NOTE TO ASSESSORS

Nicola South   Student number: 514516

All of my work for Landscape is contained in this blog: https://nkssite4.wordpress.com

THE BLOG is in the standard format of descending date order, however all entries can be accessed using the category tabs on the header bar.

To view my final submissions click on the “SUBMISSIONS” tab, select the relevant assignment from the drop down menu. This category also includes my final Analysis and reflections on formative feedback.

To view the draft assignments click on the “LEARNING LOG: ASSIGNMENTS” tab, select the relevant assignment from on the drop down menu and then the horizontal “Assignment _ Draft” tab.

To view all learning log self-directed work relating to an assignment click on the “LEARNING LOG: ASSIGNMENTS” tab, select the relevant assignment on the drop down menu and then the horizontal “A_ Learning Log” tab.

To view my Learning log research and reflections click on the “LEARNING LOG: RESEARCH AND REFLECTION” tab and chose from the drop down menu. There is a link here to my Landscape Journal.

To view Coursework click on the “COURSEWORK” tab and select from the drop down menu.

ITEMS SENT ADDITIONALLY TO THE ASSESSMENT TEAM:

GOOGLE DRIVE:  This contains: My tutor reports & My Critical review for assignment 4.

PHYSICAL SUBMISSIONS:

Within the portfolio box are:

  • One Print box, containing the submission prints from assignments 1,2 3 & 6 in individual folders with artist statements and gallery plans.
  • One A3 folio containing the prints for assignment 5, with artist statement and gallery plans.
  • A folder containing Tutor reports.
  • A folder containing my critical review.
  • One box containing hard copies of submission and draft assignments, reflections on feedback and my learning log process notes (one folder per assignment), replicated from the blog of the five print assignments.

 

 

 

LANDSCAPE: OVERALL REFLECTIONS

MY REFLECTIONS ON THE COURSE

My approach and understanding of landscape photographic practice

I enjoyed the course much more than I expected to. I was eager to continue moving in new directions and concerned landscape would be very traditional; I was pleased that this was not the case. I learnt that Landscape can be any place or space and I have enjoyed being creative choosing subjects for my work. I have experimented with various approaches to the landscape: abstract, topological, comparative, emotional, geographical, historical and cultural. Most of all I have come to develop my own personal response to landscapes, especially as I have learnt to slow down, immerse myself in a place and absorb not only what I see, but how I feel there.

I enjoyed experimenting to make the unnoticed and commonplace seen and appreciated. I have learnt new visual strategies, and reflected hard before launching into projects. Sometimes I isolated subjects to better share them with viewers and have enjoyed photographing abstractions of place. Assignment 5 was my favorite work, which following on from my critical review on the work of Minor White; photographing equivalents pushed me right outside of my comfort zone- but it felt good.

The development of my technical knowledge

Initially I learnt to cope with variables of shooting outdoors but eventually I used shooting conditions to my advantage. Previously I felt using my tripod inhibited my movement and work, but I am now adept using it. I added a prime lens to my kit from assignment 3 onwards, was amazed at the effect it had on my practice and quality of images; it made me move more and really consider my perspective – it is now my “go to” lens. I surprised myself when I decided to shoot assignment 3 in black and white, as I’d previously thought colour was essential to my photography; it was a revelation to see the impact of black and white photography when carefully chosen for a subject. I continued this approach in assignment 5 to build on my skills, but will now switch between colour and black and white photography, depending on the subject and the approach I want to take. I printed all the images for my tutor and this submission, a completely new skill for me and a challenge at the beginning, however it has helped to develop my photography.

My learning journey

I have benefited from sharing work and ideas with peers, and the video “real time” feedback with my tutor very useful.  My greatest learning has been in two areas. Firstly my use of visual strategies; I have learned to balance looking hard and objectively, with looking and feeling and/or reflecting- I have also learnt a lot about visual sequencing and scale. Secondly I have learnt to trust my own instincts, whether shooting, editing, or presenting my images. Overall I feel that my intention for my work is now stronger, and I reflect and ask myself: what am I trying to do? How well am I doing it? And is it worth doing? I know that I must say something with every image.

