Category Archives: ASSIGNMENT 4



I have made some amendments to Assignment 4 based on Clive’s feedback.  Again I have tried to lighten all photos for printing.

I have moved the distorted taxi image – the link for me to the overall theme was that ghosts are illusions and the distorted taxi is also an illusion caused by the Camera Obscura’s mirror.

I wasn’t sure how Clive enhanced the ghost of the human in the shop window (original #3) but have tried to enhance it more.

In the original #2 photo with the light trails at the bottom I had been trying to include the cherry blossom at the top of the frame but I take Clive’s point that the light trails needed to be further up.

I do need to be more mindful of looking for the punctum or something to make the picture out of the ordinary rather than the pictoralist approach and understand where I went wrong with my comments about the roadworks and then with the  image of St Giles cathedral.

Original #6 – I have done further editing in Photoshop to try and address Clive’s comments.

Original #7 – I have tried to further enhance the huddle of ‘ghosts’.

Original #8 – I have tried to further enhance and lighten.

No changes to original #9 other than lightening for printing.II have gone back to my original set of photos and re-selected the one of the cathedral.  This one does have a couple of ghostly figures to the left which I have tried to enhance by using the burn tool:



Overall Comments
You chose a very good subject; it is all about the light!

Feedback on assignment
However the distorted taxi image is the one that probably least meets your idea so probably not a good idea to have it first in the series which probably needs to be your strongest image relating to your theme or one of them.

I think that might be image #3, even though it lacks the ghostly figures.
It has a particularly uncanny feeling and of course there is a ghost of a human in the window which could perhaps be made a little more of, like this…

Image #2 has got the elements and the tilt adds a dynamism to it, like jumping out of the way of the speeding car light trails but all the action is tight to the bottom of the of the frame, one wants to pull the camera down to see what’s happening below the bottom of the frame.

See Barthes ideas about studium and punctum.  The studium is what we expect to see, it’s what we don’t expect which engages our interest above being visually entertained.
With #4 your comments about the road works suggest a rather pictorialist approach, in
fact we should be looking for elements which disturb our expectations to make
interesting narratives in our images, such as you have in #3.

Going back to the previous assignment it’s the decisive moment which is the punctum
in that case and this assignment would have been a good opportunity to include your
learning from that assignment, which you were so successful with, into this

#5 is beautifully executed but it’s all stadium with no punctum; a fine pictorial representation of the church but lacking in the ghostly narrative.

#6 As you say doesn’t work in a square and is slightly tilted.  This crop is better and makes more of the figure…

#7 is potentially effective with a ‘huddle of ghosts’ but needs some post production work to make the most of it…

As with #8 too; in general the prints seem to be darker than the images on your blog.

#9 certainly makes for an interesting image, putting it in a category above most light
trail shots as we contemplate what the statue makes of the colourful miasma in front of
Overall I would say that it was an excellent idea which was realised more successfully in
some images than in others but more work in post production could improve the
outcome noticeably.

The coursework is fine as always.

As is the reserach

Learning Log

Great you got the image click through going!
What would have been good to have more of in the log is your reflections on how you are progressing conceptually as a photographer. How have your ideas about photography changed as you have progressed through the course and how do you feel your progress has been expressed through your work.

Suggested reading/viewing
Carry on with your approach.

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment
This is the assignment which sums up your development through the whole course
and it will be the final impression you leave with the assessors so take some time over
immediately comes to mind.
Typically in assessment one might look at the first and last assignment first to see the
progress in conceptual thinking, technique and approach so a well thought through
and executed last assignment can affect the outcome more than all the other
assignments so be sure to do something that really engages you and if your initial efforts aren’t panning out the way you’d hoped then stop and go in a different direction rather than ploughing on. You can run any ideas past me first if you like.

Tutor name Clive White
Date 15/5/17
Next assignment due 15/7/17

Reflections on Feedback

Unfortunately when you copy and paste from Clive’s feedback it does not paste his images – I will include a copy of all feedback provided in the hard copy for assessment.

I felt Clive’s feedback was all very valid for this assignment.  It was one due to work commitments I had struggled to find time to do very well or to have the head space to really reflect on what I was doing which is probably why I lost sight of the ‘punctum’ concept.  I hope to re-do a couple of the photos on one of my Scottish trips prior to needing to submit the work for assessment.

I hope to re-print photos for assessment – I have difficulty in that I do not own a printer and there is the difficulty of getting correct calibration.

I will spend time think and reflecting on my progress through the course and make some notes in the appropriate section on this blog.

Assignment 4 – Languages of Light



Revisit one of the exercises on daylight, artificial light or studio light from Part Four (4.2) and prepare it for formal assignment submission:

  • Create a set of between 6 and 10 finished images. For the images to work naturally as a series there should be a linking theme, for instance a subject, or a particular period of time.
  • Include annotated contact sheets of all the photographs that you’ve shot for the exercise (see notes on the contact sheet in Part Three).
  • Assignment notes are an important part of every assignment. Begin your notes with an introduction outlining why you selected this particular exercise for the assignment, followed by a description of your ‘process’ (the series of steps you took to make the photographs).  Reference at least one of the photographers mentioned in Part Four of your assignment notes, showing how their approach to light might link in to your own work.  Conclude your notes with a personal reflection on how you’ve developed the exercise in order to meet the descriptors of the Creativity criteria.  Write 500-1000 words.

Include a link (or scanned pages to Exercise 4.5 in your learning log for your tutor’s comments.



