Assignment 1 – Contrasts

You would have thought that with 21 categories to choose from, selecting 8 would not be a problem but finding suitably linked topics was not as easy as it may sound.  In fact looking back there are one or two instances where I am not convinced I made the right choice.   My final selection was:

  • Moving/still
  • Translucent/opaque
  • Black/white (or dark/light)
  • Many/few
  • Long/short
  • Straight/curved
  • Solid/Liquid
  • Rough/smooth (or hard/soft)


I was washing an apple under the tap and noticed how the water splashed over the fruit and I wondered how this would photograph. I took me several attempts to get a result  I was happy with.


The fruit was sitting in a large blue bowl over the sink and by the time I was finished the bowl was half filled with water which gave me the idea for the ‘still’ image, which of course would also qualify as a still life.

I had been taking photographs in our local church and was really taken with some of the stained glass windows, in particular the windows on the side of the church which although not as brightly coloured as some are none the less are beautiful.  I felt this was an ideal topic for ‘translucent’ as you can see the light shining through, but not what is on the other side.  To contrast with that, I chose a heavy oak door at the back of the church to represent ‘opaque’.

I thought long and hard about ‘black and white’ or ‘dark and light’ and eventually with the help of my husband came up with chess pieces.  Although technically our chess pieces are more brown and cream, I felt that they qualified for this category.  For these images I chose a long narrow frame and a shallow depth of field so that the ‘black’ or ‘white’ pieces stood out.

This apparently is the best year for a long time for bluebells.  The dry weather means that the grass has not grown as quickly which has given the bluebells the ideal opportunity to flourish.  Certainly  there are many, many, many bluebells to be seen in and around the Forest of Dean where I live.  To contrast with this, I considered photographing a ‘few’ blooms in a vase until I visited a garden with an ‘orchid walk’ and they were just starting to make an appearance.  As these orchids are now really quite rare,  I felt that this would fulfil the ‘few’ category.

For my next category it was flowers again but this time in my own garden.  The wisteria is lovely this year and I decided that the long graceful blooms would fit the ‘long’ category nicely.

To contrast with this I needed to find something short, either low on the ground or with short flower heads.  After several attempts I settled on Clematis Ruby, which although a climbing plant, the stems and flower heads are quite short.

Back to the church for my next selection, ‘straight and curved’.  I had plenty to choose from here and considered the diagonal beams in the church ceiling but although the were clearly straight, or even diagonal, I didn’t feel that they made a picture.


To be honest though there are both straight and curved lines in both photographs so I’m not entirely convinced that they meet the criteria perfectly.

I had fun with my next topic although my husband drew the line at me experimenting with pouring the real thing into the glass of ice, so instead I used cold tea.  This is my interpretation of ‘solid’, the glass of ice on its own, ‘liquid’ … being poured into the glass with bottle of malt and glass of whisky representing solid and liquid.

My final selection was ‘rough and smooth’ although this could equally have been hard and soft.


It was back to the church for the first one as I had noticed a stone carving on the porch which was worn with age and covered with lichen. To contrast with this I experimented with other types of stone.  There is a lot of marble inside the church for instance but it didn’t work for me.  Instead I took a close up photograph of my grand-daughter Sophie’s face and although the composition is not the same, I felt it provided a good contrast.

This assignment has been harder and more time-consuming than I thought it would be but none the less enjoyable.  Not only have I learnt a lot of techniques that I wouldn’t have tried before but I have also been able to identify development points which I will work on for future assignments and improve my photography overall.  Details of my development points are listed in a separate page in my learning log.


About Anne Bryson

I live in Gloucestershire with my husband Iain and West Highland Terrier, Isla. I enjoy golf, photography and my grandchildren, not necessarily in that order! Having completed a 10 week digital photography course with the Open University in 2010, I decided I wanted to take my photography further and enrolled for the Open College of the Arts BA (Hons) starting with 'The Art of Photography' which I enjoyed so much that I went gone on to do Digital Photographic Practice and People and Place. In April 2016 I enrolled on my fourth OCA photography course, Documentary. This blog is my Learning Log for this course.
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