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Autumn Term – Photography Development Course

27 Oct 2017

Julia Rafferty’s review of the Autumn Term “Further Steps – Pensthorpe Porfolio Development”

On Wednesday 4th October, we continued our exploration of the idea of ‘contrasts’ by exploring the theme: Low Key V High Key – My challenge to the group was to: “…take a series of photos that explore high-key and low-key subjects; that is, to take photos which are predominantly made of dark tones and shadows or predominantly made of light tones and highlights.  As well as undertaking this technical challenge, I asked the group to consider the composition and the ‘artistic’ and creative aspect of their shots”. Our previous ‘contrasts’ subject had been Minimalism V Detail.

You might try this yourself, Contrasts is a brilliant theme for developing your portfolio, as it will get you trying lots of different things – it will add variety to your portfolio and help you to become a more dynamic and creative photographer. I certainly think we were impressed by the work that was presented on our ‘in’ and sharing session – the high key and low key theme saw this group of photographers exploring subjects that were naturally light or dark and/or exploring editing techniques that created an overall light or dark final image. A photographers portfolio should explore their versatility, breadth of skills and showcase all that they can do. Like a piece of music, we want light/dark, loud/quiet, slow/fast, high/low…

Don’t forget to visit the group’s exhibition in the Exhibition Room at Pensthorpe – it is gradually changing as work sells and as the seasons change…


Susi Hancock

Seeds – high key photo – was taken with a 60mm lens on ISO 200, f/9, @1/6 sec. On my way through the Millennium Garden there were these tall seeds with red stems blowing in the wind.

More aliens – low key photo – was taken with a 60mm lens on ISO 100, f/2.8, @1/80 sec. Knowing we were aiming for low key photographs, I saw these seeds on our way out and just loved their texture. I adjusted the colour a little more to give the bright purple colour as we all need colour.



Michael I’Anson

Group of mushrooms and fly

With it being October and, this year, a mild one but damp in shaded areas, it’s the perfect habitat for fungi. Pensthorpe is awash with them, in all manner of shapes, sizes and colours.  I found this clump on a moss-covered tree stump. Having taken several shots from varying viewpoints, a hover-fly landed and, in an instant, gone again, but not without me getting that one shot of him!


Join the dots 

As it was an overcast day, the conditions were perfect for black and white photography, as aiming the camera upwards would silhouette objects and habitat nicely. There was plenty to choose from; leaves, branches, pine cones, bulrushes and grasses. There was a little breeze so ISO had to be high to enable quick enough shutter speed to hand-hold the camera without blur in the foreground.


Jane Butcher

Autumn Leaves

I liked the colours and shapes of these leaves.  I used Nik software to enhance the colours and detail.