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Into the Sun – The Art of Stunning Silhouettes for Photographers

“One of the first things you are told by non-photographers when you buy your first serious camera is “don’t shoot straight into the sun”. Listen to this advice and you will be missing out on some the most emotive and powerful images photography can provide.

So what is a silhouette?

Oddly, the original term comes from French politics and has nothing to do with art or photography but today we take it to mean an image where the main subject is in complete shadow from a strong backlight. That backlight is most often the sun bit it doesn’t have to be, any light source, a flash, a lightbulb, even the moon can be used. Also the light source does not have to be present in the image, it just creates a very bright background, forcing the subject into shadow.”.….MORE   By at Lightstalking

©Keith Barnes©Keith Barnes

The Wedding Crasher

Whilst researching I came across this blog by Michael Yamashita, he writes about wedding photography and the rather remarkable way it is undertaken in some places in China,

“Who hasn’t shot a wedding?  On Geographic assignments, it’s hard to think of a story where I did not shoot one as part of my coverage, sometimes by plan, but mostly by accident — you’re in a small town out in the middle of nowhere and a procession is coming your way from down the street.  What celebration/ceremony says more about a culture than an old-fashioned wedding, the ultimate cultural photo op? Everyone loves a wedding. On these joyous occasions, everyone welcomes a photo, not to mention the photographer taking them. But unique to China is the wedding studio, where the real wedding takes place before the actual wedding ceremony.  Here the couple can have their choice of any of several wedding scenarios, with sets and costumes to match.  A Japanese wedding at a shrine, a western church wedding, a cruise ship wedding, a Shanghai 1920s wedding, or an outdoor wedding – whatever the bride and groom’s preference.  Wedding packages $5000 and up include a video as well as stills.  Here’s a sampling.”...MORE

all photos by Orange Photography Studio, wedding photos and video – Shanghai, China

See More here

Camera Review: Canon PowerShot G1 X

“The 14.3-megapixel Canon PowerShot G1 X is one of the best compact cameras I’ve ever shot with, though calling it a “compact” really is a bit of a stretch. This sucker is big. And heavy. Not to mention, Canon’s latest “flagship” PowerShot is expensive too. For just a little more money than the $800 you’d pay for the G1 X, you could get the Rebel T3i, Canon’s second-tier up digital SLR along with an 18-55mm kit lens.

But, of course, you don’t want the Rebel T3i or its mediocre kit lens since you likely already have a bigger and better DSLR/lens set-up that does all the professional heavy lifting for you. The G1 X, on the other hand, is what I like to call a “project” camera, as in, you might have a particular project you’d like to shoot that calls for a smaller, less expensive, more discreet camera. That “project” could be anything from photographing dishwashers in Indonesia to capturing candids of your kids on holiday in Florida.

The point is that your big DSLR or medium-format camera feels like work. A camera such as the Canon G1 X and the many competing high-end compacts out there are designed for looser assignments, even if those assignments include a personal project you come up with on vacation.

And in that way, the G1 X succeeds, big time. Its image quality is on par with most entry-level digital SLRs, in part because it’s equipped with an image sensor that’s almost the same size as what’s in those cameras.

But it also has a very good zoom lens: a 4x optical (28mm to 112mm equivalent) with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and image stabilization. The fact that it sits on the front of the camera like a giant metal doughnut is a bit distracting but only further emphasizes the seriousness of the big sensor inside this camera.”…..MORE from By Dan Havlik on this special camera

30+ Breathtaking Rock Formation Photography

From Tripwire Magazine by Sonny M. Day

Around the world, there are a lot of rock formations which are amazing to look at to say the least. How do these rocks come into being? What have they gone through before they become what they are – beautiful and wonderfully sculpted as if some intelligent being intervened in their making? This feeling of awe and appreciation about these nature’s wonders have lead some tribes living within the vicinity of some of these rock formations to regard them as dwelling places of gods or spirits. Well, who wouldn’t? Even people of today, with modern beliefs and technology cannot help but be filled with awe at the sight of these amazing rock formations. This appeal is what makes them popular subjects of photography.

