Enjoying Past Explorations
Each exploration is an opportunity to extend each participant's range of skills and ideas with practice using tools, techniques, and principles in an interesting and creative way. Introducing a wide range of subjects and approaches to experimentation, we encourage lots of trial and error in order to challenge ourselves to find a broad range of imaging skills to use in our work.
These images were created and examples of different approaches to each topic. © Robin KIng
Smoke and Bubbles
Two early challenges at the beginning of the Explorations series. Fun and open to lots of experimentation
High Key and Low Key
Two important and complementary techniques.
Intentional Camera Movement
The camera in moved during the exposure in different ways (vertically, horizontally or in other ways to create the effect of blurred motion to produce an aesthetic or creative result.
Making the Ordinary into the Extraordinary
Photographing object or situations that cause the viewer to experience a different point of view than it would be if photographed without manipulation, It might be the specific point of view, colour change etc
This exercise is an exploration in creating an impactful image using analogous colours - colour hues that are close together in the colour wheel. For example,fall colours are often a limited range of yellow or red hues in different levels of
saturation and intensity. Try to apply the hue, saturation and intensity of the chosen colour to enhance the visual impact of the image. Use any subject matter that you feel works for this assignment.
Contrasting Colours –
A minimalist approach
The Amazing Possibilities of Paper
Paper is the simplest, most versatile, and best creative medium of all materials. It’s enormous potential for flexible artistic and visual expression combines creative vision and ideas with tactile experience. This exploration encourages a wide variety of approaches such as cutting folding, embossing, tearing, sculpting, weaving, collage, origami, and other techniques to create compelling images. Incorporate your knowledge of colour, line, form, composition and texture etc. as importance components of your investigation.
Practical, decorative and often an object of artistic creativity, glass is a medium that challenges our exploration of applying light in different ways - inspiring us to reveal its particular transmission, reflection and refraction properties.
Chose one or two forms of glass that interest you. These might include architectural glass, stained glass, paper weights, wine glasses, figurines, artistic glass pieces, acid-etched, engraved, broken, sand blasted objects, blown glass vessels, lens balls, bowls, vases, paperweights, prisms, fibre optics, etc.
Peru Altiplano- 1975
This Exploration is an important opportunity to reflect on your photographic work through the most important images you have taken. It’s an opportunity to display your personal accomplishments and reveal the stories behind their creation. The prime focus of the session(s) will be to explain why you selected each image and why you consider these are your most successful photographs.
The prime focus will be to learn about yourself, about your colleagues and to share your thoughts about your progress over the years. Self-reflection is Important way to clear the mind and to focus on future personal direction and explorations.
The Power of Three
This Exploration is visual investigation of the potential arrangements of three elements in a single visual setting. Open to any subject matter, three (3) is the key component - three key elements explored through their common forms, tonal values, textures and compositional placements.
Our brains like to see things in threes, and in simple and powerful arrangements. Things are generally more appealing and memorable if arranged in threes. Keep it simple of course. This is an opportunity to explore new ideas in your area of interest or in a new direction.
Adventures in Black and White
Black and white photographs are a very powerful way of translating the visual or emotional core of a scene or situation. This exploration is the start of that journey for those who are new to black and white photography. For others it will be an ongoing investigation and discovery.
Black and white images use the evocative strength of the basic elements of composition, contrast, line, form, tone, texture, and shadow and also, in some cases, the impact of the human condition and social interactions..
Small is Beautiful
Beautiful has many possible meanings - alluring, appealing, attractive, delicate, elegant, exquisite, graceful, stunning, gorgeous, enticing, etc. Small is also a contextual term because size is relative to the subject matter. It doesn’t necessarily mean a close-up or macro shot but instead can also be interpreted in many divergent and interesting ways.
Paint, Powder and Pigment
The subject of this exploration is paint, pigment and powder: three highly flexible media that yield an extremely wide range of ways to express dynamic colour relationships. Each medium is available in a wide variety of forms that can be used in combination with numerous techniques and applied in diverse ways.
The challenge is for you to create a dynamic photograph that uses
one or more of these three (either alone or in combination) using different application techniques and on a variety of surfaces.
