Assignment 3 ‘Decisive Moment’ rework

I have decided to replace the image of the man taking a photograph with his phone:

for the image of the lady on her phone appearing to talk to two headless people:


The final set therefore will look like this:

Re-work choices

I can clearly see the weakness in the original set with the out of focus image of the man taking the photograph. I kept it in my final set as I was impressed that I had captured him circling his eye in such a way however looking at the alternative options it is definitely the odd man out (no pun intended!).

I am favouring option 1 and option 3, they both appear much stronger as a set, I think I will look at them a while longer before selecting my final re-work grouping.

Assignment three – ‘The decisive moment’ re-work

Again this was another assignment where I continued to try something new and go outside of my comfort zone and I actually rather enjoyed it. Following feedback which on the whole was positive there are a number of shots which are not quite as well focused (Below)

The only shots that I captured of the person with the cigarette are below; the only image in which they are in focus is the first one where they are lighting their cigarette, I was planning on capturing the exhale of smoke but instead they spun their head to glare at me just as I clicked the button! I really like the image of them glaring so I am reluctant to omit this one. I really felt like it met the brief as all elements collided to get the shot and there is a connection between the subject and the photographer that cannot be captured again.

And again the only shots I had of the man taking the photo are below; the man taking the photo is not in focus in any of them and in the last image the man in the background is not present.

So the suggested images that my tutor recommended I consider in my feedback were :

I can understand the choice of the first image but I really don’t feel that the middle image is a decisive moment? The last image has a touch of humour which I do quite like so perhaps this could replace the image of the man taking the photograph.

Looking back through my images there are a few which I did like initially but I excluded from my final selection:

I liked that in the first two images the lady seems almost hidden against the graffiti, as if she is invisible, especially in the first image it would appear that the people taking a picture of the graffiti don’t even notice her! The last image is a little obvious but quite cute.

I think I need to view the images as a set to really get an idea of which I prefer to replace the gentleman taking the photograph. I am keeping the person glaring in my set as I felt a real connection taking this shot and I believe it meets the brief fully albeit slightly out of focus.




Response to tutor feedback – Assignment three

After a change in tutors I am pleased to have received my feedback for assignment three ‘The decisive moment’. I didn’t have any communications with my previous tutor other than emailing her to say it was done and then receiving her feedback via email. It was really helpful to have a long chat with my new tutor and to also go over feedback and critiques.

I have some tidying to do to my blog, mostly removing and rewording the OCA instructions under each heading or at least putting it in a different font. I also need to make sure that I categorize everything correctly and add pictures / links so I think I might need to plan in a few days for a WordPress ‘clean-up’.

Overall I was pleased with my feedback , it was extremely constructive, and I felt that I was on the right track, I was relieved to know that taking so many images was not considered a problem and I was already aware that my weakness is the technical side of things. It is quite a lengthy piece of feedback with lots of pointers that I must try to remember but my main aim it to concentrate on improving the technical side and focusing my images better.

It will be interesting to revisit assignments before submission with some of this feedback in mind, although I do find that everything is taking me twice as long whilst I grapple with the technical elements so I have no idea how long it will take me to do these re-works?

Reflection on the ‘Decisive moment’

Before I started this course with the OCA I always waited for people to move out of my frame and I would take photographs of views or scenes devoid of people. I would be apologetic at getting in the way of people and even family holidays snaps were mostly of places with little images of family members. Yet the photographs I most enjoy looking at are not scenes or landscapes but photographs of people! I started to experiment with taking images with people in assignment two when I chose crowds, this assignment has taken this one step further and I have really enjoyed concentrating on people watching. The image in which the subject is staring at me is now one of my favourites, I was capturing them lighting their cigarette and was hoping to get the moment they blew out the smoke but instead they spun their head round to glare at me for the intrusion. I feigned taking a photo of something else until they turned back and moved on…Phew! I even was brave enough to attempt to capture someone doing a line of drugs off a shop window, unfortunately I kept moving rather than stand brave so the shot is missed. (Images 357 and 358)

I have grown in confidence when taking the photographs although technically I still have a lot to learn (and remember). There was a number of images that didn’t make my final selection although I really liked them,  I found my observation skills were well and truly exercised. I also appear to have an interest in pigeons, I noticed them popping up in lots of the shots, I could even have a complete set devoted to them.

I should have increased my shutter speed for the skateboarders to get a better shot and one of my images that did make my final selection could have been focused sharper but I was trying to capture the small minute moments and I learnt that sometimes the brain and the trigger button do not align.

Having treated myself to a copy of the Magnum contact sheets I also discovered not to be so hard on myself as many photographers worked a scene to get one perfect shot, not everything they take is perfect, although they still achieved it in a lot less. I think my worry was that I would return home with nothing. I also noticed that I ended up with better images when I stopped looking back on them after each shot, I think it enabled me to stay observant and not lose momentum, I only reviewed them once I was on the train home and I found I really enjoyed the feeling of being presently surprised.



