Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Monthly Archives: March 2014

Pictures of the Week: January 17, 2014

From Denver Post

APTOPIX Spain San Anthony Bonfire Festival

A man rides a horse through a bonfire as part of a ritual in honor of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of animals, in San Bartolome de Pinares, about 100 km west of Madrid, Spain on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. On the eve of Saint Anthony’s Day, hundreds ride their horses through the narrow cobblestone streets of the small village of San Bartolome during the “Luminarias,” a tradition that dates back 500 years and is meant to purify the animals with the smoke of the bonfires and protect them for the year to come. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

APTOPIX Mansion Fire Ohio

This aerial photo shows firefighters battle a fire at a mansion in Indian Hill, Ohio on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014.   Fire officials are trying to determine what caused the massive fire that destroyed the 22-room mansion in southwest Ohio. There were no injuries reported. Fire officials remained on the scene Saturday. Lt. Jim Gilligan of the Madeira and Indian Hill Joint Fire District says the home was a complete loss. He said it took firefighters about seven hours to put out the fire reported Friday afternoon at the mansion in the Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill. (AP Photo/The Cincinnati Enquirer, Joseph Fuqua II)


Father Damion, of the Abbot at St. Joseph’s Trappist Abbey, in Spencer, Mass., walks through the monks’ meeting room. St. Joseph’s is a community of 63 Trappistine monks, the largest in the United States. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

APTOPIX Ice Castles

Patrons tour an ice castle at the base of the Loon Mountain ski resort in Lincoln, N.H. The ice castle begins to grow in the fall when the weather gets below freezing and thousands of icicles are made and harvested then placed around sprinkler heads and sprayed with water. The castle will continue to grow as long as the temperatures stay below freezing. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)


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The Color Of Genius: Saul Leiter

Saul Leiter is a bit of a favourite of mine so imagine my joy when I found the excellent Faded + Blurred had a spotlight feature on him.

Some people say that photography is easy, that anyone can do it. You just have to have a camera and the ability to press the shutter. It seems that many photographers use the “spray and pray” method, hoping that if they click enough times they will capture something interesting and worthwhile. To me, that simply isn’t photography, at least it’s not what I would consider to be the art of photography. Producing photography that goes beyond snapshots into the realm of art is a skill. It takes a gifted person to be able to see elements such as color, shape, and composition all come together for that one perfect moment. As a photographer, especially a street photographer, you have to be able to anticipate the elements in your head, watch them come together in front of you, then take action. There isn’t time to think about what colors you want to use or what shapes or angles. You have to use what is right there in front of you and make it work. Knowing that moment and being able to take advantage of it is a gift and Saul Leiter has it…..READ MORE







Photographer Spotlight – Jill Greenberg

Here at OSP Towers we have been great fans of Jill Greenberg for some time and have featured her work before but this in depth article with great pictures on Faded+Blurred caught our attention and we just had to share.


Social and political commentary has long been reserved for artists and musicians, rather than fine art photographers. Aside from photojournalists, perhaps, whose whose very work exists as commentary, of sorts, fine art photographers, by and large, shoot solely for art’s sake, not necessarily to make a statement on society. Photographer Jill Greenberg, however, seems to be an exception to this and is known in many circles for the controversy surrounding her photography as much as her photography itself. Indeed, she seems to be almost comfortable when heated discourse accompanies her work. She calls herself “Manipulator”, a nickname taken from an 80′s German culture magazine of the same name. It’s a fitting moniker, since she has been manipulating her images using Photoshop since1990. Then there are the messages, the meanings, the underlying ideologies behind her photographs. She has strong opinions and chooses to use her art as a means of political expression as well as a creative endeavor…..I saw Jill Greenberg’s work for the first time a few years ago, shortly after her “End Times” series came out. This series became the first of several controversies of which both she and her work were the center. I remember looking at some of the photos and wondering how she got those kids to cry with such intensity. I couldn’t imagine that it would have been done on purpose, that anyone would purposely make kids cry like that for a photograph. I was wrong. She got the idea from a previous shoot she did involving children. One of the kids became hysterically upset. She said it reminded her of the helplessness and anger she felt with the Bush administration. She decided she wanted to do something with those feelings, with that intensity. Like any artist, she wanted to be able to express her outrage through her work.  READ MORE HERE






greenberg301See the full article here and here is a link to Jill’s site



Over at  L1GHTB1TES György László seeks out interesting photographers and interviews them to find out what makes them click, literally. Today we have DANIELLA ZALCMAN . Interesting multilayered images that insist you look at them to get some understanding, here is the start of the interview and some pictures.

