Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Daily Archives: March 27, 2012

Photography Competition – Watching The TV

We get requests to publicise exhibitions and competitions amongst other things. Having a global reach as a photo blogger means we have access to so many people that all sorts of companies and organisations are interested in what we say and to whom we say it. We vet these requests and avoid the purely commercial. This request to advertise the 40th anniversary of Vogel’s existence seemed benign enough to pass on, in addition it is a competition that everyone can enter and you might win a TV

©Keith Barnes England 1 USA 0 World Cup 2010 - Brasenose College, Oxford JCR

Vogel’s is a Dutch company that offers mounting solutions for audio and video equipment like TVs. Next year, Vogel’s celebrate their 40th birthday. In that time, Vogel’s has seen significant changes in where people position a television in the living room and the way we watch television.
 To see what these differences are and how people from various countries and cultures watch television, Vogel’s has launched an international photography competition. The theme is ‘watching television in different cultures’. 
 We ask photography students and keen amateur photographers to submit a photo, which captures an individual or group from a particular culture or nationality watching television. It could be anythingfrom a typical Dutch farmer’s family in front of the television with a dinner plate on their lap through to a group of English football supporters watching their team play on a big screen in a pub. Fantastic prizes can be won, the first prize is a television.“…..
Win fantastic prizes AND make fame with your picture
The theme of this international photo contest is ‘how do you watch TV?’. Whether you are a professional or a keen amateur photographer, you could win some fantastic prizes! Besides that, your photo can get famous, as the photos will be published by Vogel’s in international marketing and communications campaigns.
How to enter?
For your chance to win, submit a photo that captures yourself, friends, family, partner, children or anyone else watching TV. Whether it’s a family at home watching TV with a bag of potato chips or a group football supporters watching their team play on a big screen in a pub.

Send your photo(s) to marketing@vogels.com before May 31, 2012 with ‘Photo Contest’ as the subject of your email. Please include your name, address, email address and telephone number in the e-mail. You will receive a confirmation of your participation.

  • You have the consent of all persons in the photo before submitting the photo
  • Watching television is the central theme of the photo
  • The TV doesn’t have to be in the picture
  • Photos are preferably landscape size
  • Size: minimum width 2000 pixels
  • Maximum file size: 10 MB
  • By submitting an entry to this contest, you unconditionally agree to the Terms and Conditions (read below)

Our jury of creative professionals will judge the photos on creativity and photographic quality. The winners will get an individual message notifying them during June 2012 and will be announced on the Vogel’s Facebook page.”  Full details here

Why Good Photography Isn’t About the Gear

It is an often used phrase, “all the gear and no idea” It comes from the process that finds people who are dissatisfied with their photography buying more and more equipment in an attempt to get around the basic premise that learning how to use a camera is the only way to be a photographer, you cannot buy experience and so much about photography is the experience that is in your head. In class, when teaching our Understanding Your DSLR course I tell my students that if they don’t like their pictures it is not the camera’s fault and buying a better camera/lens/etc will only mean that you make more expensive mistakes.

© Keith Barnes

This article by on Lightstalking covers similar ground but with an interesting twist. I don’t agree with his contention that having a camera which offers a fully manual setting of aperture and shutter is the answer. I don’t understand why photographers who have been trained in the days of film, often without aperture and shutter priority, insist on students using manual, “because that was the way their tutors learned the process”. The idea of control, complete control is essential but the fully manual mode just slows you down (sometimes no bad thing), I always explain to students that understanding aperture priority and the ability to adjust exposure using exposure compensation or better auto exposure lock when time is tight is the most important lesson I can teach them. The same of course applies to shutter priority. Back to the author ‘s twist, he eschewed his own pro camera and went out with an entry level dslr to see if he could still get good pictures.

Phil Hill, a travel photographer from the UK based in Australia. You can see more of Phil’s great work at his travel photography blog or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

“With the release of the Nikon d800 and the Canon 5d mk3 many people will have no doubt begun checking their bank statements a bit more carefully and thinking about increasing that credit limit by a measly few thousand.

This got me thinking, how many bells and whistles do you actually need to take a great photograph anyway? Too many cameras are now available with enough fancy settings to give the geekiest of technology nerd’s nightmares.

Lets face it, these days 99% of photographs will never see printed paper, ending up on an innumerable amount of social networking sites, converting a large file from a full frame ultra mega pixel machine into web ready kilobytes and a pixelated 72dpi. Shooting poor images wont change from mobile to DSLR, your rubbish (and mine) will just be higher definition.”

With this in mind I decided I would go out and shoot some landscapes with my girlfriend’s entry level and well-used Canon 1000d and its bog standard 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens. I figure as long as any camera can go fully manual in ‘M’ mode, I should be able to capture good images without having to resort to using the bell setting or even it’s whistle feature.”..…MORE

Canon 1000d

………The bottom line of course is that to become technically proficient at taking photographs all you really need is the ability to control aperture and shutter speed and you can do that for far less money than many of the cameras on the market will openly admit too. Think of it as if learning to play football brilliantly barefoot, then going out to get a gleaming pair of boots – bells and whistles will only complement a solid set of skills.”

Click Here: Why Good Photography Isn’t About the Gear

HDR software is now omnipresent so your choice is dependent on how much work and how much control you want. This advice may help you to get started on making a choice

A Brief Moment in Time

I’m a long term Photomatix user, I’ve tried other HDR software but not liked the workflow or results. The new version of Nik’s HDR Effex promises plenty but can it deliver?

The image above was processed in Photomatix Pro 4.1, using my normal custom setting for Urbex; basically Painterly preset with a few changes to the controls to give a slightly de saturated look without too much in grunge.

The 2nd shot is processed in Nik HDR Effex using the Grannys cottage preset with minor adjustments to the finishing selection. This has a lot more colour and more of a grunge feel.

To make things fair I made no adjustments in Photoshop other than levels so these are both effectively straight from the respective program.

Both images were from 7 exposure RAW files at 1EV spacing. With Nik you can process directly from Bridge or Lightroom, but I needed to drag…

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