Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Monthly Archives: November 2010

New Course Dates for OSP

We have managed this year to get the new term course dates out before Christmas so no problem knowing what you want for Christmas then. If you are a bit unsure then ask for a voucher, these can be used towards any of our courses or towards 121 tuition.  If you don’t know what courses we run have a look at our website and see how we can help you become a better photographer.

Here is an old picture I made using our friend and fellow photographer Ander McIntyre as a model, I use the term losely.



Snow Photography Tutorials

So Oxford finally has a dusting of snow, not the knee deep stuff our good friend and photographer Norman McBeath has reported from Edinburgh but even so snow. Every time it snows in the UK photographers are compelled to go out and photograph it, once snow was a rarity but now it seems a too frequent occurrence. Well that is my take on the stuff. Here are a series of tutorials you might like to look at before stepping out into the cold, they may make your intrepid adventure more rewardinging.

Why Is The Snow In My Pictures Blue – a tutorial about white balance

This is from Canon and is about metering- and although aimed at Canon users is very informative

Snow Photography in Japan – slightly more technical and with details of equipment recommended

5 Tips, simple and untechnical – for those who don’t like to read much

If you need more search photographing in the snow, there are lots more tutorials although they cover much of the same ground as the above. Stay warm, stay safe. I will be staying indoors.

Children Heading Households in Moldova

This sad story is no doubt repeated in so many countries around the world, this article is illustrated by beautiful , moving images and comes from the Open Society Institute: Documentary Photography Project. The images here are by Isabel Castro, this is her story

Finding Gems

I love the way on a lazy Sunday the internet allows you to wander far and wide and sometimes find gems. Yesterday I happened upon a Flickr stream  of Duncan Salisbury-Gaumont His images are so well seen and beautifully realised I encourage you to go an have a look. It is a style, if sunsets or flowers are your main interest you may not get his images, here is a taste

Tom Dinnings Blog

I enjoy reading photography blogs that are more than just technical, I like the fact that photographers are engaged, interested, visual, aware people who look to see. Tom Dinning’s blog explores subject matter beyond the obvious and raises issues that are thought provoking. In this post he posits that using a camera in auto mode releases the photographer to see better.  I am not sure I completely agree with this but I do agree with Tom that it is vitally important that people interested in photography learn to see. Read this post and see if you think he has a point. Here is a brief sample of the post

“My original attempts at teaching photography revolved around the technical stuff and darkroom processing. That was because I was young and believed in the power of ‘how’ and not ‘why’ we take photographs. Many years have passes and I am a better person for it.
As my grandson would say: ‘I’m over cameras’. Sure, I can afford the best but I find myself looking more through the lens than at it. I think my images have improved as a result. So, now when I teach I talk about concepts and composition instead of aperture and focal length. Most of the time I tell my students to set their camera’s on ‘auto’ and concentrate on what they want to see in the viewfinder.”

Tom Dinning

20+ Professional Photoshop Photo Effects Tutorials

Considering how cold it is here in the UK you may be considering staying in and being cosy with your computer and Photoshop. These tutorials may be just what you have been looking for to liven up your images and might add to the Photoshop course you may have taken with us. There is even one on adding falling snow although I am not sure you will need that for a week or so.

John Wreford in Damascus

John Wreford, a great friend of OSP and The Photographers Workshop, is a freelance photojournalist living in the heart of the ancient Syrian city of Damascus.
He has a fascination for the regions history, culture and political intrigue that will often see him travelling throughout the Middle East working for clients as diverse as The Financial Times, United Nations and the European Investment Bank.

His work has been exhibited in Aleppo, Istanbul, and Beirut and has appeared in publications around the world.

When I visited Syria in 2009 John was the perfect companion to travel around with, visiting places with another photographer always allows for the time needed to take pictures. They understand you may have to wait 15 or 30 minutes for the right light and can find things to shoot for themselves. Here is my Flickr link to my Syrian pictures

The Definitive Guide to Stabilising Your Camera for Crisper Shots Read more: The Definitive Guide to Stabilising Your Camera for Crisper Shots

In our camera based courses we always say the first thing you have to learn is how to hold your camera still, without doing so your pictures will be unsharp or soft.
Camera shake is a problem that almost every photographer is going to experience. Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do, but in most cases there are a few tricks you can use to get a little bit of extra stability. Here are some things you might like to think about, next time you get jolted out of a perfectly focused shot.

Read more: The Definitive Guide to Stabilising Your Camera for Crisper Shots

Entropy everything is meant to evolve.

“When a system is stable, we say, in physics terms, that its entropy equals zero. But, this system is meant to change, and the entropy has to increase, which provokes chaos.
That’s what happens here. The system is stable, both of my grand parents are still alive. One is sick, but alive. But I and he know that death is close, and that means changing everything. Leaving the house they lived in for more than 50 years, emptying the rooms, selling the furnitures.
I wanted to let the light go in the pictures, I wanted to freeze the moment, the zero moment. ”

Candid street photography

Many people would like to have the opportunity to photograph in the streets the way the great French photographers did, we would all like to be Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau or Brassai . However we all find it difficult, our subjects are often more suspect of our motives and sometimes aggressive to the idea that their picture has been taken. This article by James Maher from the Digital Photography School site has suggestions on how to be more successful.

This article is going to focus specifically on tips to help you get your camera as close to people as possible without them noticing. It is certainly not the only way to do street photography, but it is a very effective way. It helps you catch the world around you in an uninterrupted fashion. And if you happen to get caught then so be it, just smile and own up to what you are doing. You’ll be surprised at how understanding most people are about street photography once you are honest with them.