Hi. My name is Robina and I live in both Yorkshire and Spain.             

So, what is this blog all about?  Well, I am studying The “Art of Photography” photography course with The Open College of the Arts. This blog will (hopefully) track my progress. 

I am not a seasoned photographer by any stretch of the imagination!  Talk to me about F Stops and Aperture Settings etc….. and I am as lost as an elephant plodding up the M1!  But I do love taking photos! 

I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 camera. So it’s goodbye to Intelligent Auto Mode and hello to Manual!

Under Catergories you will find my project and assignment posts and my diary will log the trials and tribulations and my overall thoughts whilst studying.

So, wish me luck…… and here I go………..Robina x





measuring the intensity of light

The brief for this project was to take hourly light meter readings with a shutter speed of around 1/125th of a second from early morning to evening on a bright sunny day then collate the information and draw up a graph to illustrate how the brightness of light during the day gradually increases, then levels out,  and then decreases.  With my Panasonic DMC-FZ18 camera this proved to be a challenging task!  Firstly, I had to set a shutter speed of 1/40sec in order to attain an aperture of F3.6 to be able to allow the camera the capacity to decrease the aperture as the brightness of the day increased.  Secondly, my camera has a  limited aperture range of F2.8 – F8 therefore as the day progressed the shutter speed had to be changed a further two times in order to gain scope for the aperture scale.

Below are the readings that I registered at hourly intervals in the shade as well as in the sun – the shade readings were taken out of curiosity rather than being part of the brief. I did not attempt to make a graph as I felt that the numerous changes of shutter speed readings would make this task rather complicated!!!


7.30 am   1/40 sec       F3.6                         

8.30 am    1/40 sec       F5.6

9.30 am    1/40 sec      F8.0

10.30 am  1/400 sec  F4.5

11.30 am   1/400 sec  F5.6

12.30 pm – 4.30pm      1/400sec  F8.0 ( levels off )

5.30 pm      1/400 sec   F7.1

6.30 pm      1/400 sec  F5.6

7.30 pm      1/400 sec   F5.0

8.30 pm       1/125 sec   3.6


7.30 am         1/5 sec        F3.6

8.30 am          1/5 sec        F4.5

9.30 am          1/5 sec        F6.3

10.30 am        1/5 sec       F8.0

11.30 am – 3.30 pm          1/60 sec    F4 ( levels off )

4.30 pm           1/30 sec    F5

5.30 pm           1/30 sec   F3.6

6.30 pm            1/15 sec   F4

7.30 pm            1/6 sec    F3.6

8.30 pm             1/4 sec    F3.6

what I have learnt

(a)  To be aware of the movement and it’s pattern of the brightness of light during the day.

(b) The confirmation that a limited aperture range has limitations in the extremes of lighting conditions.




low sun   

 This project demonstrates the qualities that can be achieved in an image when shooting in  low sunlight.

Back lighting    

The image above was taken in the hills of Marbella.  I shot towards the light and bracketed the exposure . The selected image has a  -1 stop bias which emphasizes the beautiful effect of the sun’s light on the summer grass by obscuring further the foreground to the left of the shot. Also, the reduction in exposure assisted in adding a soft warmth from the sun’s rays. 

Frontal lighting

The image of the yellow boat was taken in Estepona harbour about 1 1/2 hours before sunset. The sun is relatively low and striking the subject fully. The colours blue and yellow are beautifully rich. The relection of the boat in the water is strong in the intense lighting of the low sun. 
Side lighting
In this picture of Alfie the low late afternoon light on Alfie’s left gives the shot a three dimensional feel and drama.
When taking shots of Boris for project 42,  the low light of the early evening enabled me to capture the edge lighting which adds energy to the shot and of course, gives Boris the oppurtunity to do a spot of modeling!
what I have learnt
The delightful effects that low sun light has to offer.

 your eye’s sensitivity to colour

 The images below,  taken from projects 32 and 33,  are arranged in such a way to illustrate their order within the spectrum. Also, the curve formed by the images illustrates the eye’s sensitivity to colour – the colours that are darker are lower within the graph and those which are lighter are higher.

Radio waves, x-rays, radar and light are all electromagnetic radiation that are invisible to the eye with the exception of light which  (because of the sensitivity of the human eye) is visible. Radiation is defined by wavelength and visible wavelengths are the colours of the spectrum.

Mixing all these colours together ( which our eyes do )  results in white light. Sunlight is the standard not only for brightness, but for colour. In the middle of the day sunlight seems colourless and we call it white light. Light becomes colour when some parts of the spectrum are missing. An example of this is when the sun is setting. On a clear day and dependant on the weather conditions as the sun starts to get lower in the sky it becomes yellow, lower still and it becomes orange. The best of sunsets are red when touching the horizon. The reason for this is that all the particles in the atmosphere scatter some of the light – and there is more atmosphere between  you and the sun at sunset. The shorter wavelengths get scattered more easily leaving the longer ones visible. It is the blue that gets scattered, so what remains looks orange or reddish. The blue wavelengths that have been scattered makes the sky away from the sun look blue.

