Its all about me
25 Jul 2021 2:12AM
Views : 81
Unique : 69
Anyone who writes articles or blogs will realise but its all about them. Of course, its the same with pictures every picture we take reflects our own likes and dislikes, our prejudices and preferences.
I keep going back to the late Roger Hicks pieces in Amateur Photographer. They reflect his experience as a writer, as a photographer, and as a human being. In that sense, theyre all about him: but hes always rather in the background. Every one of them is a careful analysis of a single picture and hes incredibly wide-ranging in the material he draws on.
Often, theres something about the technical side of the picture, the depth of field or the shutter speed, and how this was essential to the overall effect that the picture creates. Always, the piece is literate and humane: Hicks treats every human being with the same respect, and uses language in the way that would draw the approval of any English teacher. He gives details of the historical context of the picture, of what it might have meant that the time that it was taken and what it means now. He reflects on why the photograph might have been taken and the resources needed to produce it.
There is usually something about the composition of the image, and theres often a comment about how it fits into the work that the photographer was produced over a period of time. In the article in front of me now, he writes it is recursive: the photographer takes the pictures, and the pictures influence the photographer.
You can produce a checklist of these things that Roger Hicks seemed to put into every article with the appearance of effortless grace, but writing something in the same way, covering all of these points is far, far harder. The many writers who have filled the last page of Amateur Photographer since Roger Hicks died have generally failed abysmally. One or two of them have come close to the high standard that the set. But many of them seemed to have got lost in a well of their own experience.
Hicks had been a professional write for most of his adult life, and an AP columnist for a good while before the start of the Final Analysis column that excites my admiration so much. His writing is never less than competent, and he and his wife, Frances Schultz, take the credit for numerous photographic books where they were contracted to provide text as part of a publishers series of themed volumes. His AP columns were the ultimate product of many years accumulation of knowledge and understanding, and they often achieve wisdom, I believe.
The nature of a blog is that it starts from the writers experience: and I have no other way to see the world but from where I stand and threw my eyes. That doesnt mean that I have to become fixated on my own experience or feelings, unless they of the subject of the blog. I hope that by setting out what I see as the extreme professionalism of Roger Hicks writing I shall remind myself of what I need to do, and possibly suggest a better way for the terminally self-involved (if they ever read other peoples blogs).
We have some city photography advice to share with you today that will ensure you’re armed with all of the advice you need for a successful shoot in your local town.
For many of us, when we decide to get out and about with our cameras we automatically turn to the countryside. But with the majority of the population living within easy reach of a major Town or City, is that really the right decision? It’s great fun just walking around a city taking shots of literally everything but if you want to capture great images you need to go with a plan and a bag of kit including a couple of lenses and a tripod.
1. Think About Your Equipment
Don’t take lots of equipment just in case you might miss a shot, rather modify your subject matter and shooting style to suit the kit you have with you. This minimalist approach to shooting can help improve your success ratio.
2. Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Cities have so much variety to offer the photographer that it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the choice. My favoured approach is to pick one or possibly two themes and then explore an area looking to fulfil this self-imposed brief.
3. Stay Safe
Where possible I like to shoot with a second person, especially if going out of the main shopping areas. Camera equipment is expensive and pulling out a new DSLR with a huge lens makes you stand out. Whilst I often like to carry my gear in a backpack I will also use a shoulder bag which I always ensure has my head through the strap as well as my shoulder. This makes it easily accessible and less of a target for potential thieves.
4. Theme Choices
Dereliction is a popular choice and you don’t always need to leave the main area. The above shot also demonstrates how buildings reflect the way we live with the covering of posters, which is another possible theme.
There are many old and new iconic buildings and these can produce some great images especially if the light is right. Watch out also for the past icons that have become worn and faded.
Patterns are another great subject. Cities are literally awash with patterns everywhere you look. For example, a simple set of steps and handrails probably won’t win any prizes but it’s the perfect example of how patterns can be found in the simplest of objects.
Follow your common sense and you will have a great day and capture some wonderful images.
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Thinking about it
28 Mar 2021 10:35AM
Views : 24
Unique : 21
Many years ago, I reported to a maths graduate from Cambridge University at work. He is one of the most straightforward people Ive ever met, and I learned a lot from him, professionally and generally. He believed in thinking about problems, carefully, ruthlessly, and checking every fact and assumption. When I left our mutual employer, I brought home a few outdated documents hed written, and they are models of clarity and also of intellectual honesty.
Whats this got to do with photography, you may ask. Well, its the fact that Mike believed that it is always possible to solve a problem by getting sufficient data about it, and thinking hard. Actually, you begin by thinking, so that you can gather data that is likely to be relevant; and later on you may conclude that you need more data before you can continue with the thinking.