Suburban Life: Past and Present
All too often we try to take photographs that are dynamic, unique and have high impact and creative expression. Less often, we use our camera to record the day-to-day events and people in our neighbourhoods. An important alternative to more traditional street photography, the genre of suburban imagery is seldom a specific subject for exploration except, perhaps, in online social media. It is rarely the dedicated subject of photographic investigation.
Suburbia, planned communities and urban sprawl around the world are often portrayed in popular media as boring, bland, depressing and sometimes even soul crushing. And yet, underneath there is a hidden treasure of cultural diversity in both rich and poor environments where stories of fascinating people, their lives, their values, and their daily events often missed and go unrecorded.
The Aesthetics of Bokeh
Generally refers to specular out-of-focus highlights and specular reflections. Bokeh can be a complement to your image, but it can also be a distraction.
The Bokeh effect is created using a fast aperture (low f-number: e.g. f1.8) and most often using a 50 mm or 85 mm lens, although other focal lengths can create the effect. It depends on the particular design of the lens, the specific aperture, the distance of the lens to the subject and the distance of the background elements behind the subject.In this exploration the task is to research and experiment bokeh and create images that illustrate the effect in different situations. It can be in your personal space, studio or outside (nighttime is especially good).
Our environment is changing rapidly and so we often miss the opportunity to record aspects of work and occupations that have disappeared or may well disappear soon. Yesterday’s occupations and methods of production have given way to entirely new pressures on life and particularly on work as we have known it. But what about the past? What do we remember and what can we record before it is lost?
What to photograph for this topic? Older factories and industrial spaces, workers, assembly lines, tools in action, inner workings of old machines, industrial technology, images that reflect the age of industrial life and manufacture.
Photo by Ingrid Hahn
Measurement is an essential aspect of making good photographic images as well (intensity, distance, colour etc.), The core aspects of this exploration should be graphic simplicity and enjoyment of the process of creating solutions to express the simple essence of measurement.
Small Product with One Light
The purpose of this exploration is to light a small commercial object for a promotional image with a single light source.
Choose an object(s) that is less than 10 in x 10in x 10 inches.
Research your selection on the internet to see what approaches have been successful and collect sample images for reference. Pay particular attention to the quality of the light (position and intensity) as well as the shadows cast and any reflections in the product that define its shape.
Analyze the lighting to see how you can use one light source (natural or artificial)
and, if necessary with reflectors, to create strong modelling to shape the product. You can introduce additional elements but they must only support the theme.
Single split backlight using large softbox
Based on a tutorial designed as a comprehensive guide and straightforward approach to using off-camera flash in a home or small studio space using low cost and DIY solutions to produce successful images. Especially useful for beginners, intermediate photographers, and those with a fear of using flash, this presentation will take the participant through the basic principles, foundational tools, and simple set-ups for solutions to some typical applications.
A strictly manual approach (no TTL or complex multiple lighting) using core concepts to achieve a variety of lighting solutions using a single light source. Once the basics are well understood, flash can be used to produce and control both natural and creative lighting solutions to enhance any portfolio
A flat lay is a composition of carefully selected and arranged items, arranged on a flat surface and shot directly from above.
In this Exploration you should assemble a thematic group of items and design a compositional arrangement that illustrates the links among them – one that that clearly communicates these relationships to the viewer. Select diverse shapes and sizes, create a simple, strong composition and balance, complementary textures and decide on a colour palette suited to the overall theme. This is an opportunity to select a fascinating subject that you enjoy, would like to share, and reflects your interests.
Summertime is often a great opportunity to improve your photography. Whether you have travelled or stayed in place, hopefully you have been perfecting your visual techniques, developing your personal style, exploring your favourite subjects and improving your photographic skills.
Starting off a new year in Explorations, this session is an opportunity to show what you have achieved over the summer months and would like to share with everyone as we go into the fall and winter. Perhaps a special moment that you have captured, a new discovery, an idea or approach you have perfected, now is the time to bring it into focus.
Not just rocks - but stones, marble, minerals, granite, sand, quartz, jade, coal, and all manner of naturally occurring geological materials that may occur or have been remanufactured in any form. Geological artifacts are all around us, out there in natural world and in our home environment.
Using basic skills, techniques and ideas to interpret and visualize such as textures, complimentary and analogous colours, compositional styles, high-key, low-key, natural light, artificial light etc. we can interpret “rocks” in all kinds of ways and make them interesting and novel images.