The possible colours of daylight can be red, white  and blue. Photographic manufacturers make filters to alter the colour of light in order to achieve the desired colour of  daylight.

The colour of the sun from white to red can be given a figure ( in degrees of temperature ) which is useful for calculating what filters to use. This is called the Kelvin Scale – starting at the lowest possible temperature called absolute zero.

What I have learnt

The awarness of the variety of  outdoor light.

using faster film and higher sensitivity

 ISO denotes how sensitive the image sensor is to the amount of light present. The higher the ISO the more sensitive the image sensor and therefore the possibility to take pictures in low-light situations.  An ISO of 100 is generally accepted as ‘normal’ and is used in good lighting conditions such as a bright sunny day. In low light conditions, such as a cloudy day or indoors, the sensitivity of the image sensor can be increased to 400 or even higher. Taking photographs in low-light conditions with a higher sensitivity will allow you to shoot without an unwanted flash or handhold the camera as oppose to using a tripod. Using my bridge camera I shot the following pictures using an iso from 100 up to 800:-

100                                                         100                                                  


200                                                        200


200                                                      400


400                                                      400


400                                                      800


There is a price to pay when using a higher sensitivity and using a higher sensitivity with my bridge camera proves to be a pretty high price. The shots taken with an iso of 100 and 200 have a reasonably good quality, anything above that sensitivity and  the images are flat and grainy under close inspection. When using my camera in very poor lighting conditions, such as indoors, the noise is unacceptably prominent.

 what I have learnt

 The use of a higher iso with my bridge camera is not at all successful.

N.B. Having read reviews on various DSLRs and their iso capabilities, I believe that if I had used a DSLR my findings would have been much more positive.



picture count

Below are 4 photographs that I found on the internet that show the lighting directions discussed in project 44:-

Back Lighting

Frontal Lighting

Side Lighting

Edge Lighting

Below are 10 photographs from the course’s textbook where I felt the lighting was of prime importance:-

Kurt Benning ‘Musicians’ Platform in a German Farmhouse’ 1975.

Manuel Alvarez Bravo ‘ El Umbral’ ( The Threshold ) 1947.

Robert Frank ‘ Crosses on Scene of Highway Accident – U.S. 91, Idaho’.

Charles Sheeler ‘Interior’ 1917.

Robert Demachy ‘Academie’.

Jacques Henri Lartigue ‘ Bibi au Restaurant d’ Eden Roc, Cap d’Antibes’ 1920.

Manuel Alvarez Bravo ‘ Verde ‘ ( Green ) 1966.

William Henry Fox Talbot ‘ The Open Door ‘.

Hippolyte Bayard ‘ Garden Tools and a Straw Hat ‘ 1843 or 1844.

Emmet Gowin ‘ Edith. Danville, Virgina, 1971’

what I have learnt

The recognition of the many uses of light in photography.

my diary: post 12

May 27, 2010

 Before undertaking a photography course one needs to consider the time, effort, and focus one will need to successfully complete the course. What one doesn’t consider, and indeed, what one is unable to foresee, are the adversities that life can throw at you.  The  losing of my dad knocked me for six! The passion and the love that I have for photography was suddenly suppressed by a profound feeling of sadness and negativity. Over the past few weeks the unrelenting love and understanding that I received from family and friends have guided  me through the darkest of moments to a point now where I am again embracing happiness, and controlling the negative feelings of  sadness. In the next couple of weeks I intend to review the projects that I have already completed  in order to reinstate the focus and determination that I had and that  is required to successfully complete The Art of Photography course. 

I will be posting the next projects over the next couple of weeks.

Robina x

my diary: post 11

April 27, 2010

Email to my tutor;-

From: Robina Wheeler
To: Norman Mousley
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 3:37 PM

Hi Norman,
Since returning to Spain at the end of February my life has been extremely gruelling both physically and emotionally. My father who has been suffering ill-health for many years took a turn for the worse and was admitted to hospital. After leaving hospital my mother, Julian and I cared for Dad at our villa as he needed 24 hour care. After a few weeks of tender love and care we were delighted that my father was making progress. It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that my father suffered another major stroke 2 weeks ago and passed away a week later.
  For many weeks now my camera has been unused. I am hoping that in the near future my life will return to some kind of normality and that I will be able again to focus on my studies, and again enjoy my passion for photography. 
Robina x

The response from my tutor was that he totally understood what I was going through.  He also added that I should take my time with the course and to continue when I am ready.