Photo Story Research




1.the condition or quality of being pure;  freedom from anything that debases, contaminates, pollutes, etc.: the purity of drinking water.

2.freedom from any admixture or modifying addition.
3.ceremonial or ritual cleanness.
4.freedom from guilt or evil; innocence.

5.physical chastity; virginity.
 After some thinking I thought it would be interesting to shoot my photo story on ‘BMX Trails’. Although purity isn’t the first word that comes to peoples minds who are uneducated about the subject, I think this assignment is a good opportunity to prove to them otherwise.
 “Freedom from any admixture or modifying addition” I believe this particular definition is extremely fitting with what I desire to communicate through my narrative. A lot of riders have become lazy and are content riding council provided skateparks where creativity lacks. Street riding and BMX as a whole are now seen as fashionable or cool in society which never used to be the case. A minority of ‘original’ riders began jumping their bikes out of home made ramp set ups, where there were no limitations besides your imagination.  For some this progressed on to trail building which in my eyes is the purest form of  BMX. A lot of people in society will understand the concept of jumping bikes out of piles of mud, but wont be able to imagine the extremes it has progressed to for some. If the above statement accurately defines purity, then what is purer than creating a paradise you can call your own by cutting out the middle man and building what you desire to ride.
(A short article/rant about the current state of trails in BMX)

I like the distorted colours in this image,  I think this was achieved by green tints used over the flash guns but I would be interested to see if I can replicate this by photo editing.

As trail builders like to keep their trails secret its very hard to find photo research just of trails or people digging etc. Because of this the only real signs in the images are the trails,riders and their bikes. Although there  are plenty of images of people riding the trails. Due to this I think it would be interesting to try and communicate the building/maintenance side of trails as well as riding.

I like this black and white photo and think it works well at establishing the setting. Although this setting is not very rural I think the location of our trails will make a nice scenic establishing shot.

Black and white images seem to work really well with the woodland locations of trails. The trails are nicely exposed whilst the contrasting white sky is effective at framing and making the rider visible.

I really like the colours in particular in this image. The slightly desaturated/washed out colours work really well with the jumps and greenery. Judging by the colours and shape of the image I think it was shot on film, although I would like to try and recreate this effect in photoshop  with my some of my images from the trails.

The warmth of this image works really well with the trails, the trees against the slightly blown out sky.

Again I think black and white works really with the contrasting woodland and sky. I feel the slightly blown out highlights in this case create a more interesting image and draw the eye to the rider. Also the distortion from the fish eye lens looks attractive with the tress.


Week 6 – The nature and use of colour in design and photography

Cross Processing

Cross processing is a technique mainly used in fashion and portrait photography. By using photoshop we can reproduce how photographers used to use this technique with film. The effect achieves distorted colours and bleaches skin tones

Cross-processing is developing color film in the wrong chemicals e.g color negative film in slide chemicals (“C-41 as E-6”) or slide film by the color negative process (“E-6 as C-41”).

 The most common combination is C-41 as E-6, in which slide chemistry is used to process color negative film, and it’s a quick job to imitate it in Photoshop. Image contrast is usually high with blown-out highlights, while the shadows tend toward dense shades of blue. Reds tend to be magenta, lips almost purple, and highlights normally have a yellow-green color cast.

With all the other coloring effects described in this chapter, the main coloring adjustments are applied as adjustment layers using the Color blend mode. This helps preserve the original luminosity, if you want to simulate a high contrast cross- processed look, use the Normal blend mode instead and in addition to that consider increasing the contrast in the RGB composite channel as well (which will also boost the color saturation). The other thing you can do to adapt this technique is to experiment with alternative color channel adjustments and try using different color fills and layer opacities.

C-41 film processed in E-6 chemicals

This is the original image before cross processing techniques were applied.

I added a new curves layer and began adjusting each channel individually. By adding points to create a very gentle S darkens the shadows and brightens the Red channel’s highlights.

Adding another gentle S curve in the green channel helps increase the contrast, especially in the highlights

In the blue channel dragging the top right point downward takes out blue highlights and top left point upwards blocks up blue shadows. All these Curves adjustments can be experimented with as settings will vary image to image.

I further added a darker colour blend to the layer to help recover blown out highlights

Adding a colour fill layer is optional but I decided to add a green colour cast to my image, the most amount of opacity adviseable use is around 10%

This is my final image after cross colour processing and other adjustment layers were applied

Week 5 – Black and white conversion techniques

There are many different ways of converting colour images to black and white, each with their own disadvantages and benefits. Here I will be looking at a variety of ways in which to do so. Here is the original image I have decided to work with.

