Author Topic: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010  (Read 5004 times)

keithsnell

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We've had a few fun "thematic" assignments lately, so I thought it was probably time for an assignment that was a bit more technical.  The assignment for this week is "Triptych."  A triptych is simply defined as artwork consisting of an image (or carving) on three panels.  This was a very popular format for alter paintings from the Middle Ages onward, and most often the panels were hinged so that the left and right panels could be folded closed over the center panel.

Why an assignment on triptychs?  Because I think you will find that attempting to compose a good triptych will really exercise your compositional skills.  Most modern triptychs are composed of three panels that have been "split" from a larger composition.  This is fine, and the images look great when hung closely together on a wall.  However, I believe that a true triptych is composed of three parts that not only present a cohesive image when displayed together, but are able to stand as strong compositions when displayed on their own.  This is actually very challenging to pull off, and will require you to really study a scene to find an effective way to "split" the scene into three pieces.  The pieces don't have to be equal sizes, and if we look back to the genesis of the triptych, most often they were composed of a larger center panel flanked by two smaller "subordinate" panels.


Bryce Canyon Sunrise (Left Panel)


Bryce Canyon Sunrise (Center Panel)


Bryce Canyon Sunrise (Right Panel)


Bryce Canyon Sunrise (Composite)
NOTE:  Most often a photographic triptych like this would be composed of three vertical panels, or two vertical panels flanking a central horizontal panel of the same height.  In this case however, the composition of the three panels was determined by the logical framing of the three parts, which called for three horizontal compositions.


A triptych can also be defined as something composed or presented in three parts or three related views.  The link to the triptych Three views of a Maple illustrates a good example of this type of triptych.  If you do a Google search on triptych, you can find may more examples of subjects presented as three related views.

This assignment will be a challenging one, but if you stick with it, I think your composition skills will be strengthened by the exercise.  Because I believe this might be a bit more time consuming than our typical assignment, I've decided to make this a two week assignment.  Therefore, you have until midnight Mountain Time (GMT -07:00) on Sunday the 30th of May to upload your images to the "Triptych" album in the weekly assignments category of the Gallery.  Please upload your images as three separate images, appropriately labeled with "left," "center," and "right" (or top, middle, bottom) in the file names or descriptions.  If you have the ability, please also upload a composite image that shows the three images displayed as a triptych.  If you can't make the composite image easily, then don't worry too much about it and I will make the composite for you when it is time to post the images in the voting thread.

I'll look forward to seeing your images!

Keith
« Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 09:12:26 PM by keithsnell »

Michele

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Re: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2010, 01:28:58 AM »
What an overwhelming and amazing example.  This trio is unbelievable.  You truly made my day with this view of Bryce Canyon.  It's breathtaking.  The sharpness, the coloring, everything is awesome.  It must have been such an experience to take these.

Of course, at some point this week, or the next, I will make a new Triptych.  But because of the Rhythm assignment, I was able to get my favorite tree in the fog (which had nothing to do with Rhythm but it was on the same day).  That completed a set of three.  I thought I would post it here for fun.  

When I had the time to paint, I often did sets of three, even with very large canvasses.  Because they were very large, an office that bought one of the sets split them up and had them on different sides of a conference room.  It looked nice.   Simply to say, they were ok on their own or together.

Well, have a good day, everyone.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2010, 04:03:59 AM by Michele »

keithsnell

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Re: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2010, 08:04:22 AM »
What an overwhelming and amazing example.  This trio is unbelievable.  You truly made my day with this view of Bryce Canyon.  It's breathtaking.  The sharpness, the coloring, everything is awesome.  It must have been such an experience to take these.

Of course, at some point this week, or the next, I will make a new Triptych.  But because of the Rhythm assignment, I was able to get my favorite tree in the fog (which had nothing to do with Rhythm but it was on the same day).  That completed a set of three.  I thought I would post it here for fun.  

When I had the time to paint, I often did sets of three, even with very large canvasses.  Because they were very large, an office that bought one of the sets split them up and had them on different sides of a conference room.  It looked nice.   Simply to say, they were ok on their own or together.

Well, have a good day, everyone.