Here in this post, we are sharing with you some breathtaking rock formations around the world which are famous because of their unique features. These photos are taken by photographers who like many of us, appreciate natural beauty and wonders. If you like this article, please help us spread by clicking our social media buttons. We will also be glad to hear your thoughts about these awesome rock formations. Enjoy!”..….MORE

Balanced Rock, Garden of Gods

Photo used under Creative Commons from outdoorPDK

Babele Romania

Photo used under Creative Commons from Alina1683

Great Ocean Roads

Photo used under Creative Commons from  Harsh1.0

Reed Flute Cave

Photo used under Creative Commons from roychung1993

More from this set of pictures

20 Photoshop Tutorials

In case you cannot wait for our next Photoshop course starting on 14th May these tutorials may get your going. Photoshop is one of Adobe’s most widely used products, however most users barely scratch the surface of the features the software offers. As people who love photography we come across great things that folks are doing with Photoshop on a daily basis. Below is a list of online tutorials we have stumbled on recently to help any user get more from Photoshop:

Here is the first …

How to Use Layers

Layers are the starting point of some incredible effects for photographers and an essential part of learning about what Photoshop can do for us.

BackgroundMe by mrhash, on Flickr

For a descriptive beginning tutorial for using layers the following tutorial adds more features, such as opaqueness and creating a montage using the layers menu.

Learn the 20 tutorials here

Leonora Hamill, Eric Pillot win HSBC Photography Awards

Leonora Hamill and Eric Pillot were selected from a long-list of 500 entrants and a shortlist of 13 photographers chosen by art historian Rafael Doctor Roncero.

The winners will see their work published by Actes Sud later this year, and their images will go on show across France in four planned exhibitions. HSBC will also purchase at least six of the winning images for its private art collection, guaranteeing a €5000 cash prize to the laureates.

Hamill was chosen for her work Art in Progress, which is a “study of the human condition,” says Roncero. In recent years, Hamill has been cataloguing and photographing classrooms and places where people learn about art. “In her work, the collective aspect of artistic labour in its learning phase is predominant, which goes against the general preconception of an isolated and independent artist,” adds Roncero.

Pillot has received the HSBC Award (Photography has been a part of HSBC France’s cultural policy for many years now. Today, the Group’s patronage of the photographic arts is carried out by the Prix HSBC pour la Photographie, which was created in 1995 under the aegis of the Fondation de France.  The Prix HSBC pour la Photographie supports little-known professional artists by helping them to promote their work. Each year, the Prix HSBC sponsors two young contemporary photographers striving to capture the real world on film. There are no pre-requisites as to age or nationality....more.) For his work In Situ.”Pillot portrays the desolation of these animals that are so close to us. At the same time, he looks for their confrontational stares – stares that we can’t escape since there is no logical justification for the cruel spaces [we lock these animals in].”

For more information about Eric Pillot and Leonora Hamill, visit www.ericpillot.com and www.leonorahamill.com.

From the BJP written by Olivier Laurent……MORE

Image © Eric Pillot, Prix HSBC pour la Photographie.
Image © Leonora Hamill, Prix HSBC pour la Photographie.

El Plus En: Ellerker Gardens

“El Plus En’s latest project is an unsettling trip into the subconscious and an unusual take on the photographic series.

Graduating from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) in Farnham. In that time, the duo have travelled to India and the US to create projects, been taken up by a Swedish gallery, and had work published in Foam, Source and Wallpaper* magazines. And that’s just for starters; they also founded the Wandering Bears collective with fellow photographer Peter Haynes, curating exhibitions for Margate Photo Festival and Brighton Photo Fringe’s Open 11.

 Now they’ve produced a new series, Ellerker Gardens, the first project they’ve shot entirely digitally. “It was a long process for us to get used to,” says Norman. “Initially we would look at every image immediately unsatisfied, an experience we were new to as normally we’ve had to wait for development periods before we could reflect on the images.” writes Diane Smyth in the BJP.…MORE

Shadow land: photographs by Roger Ballen

Staying with the South African theme for a moment, this exhibition looks interesting and if you are near Manchester would be worth some of your time.

Roger Ballen is an American photographer who has been shooting in black-and-white for more than 40 years, mostly in South Africa. Here is a selection of images from his exhibition Shadow Land, taken between 1983 and 2011, which can be seen at the Manchester Art Gallery until 13 May 2012.

