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Category Archives: Photography

The winners of the 2015 iPhone Photography Awards – in pictures

From The Guardian

Have iPhones dumbed down or democratised photography? You decide after viewing some of the winning entries from this years competition. I think having an iphone photography award is a bit like saying flat screen tv. It is a photography award the iphone bit is irrelevant.

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Michal Koralewski from Kozieglowy, Poland, won photographer of the year with this image of an accordionist in a square in Warsaw.

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Ahmed Saeed of Cairo, Eypt was placed first in the travel section with his vibrant image of the Nubian village of Gharb Sehal at Aswan.

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Alexander Vu from Walnut, California, United States photographed Bob, who was painting a dormitory at an orphanage in Haiti and placed second in portraits.

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Heather Goss of Granf Haven, United States took first place in seasons with her image of the pier at an iced-over Lake Michigan.

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Ruiridh McGlynn of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, took this picture of a wind blasted tree in the desert in Qatar near the Saudi Arabian border and was awarded first place in the tree section.

See all the winners here

12 Steps to Becoming a better Photographer

This came winging to me from DPS in Oz

The true key to growing as a photographer is to dedicate and immerse yourself in it on a consistent basis. Passion and enjoyment are key to becoming great at your craft.

That beings said, there are many things to consider in order to progress through this journey as effectively as possible. If I were to start all over again, these are the stepping stones that I would have preferred to have taken, beginning with the technical and ending with the conceptual.

Have to say number one is top of my list too, and then number two is second on my list, I think I agree with the author James Maher

1. Look at Light

When you start out in photography, it seems obvious to say that learning to use your camera is the logical first step. However, thinking this way can actually confuse you. The camera is just a tool that has the ability to record light.

When you walk out the door to photograph, the first thing you should think about is light, and not the camera. What time of day is it? How strong is the light and what direction is it coming from? Is it sunny or cloudy? Is the light soft or contrasty? Is the sun in front of, or behind you? Where are the artificial light sources and what colors do they give off?

This is the first thing that a seasoned photographer will look for every time they begin to shoot, and constantly be aware of while they are shooting. They do this for a reason. The light will affect how they shoot and the settings that they use. Even a slight change in direction to your light source can completely change how an image will look. You can’t learn how to use your camera correctly if you do not first understand the light.

2. Learn Your Camera Settings…….read the rest here

You could also be taught this on one of our excellent courses

Here is a big fish

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10 Critical Assumptions That Can Stifle Your Artistic Goals

This is an interesting article on Lightstalking by  William Petruzzo I think many of William’s points can be applied to various areas of our lives

Every single one of us holds assumptions. They are part of being human. We assume there won’t be too much traffic on the way home from work, or that there will be way too much. We assume it will be hard to find a partner, or that it will be exceedingly easy. We assume that we’ll be able to pull the details out of the sky, or we assume that the camera doesn’t have enough dynamic range.

Assumptions are cognitive shortcuts based on patterns.

Human beings are pattern-matchers. We find patterns everywhere we can, and then use them to take cognitive shortcuts. Broken windows don’t mean the neighborhood is rough. But see enough broken windows in rough neighborhoods and soon when you see one, your brain will be taking the cognitive shortcut and concluding that the neighborhood must be rough.

Assumptions aren’t necessarily a negative thing, however. For example, my dog, Mikey, always greets people who come to the door. If I am working, and Mikey eagerly jumps up and runs to the door, I’m not going to spend energy considering the many things his haste could mean. Instead, I’m going to follow the pattern and take the cognitive shortcut to conclude that someone must be at the door and I may need to go welcome them.

A critical assumption is different in that the shortcut it provides might sidestep a potentially important, or perhaps the only, path to some desired outcome.

For example, let’s say I’m loading all my camera gear in the car and I’m going out to photograph the local squirrel infestation. I’ve seen them running around for weeks, and I know all their favourite spots. When I get there, however, I find that the local pest control has ‘relocated’ the problem. Now I have all my gear in the car and nothing I have intended to photograph. The outcome I desired was artsy images of adorable squirrels. The critical assumption was that I have all the time in the world to create those squirly images, and that the infestation wasn’t a problem someone else was attempting to solve.

If I had identified that critical assumption, I would have taken different actions and I would have quite the conversation starter hanging, perfectly arranged, on the wall of my office.

Want to observe the critical assumptions in your own life? Wait for the next time you get caught in the bathroom with an empty roll of toilet paper. If you never assumed there’d be toilet paper available, you’d probably never be caught without it.