So, if you want to solve a photographic problem shall we say, decide the likely correct exposure for the moon you start from what you know. What light source is illuminating the moon? Yes the sun. And you already know a lot about the strength of sunlight 93 million miles from the sun. Combining this with the fact that the moon is made of rock, a first approximation for exposure would, therefore, be 1/125 second at somewhere between f/11 and f/16 at 100 ISO.
At this point, more data try it and see what happens. In practice, you will need a shorter shutter speed with a very long lens, but you can either open the aperture or raise the ISO to compensate. And then you can fine-tune things.
How about that phenomenon called rolling shutter that youre supposed to get when you use an electronic shutter the silent shutter mode that many mirrorless cameras have. I was wondering about it as I went for my morning walk yesterday, and decided that step 1 was to get real data for myself, by taking a picture of a moving object with an electronic shutter.
So I engaged silent mode on my camera, and got the result you see at the top. Definitely noticeable distortion (this with the car moving at around 30mph, and a shutter speed of 1/400), uneven across the frame, so that a simple skew correction wont sort it, which surprised me (anyone who can explain why, please do so!)
I wonder if turning the camera upside down would make the car lean forward in a Looney Toons sort of a way? I dont do enough action photography to be very interested in taking this further, and shutter noise isnt relevant to motorsport: but if I photographed wildlife, Id be doing more experiments in very short order, and possibly queuing up for Sonys new Alpha 1, which apparently minimises the effect, as well as offering 30fps. As one frame every couple of seconds will do for what I shoot, you can have my place in the queue.
So, if theres a particular photographic issue worrying you, think about it. Decide whether there are any practical experiments you can carry out to get more data. And consider looking in a traditional photographic textbook, as well as on the interwebs Or ask here at EPZ though youd be well advised to do as Mike would have done, and check the thinking behind anything other people tell you. Even me.
What Is Black Friday?
Black Friday is now a day that most consumers have written in their diaries as it’s a time when stores of all shapes, sizes and varieties offer discounts on a huge range of goods.
Originally, it was an American event that took place the day after Thanksgiving but now, it’s definitely a day the UK embrace. In fact, it’s now not even a day with many retailers running week-long discounts that take consumers right through the sale weekend into what’s known as Cyber Monday.
When Is Black Friday?
Black Friday 2020 takes place in November and this year, it falls on Friday 27 November 2020. However, some retailers, both online and on the high street, do start sales earlier so do keep an eye out for posters, emails and online ads which have Black Friday Deal details on them.
What Time Does Black Friday Start?
The time offers become available will change from store-to-store but generally, it’s midnight online and high street retailers often open earlier (around 6 am), although, with COVID-19 restrictions in place, there will be a lot fewer stores you can walk into and grab a bargain this year. Different deals may also go live at different times. For example, as well as ‘deals of the day’, Amazon offers ‘Lightning deals’ which are discounted products available in limited quantities, for a short period of time. ‘Lightning deals’ are introduced throughout the sale, with new deals becoming available as often as every five minutes.
Where Can I Get The Best Black Friday Deals?
All major stores and even some independent retailers offer Black Friday deals so it’s more of a case of knowing what you’re looking for and shopping in the right place.
For ease, most people actually do their Black Friday shopping online and if you’re going to be one of the millions of customers who do this, don’t forget most stores also have apps you can use that make it easier and quicker to shop.
How Can I Ensure I Get The Best Black Friday Discounts?
To get the best Black Friday 2020 discounts, you often need to shop early as stock flies off shelves quickly and do your research beforehand so you know if you are really getting a bargain or not. This could mean checking the average price of things that you want before the discounts are applied as well as comparing discounts from store-to-store. You also need to factor in P&P when shopping online as this will add more money to your total.
If you don’t already have accounts with stores online, create them before Black Friday arrives so the order process is quicker and if you have voucher codes, put them all in one place so you can quickly refer to them (if applicable). You can also sign up for email alerts so you don’t miss any deal announcements.
What Is Cyber Monday?
Once the dust has settled on Black Friday, Cyber Monday 2020 arrives for tech fans and this year, it’s Monday 30 December 2020 – just after payday for many. Basically, it’s another day you can take advantage of big discounts before Christmas arrives.
When Will My Black Friday Goods Arrive?
Due to the volume of orders stores receive, they may be a slight delay on when your new purchases will arrive but a lot of stores do work hard to ensure delivery deadlines are met.
Amazon Prime And Black Friday Deals
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, even one who’s enjoying a free Amazon Prime 30-day trial, you are usually given a 30-minute early access period to all Lightning Deals on Black Friday and Prime Now, a service which offers 2-hour or even 60-minute delivery windows in some postcodes, also usually offers special Black Friday deals. We will, of course, confirm this as soon as we know this will be happening this year.
