Reflection on Photographic Essay

I am pleased with the overall outcome of my Photographic Essay. I think that the photos are an accurate representation of the theme I chose, “Hornsea-a peaceful haven by the sea”. The photos are perhaps not technically precise but, whilst capturing single moments, I hope they reflect the notion of impermanence.  The sea as continually changing and yet a constant presence.

If I were to change certain aspects I would spend more time experimenting with different angles. I would also use a tripod to stabilise images and to take photos with a slower shutter speed to create a different effect. I tried to use a fast shutter speed to illustrate the movement of waves. Lowering  the aperture gave a greater depth of field to some of my images.

I spent a lot of time and put a lot of thought into my project. Trying to keep the compositional rules in mind when shooting.  I chose to photograph the beach and the sea because it is special to me. I can not imagine living anywhere far from the sea. I hope my love of the ocean comes through in my photos.

I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the photography module of Creative Futures. I have  discovered a new passion for photography and will definitely continue and hopefully improve in the future.


Photographic Essay

Hornsea-a peaceful haven by the sea

For my photographic essay I have chosen 25 photos which represent the Hornsea coast line (with the exception of one photo of a surfer taken at Scarborough. I included this photo because it is almost comical and looks as if the surfer has been photo-shopped onto the image).

I wanted to promote the natural beauty of the sea and coast. Photographing at different times of the day to emphasize the changing light. The photographs were captured with the theme of transience or impermanence in mind. The essential character of the sea is that it is never static, it is dynamic and constantly changing.

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Court Snatch

Our project for today’s photography session was to do a ‘court snatch’. This involved photographing the accused as he  arrives for his court hearing.

The camera was set to burst shot in order to take several simultaneous shots so as not to miss the moment.

Unfortunately the photos that I managed to take didn’t capture his face. I should have been facing the subject and prepared for his arrival. I also learnt a valuable lesson as my camera battery was low. It is important to check all equipment before setting out.


The JDM Year 1 paparazzi awaiting the arrival of  a known criminal for his court case.


Aperture and Angle of View

The Aperture is a circular hole within or just behind the lens which restricts light from entering the lens. It is adjustable in size like the Iris of an eye. The larger the diameter of the hole, the more light gets in. So, by changing the size to larger or smaller, strong or weak lighting conditions can be compensated.

Aperture is measured in ‘f-stops’ or ‘f-numbers’. Each change of f-number lets in half or double the light. The wider the aperture, the lower the f-number.

This diagram offers a useful guide as to how the settings of the three elements of the exposure triangle work:



Depth of Field

Changing the aperture also has an effect on how much of the photograph appears sharply focused. The amount that the shot will be in focus is known as ‘Depth of Field’. As we can see from the table below a small aperture will give a larger depth of field; most of the image will be in focus whether near or far away.


Controlling the sharpness  of a picture is a great way to direct the viewer’s attention to the focal point of the photograph.

The image on the left was captured at 150th of a second at f/5.0 which resulted in a very shallow depth of field.  Because of this the background is out of focus allowing the subject to stand out. The image on the right was captured at 1/50th of a second at f/32 which created a deep depth of field and a sharper background.

Angle of View

“Angle of view” describes how much of the scene in front of the camera will be captured by the camera’s sensor. Defined in degrees, the angle of view can be measured horizontally, vertically or diagonally across an image. The angle of coverage of a lens depends upon its focal length, the longer the focal length the smaller the angle of coverage.

For today’s challenge we experimented with focal length. We photographed a person close up using an 18mm lens and then further away but zooming in at 55cm. This produced the following results:

As you can see, standing close with an 18mm lens, the subject is the focal point of the photograph. Standing further away and using a zoom of 55mm  the subject is roughly the same size, but more of the background is encompassed. This also produced a much sharper image. The subject is the same but both photos offer different perspectives. By experimenting with aperture settings and zoom features we can be more creative and achieve much more variation.

Shutter Speed and Panning

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed or ‘exposure time’ stands for the length of time a camera exposure is open to let in light. It works with the Aperture and ISO to make up The Exposure Triangle.


If you can balance The Exposure Triangle and get all three elements working together, you  can achieve the results you want, and not what the ‘Auto’ setting of the camera decides for you.

If the shutter speed is fast, for example 1/125 of second, it can freeze action completely. A slow shutter speed, lower than 1/125 e.g. 1/30, even several seconds, lets in more light and can blur the action or correct the exposure in dim light.

The following shots, taken in Queen’s Gardens, Hull, illustrate the effects of altering the shutter speed when photographing the same subject. The photos were taken with a Canon EOS 750D camera. A tripod was used to keep the camera stable.

The first two photos were taken with shutter speeds of 0″4 and 1/5 respectively.

Shutter speeds 1/1000 and 1/4000 (the highest setting on the camera)

As we increase the shutter speed we are able to freeze the motion of the waterfall. It gives great detail so we are able to see the individual drops of water.

Two examples of underexposed images, the shutter speed was too fast/high so not enough light was let in:

Allowing too much light to enter the camera, a slow shutter speed, produced the following result:


Panning is the technique used to capture an object in motion. The camera is rotated to follow the subject. A long shutter speed is used to blur the background and focus on the object. Only the prime object remains in focus.

It sounds simple enough, but it takes some practice. It is better to use a tripod to keep the camera steady. Here are my attempts at capturing cars in front of Hull College:


Research for photographic essay

Before deciding on my theme for the photographic essay I was looking at websites on Hornsea, which are all extremely basic and do nothing to promote the town. They paint a picture of a sad, neglected seaside town, living in the dark ages.

I decided that I would like to create a series of photos on and around the Hornsea coast which do justice to the natural beauty.

As part of my research I looked at the work of local artist Gavin Prest. He has done some amazing work, which includes images focused on Hornsea beach.

However, his photos are very artistic and I wanted a more natural feel.

I have a dutch friend, Marinus Van Dijke, a visual artist who visited Hornsea in 2014 as part of his ‘Horizons’ project. The piece he did on Hornsea is really interesting. I have taken inspiration from his work.

I also looked into a more philosophical perspective. I was interested in the transient nature of the sea. I came across this book which explores coastal landscapes  with an “awareness of the relationship forged between self and surroundings”.

Statement of Intent

For my photographic project I intend to take a series of photos on and around the Hornsea coastline. This will illustrate the techniques learnt over the semester in Creative Futures, Photography. Most importantly to demonstrate my understanding of composition, aperture and shutter speed.

It will include images taken from various angles at different times of the day. I would like to show photos which reflect changing light. I also want to highlight the natural beauty of the sea and coast.

I will use a Canon EOS 750D for most of the images, although, if a photo opportunity presents itself, my Samsung S7 mobile phone has a powerful camera.

The project will develop over several weeks. Numerous shoots in varying weather conditions and different locations. Sometimes involving a ‘machine gun’ technique, taking as many photos as possible and then selecting the interesting ones to narrow down to my final choice.