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Georgia - 20.6.19

This past week I’ve been exploring the islands along Georgia’s coast and admiring the beauty and history of each one. On Jekyll island lies an astounding amount of history from the 18-1900s with the famous members of the old Jekyll Island Club. St Simons and Sea Island are picture-perfect and lively islands perfect for shopping and relaxing. Cumberland Island is a national park full of wild horses, hogs, armadillos, bobcats, raccoons, and millions of fiddler crabs. The roads may be bumpy but the historical structures and wildlife scenes are stunning. Here are some of the pictures I’ve taken between visiting Jekyll Island, St Simons, Sea Island, and the incredible Cumberland Island.

Lydia Richardson
AP Portfolio - 10.5.19

On May 10th, I finalised and submitted my AP photography portfolio to the College Board! It was an exciting process and I challenged myself more and more with each photo I captured for my concentration. Here is the final collection of 12 images taken over a span of 6 months that I submitted for my concentration section, as well as my artist statement!

In order: 1 Pink, 2 Red, 3 Coral, 4 Orange, 5 Yellow, 6 Light Green, 7 Dark Green, 8 Teal, 9 Light Blue, 10 Dark Blue, 11 Light Purple, 12 Dark Purple

Artist Statement: Colour brings the world to life. Colour makes up all of the beauty we see and all of the things we love most. 12 colours make up the photos of my concentration, each represented by someone who embodies or loves that colour the most. Using different subject matters and a simple central composition, I sought to fill each frame entirely with its respective colour as it was personified by the model(s). In my concentration, colour not only brings the world to life, but also these portraits.

Lydia Richardson
Philadelphia - 4.4.19

Last week some of my AP photo classmates and I went down to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and surrounding areas to explore the artwork and create some of our own. Here are some of the pictures I took on the trip!

Lydia Richardson
Studio Portraits - 2.3.19

Recently I’ve been taking a lot of portraits in order to build the concentration category of my AP portfolio, and because it’s still quite cold outside, many of these have been shot in the studio. For each of these photos, I got big pieces of fabric and hung them behind the subject for a coloured background. I used one key light, either a softbox or octobox, at 45/45 on the subject. I was really trying to experiment with foreground in these, as you can see with the mirrored reflections, flowers, and hands. I’ve also been trying to focus on getting shots at a variety of widths whether that be up close, mid length, or full body. Here are some of the photos!

Lydia Richardson
Philadelphia - 5.2.19

Today I went down into the city of Philadelphia and took some photos while exploring Reading Terminal Market and walking through the streets. Even though I spend a lot of time in the areas surrounding Philly, I never really venture into the city. I had a great time today between the Nutella banana crepe I had from the Reading Terminal creperie and shopping around Walnut street. Here are some of my pictures!

Lydia Richardson
New York City - 8.11.18

Yesterday my AP photography classmates and I went to New York City for the day to check out the Stanley Kubrick photo gallery in the Museum of the City of New York and to photograph the beauty of Autumn in Central Park. I took many photos yesterday; here are some of my favourites!

Lydia Richardson
Storytelling with Lights - 20.9.18

Last night my AP photo class and I had the opportunity to work with photographer Anne-Marie Caruso. She taught us some of her lighting techniques and how to manipulate dark shooting locations to create ethereal scenes. Our objective was to create a scene and tell a story using our model and strategically placed lights. We shot in a series of basement tunnels and rooms at school with a few different models… Here are some of the photos I got!

Lydia Richardson
New York City - 7.9.18

Today a few of my AP photography classmates and I ventured to New York City to photograph the happenings of Times Square. The focus was mostly on street life and creating persepctives. Although we didn't spend a lot of time in the city, I was able to capture some cool images. Here they are!

Lydia Richardson
Photography Tips - Photographing Stars

Astrophotography is something that I had always wanted to try but never had the equipment or ability to do so. (Or so I thought!) Since I have upgraded my camera, I now have a lens that is able to open as wide as an f1.2 aperture. What I realised as I was attempting to and researching how to take photos of the stars is that you don't need special gear to enable you to take these photos; all you need is the right camera settings. Although I still have much to learn about taking star photos, here are some of the things that have helped me so far!

To take any photos of stars, you need a relatively clear or cloudless night and an area with little light pollution. If you can't see the stars, chances are that your camera won't be able to either. The only piece of equipment that is pretty much necessary for astrophotography is some kind of tripod - if your camera isn't completely still, you won't get a clear image of the sky and the movement will be evident in the photo.

The first and most important thing is to have your camera set to Manual mode and manual focus. I have learned the hard way to not put all of your trust into your camera's autofocus abilities - going home to edit your photos and finding that they are all out of focus is the worst! After having your tripod set up, focus your camera all the way to the Infinity marking or as far away as the focus seems to go. Then, make it a tiny bit closer or less than Infinity. I have found that putting my camera in Live View mode (switching from the viewfinder to the screen) better enables me to see where my camera is focused. You can also simply monitor the size of the dots of the stars as you change your focus, and set your focus at the point where the stars appear the smallest.

The next step is to explore your camera settings to figure out what combination of aperture, ISO, and shutterspeed will result in your desired photo effect.

For me, the easiest thing is to use a set aperture and work around it with the other settings. With the lens that I have, I set my aperture as low as it will go, and starting with an ISO of about 100-200, explore how different shutterspeeds affect the look of the photo.

Having a lower ISO will help you to keep the dark colour of the sky, and when you pair that with an extended shutterspeed, your camera will be able to pick up the stars. An easy way to determine the ISO you should have is to put your camera into Live View mode and change your ISO level until it is dark enough that you can only see the brightest stars on the screen with a normal shutter speed. 

The longer that you make your shutterspeed, the more, smaller stars you will be able to see in your photo. For lenses with more standard apertures such as f2.8 and f5.6, a good shutterspeed range to explore is between 10-30 seconds depending on how many stars you want in the photo. If your photos still aren't bright enough after 30 seconds, you can either try raising your ISO or setting your camera to BULB shutter which allows you to hold the shutter open for as long as you want. If your lens can go wider than an aperture of 2.8, you can try using shutter speeds under 10 seconds depending on how much light you have.

One thing to remember is that anything in the foreground of the photo will give off and reflect light, any change in your settings will affect how the foreground appears too. Don't forget that with an extended shutterspeed, anything in the foreground (especially trees!) will be out of focus if there is any breeze or movement!

It took me 3 different nights and attempts to take the lighthouse star photos before I finally got the result I wanted. (Pictures below!) A successful picture of stars can be a difficult thing to achieve, but so long as you are determined and willing to take the time and sit outside while experimenting with settings and checking your results, you can absolutely do it!

Lydia Richardson
Beavertail - 13.7.18

While practicing driving today, I went down to Beavertail State Park and took pictures of the beautiful sunset and lighthouse. The pink sky, warm light, and some planes flying overhead made for some really cool photo opportunities. This was also a perfect chance to experiment with my new camera and lenses! Here are some of my favourite images from tonight:

Lydia Richardson