That example starts to go to an extreme though. Critical assumptions lend a hand to the everyday uncertainties of life. They’re not altogether avoidable. But, if you can identify them and dispel them, or at least prevent them from being equated to “Truth”, you’ll be opening up a lot of pathways to whatever it is you’re aiming for.

So although critical assumptions come in every size and just about every degree of consequence, and are usually invisible until it’s too late, I’d like to talk about some of the high-level critical assumptions that a lot of us might relate to. Not the ones being formed in your day to day, but the ones forming your day to day. The larger ones that take hold almost like they are personal values. Not the ones that keep you from getting to work on time, the ones that keep you from quitting your job.

Critical Assumption #1: I’ll be ready when I get there.

Critical Assumption#2: I’m not the kind of person who…

Critical Assumption #3: I can’t do anything until I get organized.

Critical Assumption #4: I’m not good enough.

Want to see more and read the commentary on the above go here

I am teaching a class on Composition tonight, starting with Henri Cartier-Bresson as a guide, here are some of his pictures

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4 Things You Must do BEFORE Becoming a Professional Photographer

Thinking of being poor but enjoying your work, you must be thinking about becoming a professional photographer. These 4 tips By: Suzi Pratt on DPS will be something to consider.

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Are you considering making the leap from being an amateur photographer to a professional? Join the club!

There are many pro photographers today making a living off of the craft, but of course there are a fair number of challenges that come with the job. I’ve been a successful full-time professional photographer for two years now, and like most others, I have my share of things I wish I had done to prepare for the lifestyle. Here are four basic things that every aspiring professional photographer should do before they make the leap.

Here is number 1

1. Determine what kind of professional photographer you want to be

The most important thing you should carefully detail is what type of photographer you strive to be, and who is your ideal client. Do you want to shoot weddings and families, corporate events and head shots, or creative portraiture for editorial or advertising use? The answer to this question is crucial to help you identify if the market segment you choose is profitable, and if so, who is your target audience and how best to appeal to them to hire you. You wouldn’t market wedding photography services in the same way that you would sell corporate headshot services because your ideal client is different.

Once you determine the photography skills you want to market, the next step is to make sure that you have demonstrated skill in that area. Do you and the current clients you’ve worked with feel that your photography work to date demonstrates commercial viability (in other words, would enough other people pay for it)? If so, then it’s time to build an online portfolio of images demonstrating your creativity and skill. Make sure your portfolio not only contains a fair number of unique images, but also some words that introduce yourself and establish the qualities that set you apart from your competition. Don’t skimp on the words – remember that some people connect better with words over images.

Read the other tips here

Instagram: The ‘homeless’ chief executive

I have said in the past how I find the excuse of ‘art’ or worse ‘arty’ Instagram pictures pointless and irritating. The application of filters to a dull image does not make it art. However if it encourages people to take more pictures and to do that with purpose and seriously then I have to concede it is a positive thing. This story found on the BBC and written by Phil Coomes is interesting in that the protagonist uses his Instagram daily posts to ensure he gets out and looks.

Cillin Perera travels a lot. As the chief executive of a couple of companies, he is constantly moving from one place to another and, like many others, has turned to photography to record his journeys and keep in touch with family and friends.

He began taking pictures on his phone and rediscovered his love of photography, something he had not done since his days at Harvard in the late 1990s.

Soon he was using an iPod to shoot, with the results being uploaded to Instagram under the name @homelessCEO – his username reflecting his nomadic existence.

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see the rest here

 

40 Movies about photography every photographer should watch

I know that lists are things people are supposed to enjoy in blogs, personally I just get irritated by them because of the inclusions and exclusions. Me contrary? Photography has featured in a number of movies (should we really still call them movies, a bit like ‘flat screen’ tvs) anyway this article lists 40 and has missed the  Which Way is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington and Restrpo both of which I would highly recommend. What about the excellent Finding Vivian Maier  or  The Bang Bang Club A drama based on the true-life experiences of four combat photographers capturing the final days of apartheid in South Africa.

Anyway resourcemagonline has come up with it’s 40, here are just a few in no order whatsoever

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City of God (2002)

This chilling portrayal of life growing up in the favelas and streets of Brazil shows two boys coming of age, one of them growing up to become a photographer. Not only considered as the best film about photography, it is also one of the best films to come out in recent years.

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Blow-Up (1966)

a 60’s film with a cult following status, this film follows Thomas a fashion photographer played by David Hemmings, who discovers he accidentally captured a murder on film in the background of one of the images while he’s developing it in the darkroom.

