Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Daily Archives: March 16, 2012

Photographs Not Taken: what makes a photographer freeze?

“The American photographer Christian Patterson was driving along a deserted road in rural Nebraska when he saw a house on fire. He jumped out of his car and ran towards the house, but the intense heat drove him back. As he was about to take a picture of the scene, a truck pulled up and a man jumped out. He fell to his knees, crying. A fire truck arrived but, by then, the house and all its contents were reduced to ash……..These are just two of the 62 stories collected by Will Steacy in a new book, Photographs Not Taken, published by Daylight. In his introduction, Steacy, a photographer himself, describes it as “a collection of essays by photographers about moments that never became a picture”. He writes: “Here, the process of making a photograph has been reversed. Instead of looking out into the world through a camera lens, these essays look directly into the mind’s eye to reveal where photographs come from in their barest and most primitive form – the original idea.” WRITES  in the Guardian , more here

This is an interesting idea, I sometimes muse on missed opportunities, I am slightly concerned though that something that was not taken can be called a photograph. If it is a photograph not taken then by definition it cannot be a photograph…enough all too confusing.  As always Sean O’Hagen writes cogently and with interest.

Below is a photograph not taken

Canon Powershot S100 Camera Review

From the excellent DP Review site

“When Canon revived its PowerShot S range with the S90 in August 2009, it was in acknowledgement of a clear demand from enthusiast photographers for high quality yet pocketable cameras offering extensive manual control. The S95, which followed almost exactly a year later, stuck with much the same formula – a relatively large sensor (at least in compact camera terms), a 28-105mm equivalent zoom lens with a fast F2 maximum aperture at wideangle, and a multi-functional control dial around the lens. But while its successor, the S100, looks much the same again on the outside, it is to all intents and purposes a brand new camera.

Crucially, the S100’s three key imaging elements are all entirely new. The lens range has been extended wider and longer, to a 24-120mm equivalent 5x zoom; it retains the fast F2 maximum aperture at wideangle but is limited to a rather less-impressive F5.9 at telephoto (an inevitable consequence of the camera’s compact dimensions). Secondly the S100 debuts Canon’s latest DIGIC 5 image processor, which the company says is six times faster than the previous version, allowing more sophisticated image processing and noise reduction. But perhaps most significantly, the S100’s image sensor is a Canon-made 12.1 MP ‘high sensitivity’ CMOS sensor in the 1/1.7″ format (approx 7.5 x 5.5mm); only the second home-grown sensor the company has used in a compact camera after the PowerShot SX1 IS of 2008.”……..……..READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE

Here is a quick roundup of the review

Conclusion – Pros

  • Very good image quality, especially at low ISO settings.
  • Well optimized JPEGs, low contrast detail is well-preserved at low ISO settings
  • Automatic fringing/CA correction in JPEGs
  • Fast operation
  • Bright LCD screen is easy to see in daylight
  • Exposure simulation in live-view and accurate live histogram
  • Good manual controls (in particular the control ring)
  • Compact and well built
  • Addition of hand grip makes the camera easier to hold than its predecessors
  • Integrated GPS allows you to geo-tag your images.
  • Zooming is possible while recording videos

Conclusion – Cons

  • Manual focus preview resolution is too low to be useful
  • Lack of in-camera alignment of HDR images makes it a much less useful feature than it could be
  • Auto ISO is limited to 1600 (wasting two stops of extra ISO sensitivity)
  • Pop-up flash can be blocked by your finger


Photography tutorials and links for this week

Another batch of links, tutorials and interesting photo stuff from the Toad via Lihgtstalking

“This week has been filled with great photography, tutorials and interesting blogs as shared by some truly gifted artists.  The photography community has been busy, and Toad Hollow Photography has compiled this list of some of the very best pieces encountered during their weekly adventures.  We sincerely hope you enjoy viewing these posts as much at the Toad did in bringing this list to you.”

The Toad is offering several Limited Edition Prints for sale on his gallery, please feel to pop over and check them out.  These prints are only being offered in runs of 25, all printed on KODAK PROFESSIONAL ENDURA Metallic VC Digital Paper which brings an extra dimension to the images, almost giving them a 3D look.

MORE to READ here

Here is a taste of what there is to follow


High Dynamic Range (HDR): Part II – The Inner Sanctum of Photomatix Pro – a fairly detailed look into one of the premier software tools used widely by photographers for producing HDR images by Dakota Visions Photography.  Basic steps are outlined and tips are provided on the individual settings the software presents, demystifying the process.

A Simple 2 Light Setup for Great Portraits – Doug Pruden delivers a comprehensive piece sharing details on a simple 2 light setup that produces astonishing results for portrait based photography.  This is a well written piece, that is easy to follow and implement.

Food For Digital Thought: Incident vs Reflected Light – Joe Baraban produces another information-rich post detailing the different types of light.  Joe’s technical tips shed some important light on this complex subject; this is a must-read piece in this weeks list.

How Less Can be More in Photography Composition – a concise tutorial that discusses some of the finer points of photography composition.  This brief read will leave the viewer with a renewed view of the old expression “less is more”.


State of Decay – one of my favorite posts from this week, Chris Maskell shares a compelling and dramatic piece taken inside an abandoned derelict building.  The accompanying words and thoughts that Chris shares combines with the wonderful image to deliver a must-see piece in this weeks list.

Revisiting Padula – this breathtaking series of black-and-white images showcases an ancient monastery founded in 1306.    This epic series from the studio of Adam Allegro is sure to leave you breathless.