Lab Colour

Image>Mode>Lab Color

Here is the out come of converting to black and white by lab colour. By going Image>Mode>Lab Color followed by Image>Adjustments>Desaturate. I then converted the image back to RGB in order to export as a Jpeg.

This time I am going to use a slightly more in depth technique to convert to black and white using the same image as before.

This screenshot displays my image after converting to Lab and selecting the lightness channel from the channels palette. I then converted the image back to greyscale, this uses the info from the lightness channel to build the mono image.

Here I further converted the image back to greyscale then selected the grey channel and inverted the selection. I then added a new fill layer (Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Colour) filled with solid black. Finally I adjusted the opacity of the fill layer to achieve a fitting amount of strength. Further tonal adjustments etc can be made after this conversion to further enhance the image.

This is the final image I decided upon whilst using the fill layer technique.

Using the same image again I am going to convert the image using a channel mixer adjustment layer. This is a useful technique as it also gives you control over tonal reproduction. Although it is advisable to keep the sum of all the channels to 100%.

Here is the product of converting to black and white using a channel mixer adjustment layer.

Week 4 – Light and Shade

Improving shadow and highlight detail

Image > Adjustments > Shadow/Highlight

Shadow and highlight adjustment is useful for correcting silhouetted and slightly washed out subject, as well as brightening areas of shade in an otherwise well exposed image. This command does not purely lighten or darken the image, It does so based on the surrounding pixels. In addition to this it also has a Midtone Contrast slider, Black Clip option, and White Clip option for adjusting the overall contrast of the image, and a Color Correction slider for adjusting saturation.

Here is the original image I will be making adjustments to, my main intentions are to try and gain greater detail in the shadowed areas whilst maintaining a fair representation of the fire.

CMD+J – This command opens a duplicate image, which is useful to refer to in order to check your adjustments.

Amount – Controls how much of the image is affected.

Tonal Width – Dictates how much if the tonal range is affected. A low percentage will only affect the darkest of shadows. A higer percentage will affect more mid tones.

Radius – Determines how adjusted areas blend into the rest of the image. A value above 0px is adviseable, otherwise the image will be left looking a little washed out or grey. Values from 3-15px add crispness/harshness to the image which can be attractive. Around 20px+ blends or blurs much more discreetly.

Midtone Contrast – Is effective for increasing or decreasing the midtone contrast.

Colour Correction – This slider solely increases or decreases saturation.

Here is a screenshot after I had experimented with shadows until I gained the results I desired. As you can see I have managed to achieve a little more detail in the shadows without altering the lighter tones in the background.

This is the final image I decided upon after alterations were made using the highlight and shadow command.

Camera RAW

Camera RAW is also a very useful tool for making tonal alterations to images. I will be using the same image again to demonstrate  the benefits of this technique.

When opening a RAW file in photoshop the file will immediately be opened with the Camera RAW utility. The sliders here are generally quite self explanatory and the amount used will be dependant on what you intend to achieve.

Here are the settings I decided upon after some experimentation with Camera RAW. I increased the exposure in conjunction with recovery in order to brighten the foreground whilst recovering the fire in the background. I also experimented with contrast brightness and fill light in order to further enhance the image.

Week 4 – Noise Reduction

Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise

Noise appears as random extraneous pixels that aren’t part of the image detail. This is usually caused by shooting in low light, under exposure or usage of a high ISO. Noise appears in two forms, first luminance noise which appears grainy or patchy and colour noise which appears as coloured artifacts. Luminance noise may be more predominant in one channel, usually the blue channel. The noise of each channel is adjustable separately in advanced mode, first make sure to examine each channel to see if noise is dominant in one. This will help preserve more detail in the image.

This is the original version of the image I intend to work on

These are the settings I decided upon after some experimentation, I feel that I reduced the noise enough without the image appearing over soft.

Strength – Adjusts the amount of luminance noise reduction applied to all of the channels.

Preserve Details – Preserves edges and fine image details and surfaces. A value of 100 preserves the most image detail, but reduces luminance noise the least. Balance the Strength and Preserve Details controls to fine‑tune noise reduction.

Reduce Color Noise – Removes random color pixels. A higher value reduces more color noise.

