Lips Slurs (Winter Band Goal)

My individual goal for this band quarter is to improve my lips slurs. I specifically chose lip slurs as establishing a foundation of sound embouchure control will allow me to improve other aspects of my playing (tone, dexterity, etc). My practice plan is to practice octave-lip-slurs (as shown in the attached photo) for 5 minutes every day, which would be added to my regular practice time. When my playing shows improvement, I will add different and more challenging lip slur exercises to my schedule. Hopefully, by the end of December, I will be able to have a smoother and clearer lip slur, as well as have better embouchure control in general.

First 3 Weeks Reflection

“How was your first 3 weeks of class?  Talk about your preparedness, routine, music, pencil, impressions, things you want to work on, Mr. Long’s new reading glasses, etc.”  

My first 3 weeks of band class have gone as expected– which is to say, great. I have consistently been prepared for every class, as I come to class with all of the required materials: a pencil, my music, and my trumpet. I have also taken the responsibility of welcoming our new trumpet player, Jisu, to our band by introducing him to our section members, helping him with printing, and informing him on general band expectations.  Unfortunately, our trumpet section is still quite small, as Jisu is the only new addition to our section; however, I believe that we will be able to overcome this difficulty by practicing more and playing together with the best of our abilities. Something I plan to improve on this year is my intonation and articulation. As I recently bought a new trumpet over the summer, I am looking forward to being able to practice and improve my skills on this better model! So far, I do not think that our band music is challenging, compared to last year’s Arabesque; however, I am sure that more difficult APAC pieces will be introduced over the course of the year. I hope for our first concert, and the rest of the year, to go smoothly.

Portrait Reflection & Showcasing

1) In the portrait below of my friend Samantha, I experimented with filling the frame and eye contact.  It was taken on a cloudy afternoon, and a few peers were holding both silver and golden reflectors towards her face, which gave the photo a slight warm tone. While shooting, I suggested types of emotions to her so that she could manifest those emotions, and they could come through in the photograph.  After manually focusing on her features, I took the photograph and was pleased by the fierce-looking result.

 

2) The portrait below depicts a candid photograph of my friend, Daniel. During class, we were grouping up to practice the techniques used for portraits. Daniel was not in my group; however, I heard him and his group laughing as Daniel struck a pose on the group, and I decided that it was a good candid moment to capture. In all honesty, the photo was taken rather abruptly, and I didn’t have much time to consider the composition, but I love how the photograph turned out because of the great expression on Daniel’s face and the backstory behind the photo.

 

3) This portrait portrays the technique of getting a subject out of their comfort zone. Although my brother, the subject in the photograph’s, thoughts cannot be identified by a quick glance, this photograph truly took him out of his comfort zone. One of his greatest fears is heights, and despite my knowledge of this, I asked him to sit on the edge of the balcony on the third floor of our house. I took the photograph outside of our house, and this change of perspective is makes the portrait visually interesting.

 

4) The photograph below shows framing and was originally taken for my “Humans of ISB” assignment. While I was walking around the school during class, I spotted a PreK 4 class running around in the ES playground. After looking around for interesting subjects, I found the girl in the photograph below. Most of the children there were running away from me, yelling at me, or simply ignoring my presence, but she was the only one who seemed intrigued by my camera. At first, I was planning to have the window frame her face, as she was standing inside the house; however, to my surprise, as soon as I set up my position, she started crawling outside of the window. The framing in this portrait is effective because the bright pop of red from the windowsill brings attention to the subject, by contrast with the dull neutral colours of the house.

 

5) This portrait shows the technique of perspective. This photograph was taken during the kindergarten class photo session. To capture this photograph, I had to stand above the kindergarten girl and her toys. The room was badly lit, so I had to simultaneously correct the exposure of the photograph by adjusting the ISO and aperture while attempting to keep my shadow and figure out of the photograph.

 

6) In the portrait below of my mother, I experimented with light and shadows. I had just gotten home from school on a Wednesday, and the sun was still shining at its golden hour. In my bedroom, I found that a streak of sunlight was peeking through my curtains, so I positioned my mother in a way that would show the contrast of the shadows that were spread across her face. The light was very warm and quite harsh, which helped emphasise the contrast of tones in the photograph.

 

7) The candid portrait below of my brother, Bono, exemplifies the technique of lighting. As the photograph was taken at night, there weren’t many external sources of light in my brother’s bedroom, except from the blue-ish light from my brother’s phone. The lack of external light sources impacted the photo both positivally and negativally. The light from my brother’s phone that was shone onto his face provided a strong element of contrast and emphasis. However, the negative of the lack of light was that I had to adjust the ISO on my camera to a high setting, which made the resulting photograph rather grainy.

 

8) This photograph utilises the portrait technique of prop introduction. This photo was taken during an early afternoon on a clear day, so the light was quite warm and soft. I used manual focus as well as adjusted aperature to a low setting to achieve a shallow depth of field and a blurred background. I found a lipstick that my mum often used and asked her to hold it near her mouth so that I could capture a specific part of her face. I took several photographs while my mum was talked, and I ended up with a moment where her lips seemed puckered– which was quite fitting in the context of the photo.

