Ilya's Course Blog - Week 2

15 June 2015

Region: London

Ilya Fisher brings us the second instalment of her RPS/OU course blog.

It’s been a busy week and I’ve now come to the end of session 1. I can see that I’m not going to have a single bored moment let alone a spare moment for the next 10 or so weeks. Besides all the reading and videos to watch, the activities and end of session assignments not to mention the rest of my life, there are always images to look at and comment on, forums to read, ask questions on and chat in.

This session’s theme is ‘Interesting Images’ and it is “designed around the idea of starting to consciously develop your ‘photographer’s eye’”. I’m not going to attempt to cover it all in this short space. Plus I want to leave you some surprises in case you ever decide to do this course. For me, by far the main part of this week’s lessons has been learning how to look at images and how to comment on them; invaluable to improving our own. It started with my being directed to Flickr and spending an hour going from image to image, favouriting ones I liked and then looking at these ones again, trying to see if they have anything in common, why I liked them. After this we were given a wonderful chart, so wonderful that I copied it in full into my notebook. It’s worth one week’s fees alone. It takes 6 major aspects of images such as composition & framing, light & shadow and technical quality (sharpness, depth of field) and asks questions to help us look at the positive and negative use of these aspects in the image. For example in the technical quality section: Positive -Is the image sharp and crisp in all the right places? Negative –Is the image blurred or fuzzy in important areas? The points cover a lot and give a really excellent checklist for looking at an image and the vocabulary for commenting on it. They even suggest constructive ways with examples and exercises to do this, presumably so you don’t destroy someone’s confidence.

It is a bit overwhelming too. We are divided up into groups. So far there are 26 of us in the blue group and more arriving every day. Each week we are encouraged to put up 10 images. This is a lot of images when you add them all up and one of the moderators said there will be 30-40 in each group. For the course to work we really need to spend some time commenting on other peoples images and they will comment on ours. It’s not easy commenting, takes a lot of thought. Not only does it have to be done sensitively but it also needs to be fairly accurate, I don’t want to embarrass myself.

I should add that the Lightroom videos and reading material are excellent. This week it was about importing, moving files around and tagging, all very clearly explained via video and text. Although I have been using LR for a while, I learnt a few things.

This week’s image is from the end of session assignment. We were invited to look around us for letters of the alphabet in the environment. Can you see which letter I found?

Image © Ilya Fisher