Close ups and zoom ins

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Summary:

This lesson can be used on its own or as an intro to the following photography lessons. The lesson has students take close-up photos of natural objects on IslandWood. it focuses on how people view and perceive things in different ways as well as the importance of choosing carefully what you are taking a photo of.

Assessments:

Formative Assessment:

Close-up Photo Gallery

Have students write an explanation of what their photo is of and why they chose the subject they did. Cover explanation with another piece of paper and hang near photo. Have students do a gallery walk through and try to guess what their peers’ close-up photos are of. They can check if they are correct by looking under covered sheet at the provided write up. Discuss with students the different subjects of the photos. Did they notice any similarities between the pictures? Differences? Ask students how they chose one photo out of the many shots they took. What criteria were they looking for when choosing? Discuss the ideas of focus and framing again.


You can also have students write down guesses of photos as they go through the gallery along with one comment on what makes each photo a good photo. These comments can then be shared with the photographer.

 

Summative Assessment:

Throughout the activity observe students’ understanding of basic camera functions and ideas of how to properly take a photo. Also, observing the process of students finding their object and taking photos through the choosing one favorite to have displayed can allow you to assess how well students are grasping the ideas brought forth in this lesson of focus, framing, and perspective.

Age group: 4th - 12th grade

Venue/s: Outdoor spots for students to take photos, tech lab to download photos

Materials:

  • Nature macro-photographs
  • Digital camera

Set up: Gather set of photographs with zoomed-in objects; Instructor should be familiar with the functions of the camera and camera handling before lesson

 

The Lesson Plan:

Introduction:

Zoom-in Scavenger Hunt

Ask students if they have ever looked through a microscope at something? How did the object look different once they could see it closely? Discuss how looking at things close-up allows for us to see the world in a different way than we normally look at it. In this activity, students will be given a set of numbered photographs that have been zoomed in on a specific object in this area. Have students go out and try to match the photos to the actual objects and create a list of what each numbered photograph is. Compare student answers and find out if everyone thought each photo was of the same thing. Did they notice anything in the photograph that they didn’t normally notice about that object (eg: the patterns in the tree bark, veins of a leaf, etc.)

 

Activities:

Basic digital camera use

This part of the lesson will either be an introduction to the use of the digital cameras or a review if you have already used them in previous lessons. This section may vary depending on the type of cameras you are using. The most important part of introducing the camera is to show proper modeling. It is possible that students have dealt with cameras, but maybe not in the same way you hope them to use them in the activity.

1. Discuss respecting the camera with students. Explain that the neck strap should always be around someone’s neck. Do not stress how expensive the camera is… this will only make the student nervous.
2. Explain how to hand the camera from one student to another with both hands and have a volunteer come up and demonstrate.
3. Explain where the basic functions on the camera are that students will definitely need. You can get into more detailed explanations of features depending on the camera, the activity, and the age of the students.
4. Also introduce transferring files and saving photos on the computer at this point. You will probably have to review this again later.
5. Explain how the viewfinder works and that we shouldn’t use it to define our photos. Make sure to look at the big picture first before defining the photo with the viewfinder. At this point you can give students paper frames to act as viewfinders and have students walk around the room, changing how far away they hold the frame to see how that changes the “photo”.
6. Have students get into partners and practice turning on and off the camera and taking a few photos.

 

Close-up Photo

Explain to students that they are now going to create their own close-up photo of an object that interests or excites them. Model how to take a close-up photo by walking through the steps of choosing an object all the way to taking the photo.

1. Pick an object in the room that has an interesting detail, talking it through out loud before selecting the object, especially about what makes it an interesting element.
2. Once you’ve selected an object, consider out loud which part to use in the photo, along with the angle and viewpoint.
3. Review the idea of focus and framing and take a couple of photos.
4. Review how to transfer the photo to the computer and show on a projector the final image.

Now that you have demonstrated the process, have students go outside to find something in nature to zoom-in on. Have each student create a list of 3 to 4 objects and then narrow it down to one. Once students have taken their photos, allow them to transfer their images onto the computer.

 

Formative Assessment and Conclusion:

Close-up Photo Gallery

Have students print and display one of their photos. You can extend this piece by creating mattes or frames if wanted. Have students write an explanation of what their photo is of and why they chose the subject they did. Cover explanation with another piece of paper and hang near photo. Have students do a gallery walk through and try to guess what their peers’ close-up photos are of. They can check if they are correct by looking under covered sheet at the provided write up. Discuss with students the different subjects of the photos. Did they notice any similarities between the pictures? Differences? Ask students how they chose one photo out of the many shots they took. What criteria were they looking for when choosing? Discuss the ideas of focus and framing again.