 

9) This portrait exemplifies the technique of eye contact. This photo is, once again, a portrait of my friend Samantha, that was taken during a photo session in Digital Imagery. While shooting, I asked her to embody the traditional sense of the word “feminity”, and suggested her to make curvy, flowy shapes with her body. As she was a great model, she posed in multiple positions, the one depicted below being an s-shape. Every once in a while, I would ask her to stare directly into the camera, which resulted in the capture of the alluring gaze in the photo.

 

10) This photograph focuses on one body part of two subjects. The two models in this photo are my friends Kenny and Samantha. I was experimenting with gel lights with my peers, and we were all simply taking facial portraits of each other. Although the portraits came out nicely, they were all very similar and lacked a sense of fascination. Thinking of this technique, I asked my peers to stand opposite one another and act as if they were in a theatrical drama. The ending photograph is particularly intriguing as it leaves a lot to the imagination of the viewer and makes viewers wonder what the story and people behind the photograph is.

Humans of ISB

“I like the book Dog Man because it is very funny. I like reading a lot. I think that I want to work in technology when I’m older because it is very interesting. I am in fourth grade right now, but when I am older, I want to go to a big college and study one thing, like technology.”

─ Louis Choi, Grade 4

 

“I’ve been dancing for 5 years, but I had an embarrassing experience dancing during my second year of dancing (and to be fair, I was pretty bad). When I first started learning dance, I had to do unit tests, where you perform a dance you learned during class to get assessed by your teachers. Once during a unit test, I was in the middle of dancing and I forgot all of the choreography after 8 counts, so I just stopped and stared at the judges while smiling. Despite the fact that they literally told me to quit dancing, I continued dancing on my own because it’s really fun!”

─ Maryanne Huang, Grade 9

 

 

“Hello! I am her caretaker. She is the daughter of a teacher here at ISB. I’m her caretaker, and it makes me happy when I see her running around playing. Whenever she’s at school, I take her to walk around the hallways, or she goes outside to play. She’s going to the Spring Fair this weekend as well.”

─ Quoted: the girl’s caretaker

 

“Always take all your chances. Throughout my life, I have backed out of talent shows, even if I’ve really wanted to perform. The one time that I performed in a talent show was in fifth grade, where I danced to Taylor Swift’s “Stay” with my friends Sevilla, Lian, Sarah, and Sally. I had to do cartwheels, but I continuously banged my leg on the wall, and I ended up fell on the ground as well. It was so embarrassing and traumatic that I never did it again. Now that I think about it, it’s something I need to improve on─ taking risks are important.”

─ Emma Liu, Grade 9

 

“I like… a giraffe! I like giraffes because I can ride on it and feed it. I was four when I go to the zoo to see the giraffe. I like to go to the zoo.”

─ Maylee, PreK 4

Street Photography

On April 27th, our digital imagery class traveled to the Gulou District in Beijing to practice our street photography skills. As we had experimented with the manual mode of our cameras earlier in the semester, putting our knowledge to use in a new setting was very interesting and enjoyable. Additionally, the environment and scenery of the Hutongs were quite different to anything I had previously experienced, and the curiosity it sparked within me made the whole trip more worthwhile. Attached above are a selected few of the photographs I took during the trip.

 

During the trip, I tried using all of the given techniques; however, the ones that appealed to me the most were “portraits” and “anticipating the shot”. When trying to successfully use these techniques, I had to be careful of my subjects’ personal space, and my surroundings, as the Hutongs have very busy neighborhoods. I also had to be constantly altering my manual settings throughout the day as there were many fluctuations in the lighting (whether that be because of a cloud or a shadow of a tall building). I had to be especially attentive of my subjects’ actions as my focus on the trip was eye contact and portraits.

 

The most challenging part of this trip for me was framing. Although there were many great chances for photos during the trip, I struggled to maintain an interesting variety of photos taken as I thought that many of the pictures were similar to one another, or just plain. However, in the end, I overcame this difficulty by experimenting with different photographic techniques, such as point of view, framing, and even colour emphasis.

 

This photography trip was my first street photography experience, and I am glad to have gone on it as it provided me insight and first hand knowledge of the art of street photography. During my trip, I realised that I seemed to enjoy taking portraits the most, so I plan to continue focusing on that genre, as well as directing my attention towards the techniques of eye contact and colour. The most important thing I learned through this experience was the importance of genuineness. Most of the photographs that I, and most everyone, sees on a daily basis are all planned pictures that are altered to perfection. However, through this trip I discovered the intriguing qualities of genuine photos and how photos taken in special moments can express emotion and stories that are invisible to the daily naked eye.