Find The Best Deals With ePHOTOzine
ePHOTOzine wants to help you find the best deals on cameras, photography accessories and more so like last year, we’ll be updating the website with posts on the very best photography related deals. The deals will be posted in one feature so they’re easy to find and you can even bookmark the page once it’s live on site.
We have some very exciting offers from a wide range of photographic brands such as Samyang and Serif waiting to reveal their Black Friday Deals so do make sure you’re signed-up to receive our newsletter so you’ll be one of the first to see what fantastic offers are available.
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Out and About with a 100mm Lens
25 Oct 2020 10:39AM
Views : 119
Unique : 106
I’ve done quite a few reviews of lenses for ePHOTOzine so I’ve decided to have a second look at some, not to much from the point of view of testing or commenting on the lens again but more from the point of view of processing some of the images and enjoying what the type of lens has to offer. When the reviews are done the image samples are unprocessed, the idea being that the reader can download them and have a play in their own favourite program. Now I’m going to do my versions of images from a few lenses. This does not mean that I am selecting favourite lenses, but I might be selecting favourite focal lengths.
First up is the 100mm lens, which has always been a favourite of mine. I feel the 135mm is a bit too long for a short telephoto and the 85mm a bit too short, although 85mm lenses are in general much faster and have their own advantages. This lens is the Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS used with the Sony A7R II. Clearly, it spoke to me Flowers and Plants! It also is a great focal length for portraits and landscapes, but for today this is what I pulled out of the sample images that I shot for the review, processed afresh using Photoshop CC.
What is it about film?
23 Oct 2020 8:56AM
Views : 45
Unique : 39
Yesterday, I wrote about a photographer who uses (or at least seems to me to use) film. What is it about film that appeals to some of us so much?
Well, the more I learn about digital picture-making, the more I think that its the realm of control freaks. We can manage everything to the finest detail, retrospectively changing colour and everything else. Film, by way of contrast, requires some good decision-making upfront, with far more limited changes after the event. As I have said a few times, its like a high wire act without a net, and that gives me a big buzz when it works.
Then theres the way that film has a non-linear response to light: this softens the extremes and gives a much gentler treatment to skin, in particular.
And its like gourmet food: so much of the process is about patience and waiting, and the rewards are somehow higher because of it.
Then theres the feel of the cameras: this doesnt apply to every camera, but the best (not necessarily the most expensive) are a tactile delight. Theres a silkiness to a metal manual focus mount that is superior to the most accomplished fly-by-wire electronic lens. Ill probably be writing about camera feel before long
Anyway, its Film Friday, so please post an old-school picture. Scan a negative or slide, or maybe get out that old camera and see if the battery still works.
All about patience
11 Sep 2020 9:23AM
Views : 101
Unique : 69
Photography is all about patience.
Having got the bug for astrophotography with the visit of Comet Neowise, I have been waiting for the right conditions to photograph the Milky Way. This has proved incredibly frustrating trying to get the right conditions and being a novice, there is a need to experiment and practice the processes of gaining a suitable image and then, how to process it.
There have been several false starts, where the weather forecast promised but on the day, the weather didn’t want to play ball.
Last night, the forecast was good so I headed off to the nearby headland of Rame Head.
This time, the weather did provide the clear skies BUT I still was thwarted, this time by a small fishing boat of all things which sat just off the headland with a green light displayed.
This was the shot I had in mind
A crop version but the spread of the green light can still be seen and the real downside is that the headland rocks are clipped.
I Learn About Ergonomics
28 Aug 2020 12:28AM
Views : 63
Unique : 53
Looking back on my early days of SLR photography I soon learned that people trying to sell you things don’t necessarily understand what it is you need. It’s not that anybody is trying to deceive, but sometimes the details are lost and we can’t double guess what features are important to any one individual. A case in point was my first 135mm lens. I was going to buy a preset lens (no automatic diaphragm, this has to be set manually) and, quite rightly, the saleman pointed out a slightly more expensive lens that had automation and was far more convenient in that respect. However, what he didn’t realise was that the aperture ring and focusing rings worked the opposite way round to my Pentax standard lens, the filter thread was 52mm instead of 49mm and it was a much bigger and heavier lens anyway. These may seem small points, but they slow down working and are basically a nuiscance.
The point being that using them in the same kit potentially causes confusion and may slow us down.
This may be more important for manual focus lenses, but can affect AF systems as well. For example, all the following cameras have on/off switches that surround the shutter release button. This is very efficient when carrying a camera in one hand as we can switch it on with one hand while moving it up to the eye. Our finger is already on the shutter release.
I found the same glitches when using 35mm and medium format. The direction of controls was either Canon/Mamiya or Pentax/Nikon/Bronica. As I couldn’t afford what I wanted I ended up using a wrong handed medium format camera and it bugged me till I eventually had to change it.
Small points maybe, but the devil’s in the detail, so it’s a good reason to handle before we buy. A good thing there are still some camera shops around.