Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Monthly Archives: January 2011

Photography and the Law

This problem of where and when you are not allowed to take photographs is worldwide and in terms of being told “you can’t take pictures here” getting worse. This article which is US centric makes many points that are valid anywhere and offers good advice on how to avoid trouble. If you are considering going out to photograph in the streets, shopping malls, railway stations, in fact anywhere other than empty spaces you will find this useful

Manga Dreams

Manga Dreams is a new exhibition at Hamiltons Gallery in London, combining striking photographs with digital painting to explore the concepts of identity, culture and costume. Manga, which literally means “whimsical pictures”, consists of highly-stylised comics and prints dating from shortly after World War II, although the origins of Manga and Anime, or animation, begin much earlier in Japanese art. The exhibition is a collaboration between British-born photographer Jonathan Anderson and Chinese-Malaysian photographer Edwin Low, whose last major exhibition, The Athlete, was staged during the 1998 Commonwealth Games Cultural Festival.  Manga Dreams is at Hamiltons until 5th March. You can see more pictures here

Anderson and Low have colaborated on a book called Athlete/Warrior, here is the Amazon link

How to Utilise Your Diopter Adjustment?

Many people, I find on our camera courses, are unaware of this little adjustment available on most DSLR cameras. It is there to set the eypiece of the camera to suit your vision, it is a most useful control. This brief article explains in more detail

Long Exposure Photography: 15 Stunning Examples

Long Exposure Photography is something that can take your breath away when you get it right. Here are some shots to get you inspired (plus some tips below the pics on these techniques).


Here are some images from New Zealand that might encourage you to get out with your camera even if the weather and location is a bit bleak. The images are  By: CHRIS SISARICH and the full gallery of his images are here on the Photography Served website, a place well worth visiting for so many great portfolios

Digital photography tutorial – change shooting angles for better photos

“The shooting angle means, in simple terms, where you stood in order to take the photograph.  For most people, most of the time, they were standing up, looking face-on to their subject when they pressed the shutter button, and why not?  That’s how we saw the scene, and that’s how we want to remember the scene. Nothing wrong with that at all.  In this digital photography tutorial I’ll show you a few alternatives. And give you a gentle workout too!”

I have brought you this short tutorial because I believe that anyone can improve their photography, even at the most basic level, by considering the subject and finding different angles or points of view. Shooting low down or from a high vantage point completely changes the dynamics of an image. You may not know instinctively which angle best suits a particular subject but by practising regulalrly, by exploring different viewpoints, you will build an experience base that helps you to do better, to make more interesting images.

Photography by the light of the moon

I noticed as I drove home last night that it was a full moon again, strange how it happens with such regularity, anyway it was so bright I started thinking about making images just by the light of the moon. I quickly realised that in any town or city there might be too much light pollution to just use the moon as a light source but that might not be a great disadvantage.  At this time of year if there is a full moon it usually means it is going to be cold and it was last night so I put the idea on hold but this morning I wished I had been more hearty and put up with the cold. So researching how best to achieve pictures by the moon I found some interesting sites with tutorials and tips that if you are interested might help.

This is one site that you might want to look at, a blog by The Discerning Photographer and this site lists phases and times of moon rise from what seems to be most locations in the world Time and Tide

There are obviously some absolutes, take a tripod, use either a remote release cable or use the self timer function, set the maximum aperture your camera has and work around the 30 second shutter speed, you can use the ISO settings to increase or decrease exposures, start off at about 400 ISO and see how that does. Using such long shutter speeds will eat up your battery and as it is so cold this will also reduce battery capacity so you may need a spare or two depending on how long you plan to be out, also take a torch/flashlight.  This site offers a string of tips and although it is primarily written for film users all the relevant information can be applied to digital capture this is another link you might find useful.

Photographing by  moonlight can easily spring some fascinating results that are as unexpected as beautiful, movement somewhere withing the images, whether clouds or water adds to the dreamy, ethereal quality of the image and on clear nights and long exposures you may capture star movements.

Perhaps the most famous moon lit image is Ansel Adams Moon Rise Over Hernandez, New Mexico, this must have inspired many to get out after dark

This link gives more insight into the creation of this image and asks questions that you will find interesting.

Cecil Beaton – photographer

Cecil Beaton, the world famous fashion and portrait photographer who died 21 years ago today left a huge and varied body of work. His work was regularly featured Vogue and Vanity Fair and his trademark theatrical style of photography is still copied today. This brief biography from the NPG explains his career

“Photographer and designer. Born in Hampstead, Beaton’s career as a portrait photographer took off after meeting the Sitwells in 1926. His photographs of them led to his employment with Vogue magazine in London and New York. During the war he worked for the Ministry of Information, recording the war in Britain, the Middle and Far East. After the war he developed as a designer for stage, film, ballet and opera, working with Noel Coward and others. His most famous production was My Fair Lady (1956), the musical based on Shaw’s Pygmalion. He was awarded two Oscars for the film version in 1965.”

This full article from The Telegraph has more information

Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King











Burning of the midnight bloggers – portraits of secret writers

The ever dependable blogger The Recommender, (new music) sent me a link to this site which is a collection of portraits of bloggers.

“Photographer Gabriela Herman has put together a portrait collection of bloggers which puts a glowing face to the words and images that they produce and share” Someone should do the same for bloggers in the UK. What makes her pictures so interesting is the continuity of style, images on her website are well worth checking out especially if you are into a slightly alternative view, and following on from the post about Cindy Sherman, Gabriela also has a series of self-portraits, maybe someone in the UK should do the same…. Do go and look at her pictures.