For this assignment I decided to expand on Exercise 4.3.  I had taken photos in both London and Edinburgh for this exercise just prior to Christmas.  I was not going to be visiting London again so decided to expand on the Edinburgh set of photos.   I explored all the photographers outlined in the course book who had undertaken night photography – I particularly liked Rut Blees Luxemburg’s work – see Notes section of the blog (  I liked the way she was able to ‘think outside the box’ and take unusual photos of things such as carparks.

I was also influenced by Brassai’s Paris by Night images which tend to be more traditional but show the people of the city as well as the cityscapes.

I have always loved the city at night and Edinburgh is particularly beautiful with all the old buildings and cobbled streets.   I was at home in Fife over the Easter break and decided to spend the evenings in Edinburgh using artificial light.


 The majority of the photos were taken on the Royal Mile with a few on nearby surrounding streets.  I travelled into Edinburgh on two consecutive evenings on the Easter weekend.  The difficulty with night photography at this time of year is that the sun didn’t set until 8.30 so it was around 11 p.m. before I finished on both evenings – I was somewhat restricted by train times in order to return to Fife.

I would have liked to be more creative in terms of finding out of the way spots or to have had time to look for the unusual but time was against this so my images were perhaps more in tune with Brassai’s work on the whole.  Edinburgh has a reputation for ghost tours so where I took images of the older buildings I tried to include shadowy figures.

On the first evening I took the images using an ISO setting of 800 but while this made the photos sharp it was difficult to get much creativity in terms of either light trails or ghostly figures.  I have only included one photo from this first shoot which was something quite different – at the top end of the Royal Mile near the castle there is a Camera Obscura building with three mirrors outside which gives for some interesting shots – I have included one of a taxi driving outside on the cobbled street by the mirror which distorts the road and car.

The rest of the images are taken the following evening where I used my camera on a tripod – ISO was initially set at 100 and by the end of the evening I had raised it to 200 due to the darkening sky.  I could have used the bulb setting to keep it on 100 but being mindful of the limited time did not want to take exposures that were over 30 seconds.

I feel that this next image is perhaps the weakest of the set.  It was taken during the ‘blue hour’ straight after sunset – the long exposure does give movement in the clouds and with the traffic trails but unfortunately I didn’t straighten the verticals in photoshop before printing so everything seems to lean inwards.  I feel there is too much in the bottom of the photo with a lot of blue empty space through the middle and above the buildings on the left.

There are not many modern buildings in this part of Edinburgh but I liked the way the steps lit up the area in the foreground of this building and with the lamp giving a ‘starburst’ effect.

The Raddison Blu hotel in Edinburgh has a changing light colour display – I was able to capture it in blue to go along with the hotel name.  Unfortunately there were road works outside so the barriers do spoil the image.

As I went further up the road it became darker and the rest of the photos have a black sky.  St Giles Cathedral was the next on my list.  It took some patience to get this selected photo due to an annoying car that first of all was parked just in front of the monument with its lights on and then drove round it and parked just outside on the road – it did eventually drive off!  By this time I did an internet search on how to straighten the verticals in Photoshop – (duplicate layer, transform, perspective and then drag the handles until it is straight) so was pleased with the final result.  Some sharpening was also added.

The next three photos show the particular ghostly effect I had hoped to achieve with old buildings and ghostly figures.  These were created using a long exposure but not too long to completely obliterate the people.  It would have been even better if I could had some people dressed up in either ghostly clothes or old fashioned clothes but couldn’t quite plan for this.

The photo of the castle unfortunately has a lot of foreground space due to trying to get the whole castle in – it does look better as a panoramic picture with that cropped out but in the interests of keeping the photos in the same format left the foreground in.

The next image is taken looking down one of the many little cobbled staircases that abound in this area and has a group of ghostly figures coming towards me.

This next photo is looking back down the road from the castle.  The different lights on the buildings made it somewhat difficult to capture and there are some slightly blown highlights on the right with it being a little dark in the background.  Again there are some ghostly figures walking up the road.  Sadly there was a modern litter bin that took away from the ambience of the photo.

And last but not least I decided to attempt some traffic trails – the idea in this photo was to try and frame the statue (I think it is of Robbie Burns) with the trails – this has been somewhat successful although I think the thicker white trail at the top (from a passing tram) is perhaps too thick for the photo.

Assessment Criteria

I think I demonstrated my knowledge of the technical and visual skills required for this assignment.  I knew that in order to capture images after dark you either need to raise the ISO setting on the camera or use longer shutter speeds.  A tripod is essential for avoiding camera shake with longer exposures.  I wanted the images to be sharp so also used a narrow aperture.  I think I have been able to be critical of my final images and to point out the ones where composition was not as good.  I have included these weaker images to show that I can reflect and know what has not worked as well as what works.

This assignment was around being creative – this is something I always find harder than the technical side of photography.  I have tried in this assignment to be creative with my use of longer exposures  in order to create in some of the images an effect that goes in with the nature of old Edinburgh.  I also took some photos of new buildings to show the contrast.  Again I used long exposures to capture traffic trails and used these to frame.

I researched the suggested photographers in order to gain and understanding of how they had used artificial light in their images.  I have communicated their ideas in my Notes pages and took some of their ideas but made them my own in the context of old Edinburgh.

In terms of my written work I believe this is clear and easy to understand and follows a logical order.

The link to Exercise 4.5 is as follows: and is the last exercise in that section.

The annotated contact sheets have been sent with the print version to my tutor – given the large number of pages I have not uploaded them to this blog.