Our lives are surrounded, flooded by images. All of these images have an impact on us, but only a few of them register consciously and give you that ‘aha’ sensation. Daniella’s New York + London did just that to me: there’s some playful immediacy about them, you’re drawn into a game of trying to guess where they were taken. At the same time, many of them take you floating above these cities, showing you the world from a dreamy, lonely, god-like perspective.
GL: How did you discover your method of digital double exposure?
DZ: I basically had no experience with double exposures before this project, outside of accidental composites in my film photography. A few weeks before I moved to London I stumbled across the Image Blender app and thought it was kind of fun, and so when I came up with the idea for New York + London it just clicked.
daniella zalcmann ny:lnd 1All of the photos for my New York + London project were taken very casually — in New York, they were taken with a twinge of nostalgia as I was preparing to pack up and move, and London they were taken through the eyes of a tourist, essentially, in my new home. None of the images were taken with composites or specific pairings in mind — that all happened organically. For this specific double exposure, the New York photo was taken while on an assignment for the Wall Street Journal on the 100th anniversary of Grand Central Terminal, and the London image was taken just around the corner from my flat in Pimlico. READ MORE HERE



Pictures of the Week: November 8, 2013

From The Denver Post

Afghan day laborer Zekrullah, 23, takes a break after preparing kilns to fire the bricks at a brick kiln factory on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Nov 7, 2013. In the last two years as US and NATO troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, brick makers say business has dropped off by almost half.

“America cannot do a damn thing,” as they perform during an annual anti-American demonstration in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. Tens of thousands of demonstrators packed the streets Monday outside the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran in the biggest anti-American rally in years, a show of support for hard-line opponents of President Hassan Rouhani’s historic outreach to Washington.


Afghan day laborer Zekrullah, 23, takes a break after preparing kilns to fire the bricks at a brick kiln factory on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Nov 7, 2013. In the last two years as US and NATO troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, brick makers say business has dropped off by almost half. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)


US surfer Garrett McNamara rides a wave during a surf session at Praia do Norte in Nazare on November 1, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ FRANCISCO LEONG

*** BESTPIX *** Javanese People Celebrate Islamic New Year

A javanese man smokes on yard of Kasunanan Surakarta awaiting the rituals night carnival ‘1st Suro’ ( Javanese calender) during Islamic New Year celebrations at Kasunanan Palace on November 4, 2013 in Solo City, Indonesia. Javanese will celebrate the national holiday with ceremonies and rituals marking the 1435th Islamic New Year’s Eve or ‘1st Suro’. The parade started from Keraton Kasunanan and is headed by a group of albino buffaloes, known as Kebo Bule. Local people believe that the parade of Heirlooms and Kebo Bule will bring them a better life.  (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

Yves Rossy

Yves Rossy, known as the Jetman, flies by Mount Fuji in Japan. The Swiss aviator jumped from a helicopter at an altitude of 3,600 meters (11,811 feet) and successfully flew the jet-powered carbon-Kevlar Jetwing around the 3,776-meter (12,388-foot)-tall mountain, Japan’s highest peak, which was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in June. (AP Photo/Katsuhiko Tokunaga, Breitling)

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Reflections on Portraiture

Steve the man at it again

9 creative photo ideas to try in March

Digital Camera World has a few ideas to get you shooting now the weather is starting to improve.


Creative Photo Ideas for March: 01 Shoot a dewdrop flower refraction

This is one of those shots that many macro photographers attempt, but few master. But with the right conditions and some essential kit, beautiful refraction images are within everyone’s reach.

“You need a minimum of a 1:1 macro lens with a set of extension tubes so you are shooting at 2:1 magnification or higher plus a flash set up,” says retired PhD microbiologist and celebrated macro photographer Brian Valentine.

To achieve this sort of magnification, 68mm of extension tubes fitted to a 100mm macro lens should do the trick.

“Shoot in Manual with exposure settings of around 1/200 sec at f/8-f/11, ISO somewhere between 100 and 400,” Brian continues, “and place the flower around one flower diameter behind the drops.”

For instance, if you’re shooting a daisy that’s 2cm in diameter, the optimum position is around 2cm from the dewdrops. Check the position through the viewfinder; if you need to adjust it, remember that the flower is upside-down in the dewdrop.

If you want both the droplets and the refracted flower to be in focus, you’ll need to use focus stacking.

This involves taking several pictures, nudging the camera backwards and forwards between each frame to cover all the points that you want to appear sharply focused.

“Shooting a sequence to get a good focus stack is the hardest part,” admits Brian.

Find out more here


Pictures of the Week: January 10, 2014

from the Denver Post

Aida Diallo, whose ten-year-old son Bamba was killed when a fire struck the Dakar shack where he was sleeping along with other Quranic students, sits in her one-room home in the village of Ndame, Senegal. Bamba’s older brother Cheikhou, 13, managed to escape the fire which killed Bamba and three of their cousins. For now the surviving boys and their teacher are back in Ndame, but, says Diallo, when their teacher, her brother, returns to Dakar, Cheikhou will go too.

People unload belongings on January 9, 2014 at Minkammen, South Sudan that they were able to bring with them to the camps. Hundreds of civilians fleeing violence in Bor region arrive at dawn to one of the many small ports that run alongside the camps in Awerial region, having crossed over the Nile River by night. Thousands of exhausted civilians are crowding into the fishing village of Minkammen, a once-tiny riverbank settlement of a few thatch huts 20 miles southwest of Bor. Some say they had spent days hiding out in the bush outside Bor as gunmen battled for control of the town, which has exchanged hands three times in the conflict, and remains in rebel control.