Areas I would like to develop further

Though my visual awareness when photographing continues to grow, I am at the beginning of a journey to better appreciate the impact that presentation can have on the meaning given to images, and the way that they are perceived. I have learnt that the viewer will react first to the visuals as they are presented before ascribing meaning; scale and order are only the beginning of the explorations that I need to take to visual perception better.

NEXT POST: https://nkssite4.wordpress.com/2020/01/11/note-to-assessors/

 

 

ASSIGNMENT 6 SUBMISSION: TRANSITIONS

Nicola South         Student number: 514516

TRANSITIONS

Artist statement

These images are the preliminary sketches for a body of work that I am still developing. I have already spent over a year observing and photographing this landscape of two fallen trees, and yet it has only been the beginning of a journey of understanding, both of my photographic practice and of the nature of the place. It was only at the end of my time on this project that I realised the direction that I should take. The finished work will express my response to transitions within a dynamic landscape.

 

THE IMAGES

Transition #1

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Transition #2

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Transition #3

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Transition #4

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Transition #5

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Transition #6

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Transition #7

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GALLERY PLAN: The series should be presented horizontally and lineally.

REFLECTIVE COMMENTARY

I have photographed this place for over fourteen months yet at the beginning though I thought I knew where I was going, I discovered that I didn’t…it was just the beginning of a journey. I photographed this small space in the woods focusing at first on the space around a couple of large fallen trees; however my attention was soon also drawn to a discarded pallet, which I also recorded changing as it deteriorated. I thought at this point that I would probably present the changing landscape with the pallet running through a series possibly interspersed with other landscape shots.

I grew to really enjoy my time observing and recording the changes I found in this landscape; as time progressed I photographed more intuitively, shooting whatever caught my interest, as well as the pallet.  At the point I had to form this transition series I reviewed my images and found that though I could form a series based on the pallet to show transitions in the landscape there were others that were more effective. I realised then how much my photography had developed over this period: my technique, my eye and my creativity. At this point I was torn between presenting my early intention to represent the evolving landscape through the pallet, or through the changes that I’d captured at the ends of the sawn tree trunks. Ultimately I decided that although I only had a small collection of images of the later, these were what now most interested me and I had enough to begin work with. This shift in my focus is my response to my now sharper observational skills, improved technical skills and in particular to a stronger sense of what I want to share with my photography. The change in my intention now also illustrates a growing oneness with this space and a better understanding of this landscape is evolving over time; my view of landscape is both broader and more intense than it was at the beginning of this course.

The series I am presenting here is a beginning, not a conclusion. These images are precursors, preliminary sketches, which I will now develop into to a body of work to communicate just how dynamic a landscape is.

ASSIGNMENT 6 SUBMISSION: TRANSITIONS

Nicola South         Student number: 514516

REFLECTIONS ON FORMATIVE FEEDBACK

TUTOR REPORT: OCA South 2Land06 19 Dec 19 (1)

This video feedback followed on closely from my feedback for assignment 5. We spent a little time discussing my final sequencing for assignment 5 and my ideas for representing the work in grid presentation.

Actions following the feedback for assignments 6:

  • I have re-sequenced assignment 6. My tutor suggested that I swap transitions #3 and #5. I have learnt now that whilst my sequencing decisions have been made with the knowledge of my intention and the history of the photographing, that when my tutor and viewers look at my work they do not have this inside knowledge and will therefore process a series in a different way to myself.

I took my tutor’s suggestion for the re-sequencing but then played around with many other permutations, but trying to look visually at the progression as she has taught me to. My draft submission was sequenced by interspersing the images of two different log ends sandwiched between longer focal distance location shots of them. However my tutor encouraged me see that this was irrelevant; I have now sequenced the images for my submission as a visual progression in the weathering and vegetation apparent on the log ends.