Manual 101

Exposure Triangle
               Put simply, exposure is the amount of light that reaches a camera during a photograph. The exposure is an important component of a photograph as it determines how light or dark the photograph will be. The exposure triangle is a representation of the three components that determine the exposure of a photograph: shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Through an understanding of the exposure triangle and its components, photographers are able to make sure that their photographs are not underexposed or overexposed.
               Shutter speed is the length of the time a camera shutter is open. The exposure time (time the shutter is left open), is proportional to the amount of light that reaches the camera’s sensor, thus, the slower the shutter speed, the more light that is let into the camera, and vice versa. The shutter speed of a camera not only helps photographers control the amount of light it lets into the photograph but also helps how fast the camera takes the photo.
               Aperture is the opening by which light reaches a camera’s sensor. Adjusting the aperture changes the size of the opening; the higher the f-stop (number of the aperture size), the smaller the aperture opening, and the less light enters the camera. Aperture is a crucial component to photographers as its size can determine the depth of field of the photograph. The smaller the aperture size, the shallower the depth of field the camera captures.
               ISO controls the sensitivity of a camera’s ability to capture light; the lower the number, the less sensitive the camera is to light. However, is an ISO is set too high, with the attempt to heighten the exposure, film grain and noise may appear in the photograph. A rule of thumb in photography is to keep the ISO as low as possible as it allows for finer images to be captured.
               It is important for photographers to operate their cameras in manual mode as it allows them to freely control and combine each of the components of the exposure triangle, which would allow them to capture the best photo possible. For example, if a photographer wanted to capture a fast moving object, they would make their shutter speed faster. However, this would mean that light has less time to enter the camera. Therefore, the photographer could adjust the photograph by lowering the aperture or making the ISO higher, to counterbalance the darkness of the photo.
Collection of Photographs
Photo 1 | Freezing Action
               To create this photograph, Qiqi and I set the camera on a tripod so that the photograph could be framed well. Similarly to most freezing action photos, a fast shutter speed was used to capture the exact moment of the water balloon popping. Usually, when a shutter speed is very fast, adjustments of the aperture need to be made to allow the photo to be well exposed, but as this photo was taken outside on a bright day, such adjustments were not necessary. This photograph uses two main elements of art— form, and texture. The form, or shape, of the water, is very distinct in the photo as it resembles the shape of the water balloon it was in. The texture in the photograph is implied, and the clarity of the water and its droplets give viewers a feeling of the situation within the photograph.
Photo 2 | Motion Blur
               To create this motion blur photo, I manually focused on the car mirror and also slowed down the shutter speed of my camera so that the camera could detect the movement in my photo. Most motion blur photos are created with a tripod and target one moving subject; however, this photo was taken in the spur of the moment in my car, thus my lack of equipment and my own take on a motion blur photo. This photograph emphasizes movement (a principle of design), and leading lines (a compositional guideline) to give viewers a sense of strong sense of transportation and general motion.
Photo 3 | Panning
               Panning is a technique where you pan your camera while focusing on a moving subject to get the result of a sharp object and a blurred background. To create this photo, I made my shutter speed faster, while lowering my aperture, and manually panned my camera along with my subject, to create the aforementioned desired effect. I chose to manually focus on the subject rather than automatic focus as I found that the results were much more sharper. This photograph utilises the compositional guideline of the rule of thirds as the subject are aligned with two of the four gridline crossovers. This photograph also uses movement to express the speed and motion of the moving subject.
Photo 4 | Shallow Depth of Field
               Shallow depth of field is used to isolate a photograph’s subject from its background. This effect is created by using a low aperture, which allows for small areas of focus. To counteract with the low aperture of my camera, I made the shutter speed faster so that the photo wouldn’t be overexposed. I used manual focus to capture this photograph as my automatic setting was not as effective, but as it was a windy day, the subject is sadly not as detailed as it could be. The most prominent components of the principles of design in this photo are emphasis and contrast. The emphasis is shown through the clear subject and blurred background, while contrast is shown through the use of complementary colours of pink and green.

Light Painting

Light painting is a photographic technique which allows photographers to portray the illusion of moving light sources and physical manifestations of light. The key to light painting is the adjustment of shutter speed on a camera. By keeping the shutter open for long periods of time, exposures made by moving light sources would all be absorbed into the photograph, thus creating photos that depict “paintings” of light. A common use of light painting includes photographs of moving cars and city lights. The use of light painting in this circumstance is very effective as the varied colours of light and illusion of movement effectively portray the hectic lifestyles of cities at night. However, in our Introduction to Digital Imagery class, we experiment with exposures made by moving a hand-held light source, so that we could freehandedly create any kinds of “paintings” we wanted.

 

This open-endedness was actually quite a challenge when it came to light painting in groups as thinking of new creative ideas for photographs was harder than expected. However, when our group worked together to develop an idea and to execute a photograph, the results did not disappoint. The photo above is an example of our group working together. We executed this photograph by having Samantha sit on the floor, and Jane angling the camera downwards so that only her lower body was visible. Then, Qiqi quickly outlined Samantha’s frame with a pink flashlight to give a glowing ambiance, whilst I created a misty illusion with a blue coloured flashlight. This is one of my favourite photographs that we took because it required a lot of team effort and multiple attempts to reach a beautiful finish.