Reflection #2: Camera Practice

For our first exercise we had to film two shots, 50 seconds each, in the style of Lumiere Brothers films such as:

Washerwomen on the River (1897)

I was very much inspired by this piece for my own camera practice task. The depth and layers of action within the image, each layer telling its own individual story made me want to find a place that would express similar qualities for my own piece. So after some thinking I found the Princess bridge, a bridge with many layers; a river running beneath it, a path with steady foot traffic both above and below and cars and trams running across it constantly.

I was lucky enough to have Jenny there to help me through the process (so much heavy equipment!), and I found what I felt was a beautiful composition. Even the blue tones of the camera’s preset white balance of 3200 Kelvin looked good, although my viewfinder was set to black and white, so it was hard to tell. Looking back at this exercise I realise that if for any reason you are uncertain about exposure it is better to move a half stop down and be slightly under-exposed than over-exposed, as through reviewing the footage I can see that the river and the whites in the bridge just past the Princess bridge, while not the focus of the image, are peaking and loosing information and detail. Therefore it is important to examine all aspects of the image in detail, no matter how small, to ensure the correct exposure, as opposed to examining it as a whole.

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration.

Observation #5

Hi man, How Have You Been For The Past Seven Years?

Today I passed him in the street again. He had his hair slicked back, a leather jacket on, and he was with a girl. I stared at him that little bit too long, and when he noticed me I could tell that he recognised me. Something clicked in his brain that said, ‘Oh, Alaine. From Primary School. Should I say something?’ And before he can make up his mind, he’s gone again.

We’ve both been playing this very strange game of chicken for the past year and a half, since I got to RMIT. The game of ‘ Who will say hi first?’ and I just know that even though I know him, I know his face, his dorkish smile, his love of Star Wars, that that kid is long gone, and the answer to ‘How have you been?’ will give me answers I could never have seen coming. We live a street apart from each other and always have, and yet every time I see him I feel like we’re miles apart because we never spoke in those formative years. We never knew each other when we went through all of those hardships. And now we may never know each other, because the gap of ‘how have you been?’ is ever widening to ‘how have you been for the past seven years?’. And soon, it’ll be eight.

We may have only known each other vaguely in Primary School. Him being the best friend of my best friend’s brother, who then dated that best friend for a week, all in grade six. I still have fond memories of him, of talking to him and my friend and her brother, of the adventures we used to have when we were kids up at her farm. And I wonder if the fond idea I have of him that makes me want to say hi, say hi to this now man I really do not know at all but only by face value, is really only of that time. Of my childhood and the things I used to do. The crazy things I did when I used to feel free and unburdened by the adult mind. When I was a child.

I’m glad that I miss those times, because it makes me remember that freedom so much richer.


Observation #4

Fond Memories

I have so many good memories of Primary School. And then High School came up over the mound and swallowed my childhood whole.

Primary School was this bizarre microcosm of society. As kids we’d only ever observed the adult world. So, in Primary School, we of course reflected everything we thought we knew, from movies and the like, in the most naive way possible. Children playing at adult society. We had gangs of kids who were so bad because they’d go around chewing gum and dacking people. And then when someone truly was bad, well they didn’t know how to deal with it (for instance the reality of one guy smashing another guy’s head into a brick wall one day).

There were also popular cliques. I personally was in the second most popular clique. That’s right, we took the time to rate our cliques, that’s how many we had. It was as though our clique was a slightly sub version of the most popular clique. We even socialised with them, as though the boundaries didn’t matter, but we all knew they did. The popular girls even took it upon themselves to have boyfriends. This meant a kiss on the mouth in public, and that was it. Most would date for two days to a week, and that was considered long term. Just enough for the scandal to form. But some, who filled most of the schools gossip minutes on the grape vine, dated for months, and even ‘pashed’. Everyone, at at least one point said ‘they’re meant for each other!’. When they broke up, the whole school was divided along gender lines about who was wrong and who was right.

And then High School came. And suddenly, such naive ideas of love and relationships were gone. And the high standards were back again. Social hierarchy was king, or in my case queen. All girls schools are a whole new kind of politics.

Observation #3


Today my dog looked at me, the way she always does when she longs for my attention. A look that says ‘wait! Why did you go! Come back and pat me, just one more time’. Repeat until never satisfied. But this time, as has been happening more recently, her old age has been slowly creeping into that look, so that it no longer quote says ‘Just one more time’ but ‘I need you. Come comfort me. I’m in pain.’