  • I have also printed the images as my tutor suggested as A5 images on A4 paper; I did this to experiment but I do believe it is more effective. I also recognise that as these are effectively sketch rather than finished quality images, especially Transition 2,  it doesn’t show case them at a size that they are not of the quality for.
  • I also realised when discussing the series with my tutor that I hadn’t put on my blog the research that I’d done on trees and woods whilst shooting assignment 6. Much of this is hard to capture at the end of the period as a lot of it was done in conjunction with research for other landscape assignments, however I have now recorded some of it on my blog, most especially an inspiring Television documentary “Judi Dench: My Passion for trees” (BBC, 2017) and my reading of the book “ The hidden life of trees” (Wohlleben and Billinghurst, 2016), see post: https://nkssite4.wordpress.com/category/learning-log-research-and-reflection/research/a6-research/

References:

BBC (2017) Judi Dench: My passion for Trees Directed by Harvey Lilley. United Kingdom: BBC. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKk3KWKSNbY (Accessed 01/03/2019).

Wohlleben, P. and Billinghurst, J. (2016). The hidden life of trees. Vancouver: Greystone books.

NEXT POST: https://nkssite4.wordpress.com/category/learning-log-research-and-reflection/reflection/overall-reflection/

ASSIGNMENT 6: TRANSITIONS DRAFT

Nicola South                                  Student number: 514516

TRANSITIONS

THE BRIEF:

Produce a series of images that responds to the idea of ‘transitions’ within the landscape. Work on this assignment throughout the course. Record the changes that a part of the landscape undergoes over an extended period of time. You may want to revisit a very specific view or you may choose to explore a particular part of the landscape more intuitively. You may wish to photograph at very specific intervals (monthly, weekly, or even daily) or your routine may develop by other means. The quantity of work that you submit will depend on your particular strategy. When completed, the assignment should address the notion that the landscape is an evolving, dynamic system. You may wish to confirm, question or subvert this assertion. Your assignment should be accompanied with a reflective commentary (minimum 300 words) on how your project developed and how or whether it has affected your ideas around landscape (Alexander, p 178, 2013).

ARTIST STATEMENT

These images are the preliminary sketches for a body of work that I am developing. I have already spent over a year observing and photographing this landscape of these two fallen trees, and yet it has only been a beginning of a journey of understanding, both of my photographic practice and of the nature of the place. The finished work will express my response to transitions within a dynamic landscape.

THE IMAGES

Transition #1

___

Transition #2

___

Transition #3

___

Transition #4

___

Transition #5

___

Transition #6

___

Transition #7

___

REFLECTIVE COMMENTARY

I have photographed this place for over fourteen months yet at the beginning though I thought I knew where I was going, I discovered that I didn’t…it was just the beginning of a journey. I photographed this small space in the woods focusing at first on the space around a couple of large fallen trees; however my attention was soon also drawn to a discarded pallet, which I also recorded changing as it deteriorated. I thought at this point that I would probably present the changing landscape with the pallet running through a series possibly interspersed with other landscape shots.

I grew to really enjoy my time observing and recording the changes I found in this landscape; as time progressed I photographed more intuitively, shooting whatever caught my interest, as well as the pallet.  At the point I had to form this transition series I reviewed my images and found that though I could form a series based the pallet to show in the landscape there were others that were effective. I realised then how much my photography had developed over this period, my technique, my eye and my creativity. At this point I was torn between presenting my early intention to represent the evolving landscape through the pallet, or through the changes that I’d captured at the ends of the sawn tree trunks. Ultimately I decided that although I only had a small collection of images of the later, these were what now most interested me and I had enough to begin work with. This shift in my focus is my response to my now sharper observational skills, more advanced technical skills but particularly to a stronger sense of what I want to share with my photography. The change in my intention now also illustrates how my understanding of a landscape has evolved over this time; my view of landscape is both broader and more intense than it was at the beginning of this course.

The series I am presenting here is a beginning, not a conclusion. These images are precursors, preliminary sketches, which I will now develop into to a body of work to communicate just how dynamic a landscape is.

Reference:

Alexander, J. (2013) Photography 2: Landscape. Barnsley. Open College of the Arts

NEXT POST: https://nkssite4.wordpress.com/category/submissions/assignment-6-submission/

 

ASSIGNMENT 6 DRAFT: TRANSITIONS LEARNING LOG

Please note all images shown here are just rough unprocessed j pegs only for the purpose of drafting ideas:

I began photographing this location over a year ago, initially I shot another as well, however once my interest and confidence with this site grew I focused on this site only. I decided to concentrate on an area of no more than 20 metres square in this woodland spot just off a footpath on a frequent running route, I knew the spot would change throughout the year as it often floods.

