Genius Hour 2015: Photography

I’m especially excited about Genius Hour in our middle school for the spring semester.  I’ve been assigned to “facilitate” a photography group.  While I’ve always enjoyed taking photos, I’ve never formally studied and I expect to learn a lot from my students.  They are each required to blog about their photography as it relates to each of the concepts that we are studying.  I’ve pledged to do the same, so here is my posting highlighting my learning throughout this unit.  Thanks to Cambridge in Colour and Digital Cameral World for their tutorials and great examples.

Depth of Field refers to the range of distance that appears acceptably sharp. It varies depending on camera type, aperture and focusing distance, although print size and viewing distance can also influence our perception of depth of field.


This was taken at Nabana no Sato, a botanical garden near Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture.  The intended focus was the white flower with the water droplets, and the blurred colors of the purple flowers in back make an interesting backdrop without drawing attention away from the focus.


The sakura petals in Nogawa Kowen worked well for depth of vision as well.  It’s cool how the colored center of the flower is enhanced by the blurred white blossoms in the background.

Black and White:  Just as with color photography, black and white photography can use color to make a subject stand out.

IMG_4392This photo is my apartment building near Mitaka Station in Tokyo.  It is one of a set of twins, The Musashino Tower complex.  The brown color of the siding on the corner and   the darker brown siding as you move outward from the center contrasts with the lighter siding on the outer columns. Is this also an example of leading lines?

Leading Lines refers to a composition technique whereby the viewer’s eye is attracted to lines that lead directly to the principle subject in the photograph.

IMG_4239_2This is not my best work, but I think it still demonstrates the idea of leading lines.  The straight lines of the walkway and the curved lines in the arch of the cenotaph lead the viewer’s eyes directly to the Atomic Dome further in the background.  This was of course taken at Heiwakinen Park or the Hiroshima Peace Park Memorial in Hiroshima, Japan.


Maybe a better example, here, with the natural lines formed by the hanging plants, the sky ligts, and the reflection in the pool.  This was also taken at Nabana no Sato,


color wheelColor Contrast is an effective compositional element in color photography.  Colors on the opposite side of the color wheel contrast strongly when placed together. Each color compliments the qualities of the other and makes the color images more pronounced.

Below are two images with color contrast.  The first is a drastic contrast between two opposite colors on the wheel, red and green.  The second is also a drastic visual contrast, but the two colors are actually close to each other on the color wheel, light blue and green.


This was taken in the month of December at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo.  It is a display that changes seasonally in front of a restaurant.


This early summer photo is of the famous hydrangeas in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Shape and Form:  Shape and form are two of the six design elements in photography:  shape, line, form, texture, color and space.  Almost every photograph emphasizes some shape or form, but great photographs incorporate more than one.


Texture:  Texture is another of the six classic elements in photography.  It can sometimes be difficult to photography texture because it is quite different from landscape, object, or portrait photography.  Texture photography is all about patterns, colors and depth.  Details are very important.  A combination of details, patterns, depth and interesting colors make outstanding photography.


Contrasting light in photography is the difference in light that makes an object or shape more distinguishable. Light contrast, to the viewer, is determined by the difference in brightness of the object and other objects within the same field of view.



About Jamie

I am currently a middle school Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at The American School in Japan.
This entry was posted in Design Thinking, Media Literacy, Photography. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s