Hi Michele,

Thank you.  Yes, it was a memorable experience to take this series of images.  I took these images from an exposed point of rock that jutted out into the canyon.  The temperatures were below freezing, and the wind was quite strong when I approached the edge of the canyon.  I had to take my gloves off to change lenses, and tried to use my body to shield the camera and lens from the blowing snow.  By the time I had changed the lens my hands were frozen.  The light was fleeting that morning, and I only had a moment to take this series of images before the sun went behind the clouds and the light became very dull.  Bryce Canyon is stunning in the winter.  They had just received about 1.5 meters of snow the day before I arrived, so the entire canyon was covered in a beautiful blanket of fresh snow.  I hadn't processed these images until yesterday when I was preparing to post the assignment.  Each image will make a sharp 13 x 19 inch print, so the series would probably look nice as a framed set hung on the same wall.  Maybe someday I will find the time to print and frame some of these nice images hidden away on my computer. :)

Your triptych of the tree is beautiful!  I can imagine this framed together as a single print hanging on a gallery wall.  Very nicely done.

Hopefully your broken rib will heal enough that you can get out and about in the next two weeks.

Keith



« Last Edit: May 18, 2010, 08:11:08 AM by keithsnell »

Michele

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Re: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2010, 08:59:13 AM »
These would be stunning mounted.  You really should.  They are exceptional.  Worth every frozen finger!  Made me feel far, far away for a moment.  All the details in the stones blew me away.

As for me, I am doing the self-pity thing to myself again.  My mother says I really should not play any lotteries as my luck sucks!  But life still goes on and things still have to be done, just a heck of a lot slower and for now and I certainly can't drive.  Yuck.

I better start dinner.  Joy.

keithsnell

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Re: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2010, 08:40:20 AM »
Marilyn asked the following question in the gallery, and I thought I would answer it here to make my response easier to find.

Quote
"Very cool! So as I think about this assignment and look at examples, it seems like there are various techniques that can be used: 1) 3 shots that form a panorama type of shot that could be "stitched" if not for the triptych technique (this would be like the amazing Bryce examples, right?); 2) taking a panoramic shot and splitting it in thirds (is this what you did, Lars?); 3) 3 separate shots that somehow go together thematically (Michele's tree; others I saw on the internet). Am I on the right track?"

Yes, you are on the right track!  You can 1) take three separate shots that could be stitched, but will instead be displayed as separate "panels" as part of a triptych; 2) take a panoramic shot and split it into thirds (This gives you the ability to experiment with different compositions ("splits") to create your triptych); or 3)  create three separate images that share a common theme (and tell a story about a subject).  Because these three images will be displayed together as a set, you will need to make some conscious decisions with respect to composition that you might not otherwise consider.

Sound fun?

Keith

« Last Edit: May 19, 2010, 08:42:22 AM by keithsnell »

marilyn

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Re: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2010, 09:55:12 AM »
Yep!  It definitely sounds fun. Is it too difficult to explain how to put the three images together into a frame?

keithsnell

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Re: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2010, 09:58:43 AM »
Yep!  It definitely sounds fun. Is it too difficult to explain how to put the three images together into a frame?

What program will you be using?  Photoshop? 

Keith

marilyn

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Re: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2010, 09:53:10 PM »
I"m not sure -- it could be iPhoto or Picasa.  I don't think there is anything in Cannon DPP.  Any other suggestions?  I know I could use the collage feature in Picasa.  I can probably figure out something in iPhoto.  One of these days I will bite the bullet and get Photoshop - I suppose it might be good to get it and play before Crested Butte, huh?

keithsnell

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Re: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2010, 07:46:30 AM »
I"m not sure -- it could be iPhoto or Picasa.  I don't think there is anything in Cannon DPP.  Any other suggestions?  I know I could use the collage feature in Picasa.  I can probably figure out something in iPhoto.  One of these days I will bite the bullet and get Photoshop - I suppose it might be good to get it and play before Crested Butte, huh?

Hi Marilyn,

iPhoto has the ability to create collages, which would work for displaying the triptych on your machine, but I don't think it will output the file in a form that will be visible to website viewers.  The same would be true of Picasa, which saves the collage in a proprietary format.  

One potential way to upload the triptych would be to pull the individual photos into Word (just copy/paste into word using the clipboard), arrange them on the page the way you want them, then save as a PDF.  (There are free programs that allow you to save a Word file as a PDF if you don't already have this capability on your machine.)  You can upload the PDF into the gallery, and people will be able to click on the thumbnail and open it into a separate window.  I can very easily convert the PDF to a JPEG using Photoshop.

We will be demonstrating how to use Photoshop for image editing during the workshop, so yes, if you want to be able to "follow along" on your machine, then it would be nice to have Photoshop, but it isn't a requirement.  Once you see all the possibilities for using layers and masks to edit your images, you will understand the advantage of using Photoshop for image editing.  There are other programs that have some of the same features, but they all come up short when compared to Photoshop.  That's why Adobe can still charge what they do for the program. :)  Please don't feel like you are under pressure to get Photoshop, but I suspect that you will want to get it eventually.