Textures, in one form or another, play an integral part in many of the images we create or capture. They can be the principal subject of an image, or they can act as an enhancement or context to its principal elements.
Smooth, rough, simple, complex, light, dark, high contrast or low contrast, sharp or blurred, textures have different qualities and uses depending on your capture or image previsualization. So, this Exploration focuses on both finding and creating textures we may use in future Explorations and for personal purposes.
Experiments in Portraiture
It’s an opportunity to take simple head and shoulder images against a black or white background. These can be an opportunity to experiment with alternative ways to alter, revise, embellish, contextualize, re-visualize, and create new ways to interpret the people we know.
Reflections in a smashed mirror, photographs torn apart and reassembled, colours manipulated, retouched, selected filters, painted faces or makeup, unusual lighting, different lens choices or camera angles, stylistic interpretations, the list can be almost endless. It’s about using imagination and playing with ideas…..time to research for inspiration!
A Self-Assigned Exploration
The Explorations series is about pushing personal boundaries by experimenting with subjects and techniques that are outside of one’s comfort zone. By building new skills and developing our creative expression, we can discover additional tools and techniques to improve our work and create the increased satisfaction that comes from great results.
This exploration offers the opportunity to select something that you would like to explore. Not your favourite specialty or a provided task, but something new you would like to master. It might be a new subject, a new technique, a new tool or any combination.
I chose an experiment in compositing as an illustrative exercise (12 images).
Light painting has a very long photographic history – well over 120 years. It’s a technique of moving a light source during a long exposure to light an object or space, or to “paint” directly an image with a light source. This is an exploration that can be performed outside (in the dark or perhaps “blue hour”) or inside in a dark or low-light level space.
Double exposures in photograph also have a very long tradition. In this Exploration you are invited to try two or more new approaches to the subject and experiment with creative solutions you may not have tried before.
Double (and multiple) exposures scan be accomplished in your camera (if it has the capability), through a camera app or in post-processing software. You can use two different images or use a single image twice if the effect works well.
Simply Circles with an AI Twist
Circles are everywhere – in the natural and in the manmade world. The geometry of circles (and ellipses) can excite the viewer in their symmetry and simplicity. Their simple shape, colours, properties, powerful composition provide endless possibilities for photographic exploration.
So, in this exploration you should experiment with ideas that have circles or ellipses as the central compositional element and in a way that creates a simple, compelling, and powerful aesthetic. Any subject matter but carefully chosen for this task.
Many well-known photographers (and some not so well known but great), have photographed vegetables for many important reasons. They are excellent subjects for the exploration of shape, sculptural form, texture, and colour etc. - sometimes on their own and often in the form of a still life.
This exercise is both a challenge and a learning opportunity. As always you should approach this by first researching and gathering examples from a wide variety of sources that you can study for their aesthetic and technical characteristics. Then decide on an approach or example that you would like to follow in your own style, exploring through experimentation and keeping in mind the simplicity and impact that makes for a very strong image. See especially the work of Edward Weston, Irvin Penn and Charles Jones but there many examples on the internet in a wide variety of styles and formats
Discovering Urban Landscapes
Designed as an Exploration but held as a general session
Frames and Framing
This Exploration focusses on the dynamic opportunities and critical importance of framing in photography. There are two important aspects to framing – the image format (vertical, horizontal, square) and the use of framing techniques within the image to create dimension and/or direct the viewer’s attention.
There are four major different types of framing. The first is by using architectural elements such as buildings, building elements such as windows, archways, tunnels etc. A second is using natural elements such as trees, flowers, canyon walls, stone formations to create a frame within the chosen format. A third is using geometric shapes, such as circles, squares, rectangles, ovels, and spirals which may be natural or man-made. The four is by using light and/or shadow to create a frame for a situation or subject.
The Many Shades of Red"
Red is an emotionally intense colour that demands our attention every time it appears in our images.
It can be dramatic and overwhelming - a colour of action, passion, romance, speed, intensity, excitement, and energy. Especially when overused it can create a feeling of anger, aggressiveness, power, courage, danger, and dominance. Red can be the major colour in an image, or it may be seen in small amounts in a minimalist composition
Crimson, scarlet, maroon, burgundy, carmine, vermillion, cardinal, fire engine, candy apple, alizarin, ruby, rose – so many shades to choose among, to find and to use.