildings of Greenwich U. campus and park visitors.

See Blog 20th July for Grauniad Plagiarism Shock Horror.

Canary Wharf Canary Wharf Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf from Greenwich Park, 15th July


Panel V1.0

Late on Sunday night, the first draft of a panel. The images are in the sequence experienced on the journey - New Eltham Station, Kidbrook, Canary Wharf seen from Blackheath, Lewisham, Tower Bridge, South Bank, St Martin in the Fields.

New Eltham Kidbrooke Canary Wharf Lewisham Tower Bridge South Bank St Martin
Rough cut of the panel


Panel V1.0 processing notes

Notes on the processing which has been applied. As part of my attempt to rationalise my workflow, I have copied the panel and the source images to a separate directory and will document and reconsider the processing that has been applied.

1. New Eltham station: original image DSCF7742.JPG, Fuji X-M1
This has just been straightened (using the footbridge as a horizontal reference), cropped to remove the blank corners (a content-aware fill was unhelpful) and my usual Nik filters applied, namely Detail extractor, Film Efex Portra and Border Type 4. New version saved as BAPh_SqM_img01B.jpg.

2. Kidbrooke: original images for vertical panorama stitch, P1200929-32.JPG Panasonic GX7
I have tried to replicate this using Photoshop CS6 > Automate > Photomerge, but the output has not been as good as the earlier version. I have therefore proceeded with yesterday's stitch. The left side has been cropped to de-emphasise the stitch artifacts on the blue railing, the imaged lightened slightly with a Curves adjustment and a Nik Border added. Image produced, BAPh_SqM_img02B.jpg.

3. Canary Wharf from Blackheath: original image P1210007.JPG Panasonic GX7
Image cropped left for a neater end to the buildings in the middle- and background. The standard Nik recipe has been applied to lighten the image: Detail, Chrome, Border. In selecting which image to use, this seems the most appropriate as it illustrates the distance from the viewpoint to the Canary Wharf towers. Image produced BAPh_SqM_img03B.jpg.

4. Lewisham: original image DSCF8386.JPG Fuji X-M1
The image from the original visit on 29th June is preferred to those of 13th July, concentrating solely on the apartment blocks. The image has been cropped right but the school on the left (originally thought to houses) has been left in to emphasise the scale of the apartments. Straightening has been applied using the central, largest building as a reference. A border has been added, but no other Nik filters were needed. Image produced BAPh_SqM_img04B.jpg.

5. Tower Bridge and City Hall: original imagesfor horizontal panorama stitch, DSCF8035,6,9.JPG Fuji X-M1
The original processing on this on 23rd June might have been excessive. The stitch was necessary to cover the bridge and city hall and the image was straightened to level the bridge, but then the excitement of the Nik cross-processing filter took hold. Much as I enjoy the result, this has now been rolled back to an earlier version and just a border added. Image BAPh_SqM_img05B.jpg.

6. South Bank
The choice of image is still under consideration. It is likely to be the National Theatre, but there is a choice on foreground detail, see below.
On balance, I think the choice comes down to A or B. The statue of Olivier in C adds to the image but it is cluttered by the vertical banner. Option D joses the banner but there is too much foreground detail.
The bench in the foreground leads the viewer into the image and in B it is better directed towards the theatre, so the choice remains B. The processing is (on original image DSCF8107.JPG) straightening (reference on the sign) and a border.

7. St Martin in the Fields
The dynamic range meant that bracketed exposures were needed but the image shown has again been over-processed. The image has been redone as a plain HDR in Nik with just a border added. Image BAPh_SqM_img07B.jpg.

National Theatre options A-D


Panel V2.0

All the chosen images have been reporocessed, in some cases severely reducing the previous "overprocessing". I am inclined to change the first image (removing the distracting grey area on the far right) and the last (I have drained it of too much colour). And is the National Theatre straight?

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Panel V2.0


Panel V2.1

The three corrections suggested above have been made - right crop on the first, restrightrn #6 and a little more colour and lightening in the last.

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Panel V2.1
Page created 17-Jul-2018 | Page updated 24-Sep-2018