To begin with my focus was on a couple of fallen trees which I thought would be a good subject. I shot them from a variety of focal distances and perspectives, but my photographic vision, and I think my technique grew enormously over the time especially after a few months when I began using a prime lens; this meant that I had to move around much more and it helped me to observe more keenly and look at subjects from more viewpoints.

These images give a flavour of the location and  ways that I was photographing initially:

I soon noticed a pallet just on the peripheral of the space and began to photograph it a little, and when I realised that it was deteriorating I observed and shot it more often. My interest in the pallet grew to the point that I thought I would intersperse images of the landscape transitioning with the pallet changing; I shot for the last half of the time span with this in mind.

At the same time I began to photograph the space more instinctively rather than having a set pattern of “views” that I looked for each time I visited; photographing subjects within the space that attracted me. This project has shown me how much my photographic practice has developed over the period, and I think this is why my ideas on what I would use to show transitions in this landscape changed over the time. If I was starting the project now I would attack it completely differently, in fact I am going to continue photographing this space but with a different emphasis.

PHASE 1 DECIDING ON MY CONCEPT

When I had to call time on this project I reviewed my images. Although I had some “picturesque” images of the spot they are of less interest me than they were a year ago. I still had in mind to use the transition and demise of the pallet but I had a real “mixed bag” of images, focal distance, lens, lighting conditions, and perspective.

I also had many images that I found very interesting that I would have liked to use, particularly close ups of the landscape:

These are some of my favourite images currently but I am inclined to steer away from these as close ups, they are possibly too close to my work in assignment 5. This is work that I will continue with myself.

Two possible series to develop for the assignment:

Although not my intention when photographing in my location, having reviewed my images I am now considering using those of the sawn ends of the trunks of the fallen trees. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t begin photographing in this way until the last third of the period; I have put together a collection of these images to see if I can make a series of the tree trunks ends transitioning:

I am also still considering a series featuring the transition of the pallet, although I have to solve the problem of the variation of colours and lighting, caused by the images being taken over 14 months at variable times of day, seasons and conditions throughout the year. I did intend to present the pallet as alternating shots with others of the landscape but I think this dilutes my concept. This is a draft set of ideas for a series on the deterioration of the pallet:

I am undecided at this point which series I should develop for my transitions project, whichever I chose although I have to solve the problem of the variation of colours and lighting, caused by the images being taken over 14 months at variable times of day, seasons and conditions throughout the year.

I am also undecided whether to present as prints or a slideshow, I am thinking at the moment that a slide show might strengthen the idea of transitions, whilst also overcoming the problem of the inconsistency between the image tones.

PHASE 2 EDITING TO FORM A SERIES

At my feedback session with my tutor for assignment 6 I shared my above ideas for the transitions series.

Like me she was divided about which of my two transitions ideas to move forward with, the pallet or the log ends. Following our discussion I have decided to develop the log ends for my transition project but to close off my pallet project by creating a slide show of it for my own satisfaction, see my Transitions slideshow here: https://vimeo.com/382047564

I have chosen to present my “log ends” for my transitions series for several reasons. Firstly I am more attracted to it, I find it more interesting, focused and much more representative of my current work. However as this was not my intention over the course of photographing of my location for transition, but photographs that I took as a side product, just because I was drawn to them when on location, I do not have the breadth of images that I would like to form a quality series with. It is unfortunate that due to time constraints set by this course I must form a series now with the material that I have; therefore I am going to treat the images that I have as a precursor to a body of work which I will develop further from this point- almost as the preliminary sketches for a series on transition in the landscape.

I revisited my contact sheets of material for log ends to ensure I hadn’t missed any good images so I can form the best series that I can from my existing material. I want to reduce the number of images a little to tighten it up and have decided that they best way to present this work is as prints.