Keith
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 07:48:35 AM by keithsnell »

marilyn

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Re: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2010, 09:39:55 AM »
Ok, thanks for the info, Keith.  Of course before I even figure out the formatting stuff I have to get some photos!  It's an interesting and fun assignment.


Michele

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Re: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2010, 10:19:03 AM »
Marilyn, check your messages.

keithsnell

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Re: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2010, 01:06:18 PM »
I"m not sure -- it could be iPhoto or Picasa.  I don't think there is anything in Cannon DPP.  Any other suggestions?  I know I could use the collage feature in Picasa.  I can probably figure out something in iPhoto.  One of these days I will bite the bullet and get Photoshop - I suppose it might be good to get it and play before Crested Butte, huh?

Hi Marilyn,

As another thought, you might also be able to "print to PDF" from one of the programs that will allow you to build a collage.  Again, there are free downloadable programs that will enable you to print to PDF if you don't already have that capability on your computer.   If you upload the PDF into the gallery I can convert it to a JPEG for you.

Keith

prairiedust

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Re: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2010, 07:19:41 PM »
Another very useful (and free) program is IrfanView (if you're using Windows). I use it a lot. This can be used for a bunch of basic editing and viewing tasks.  To create a triptych with IrfanView try this:
1.  Pick your three images, for left, middle and right
2. Open each in IrfanView and use Image/Resize, setting the height of each to 300 pixels. Be sure there is a checkmark next to "preserve aspect ratio".
3. Save each of the images as something like "filename_left, filename_middle, etc..
4. In IrfanView select Image/Create Panorama Image
5. Use the "add images" button to add the 3 resized images, one at a time
6. Put "10" in the spacing input box,  select whatever color you want between the images
7. Click on the "Create Image" button
8. Add a border around it by using "Image/Change Canvas Size"
9. Use 10 pixels for all four sides, select the same color you used for the spacing.
10. Click on OK, save the image (set the 'save as' type to .jpg and the 'save quality' slider to 80 or 90).
« Last Edit: May 21, 2010, 06:13:26 AM by prairiedust »
Dave Leiker (PrairieDust)
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keithsnell

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Re: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2010, 08:52:20 AM »
Another very useful (and free) program is IrfanView (if you're using Windows). I use it a lot. This can be used for a bunch of basic editing and viewing tasks.  To create a triptych with IrfanView try this:
1.  Pick your three images, for left, middle and right
2. Open each in IrfanView and use Image/Resize, setting the height of each to 300 pixels. Be sure there is a checkmark next to "preserve aspect ratio".
3. Save each of the images as something like "filename_left, filename_middle, etc..
4. In IrfanView select Image/Create Panorama Image
5. Use the "add images" button to add the 3 resized images, one at a time
6. Put "10" in the spacing input box,  select whatever color you want between the images
7. Click on the "Create Image" button
8. Add a border around it by using "Image/Change Canvas Size"
9. Use 10 pixels for all four sides, select the same color you used for the spacing.
10. Click on OK, save the image (set the 'save as' type to .jpg and the 'save quality' slider to 80 or 90).

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the recommendation.  I had heard of IrfanView as a viewer, but didn't know it had all those other capabilities.  What else do you use IrfanView for?

Keith

prairiedust

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Re: "Triptych," Weekly Photography Assignment for 17 - 30 May 2010
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2010, 09:26:34 AM »
I use it at our camera club for the membership showings, since it's lightweight and very fast.  It's also great for conversions between different formats.  If you install the plugin package you can preview RAW files easily. It can do all the normal resizing, and cropping stuff.  It supports use of some Adobe Photoshop filters, though that's a little tricky to set up.  But configure it to use the free "Virtual Photographer" filter (available on the Internet) and it's a quick tool for exploring different treatments.  It can be used to create thumbnail (contact) sheets, automated slideshows, screensavers.  I also use it as a front end for scanning. It does much more, but that's the bread and butter stuff I use. Mine is set so I can quickly export images directly to Adobe Photoshop for more sophisticated needs. There are loads of freebie viewer/editors out there, but IrfanView is the one that I always come back to for my own use.  

The "create panorama" feature is good for joining images for something like a triptych, but for stiching and blending a range of images for a real panorama I'd use something more advanced. I use 'Panorama Factory" for that.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2010, 09:29:13 AM by prairiedust »
Dave Leiker (PrairieDust)
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