I think about Holly dying. Again. As I’m thinking about it more and more now. I feel like I’m the only one still adoring her eccentricities as opposed to complaining about them in her old age. As she sits beside me, snoring deeply and happily, I think about funeral arrangements of sorts. I think about what our next door neighbours did when their dog Mandela died. They had him cremated. I think about Holly being cremated. Losing her smile, her fur. Her snore. And then, for some strange reason I think of Family Guy and how Brian’s parents were stuffed and used as coffee tables when they died. I immediately think how perverted it would be to stuff my dog. To preserve her like that. And then I finally understand the reasoning behind such an act. To still see that smile, feel that fur. Imagine that snore. And suddenly it’s not a perversion. It’s a reminder that one day, she’ll be gone.

Reflection #1: Learning the Sony EX3

It’s the first week of class and I’ve already learnt so much. On Wednesday we learnt how to take apart and put together piece by piece a tripod.


I learnt about each element of a tripod.

  • The spreader
  • Telescopic legs
  • Pan handle
  • Tripod head (usually a ball joint that has a level and needs to be adjusted to be level whenever moved)
  • Base plate
  • That you can lock the pan and the tilt, as well as adjust the tension of each, allowing for very different changes in shots

And then there was the camera, the mammoth Sony EX3. Once you’ve found everything, it’s surprisingly straight forward, it can just be hard to find everything, so you really need to spend some time with the camera and explore its many various aspects.

We dug deep into the menus and not only learnt how to put the camera into the correct mode, adjusting the exposure to match the conditions, manually focussing, adjusting the focal point to the desired distance and depth of field. We also learnt all of the aspects of the camera, such as the ND filter which can also effect these manual aspects and the control we had over the camera, the Neutral Density filter effecting the exposure.

We went out to test our new found knowledge by taking two different shots of the same subject. Each shot had to be 50 seconds in length and we had to think carefully about when we pressed record. The second shot had to have one deliberate change in perspective in order to accentuate the focus or create a different feeling around the focus. We decided to film the on campus cafe, the first shot being a very symmetrical image. The second shot we decided to emphasise the people watching aspect and go from above our focus, creating a very creepy and perverted aura.

20160720_153630 20160720_153610 20160720_153556 20160722_124111 20160720_160941

Overall the time we spent on the set up and decision of placement really added to the effectiveness of the shots.

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration.

Observation #2


Last night I was stressed. Or excited, never can really tell sometimes. Most of the time. It’s the same bubbling, churning of the stomach. The same uneasy, hyper-real feeling. Everything feels hyper-real. So above real that you forget that the pot that you’ve just used to cook your eggs with is still scolding hot. The cold water is now the same temperature as my skin. Why did I try to hold the pot still? After a while my finger is still tender. It aches harshly. And there’s a line. A smooth line where there should be fingerprint. This fascinates me. I feel like a criminal who has to sand their prints off. At least my tear drop scar on the other hand makes more sense now. Although that one took a little while longer to become ‘fascinating’.

Its smoothness is so surreal and yet deliberate. It’s striking. It makes me think of my other visible scars. The aforementioned tear drop, and its ugly cousin in the center of the same hand. While now I joke about how they make me remember which hand is my right and which is my left, the memory of what caused the scar, over shadows this just slightly. They are not smooth like my new scar, they are pink, craggy and malformed. They are war wounds. As are all scars. Like a bad tattoo that you come to love with a very strange kind of nostalgia, a nostalgia of a more idiotic, naive, childlike version of yourself. Scars remind us of who we used to be. That can be a fond memory, or it can be a painful one. It all depends on how deep the wound still is.

Observation #1

A new studio means new things to do, and this new studio brings with it the art of observation. Each week we must write down at least two different observations.

This rather flowery piece is called ‘Cautionary Orange’.

The building across from me has a hollow facade. Its front is an illusion. There were stairs there long ago, so long ago that they are burnt into the very foundations. But there are stairs no more. Only a zig-zag pattern, as though a blast tore them asunder, leaving only a stray cautionary orange door, leading to nowhere. Nowhere on the 5th floor to be precise. The very purpose of this nowhere is gone, all that is left is the illusion of a purpose, hanging in the air, amongst the acrid smells of newer, perkier buildings…

Hopefully my next observations will be more like observations, and less like poetic prose.