I chose to explore crowds as my subject for this assignment; I do not usually photograph people or strangers so it was going to be an interesting learning curve. I decided to visit a few different events that were happening before Christmas. For my final submission I chose a series of pictures that focus on the back of heads within the crowd. This is my own personal viewpoint, whenever I am in a crowded environment there is usually someone in my line of vision and I spend the entire time moving from left to right trying to gain a better view, I think this comes across in the images I have selected. It is what a crowd means to me.
Due to dropping and breaking my camera in the middle of this assignment I have used a mixture of three cameras, a Nikon D3200, D3100 and a D7200, I used two different lenses, an 18-300 lens and a 55-200 lens, one of which was not cooperating very well after being dropped.
f.3.5, 18mm, ISO 100
This image was taken from behind the subject from a lower vantage point, with the camera directed slightly upwards. I like the curve of the female Santa’s arm and the curve of the tree which gives a porthole effect to the crowd of Santa’s in front of her. The gaze of the female Santa also leads you towards the crowd of Santa’s, my shadow is also visible in this image which I feel adds to the effect. A wide aperture has created a shallow depth of field although the out of focus Santa’s are still recognisable within the frame.
f.4, 26mm, ISO 100
This image was taken level with the crowd: whilst in the middle of the crowd a small pocket opened up and I managed to capture the boy on his parent’s shoulders. The crowd in front of me blocking my view were deep in conversation and this child appears to be looking directly at them, the arrow to the top right almost tells you to look back towards them too. Despite this being taken with a wide aperture a deeper depth of field has been maintained with the sharpest focal point being the child.
f.4, 30mm, ISO 100
Again this was taken directly behind a group of onlookers; you can see that the soft focus lady in the hooded red and white cape was the object of their attention. The wide aperture has softened the overall image, the sharpest area being on the lady with the purple knitted hats shoulder, the gaze of the lady directs you back into the image.
f.4, 55mm, ISO500
This image was taken behind the subject but focused upwards; the wide aperture has created a shallow depth of field with the sharpest point in the image being Santa’s hat. Your eyes are naturally drawn up his arms towards the camera which he holds. You can see the crowd from the image in his camera and despite the soft focus it can be seen that it is a crowd of more Santa’s. Quite often when I am in crowds it is easier to see what is happening by looking through peoples phones which are held in a similar way.
f.25, 26mm, ISO3200
This image uses a small aperture to maintain the depth of field. You are drawn to the centre of the image and the church doorway; however as is usual for me you cannot see what the spectators are viewing.
f.4.2, 40mm, ISO100
This was taken with a wide aperture so that the subject stands out against a shallow depth of field. There is also a symmetry which I like between the subjects hat and the hat of the lady in the soft focus area.
F5.3, 80mm, ISO220
This image uses a shallow depth of field which highlights the subject and the vibrant colour of the lady’s hat draws you towards the back of her head. The child’s blue coat just in front of the subjects adds a splash of contrasting colour.
F4.5, 48mm, ISO 100
In this image I am drawn directly to the back of the man’s head and at the contrast between his grey hair and his black hat. The shallow depth of field ensures that the subject stands out from the crowd in front of him. This image feels the most nature viewpoint to me, the man is clearly blocking my view and I can only really focus on him. I would usually start jostling from left to right at this point to see if I can get a better line of sight.
Overall I am pleased with my selection and I feel they show my own personal point of view on a crowd. My biggest challenge was the crowd itself and the pace in which I had to work, I felt hurried and unable to compose my shots the way I had hoped. I couldn’t be sure that I would get enough images if I focused only on one common denominator so I took a variety such as children on shoulders, selfie takers and the back of heads. I was very torn when making my final selection as I was concerned that the backs of head images were too similar but from my own personal point of view it is an all too familiar sight.
What worked well
I took many more images for this assignment so I had a large variety to choose from, I looked into events that would provide the opportunity for crowds and I researched multiple photographers and ideas.
What didn’t work so well
I learnt that I should not rely on my zoom lens as many of my images were too grainy to be used, I now know that I need to get up close to my subjects and my final selection proves this. I would have liked to have had an even mix of images showing deep D.O.F as well as Shallow D.O.F.