Sharpen Details – Sharpens the image. Removing noise reduces image sharpness. Use the sharpening control in the dialog box or use one of the other Photoshop sharpening filters later to restore sharpness.

Remove JPEG Artifacts – Removes blocky image artifacts and halos caused by saving a image using a low JPEG quality setting.

Final image with noise reduction applied.

Noise Reduction in Camera RAW

 With a RAW file another technique to reducing noise would be to use the capabilities built in to Camera RAW. I will complete this process using the same image.

By selecting the detail tab found in Camera RAW will open sharpening and noise reduction tools. Luminance reducing luminance noise and colour reducing colour noise. Zooming in to around 100% provides you with a better idea of the amount of noise reduction applied.

Original Image

Luminance and Colour noise reduction applied

Reflective Thinking

Initially using search engines to gather a broad range of information about the different decades of the 19th and 20th Century. I collected research to aid me at deciding on the significant era on which I would base my presentation. By doing this I was able to outline and analyse results the search engines provided me with to gain a greater insight in to the world events and happenings of these time periods. The data I gathered inspired me to choose the 1930’s as the subject of my piece, I was influenced by the social events of this period and was intrigued to find whether they played a role in the works produced by my chosen Artist and Photographer.

After earlier research lead me to my chosen decade, I decided to further research it aside artists and photographers of the time using alternative sources to the internet. I chose this method as the internet is a a fast and convenient way of gaining knowledge although the legitimacy of the origin is often uncertain. Due to this I further pursued my researched using the University Journal Archives, Libraries and Video Texts. Which I found extremely beneficial at further confirming the legitimacy of information I’d found.

The sources I found particularly useful were Libraries and the Journal Archives. To specifically find artist and photographers of the decade I was researching, I used books specifically highlighting iconic practitioners of the relevant Centurys. Two books which particularly helped me decide on my photographer were ‘Icons Of Photography, The 19th Century’ and Icons Of Photography, The 20th Century’.

In further affiliation to this, I found the Journal Archives extremely useful. To present I had never used Journals for referencing before and I was unsure of the benefits of using them. After learning to search the archives for relevant Journals, I found that it provides many useful sources for contrasting and comparing opinions and ideas. For example, firstly I found a report by New York Federal Reserve about the effects and ways they planned to fix the economic state. In contrast I found A Journal regarding the effects the economic downfall had on Massachusetts crime, drunkenness and delinquency. The beauty I found in using Journals is that you can search a specific time span to find articles from authors of that particular time.

In evaluation to these new research techniques I have developed. I think I will continue to pursue this form of work flow and continue to expand upon it, In the hope that I can construct a method of researching that works well personally for me. Like wise I have found a new variety of mediums to research in. Which although are not as convenient as the internet, provided more trustworthy information. I have taken from this that using all these sources in conjunction with each other helps me benefit from all of their individual attributes, resulting in a more thorough research technique. Further resulting in greater returns.


Travel Photography

This week I was briefed on as assignment focusing on ‘Travel photography’. The assignment requires me to take a bus or train to a location I have never been before and take a photo that tells the viewer about the place. Secondly I must take a photo of something or someone I found there followed by a statement describing me reasons for what I’v shot and why.


















I decided to tackle this assignment whilst visiting a friend who lives in Manchester. Although I had visited the city on a few occasions previously, I had no sense of my location or previous memories of my surroundings. My friend lives in Oldham a short travel from the city centre, so I caught a train to further explore the city.

Above is the image I chose as my establishing shot. To be truthful, I found it difficult to capture an establishing shot of my location. With next to no knowledge of the city and what significance my surroundings played apart from their appearance. It was hard to find subjects that would visually communicate where I was. After many failures I decided on this image purely because of the visual clues contained in the architecture and what they told the viewer. My intentions were to compose The Wheel of Manchester an iconic landmark in the city, with other significant architecture in the area such as The Arndale Centre, Manchester’s largest indoor shopping centre. In the hope that it would give the viewer a greater chance of interpreting my location.

 Whilst taking a break from the bustle of the city and eating some lunch, I noticed a lot of attraction toward a certain building. At first glance I though it was a church regardless of its attractive exterior. People continued to come and go gazing as I ate which left me intrigued as to what was inside. Manchester Cathedral was extremely ornate upon entering and provided a perfect location for me to shoot an image of something I’d found. The variety of colours and lighting worked well at helping me create visually interesting images alongside the pleasing aesthetics of the architecture and interior.