In the series that I presented as my draft submission to my tutor I dropped the two location images at the beginning and end of my rough draft series:

  

 I also dropped 2 close up images that I feel were repetitive:

 

Now I feel I have a tighter more focused series which represents a changing and evolving landscape, that will be a good platform for developing a body of work going forwards.

NEXT POST: https://nkssite4.wordpress.com/category/a6-draft-contact-sheets/

 

 

 

 

RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT 6

As I have been photographing assignment 6 in the woods and spending much time there I have looked for books and programes about the subjects in addition to all my other research on landscape which has often crossed over.

Judi Dench: My passion for trees (BBC 2017)

In this documentary Dench discovers how trees live and communicate. The program was full of facts and data, here sre some that interested me:

  • There are more trees in the planet than stars in our galaxy
  • A particular Oak studied was found to have 12km of branches
  • Trees drink 200 litres of water a day
  • In the autumn they change color as the green pigment is sucked back into the trees and stored safely under the bark for the next year; at the same time the toxins are transferred into the leaves which it jettisons to keep it healthy.
  • Fungi break down the woody matter other creatures can’t as a decomposer breaking down matter into organic matter for the tree to eat. Most of the fungi is underground with lots of threads reaching underground for miles sending messages that dead wood is there.
  • There are other fungi that is not a decomposer but covers trees like a sock and joins trees with fungal threads underneath sending messages allowing the entire forest to interact. For instance sending warning messages of attack to other trees. They can share food and water to other trees.
  • As fungi decomposes a tree it pushes the water out, as ice when it’s frosty.
  • Slime mold hunts down microscopic debris to eat, cleaning up.

Reference:

BBC (2017) Judi Dench: My passion for Trees Directed by Harvey Lilley. United Kingdom: BBC. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKk3KWKSNbY (Accessed 01/03/2019).

The hidden life of trees (Wohlleben and Billinghurst, 2016)

Following on from viewing the above program I read this book to find out more about trees; these are some of the things that I learned:

  • Trees communicate via olfactory signals, visual and electrical signals; electrical impulses that move at only 1/3 of an inch per second through the fungal networks (mycelium) around their roots.
  • They are connected by a web of soil fungi by which they share information and material.
  • Fungi are between animals and plants, though their cells are more like insects; they extend the trees roots creating a network that connects with other trees. Fungi takes sugar from the trees but gives benefits such as filtering heavy metals and warding off bacteria or destructive fungi or aphids.
  • They care for each other even nourishing fallen trees to keep them alive.
  • In wet ground when the roots are deprived of oxygen the tree will eventually die and fall as its rotting roots lose their hold.
  • When a tree falls the rotting cadaver plays an important role for many years, it can take a century for everything has been consumed and nothing remains.
  • When trees die they release the carbon dioxide they have stored during their life as the fungi and bacteria break down the wood, process the carbon dioxide and breathe it out again.
  • The vibrations of water travelling through their trunks make noises, especially when it is at pressure before the leaves open up in the spring.

I particularly liked the author’s suggestion to “slow down, breathe deep, and look around. What can you hear? What do you see? How do you feel?” (Wohlleben and Billinghurst, p78, 2016).

Reference

Wohlleben, P. and Billinghurst, J. (2016). The hidden life of trees. Vancouver: Greystone books.

LANDMARKS (Macfarlane, 2016)

I read this book earlier in my landscape course, it is primarily about language and place with a glossary of peculiar, poetic and little known words. I returned to it here to see if there was anything that it could add to my understanding on woods and trees. I thought the following two words and their definitions were interesting:

Shadowtackle: shifting net-like patterns of shadow formed on woodland floors by the light-filtering action of the canopy in wind.

 Suthering: noise of the wind through the trees (John Clare) poetic.

Reference:

Macfarlane, R. (2016). Landmarks. London: penguin.

Following this research I set about thinking about the role of trees in culture, mythology and history.

