Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

The Taj Mahal: 26 Images from Traditional to Unique

If you have ever had the opportunity to visit The Taj Mahal you will know that everywhere you point a camera there are pictures you want to take, and at the same time every picture you see has already been photographed by someone else. This can be frustrating, trying to find something new from one of the most photographed buildings in the world. But then you shoot anyway because whatever you capture is yours. Interestingly the towers on the corners are built leaning but look straight from a distance, at least that was what I was told by a guide, then again he could have been having a laugh at my ignorance. These pictures are not groundbreaking but are a good selection of what can be achieved from the obvious to the inventive. From those nice people at Light Stalking What these pictures prove is that a photographer requires patience and planning. Planning to be at the location when the light is just perfect and patience to wait.

Travel photography always acts as a great push for me, that saying “a photographer needs to see as a child or as a tourist….for the first time” is always easier in another country. Last year I went to Syria and here are some of my pictures, you may be interested, this year I am off to Libya to see Leptis Magna. If you doubt my reasons for Libya have a look at the pictures

Land of the giants: the world’s largest lenses

Just how deep is your pocket? These lenses cost more than some people’s houses.

Sigma 200-500mm f2.8 APO EX DG Telephoto Zoom

Weighing in at a hefty 34.6lbs and 726mm in length, this is not the easiest lens to carry around with you on holiday.  As well as being meaty, the Sigma 200-500mm also wins some world firsts; it is the first large-aperture ultra telephoto lens to have an f/2.8 aperture at 500mm, and is the largest high-speed zoom lens available.

If you’re impressed by this and are looking for a lens that is excellent at tracking fast moving objects and you don’t mind parting with $32,000, this could be the lens for you!

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Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM Lens

At just a little heavier than the Sigma 200-500, the Canon EF 1200mm weighs in at 36.4lbs and also holds some records that are not to be sniffed at. This is the longest full auto focus lens in the world and is the world’s most powerful super telephoto zoom according to Canon. The lens is fully compatible with any EOS SLR and boasts silent auto focus thanks to its Ultrasonic Motor.

According to The Digital Picture, when the lens first came out it had an annual production volume of just two lenses due to the fact that it takes nearly a year to grow the fluorite crystals needed for the lens.

Unfortunately the Canon EF 1200mm is no longer in production. It is rumoured that there are anything from 20 to 100 of these lenses around today. Do you think you might want one? B&H have their hands on one. Just make sure you’re prepared to fork out around $120,000 for it!

canon-1200mm-300x252

see the rest here

7 Tips for Better Environmental Portraits

Shooting portraits can be one of the most fulfilling and frustrating jobs a photographer can take on.  Furthermore, portraits shot on location, that is to say, not in a studio with a background can be even more complicated based on what the client wants to portray. This tutorial from Light Stalking might be of help

Henry Janssen – de snackbar

make of these what you will, they are fun, more here by Henry Janssen

9 Crazy Cross Eye 3D Photography Images and How to Make Them

OK the headline makes it sound….well crazy, but the simple fact is that 3D is now part of our lives in some form or other and will increasingly be part of future viewing experiences, these images and tutorial make it a possibility for all of us to create 3D pictures, do you want to? That is a hard one to answer, if it adds to the image then I guess we would say yes but the reduction of a 3D world to 2D representation has been part of what we as photographers have done for over 150 years, but then we used film for most of that time. Change will come whether it is a good thing the future will tell us when it is too late. Stereoscopic images (3D) are not new, the first invention that allowed 3D imagery was in 1838

The photographer behind these images and tutorial is Neil Creek and this is what he starts with..

“A revolution in photography and videography is coming. The 50’s cliche of the 3D movie and nostalgic childhood 3D viewers like the Viewmaster were ideas ahead of their time. Pretty soon 3D will be everywhere. Thousands of US cinemasare being upgraded to show new 3D movies, new computer display technology is bringing 3D without glasses to the desktop, and a growing enthusiastic community is breathing new life into time-honored 3D photography techniques.

If you haven’t experimented with 3D photography yet, now’s the time.