Decisive moment – Final submission


Final layout Decisive Moment cropped

I began my research for this assignment looking at the work of Elliott Erwitt and his sequence images, I really wanted to capture this however luck plays a huge part in what I consider to be the decisive moment. To get one decisive image there needed to be an element of luck but to hit upon a sequence ‘before’ it began I soon found out would need much more luck as well as experience in this field.

The decisive moment to me is a fleeting second where subject, composition and the photographer align to capture an image of a brief moment. I decided that street photography would give me the opportunity to explore the decisive moment. I brainstormed locations in London that may offer more interesting backgrounds and diversity. I initially kept moving around and focused myself on being observant to everything around me. I then found that actually loitering and waiting helped me to concentrate further on the images and I found myself getting braver at taking photographs closer to the subjects.

I set my camera to a shutter speed of 1/250 or 1/200 in shutter priority mode and also set my camera to take two continuous shots as that meant that I was able to concentrate on watching what was happening around me so that I could respond quickly.

  1. 1/250 sec at F/6.3, ISO 400, 62mm.


Apart from how glamorous this old lady is at a Saturday morning market the motorbike behind appears to be on a collision course with her, if only she could move quicker with her walking stick. Although she is slightly centred to the image my eyes are drawn between her and the cyclists helmet.

2. 1/250 sec at F/9, ISO400, 48mm.


In this moment my subject has connected directly with me as the photographer, the split second in which she turned to look has now included me in the image. I also like the strength of colour, I  find myself questioning this persons gender and I am drawn directly to the staring eyes and the bright red lips.

3. 1/250 sec at F/4.8, ISO450, 52mm.


I waited for the moment that a passer-by connected in some way with the mirror without looking into it directly. You would expect the man in the mirror to be the head at the forefront of the image but he is not, however he almost appears to be looking at this person that we cannot see.

4. 1/250 sec at F/5, ISO500, 75mm.


In this image I have captured the look of the passer-by in the rear of the image, is he looking at what the man is doing on the phone or is the man in front taking a picture of the man behind? The way the man in the fronts hand almost cups his eye interested me although I wish he had been sharper in the image. The golden ratio also works in this image.

5. 1/250 sec at F/5.3. ISO560, 80mm.


The moment two elements appeared in front of me, the bride to be dressed in trashy clothing with the sex doll crossing the road in front of the rubbish truck. Apart from this moment being fleeting there is an element of comic humour which appealed to me. It also fits well with the rule of thirds / golden ratio. Her friends orange trainers are mirrored by the Biffa logo and lights.

6. 1/250 sec at F/4.2, ISO800, 40mm.


Again the comic humour of this image amused me, the girl is perfectly placed under the signage of the shop behind. Could she be sending a selfie? ‘I am bold and beautiful’ or is she oblivious? merely passing by and not noticing that she too could be bold and beautiful?

7. 1/250 sec at F/6, ISO720, 185mm.


This old man grabbed for his tissue and I thought that the fountain and him blowing his nose might not collide, but in a fraction of a second it did. His runny nose now has a running fountain onto him, again the humour of the brief moment amused me and it also fits well compositionally.

8. 1/200 sec at F/5, ISO1000, 75mm.


Not such an obvious moment, but here I noticed how the pigeons were mimicking the people behind , from the lone pigeon walking away to the two appearing to  be whispering closely almost about to kiss. The bonus that I hadn’t spotted initially was the ladies boots which also mimic the Pigeon’s wings / tails.


I found my process of setting my shutter speed and setting two continuous bursts effective in capturing decisive moments, there were moments that I unfortunately missed but I found I had a selection to choose from. I did take a lot of images for this assignment so in future I would like to try to be more decisive myself but I was trying to get the ‘before’ image as well as the moment so I found I was shooting potential scenes as well as scenes themselves.

Overall I am pleased with the images I have captured for this assignment, I did experiment with putting the images into black and white to make them more cohesive as a set .I was aware that some images appeared greyer due to the paving and colour of the person’s clothing and some were more colourful however following peer feedback I have kept the images in colour.

The images all capture a fleeting moment that would not present itself if I had taken the image a minute later, their compositions all work well therefore I feel that they have communicated the ‘decisive moment’. I like the variety of the images, I chose not to stick to a theme as I wanted to learn to be more open and receptive to what was around me, I found myself observing a variety of elements such as people, lighting, shadows, street signs and even pigeons to get to this final set.

Considering black and white

Looking back over my images I found that the variants in colour might be detracting from the image. All the photographs were taken in London but some areas were naturally more colourful and some more grey. I have narrowed my selection down further to 13 and converted them to black and white.

I do love black and white, I can focus on the image without distraction although there were a few I still preferred in colour so I might ponder this for a bit longer.

I am also considering adding titles to the images, I have included these below.

I just need to narrow this down to a maximum of 8 images.

1. The kiss

2. Trashy

3. Bold & beautiful

4. The jump

5. Reflections

6.  If looks could kill

7. Look out!

8. Hidden

9. Copycats

10. Runny nose

11. The look

12. Watch out!

13.  From behind