You can also have students write down guesses of photos as they go through the gallery along with one comment on what makes each photo a good photo. These comments can then be shared with the photographer.

 

Summative Assessment Indicated:

Throughout the activity observe students’ understanding of basic camera functions and ideas of how to properly take a photo. Also, observing the process of students finding their object and taking photos through the choosing one favorite to have displayed can allow you to assess how well students are grasping the ideas brought forth in this lesson of focus, framing, and perspective.

 

Safety Considerations: 

-       Camera Safety
-       Set clear boundaries for outdoor venues, pointing out specific areas that students should not go into.

 

Background information: 

From http://www.adobe.com/education/digkids/tips/photo/closeup.html:

The art of the closeup
There’s a hidden world of photography right under your nose. It’s a world of colors and shapes and textures, and very few people ever notice it. It’s the world of close-up photography, a technique where focusing on very small details makes very large impressions. Close-up photography is about seeing things from a different point of view, and it's easier than you might think.

Get a Little Closer
A good close-up takes a subject that would otherwise be just an element in a larger photograph and turns that into the picture. Great close-ups come from any small object with a lot of detail or color, or with some items that contrast each other. Many people like to take close-up photographs of flowers, with their brightly colored petals and their interesting shapes. But a close-up can also come from constructed objects too, or even people.

Try to pick things that will catch the eye when photographed. A lightly colored butterfly sitting on a dark leaf. The red petals of a rose with green grass behind. Brown rust across the surface of a shiny piece of chrome. All of these things make very unusual photographs because most people don’t stop to look at them closely.

Once you find something you’d like to photograph, go ahead and get close to it. Try to figure out what part of it looks best. Then try to figure out a good way to make the object fit in the photograph. How you chose to shoot your picture is called composition and it is very important for close-ups.

For example, if you’re photographing a flower, you might choose to shoot it from down low, using the blue sky as your background, or you might want to take the picture with lots of other flowers behind it. Or maybe you want the flower to fill up the entire frame, without any other flowers or sky behind it at all.


Getting in the Mode
Some cameras are better at taking close-ups than others (your camera has to be able to focus very close up to take a good picture) and many of them have a close-up mode. Check your camera’s manual to see if it has a close-up or macro mode. (Some cameras show this with a setting that looks like a flower.)

Macro is a type of super close-up, which allows you to get pictures that look they were shot through a magnifying lens. You can get incredibly detailed pictures with a camera that can take macro close-ups, and many cameras have special lenses available for taking macro photographs.

If your camera doesn’t have a close-up or macro mode, you can still take a close-up shot with your zoom lens. Position the camera a few feet away from your subject, and zoom in on it until you get the same composition as if you’d walked closer to the object without zooming. Voila! Instant close-up.

Cameras with a manual-focus mode have a bit of an advantage over auto focusing cameras. In the small world of close-up photography, a slight change in focus can make a big difference in how a picture looks. A camera with manual focus allows the photographer to choose what part of the object will be in focus, and what part will be blurry.

Steady On
Close-up photography requires a steady hand. Any little camera motion can really make a blurry photograph. That’s why the number one tool in the close-up photographer’s collection is a tripod. A nice lightweight but sturdy tripod can really help make a great close-up photograph.

A special kind of tripod, called a “tabletop” tripod, is great for photographing small flowers and other objects. A tabletop tripod looks like a miniature tripod. It’s only a few inches tall, and lets you get extremely close to the ground, which is where most flowers are found.

Even if you don’t have a tripod, you can get a great close-up photograph. Simply steady the camera by putting it on a chair, a table, even a rock. Anything that will keep the camera from moving will help.

If you try to take close-up pictures of flowers or any other lightweight subject outside, you might notice that any slight gust of wind makes it hard to compose the picture. This can be a problem, so a lot of first time close-up photographers choose to work with still life subjects inside first, to get the hang of it.

Close-up photography can open up a whole new world of creative possibilities. Get in close and try a new photographic technique today.

 

References

http://www.adobe.com/education/digkids/tips/photo/closeup.html

http://www.youthlearn.org/learning/activities/multimedia/photo1.asp

http://www.youthlearn.org/learning/activities/multimedia/eyeball.asp

 

Additional Resources:


Written by Stephanie Zanati in 26 January, 2015.