Judi Dench (BBC, 2017) reminded me of the role of trees in literature. Dench is well placed to share how trees are used in Shakespeare’s works, such as in As you like it, where the Forest of Arden is central to the play and Orlando pins up love letters there. Of course Britain was more wooded in Shakespeare’s time than now. Trees are central to many stories such as the Whomping Willow in Harry Potter, The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton, and the talking tree-like characters in Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Trees are also important spiritual symbols in many human cultures, sometimes representing physical and spiritual nourishment, transformation and liberation, union or fertility. On a simple level trees have provided food, shelter, fuel, shade and many other basics for human life. As I have traveled I have come across trees that are revered for various reasons. The Bodhi or Peepul Tree which is found in Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh is also known as Sanskrit for “wisdom” or “enlightened”; it is believed that it is under this tree that Buddha gained his enlightenment. The Bayan and sacred Fig are important in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism as the Tree of knowledge of good and evil are in Judaism and Christianity. The Egyptian book of the dead mention the Sycamores as where dead souls rest.

In Irish and English folklore, fairies could be found where Ash, Oak, and Hawthorne trees grew together. Hawthorn trees were thought of as a powerful symbol of protection, and were often planted near houses to ward off lightning as well as evil spirits. In many cultures, it is believed that hugging a tree releases negative energy from the human body.

My thoughts about the subject following my research:

So it seems that woods can be full of menace, or magic or romance. I have spent many many hours in the woods over the past fourteen months, and although I can say that on the odd occasion a sudden noise has startled me, the overwhelming feeling that I have when I am there is a growing wonder and oneness with a special place that is alive and aware.

To finish there are also a couple of quotations that I have come across about woods that I would like to share:

“Forests are places of transformation, where the boundary between human life and that of animals, plants or trees are likely to become confused, or even obliterated” (Barton, 2019).

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in their way” (William Blake,

 References:

BBC (2017) Judi Dench: My passion for Trees Directed by Harvey Lilley. United Kingdom: BBC. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKk3KWKSNbY (Accessed 01/03/2019).

Into the woods with Shakespeare (2017) At: https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/features/into-the-woods-with-shakespeare (Accessed 29/12/2019).

NEXT POST: https://nkssite4.wordpress.com/category/learning-log/assignment-6-transitions/a6-learning-log/

ASSIGNMENT 5 SUBMISSION: RESOLUTION

Nicola South                    Student number: 514516

RESOLUTION

ARTIST STATEMENT

I am intrigued by the many ways that we see and interpret things, this work is an experiment into new way of looking and representation for me personally; a passage through the landscape in a different way. My starting point for the series was the work of 20th century photographers Minor White, Alfred Stieglitz and Walter Chappell; in particular their conviction that photography can be used in a manner beyond that of mechanical reproduction, in an expressive and evocative way.

The series is an interpretation of images as equivalents, where the subject is a function, experience or emotion; not that which is first visible. My intention here is to offer photographs that encourage emotional responses and associations to form. To do this I have minimalised context around the subjects, exposed detail, and softened focus. I chose to work in black and white as this demands subjects and conditions with strong lines, patterns, shadows and contrast that are sympathetic to abstract representations. Black and white as a medium also echoes the feelings that seem to revolve around the theme that underlies this work.

The landscape here is a vehicle reflecting a series of thoughts about a topic that is very much on my mind at the moment. I built each image up by looking closely, slowly, being very still and observant when photographing. I hope that these photographs encourage viewers to really look, concentrate on all parts of them, use their senses, and form their own associations with them –  just as my unconscious led the photographing, let your unconscious walk through them and reflect on how you will.

THE IMAGES

51.9% – 48.1%

1, IMG_8371 ps 1500

Equivalent #1

 

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5. IMG_7896 ps1500

Equivalent #2

 

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6. IMG_8379 ps1500

Equivalent #3

 

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10. IMG_8704 2 hi ps1500

Equivalent #4

 

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7. IMG_8615 ps1500

Equivalent #5

 

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9. IMG_8656 2 hi ps1500

Equivalent #6

 

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12. IMG_8754 ps1500

Equivalent #7

 

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13. IMG_7840 ps1500

Equivalent #8

 

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14. IMG_7834 ps1500

Equivalent #9

 

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GALLERY LAYOUTS:

The above sequence should be presented lineally. The  layout below is an alternative possibility for a gallery presentation in a grid layout:

final sub grid