The final exercise of this project makes use of the viewfinder grid display of a digital camera. This function projects a grid onto the viewfinder screen to help align vertical and horizontal lines, such as the horizon or the edge of a building, with the edge of the frame. Please check your camera manual (or Google search) for how to display the grid in your viewfinder. If your camera doesn’t have a grid display, just imagine a simple division of the viewfinder into four sections.
Take a good number of shots, composing each shot within a single section of the viewfinder grid. Don’t bother about the rest of the frame! Use any combination of grid section, subject and viewpoint you choose.
When you review the shots evaluate the whole frame not just the part you’ve composed. Looking at a frame calmly and without hurry may eventually reveal a visual coalescence, a ‘gestalt’. Select six or eight images that you feel work both individually and as a set and present them as a single composite image. Add to your learning log together with technical information such as camera settings and two or three lines containing your thoughts and observations.
All images have been shot on the Nikon Z6 with the 24-70mm lens. The setting is on auto mode with auto ISO, as per the requirements of the brief for this part of the coursework.
I struggled with this exercise initially as I really didn’t understand the outcome that was expected. I took several images in and around the house and whatever outdoor spaces that I could access due to the lockdown restrictions. The images I took were varied, but with a subject in mind, to have some kind of a visual link between the images. For example, in this particular set, I chose an illuminated part in the house where light was filtering through a window or a doorway, common to all these images. I chose this as my final set of images it came closest to what I believe is the learning aim for this exercise – the visual coalescence.
My research for the Gestalt principles can be found here:
Final Composite Image
Individual Images of the composite
You may click on any image in the gallery to view it full size.
Below are the contact sheets for individual images from the set above, with the red transparent circle highlighting the area that I composed within the grid.
Below are some of the other images that I took for this set in a contact sheet form. The white circled area highlights the area that I composed within the grid.
Due to my initial struggle with this exercise, I tried to work with various sets and combinations of images, keeping one standard element common in all frames. This set below was taken in mind keeping colours as the common link within the images. Although this set had some good images, I discarded is as colour is a very strong element and can tend to consume everything around or within it. I quite liked it but wanted my final set to not be so conspicuous.
The set below was taken with the Common Pigeon as a link. I got a couple of interesting compositions but discarded it as the images were repetitive and I wanted to do something different from my first assignment that had birds as the central theme.
This set includes images from the initial attempts at this exercise when I struggled with composing elements within a section of the grid. It includes some randomly taken images of my studio space and since I wasn’t too happy with them, it didn’t make the final cut.
This set was also part of the initial images when I was quite clueless, with my family as the central theme. I realised that this wasn’t really fitting the brief as there wasn’t any composition of elements in a part of a grid that was happening at all, so it was a failed set for this particular exercise.
This set was taken just outside my house with Outdoors being the common factor, from the balcony and from the main gate of my house.
Thoughts & Observations
I did struggle with not being able to NOT bother about the rest of the frame as per the brief, and initially kept making composed images subconsciously that I am used to. That was the most difficult part that I had to deal with. I did not begin this exercise with any preconceived link in my mind and only as an afterthought decided to categorise them into sets that seemed to be sitting well together.
It was initially tough for me to restrict my attention to composing only one part of the grid and I kept zooming in on the area I was shooting. This resulted in cropped images that appeared quite focused but flat for this particular learning aim. I then consciously chose larger areas within the view finder while composing my images and noticed how this worked better, as upon analysing the pictures, I started to see links between various elements. The cropped images appear to be focused and takes the eye exactly where it is supposed to be directed, and while they will work extremely well with another brief where you are supposed to present a more impactful image, but for this brief I felt a wider framing worked better for the visual narrative or gestalt elements to work.
As I started to make images as per the brief it started to fall in place after a while and to make more sense. Even if you are focusing on only one part of the grid, the other elements that are within the frame start to link up and relate to one another. One can see the laws of gestalt play their role in building up a visual narrative within a frame. Despite my initial confusion, I do believe that this exercise definitely did teach me a lot.
- To be able to analyse what to include and what not.
- To be able to build a narrative within a frame.
- To understand the Gestalt laws and their workings within photography.
- To be able to apply the Gestalt to build a powerful image.
- A better understanding of how Gestalt works and can lead to strong and better visuals.
- How the eye sees the various elements and weaves them together within a frame.
- To compose better pictures and understand why an image doesn’t work compared to another.