EXERCISEBicycleAssignment: Photograph a bicyclefrom various
Goal: Explore the idea that there ismore than one way to look at
any ob-ject. Once you start really looking, thepossibilities are
Tips: Get in close and shoot parts ofthe bicycle: pedals,
spokes, handle-bars, seat, light, kickstand, gears, etc.Get even
closer and shoot details of theparts: a portion of the gears, the
hand-grip of the handlebars, the joint of thekickstand.
Then pull back a bit and look forpatterns: the various lines and
circlesand curves and angles of the frame,wheels and mechanism of
the bicycle.Pull further back and shoot the entirebicycle in an
interesting environment.Alternatively, shoot it in a very
plainenvironment, so the shapes of the bi-cycle stand out
Approach the bicycle from thefront, back, top and either side.
Getdown under it and shoot upwards. Layit down and shoot it on the
ground.Get in close again. Step back. Movearound. Try to find as
many ways asyou can to look at this one object.
(Note: You don't have to restrictyourself to one bicycle. Look
for varia-tions in different ones. Find or placeseveral bikes
together and shoot themas a group. Do, however, get at leasta
half-dozen shots of one bicycle, tosee how many variations you can
findin a single object.)
Student photograph by Charles Bell.
154 The Photographic Eye
Student photograph by Charles StuartKennedy III.
Student photograph by Bruce Wiles.
EXERCISEHubcaps &TaillightsAssignment: Photograph
auto-mobile hubcaps and taillights (head-lights are acceptable as
Goal: Concentrate on cropping inon your subject. Explore
variousways of composing circular and othershapes within the
rectangular frameof a photograph.
Tips: Choose you r subjec t scarefully; the more intricate the
bet-ter. For example, a very plain hub-cap will generally be less
interest-ing than one with spokes or otherdecoration.
Shoot pieces, details. It's a goodidea, for instance, not to get
thewhole hubcap into the frame. Cropin on an interesting part of
it. Lookfor patterns. In this exercise, patternsare more important
than the objectbeing photographed.
Notice how light interacts withchrome and glass. Pay particular
at-tention to precise focusing. Experi-ment with different angles
for in-teresting effects. Move around.
Student photograph by Stephen Griggs.
Student photograph by Marciano Pitargue, Jr.
156 The Photographic Eye
Student photograph by DavidKleinfelt.
Student photograph by Han June Bae.
EXERCISEEggsAssignment: Arrange several eggs ona white
background and photographthem.
Goal: Explore the possibilities of arepeated simple shape, of
light andshadow, of a white subject on a whitebackground, and of a
"set-up"shot all at once. Try to produce aphotograph in which the
eggs are ar-ranged in a pleasing compositionwhich is enhanced by
Tips: Try using a large (i .e.32" x 40") piece of white
matboard, so you can experiment freelywith composition and viewing
angle.Shoot in bright sunlight and rely onthe point of departure
camera setting(f/16 at 1/125 of a second). This isanother case in
which your lightmeter will only be confusing.
Don't settle for the first shot thatcomes to mind explore! Try
variousarrangements and various anglesunti l you get something
Student photograph by Jun Hwang.
158 The Photographic Eye
Student photograph by CliffBlaskowsky.
Student photograph by William Roche.
EXERCISEObject &Its ShadowAssignment: Photograph an
object(or part of it) along with its shadow.
Goal: Explore how an object'sshadow can add visual interest to
In addition, learn to place both anobject (or part of an object)
and itsshadow effectively into a rectangularframe.
Tips: You'll get the best resultsearly or late in the day (from
dawnto mid-morning or mid-afternoon tillsunset), when shadows will
be niceand long. Be sure your subject is well-placed to cast an
interesting shadow.It's best if the shadow is cast on afairly
simple surface a complicatedsurface tends to reduce a
Pay particular attention to negativespace. Try to achieve visual
tensionbetween the object and the shadow.This can be done by
placing the ob-ject over to one side of the frame andletting the
shadow stretch to the farside (a corner to corner stretch can
Student photograph by Charles Stuart Kennedy HI.