Mount Sinabung spews hot lava as seen from Jeraya, North Sumatra, Indonesia. The 8,530-foot volcano has sporadically erupted since September.

APTOPIX Senegal Child Beggars

Aida Diallo, whose ten-year-old son Bamba was killed when a fire struck the Dakar shack where he was sleeping along with other Quranic students, sits in her one-room home in the village of Ndame, Senegal. Bamba’s older brother Cheikhou, 13, managed to escape the fire which killed Bamba and three of their cousins. For now the surviving boys and their teacher are back in Ndame, but, says Diallo, when their teacher, her brother, returns to Dakar, Cheikhou will go too. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

APTOPIX Indonesia Volcano Erupts

In this late Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 photo, Mount Sinabung spews hot lava as seen from Jeraya, North Sumatra, Indonesia. The 2,600-meter (8,530-foot) volcano has sporadically erupted since September. Authorities extended a danger zone around a rumbling volcano in western Indonesia on Sunday after it spewed blistering gas farther than expected, sending panicked residents streaming down the sides of the mountain. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

APTOPIX Britain Storms

People watch and photograph enormous waves as they break, on Porthcawl harbour, South Wales, Monday Jan. 6, 2014.  Residents along Britain’s coasts are braced for more flooding as strong winds, rain and high tides lash the country. At least three people have died in a wave of stormy weather that has battered Britain since last week, including a man killed when his mobility scooter fell into a river in Oxford, southern England.  (AP Photo/PA, Ben Birchall)

APTOPIX Deep Freeze

The frozen mist from Niagara Falls coats the landscape around Prospect Point at Niagara Falls State Park, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. The Polar Vortex brought high winds and frigid temperatures to the area.  (AP Photo/The Niagara Gazette, James Neiss)

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Thinking of going to medium format digital?

In the days of film using a medium format camera was a sign that either you were a very serious amateur or a professional photographer, the eye watering prices of medium format digital cameras means that it really is only the preserve of the very serious professional photographer. Here are 5 for you to dream about from Photo District News By Michael McEnaney

It’s true that the camera is only a part of photography’s creative equation: the true artistry comes from the shooter. But when a shoot demands excruciatingly fine detail and exceptional image quality, medium-format cameras continue to help shooters consistently deliver.

There are those photographers who will tell you there is an entirely different “look, taste and feel” present when shooting medium format. It may be more involved, and the cameras are certainly more expensive, but in an industry where there’s so much sameness, loyalists insist that the unique look medium-format cameras can deliver make them worth the extra effort and higher price tag.

“It’s the look, pure and simple,” says Brooklyn, New York-based fashion photographer Sandy Ramirez. “There is a very definite and unique ‘look’ to medium format. It comes from the fact that you end up using longer focal lengths to get the same frame of view. This gives better subject isolation and has a wonderful 3-D look to it. Pure and simple, it just looks different.”

“There is a certain and very distinct esthetic allure inherent in medium-format photography that this technology has always owned,” explains another New York City photographer, Jim Cummins. He adds, “It’s something special with the tonality, detail and sharpness of the image that draws you in.”

Pentax-645D-medium-format-camera Phase-One-IQ2-Series-digital-camera-backs Mamiya-Leaf-Credo-digial-camera-back Leica-S-medium-format-camera(1) Hasselblad-H5D-medium-format-camera(1)


See all of the article here

What’s New In Medium-Format Digital

Rumor: Canon Hopes to Launch a Digital Medium Format System in 2014


Lightroom tips: 6 quick tricks for giving your portraits a professional finish

Digital Camera World brings us this brief tutorial on using Lightroom. We teach a LR course that is very comprehensive but there are always tricks and special uses that can be learned from tutorials so if you use LR have a look here and see if you can improve your output


More and more lately we’re finding Adobe Lightroom is overtaking Photoshop as the program of choice for enhancing our portraits. At first glance, with its emphasis on tonal controls and presets, Lightroom may not seem like the ideal place to carry out detailed work like portrait retouching.

However, Lightroom was developed for editing photographs and it’s surprising how far you can take an image using a few simple tools and techniques.

A big part of retouching a portrait involves making adjustments to different areas of a face, and they’re usually the same adjustments every time: we lighten the eyes, soften the skin, boost the lips, sharpen the eye lashes, and tone down any bags under the eyes.

All these adjustments can be made with one powerful tool: the aptly named Adjustment Brush. We’ll use it here to give our portrait a fully professional finish.

Another important (if at times monotonous) stage of retouching is the removal of marks, spots and blemishes. Everyone has them, but what goes unnoticed in a moving person can spoil a static image.

In this area Lightroom is still playing catchup with Photoshop, but Lightroom 5 has taken a big leap forwards with the improved Spot Removal tool, which operates just like a brush……READ MORE HERE