“Shadow Land is a major exhibition of work by internationally-acclaimed photographer Roger Ballen whose work offers a powerful social critique and an extreme, uncanny beauty. The exhibition explores three decades of Ballen’s career, charting the evolution of his unique photographic style and demonstrating the contribution he has made to contemporary photography.

One of the most important photographers of his generation, Roger Ballen was born in New York in 1950 but for over 30 years he has lived and worked in South Africa. In his work from the early 1980s to mid 90s he gained world recognition and critical acclaim with his powerful and controversial images of those living on the margins of South African society.

Although retaining the same distinctive aesthetic, (all his work is in black and white, square format) in the last decade Ballen’s work has evolved into a style he describes as ‘documentary fiction’ where the line between reality and fantasy is deliberately blurred. In doing so, his work enters into a new realm of photography; the images are painterly and sculptural in ways not immediately associated with photography.

Shadow Land will include previously unseen work from his new series Asylum and will be Ballen’s first solo show in a UK public gallery.

Fans of Ballen’s work will be interested in his recent collaboration with Die Antwoord, a futuristic rap-rave crew from South Africa who represent a new style called Zef. Ballen’s photography has had a formative influence on the band and led to him directing their latest video I fink u freeky poised to be a viral sensation and introduce Ballen’s work to an entirely new audience.”

  • Friday 30 March 2012 – Sunday 13 May 2012
  • Manchester Art Gallery
  • FREE



This Must Be the Place by Pieter Hugo

writes in the Guardian about Pieter Hugo and reviews “This Must Be the Place” Pieter Hugo’s photographic retrospective offers a provocative view of life on the edge of sub-Saharan African society

Pieter Hugo’s photographs are problematic. That is part of their power and their resonance. He is a white South African who came of age as apartheid crumbled and, though he cites the great David Goldblatt as a formative inspiration, his photographs possess none of the powerful political thrust of an older generation of South African photographers, who had no choice but to deal with the harsh realities of the world around them.”..…..MORE

This is from Pieter Hugo’s website and specifically about this project


These photographs came about after a friend emailed me an image taken on a cellphone through a car window in Lagos, Nigeria, which depicted a group of men walking down the street with a hyena in chains. A few days later I saw the image reproduced in a South African newspaper with the caption ‘The Streets of Lagos’. Nigerian newspapers reported that these men were bank robbers, bodyguards, drug dealers, debt collectors. Myths surrounded them. The image captivated me.”..….MORE



National Geographic Magazine: 50 Years of Covers

See some of the most compelling National Geographic covers from the last 50 years and learn about the significant milestones reported in the magazine’s pages—all of which are available in The Complete National Geographic, a collection of every issue of National Geographic magazine in a six-DVD-ROM set.see the gallery link here.…MORE

Photograph by Steve McCurry

June 1985—Afghan Girl
When photographer Steve McCurry took a young girl’s picture one morning in Pakistan, he created an image that would captivate millions around the world. The haunting green eyes that stared out from the June 1985 cover of National Geographic belonged to an unknown refugee who for 17 years was identified simply as the “Afghan girl.” She has since been located and was once again featured on the magazine’s cover in April 2002.

Photograph by Albert Moldvay

January 1967
Dressed for Eid al-Fitr festivities, two young girls play on a swing in Pakistan, then made up of two lands located on opposite sides of the Indian subcontinent. The cover’s traditional interior border of oak leaves and acorns, first introduced in 1910, begins to recede around the increasingly bold feature photographs.

Photograph by Michael Nichols

July 2006—Panda, Inc.
A year after his celebrated birth at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., panda cub Tai Shan appears on the cover of National Geographic with mother Mei Xiang. Unapologetic cuteness abounds on the pages within—something feature author Lynne Warren writes may, along with their persistent scarcity, largely contribute to the popularity of China’s beloved bear.

Photograph by David Doubilet

April 2000
A shot inside the notorious mouth of a great white shark is a fitting introduction to Jaws author Peter Benchley’s feature article on the threats facing the surprisingly fragile predator. Twenty-five years after the box-office hit based on his novel terrified moviegoers, Benchley and photographer David Doubilet set out to portray the ocean’s great hunters in a different light.

See them all here


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