Anyone with a camera can take 3D photos, and with a bit of practice, most people can learn to see the 3D effect on their monitors without special glasses. I’ve collected here a few examples of some of the cool stuff that photographers are doing with 3D photography today. I hope these images will entertain and inspire you to explore the third dimension in your photography, and put you ahead of the new wave of 3D imagery which will soon flood our culture.”

Eye Witness

Originally posted on Steve McCurry's Blog:

 Eyes speak a universal language, and no
interpreter is needed.

SAM_5899, Rajasthan, India, 2009, INDIA-11532India

Where words are restrained,
the eyes often talk a great deal.

- Samuel Richardson

ITALY-10427NF2Italy

Her eyes are homes of silent prayers.
- Lord Alfred Tennyson

YEMEN-10004NFYemen

Eyes are more accurate witnesses than ears.
- Heraclitus of Ephesus, 535 – c. 475 BCE

AFGHN-10242Afghanistan

ETHIOPIA-10328NF3Ethiopia

The countenance is the portrait of the soul,
and the eyes mark its intentions.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106 – 43 BCE

01803_02_es_blogAfghanistan

The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dire, Mali, 1986, MALI-10003NFPORTRAITS_bookMali

TIBET-10067Tibet

The face is the mirror of the mind,
and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart.

- St. Jerome

Los Angeles, California, USA, 1991, USA-10023Portraits_BookPORTRAITS_BookUnited States

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes,
but in having 
new eyes.
- Marcel Proust

NIGER-10004Mali

There is a road from the eye to heart that does not go through the…

View original 103 more words

Master fill-in flash in 4 easy steps

Fill in flash is the thing that makes professionals able to work in even the harshest light, check out this very useful tutorial on Photoventure

This time of year, many photographers like to shoot outdoor portrait photography, but one of the challenges with this is coping with strong overhead sun and harsh shadows on your subject’s face.

Many a sunny-day portrait has been ruined by dark shadows creeping into the eyes and other facial areas, and fill-flash is good and very convenient solution.

On gloomy days, flash can be equally useful for warming up colour rendition and breathing life into skin tones. The trick is to balance the flash with daylight to obtain natural-looking exposures.

DSLRs and flashguns often make a good stab at this, even in Programme AE mode, but the results can vary. READ MORE HERE

IMG_7704

Best A3+ printer for photographers: 6 top models tested and rated

I have given up printing in the office or at home, the simple economics of it didn’t work out. The printers and paper were manageable but the cost of the inks, particularly when the printer wasn’t used continuously and so needed regular head cleaning, proved uneconomic. If you can justify regular use and enjoy the process this article will advise you as to the best printer to buy

Go large with your photo printing, right on your own desktop. We test 
six leading models to find the best A3 and A3+ printers for photographers.

InkjetPrinterRegular A4 photo printers are compact and convenient but, if you want a picture to frame and hang on the wall, the maximum size of their output leaves a lot to be desired.

By upgrading to an A3+ printer you can generate photo prints of up to 19×13 inches in size. A large print has much more wow factor, while you still have full control over the printing process and retain the relative immediacy of creating prints on your own desktop, without having to upload images and wait for photo prints to be delivered in the post.

Designs differ when it comes to large-format printers. Some use dye-based inks, which typically give the smoothest output on glossy paper.

Pigment-based inks are more robust and a better choice for matte media. Another consideration is whether you only want to make colour prints or if you’re also keen on top quality black-and-white photo output. READ MORE HERE

Layer mask techniques anyone can do: master this vital Photoshop effect

I am not sure this will transforms anyone into a PS genius but layer masks are an essential part of using layers so read this article from Digital Camera World

Knowing how to use a Photoshop layer mask is at the heart of any type of creative image work. In this tutorial we explain the different ways in which you can master them.

What is a layer mask?

Layers and masks set Photoshop apart from many of the alternative image-editing software packages available.

Layers can be explained in simple terms as a stack of images, with the top layer the one that’s visible.

If the opacity of that top image is reduced, or sections of it are erased, the layer beneath will be revealed.

