Imagine that you are creating a magazine cover on the subject of ‘Rain’.  Utilising the entire cover space, produce a single, strong photograph that leaves no one in doubt about the subject.  This was the challenge set me by this Exercise and it raised a number of questions for me to consider.  Rain is not a problem to find in West Wales, particularly this year, but what could I find as a subject that would be attractive and hold the viewer whilst also clearly representing the subject matter?  What format and size is the proposed magazine and what is the target audience?  Should I go for a large scale subject or a close up detail?

I decided to go for the close up, intimate shot in order to draw viewers in and make them want to explore the magazine’s contents. I also went for both landscape and portrait formats as magazines, although usually in portrait format are found also in landscape sometimes. I chose the subject focus of the magazine article to be the relationship between rain and the natural world and this suggested the subject matter for the illustrations.


Image 1.

Taken with a Macro lens with two extension tubes and the camera mounted on a tripod, I used a small ‘f ‘ setting for this shot in order to minimise the depth of field and focus attention on the leading green tomato, whilst also showing the out of focus further tomatoes to reinforce the rain drop theme.  The soft colours and bokeh effect in the background complement the green of the tomatoes whilst allowing them to stand out.  The curve of the branch draws the eye down towards the text.


Image 2.

Another shot on a similar theme but this time in landscape format and with the white balance set experimentally to tungsten light to give an attractive bluish cast to the image which I like.  The arrangement of the branches and the fruit provides a frame for the title text.



Image 3.  

Back to the portrait format for this image but this time with a different subject, rain drops along a young laburnum branch.  With a very close focus which makes the subject stand out against the dark background, the shapes created by the branches lead the eye into and around the image whilst also framing the title texts.  The inclusion of the partial branch at the bottom of the image provides a base and stops the eye from leaving the image.  The positioning of the line of water drops towards the 1/3rd up position provides a good focus.

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I very much enjoyed this exercise and in particular the setting up of the magazine covers.  All three original images were cropped in Photoshop to give the resulting designs and the text was then inserted, again in Photoshop.  These changes seemed to bring the images to life and give them a purpose.  The original photo shoot required some patience and care as the branches were being moved by the wind so I had to wait for periods of calm to take the shots.  Also, as I was shooting with the lens so close to the subject, I had to take great care not to dislodge the water drops with the lens hood.

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