Digital Photography II

During the past week two aspects of digital photography exercise.

Firstly the manipulation of the shutter speed. Like the aperture, the shutter manipulates the amount of light reaching the camera lens. The opening and closing of the shutter at varying speeds allows the duration of exposure to be controlled.

A shorter opening/exposure from a faster shutter speed, allows less light in. It provides more object detail, in particular the finer capture of fast moving objects within the photographs frame. A longer opening/exposure from a slower shutter speed allows more light it. It blurs objects in motion. Image below show a jogger whose motion is blurred by opening the shutter for a longer period of time.


The second exercise concerned landscape and portrait framing. Photos below show that by moving the camera 90 degrees and framing the scene in portrait style can make for a more interesting result.

ALLOT_LANDSCAPE                                            ALLOT_PORTRAIT



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Digital Audio Recording II

This week effort revolved around refining the audio recording using various tools provided within the Audacity editing application.

To make sure the recording went as smoothly as possible a script was created which required speaking for approximately two minutes on the subject matter. For this podcast I decided to speak about the Dutch graphic artist M.C.Escher.

Once the recording was completed a number of editing tools were utilised to clean up the recording. This involved editing some portions, taking out long pauses and reducing background noise.

Curiously enough it was a rather difficult task to speak about a subject for two minutes whilst trying to keep tone and pitch of speech at a level that sounded good when recorded.

The results of this task are shown in a link to the podomatic site under the podcast page on this blog.

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Digital Audio Recording I

The various formats for recording audio digitally were discussed. One aspect of digital sound reproduction is the degradation of the sound recording when formatted for best network use. Most files, especially audio and visual types, require compression to reduce size. Thereby easing network delivery, storage and future manipulation. For the purposes of this blog, and associated podcast, MP3 format is deemed the most appropriate.

Recording digitally requires a microphone, also an application to manipulate the recording digitally. Selecting the ones that are most effective, and for many the most affordable, is key to producing a quality digital audio recording.  Fortunately a freeware audio digital suite is available from Audacity. Which is will be used for the production of this blogs’ podcast. The interface on this editing package is somewhat intuitive, image below shows a screen shot from the first test recording done, with some very basic edits of the recording






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Digital Photography I

Photography was the kernel of lecture and lab practical.  Of particular interest was the suggested BBC documentary, called the The Genius of Photography.  Which depicted a camera obscura in a Venetian room by the American photographer Abe Morrell . A striking demonstration of the capturing of light by very simple means, yet the foundation for all subsequent cameras.

Daguerreotype reproduction highlighted the photograph as an object of beauty in and of itself, something that was lost with the onset of mass camera production based on Fox Talbots’ calotype process. The mass availability of cameras led to a vernacular genre of photography, which has been maligned by some professional photographers, yet it still includes many images of great beauty.

A generic technical overview of the workings of cameras included detail on the aperture. The manipulation of the aperture, making it shallower or wider impacts the depth of field. The wider the aperture, the smaller the depth of field. Equally the narrower the aperture, the greater the depth of field.

The photos below highlight the difference between a narrow and a wide aperture, this is measured by F stops/numbers. It is slightly counter intuitive, a larger F number equals a narrower aperture.

The photo on the left was taken with an F stop value of 2.6. Here the focus of further objects is blurred. More light has been allowed into the camera lens through a wider aperture, reducing the ability to focus on more objects, and reducing the depth of field. The photo on the right has a value of F6.6, a greater number of objects are in focus, such as the clouds in the background. The smaller the aperture the less light is allowed in, and greater depth of field is created.

P1060611  P1060613

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Web Design

A number of interesting issues with relation to good web design were covered during the second lecture.

  • Page Layout
  • Web Navigation
  • Eye Movement
  • Gestalt in Web Design
  • HTML coding

Page layout deals with the header, the body, the side bar and the footer of a website. These four areas are clearly identifiable in almost all successful web pages.

Web navigation deals primarily with menus. Navigation via menu options needs to be clear and logical, it should be consistent and persistent.

Eye movement can be vergence, where both retina’s work in cooperation providing a singular image in focus. It can be saccadic, where the eye scans quickly. It can be pursuit movement where the eye allows motion to be followed. Web browsing has been shown to involve saccadic movement which when studied is shown to follow an F pattern across the screen.

Gestalt design theories, the exemplar being Bauhaus designs in 1920’s Berlin, where a number of artists, academics and industrialists developed theories concerning human perception of art and materiality. This design philosophy emphasises function over form. For web design four gestalt laws are of great use. Law of proximity, navigation menus closely grouped. Law of similarity and symmetry menus have the same shape. Law of good continuation, menus follow a line. Law of uniform connections, menus are bound with a standard shape.

MOMA_18270002Example of Bauhaus design. Teapot by Marianne Brandt, 1924. Image reproduced under student use guide from

HTML, hyper text markup language, is a standarised markup language used to describe web pages in terms of colour, font, graphic output and hyperlinks. In this post all the words in bold, the underlined words and the link below have had html tags added thereby creating a more rich and varied layout. The following link is a handy one in all site for people wishing to develop their web design skills, HTML tutorial.

Finally it was fun to look at the fixed v fluid aspect of webpage design. Fixed ratio dependent on pixel size whilst fluid uses percentages. Below are some screen shots of this . web entry. Image on left is sized for a desktop/laptop, image in the centre is for a tablet, and image on the right is for a mobile phone.

pc blog screenshot        pc blog screenshot1              pc blog screenshot2

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Starting Off

First lecture was in two parts and two locations. Initially a lecture which gave an overview of the module programme, this included a run through of the clearly laid out and relatively easy to use blackboard platform.  Assessment criteria of the module and the timeframe for delivery of individual tasks was detailed. Following on from this a step by step guide to the creation and customisation of a blog using

At this point a break was taken, students wandered off to find their computer labs, where the second hour of scheduled class time was held.

Four tasks were to be completed, the creation and customisation of a blog, addition of a first blog entry (post), the insertion of a digital photograph and finally the embedding of a video. Once completed, the blog was to be published and link provided to it from blackboard, allowing the tutors’ to review and students to view and follow.

Selected image for blog header is a photo of reconstructed crannog taken in the National Heritage Park .  The video, embedded below, shows a mesolithic settlement reconstruction undertaken  by UCD experimental archaeology students and staff.

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