This concept enables us to do a variety of things, such as create composite pictures from several images, or merge shots taken at different exposures to create images with greater dynamic range. READ MORE HERE

Photoshop_layer_makes_photo_editing_PHO29.genius1.refine_fundamentals

 

Duane Michals

D U A N E M I C H A L S
Duane Michals (b. 1932, McKeesport, Pa.) received a BA from the University of Denver in 1953 and worked as a graphic designer until his involvement with photography deepened in the late 1950s. Michals made significant, creative strides in the field of photography during the 1960s. In an era heavily influenced by photojournalism and its aesthetic, Michals manipulated the medium to communicate narratives using a distinctive pictorial technique. The sequences, for which he is widely known, appropriate cinema’s frame-by-frame format. Comprising single prints, each sequence depicts the unfolding of an event or reveals various perspectives on a specific subject. Michals has also incorporated text as a key component in his single and multipart works. Rather than serving a didactic or explanatory function, his handwritten text adds another dimension to the images’ meaning and gives voice to Michals’s singular musings. Balancing fragility and strength, gravity and humor, Michals’s work represents universal themes such as love, desire, memory, death, and immortality.
Over the past five decades, Michals’s work has been exhibited in the United States and abroad. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, hosted Michals’s first solo exhibition (1970), and a year later the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY, mounted another (1971). More recently, he has had one-person shows at the Odakyu Museum, Tokyo (1999), and at the International Center of Photography, New York (2005). In 2008, Michals will celebrate his 50th anniversary as a photographer with a retrospective exhibition at the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Greece and the Scavi Scaligeri in Verona, Italy. His work has been included in numerous group shows including, “Cosmos” at the Musée de Beaux-Arts de Montréal (1999), “The Century of the Body: Photoworks 1900-2000” at the Musee de l’Elysee, Lausanne (1999), “From Camouflage to Free Style” at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1999), and “The Ecstasy of Things” at the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland.
In recognition of his contributions to photography, Michals has been honored with a CAPS Grant (1975), a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1976), the International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Art (1989), the Foto España International Award (2001), and an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, Mass.(2005). Michals’s work belongs to numerous permanent collections in the U.S. and abroad, including the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Metropolitan
Museum of Art, New York; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Michals’s archive is housed at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Monographs of Michals’s work include Homage to Cavafy (1978); Nature of Desire (1989); Duane Michals: Now Becoming Then (1990); Salute, Walt Whitman (1996); The Essential Duane Michals (1997); Questions Without Answers (2001); The House I Once Called Home (2003) and Foto Follies / How Photography Lost Its Virginity on the Way to the Bank (2006). Forthcoming publications include 50 (Admira Photography, June 2008); a collection of Michals’s writing (Delpire Editeur, Fall 2008); and his Japaneseinspired, color photographs (Steidl, Fall 2008).
Michals lives and works in New York City.

“Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be”. – Duane Michals – 1966

“I think photographs should be provocative and not tell you what you already know. It takes no great powers or magic to reproduce somebody’s face in a photograph. The magic is in seeing people in new ways”. – Duane Michals

“The best part of us is not what we see, it’s what we feel. We are what we feel. We are not what we look at . . .. We’re not our eyeballs, we’re our mind. People believe their eyeballs and they’re totally wrong . . .. That’s why I consider most photographs extremely boring–just like Muzak, inoffensive, charming, another waterfall, another sunset. This time, colors have been added to protect the innocent. It’s just boring. But that whole arena of one’s experience–grief, loneliness–how do you photograph lust? I mean, how do you deal with these things? This is what you are, not what you see. It’s all sitting up here. I could do all my work sitting in my room. I don’t have to go anywhere”. – Duane Michals
“If I was concerned about being accepted, I would have been doing Ansel Adams lookalikes, because that was easily accepted. Everything I did was never accepted…but luckily for me, my interest in the subject and my passion for the subject took me to the point that I wasn’t wounded by that, and eventually, people came around to me.” – Duane Michals
“And in not learning the rules, I was free. I always say, you’re either defined by the medium or you redefine the medium in terms of your needs”. – Duane Michals
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