160 The Photographic Eye
Student photograph by LynneMattielli.
Student photograph by Evelyn Wight.
Student photograph by Evelyn Wight.
EXERCISEBottles &GlassesAssignment: Photograph an
ar-rangement of bottles and/or glasseson a white background. (32 x
40"white mat board is recommended).Photograph the arrangement
fromvarious angles to explore the com-positional possibilities in
Goal: Achieve the best possiblewhite, gray and black tones,
using thecorrect aperture and shutter speedcombination (f/16 at 125
Produce an interesting composi-tion that makes good use of
Tips: Don't rely on your lightmeter. Stick to the "point of
depar-ture" setting and you will get the cor-rect effect. The
background shouldbe a true white, but with texture visi-ble. Black
lines (where glass is thickor is touching something) should beclear
and dark enough to contraststrongly with the white. Gray
tonesshould be varied and delicate, notmuddy.
Notice how the shapes of the bot-tles or glasses interact with
eachother, and how their shadows interactas well.
Do not let the edge of the white sur-face show in the frame! A
telephotoor, better still, a zoom lens is helpfulfor an assignment
like this. If youhave one, use it. If you don't, just getin
Student photograph by Jeff Frye.
Student photograph by Bill Backus.
162 The Photographic Eye
Student photograph by LynneMattielli,
,-Student photograph by CliffBlaskowsky.
EXERCISEWaterAssignment: Photograph water-any kind of water,
from a puddle toan ocean.
Goal: Capture some of water's dif-ferent qualities: calm and
still, rip-pling, splashing, falling, cascading,moody, etc.
Tips: Watch for interesting reflec-tions on calm water; for
water in-teracting with other objects (people,animals, rocks); for
how water af-fects and is affected by its environ-ment; for water
as an environment;for drops of water on leaves, glass,metal, etc.
Try looking into the waterfor fish, pebbles, discarded bottles
orwhatever else you might find.
Photograph a landscape or a citystreet through a wet window in
ahome, apartment or car. Keep an eyeout for floating leaves, sticks
orboats, anything half in and half outof the water. Look for things
grow-ing in water: lilies, grass, algae.
You may want to photograph anobject and its reflection, or just
thereflection. Try shooting a calm reflec-tion first, and then
tossing in a peb-ble to see what effect that has.
Finally, you might catch peopleplaying in water at a fire
hydrant,in a swimming pool, along a river orat the ocean.
Student photograph by Greg Garre.
Student photograph by A! Webb.
164 The Photographic Eye
Student photograph by Greg Garre.
EXERCISEOld ThingsAssignment: Photograph a varietyof old
objects, things that are wornfrom age or use houses, tools,
toys,furni ture, etc.
Goal: Show how the age of an ob-ject influences its
Tips: People in our society tend tothink that a thing has to be
new andglossy to be good. Few people ap-preciate things that have
earned theircharacter through age and lots of use.That's what this
exercise is about.
Look for peeled pa in t , rus t ,broken glass, things that have
beenabandoned, used up, worn out. Theyhave a statement of their
own, aspecial mood. That mood may be sad("This thing is all worn
out"), orhappy ("This thing has been usefulfor years").
Try to capture the object'scharacter. Notice how light and
tex-ture may help to por t ray thatcharacter.
Possible subjects include oldhouses, cars, tools, bridges,
traintracks, machinery, abandoned build-ings, an old can, discarded
toys, achipped plate, teacup, fork.
(Note: If you find something in-doors that you want to
photographoutdoors, be very careful that itdoesn't look set up.
Adjust the ar-rangement until it looks natural.)
Student photograph by Mark Mealey.
Student photograph by Thomas A. Perez.
Student photograph by Richard Greenstone.
166 The Photographic Eye