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Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006)

Nicole Kidman stars in this biopic about the legendary American photographer Diane “Fur” Arbus. The film shows how a lonely and shy housewife in New York set out a journey into the world of photography shooting images of people that stand outside the confines of society.

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One Hour Photo (2002)

A dark thriller featuring an inspired Robin Williams playing a Walmart one-hour photo clerk who ended up stalking a family whose pictures he regularly takes and develops.

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Under Fire (1983)

Three journalists in a romantic triangle are involved in political intrigue during the last days of the corrupt Somozoa regime in Nicaragua before it falls to a popular revolution in 1979. Under Fire is a  technically sound cinematic characterization of a wartime photojournalist played by  Nick Nolte.

See the other 35 here 

 

Nikon D5500 vs D5300 vs D5200 vs D5100

From the rather excellent Digital Camera World

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Nikon has announced a new camera in its beginner line-up at CES, the annual consumer electronics show over in Las Vegas. The D5500 sits alongside the other D5XX cameras in its range. At the time of the D5300’s release, Nikon announced the older D5100 and D5200 models would continue, and while the company is yet to confirm whether all four will stay in the line-up, all four should remain available to buy for some time yet.

As such, all of them are now intriguing options in Nikon’s Nikon’s DX DSLR range, but which is best for your needs? Our extensive Nikon D5500 vs D5300 vs D5200 vs D5100 comparison looks at what each camera can offer.

This piece examines all four cameras, fully updated to include the D5500 and its new specifications. At first glance, it would seem like the D5500 is merely an incremental upgrade from the D5300, and with this piece we’ll be examining whether that’s true or whether it’s worth the upgrade.

All four Nikon cameras are aimed at creative amateurs and people upgrading from compact digital cameras, all four share a compact, lightweight design with flip-out LCD display, and all three offer quite sophisticated photographic controls and effects.

So here is a blow-by-blow Nikon D5500 vs D5300 vs D5100 vs D5200 comparison of key specifications so that you can see the differences and decide what’s most important to you.

Need more?

Better photo tips: 60 of the best

From Digital Camera World comes this leviathan of help, tips only just scratches at the surface of what you will find here.

Following on from our popular 77 photography techniques, tips and tricks for taking pictures of anything post, we’re bringing you this list of 60 incredibly useful bits of photography advice.

If you’re new to photography, this resource of surprising camera tips and time savers provides an invaluable shortcut to better photos and a smarter workflow. If you’re a more experienced photographer, there’s still plenty of technical and technique refreshers here.

We’ve separated the advice into three key sections, covering camera settings, composition and exposure, and general photography tips. If you find the advice useful or you want to share your own little-known photography trick, please leave a comment below…

Tip 01: Zoom first, focus last

Tip 02: Set the Neutral Picture Style for RAW

Tip 11: Avoid the smallest aperture on the lens

Tip 13: Your camera’s display is lying to you

just 4 of 60 and these are only about camera settings

Tip 36: Fill-flash in daylight

Tip 43: Research the position of the sun

Tip 42: Wear old clothes

OK you could just come on our courses, and you would get more than 60 tips, you would learn how to make great pictures. Here are a couple by John Wilhelm from an earlier post here to keep you going

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want to see more of the 60….HERE

 

Why does your camera see things differently than you?

On DPS  By: Anne McKinnell

Do you ever see a beautiful scene, take out your camera, take the shot and then wonder what went wrong? Why doesn’t the display on the LCD screen look at all like the scene in front of you?

Do you ever stand next to another photographer and wonder how they made an image that is better than the scene you see with your own eyes?

Understanding how the camera “sees” is the key to figuring out why this happens and what you need to do to take charge of your camera and make the images you envision.

If you’re already dreading the mathematical calculations, don’t worry! I’m not going to start measuring my eyeballs and pupils and trying to figure out what kind of lens my eyes are equivalent to in focal length, f/stops, and ISO, or how many megapixels my eyes see. That’s not what this is about.

It’s just about understanding how a camera works differently than our eyes.

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When the camera’s “eye” is better than our own

Sometimes the best images show the very thing that we cannot see with our own eyes.

Low Light Levels At low light levels our eyes are less sensitive to colour than normal. Camera sensors, on the other hand, always have the same sensitivity. That’s why photographs taken in low light appear to have more colour than what we remember.

Depth of Field

One thing that is somewhat similar between a camera and a human eye is aperture, but only if you hold it steady. For example, if you stare at one word in the middle of the this sentence and do not move your eyes, you can perceive that the other words are there but they are not clear. The part that is in focus is only the centre portion of your field of view.

That is the same as a camera with a small aperture. The difference is that you can’t actually look at the out-of-focus part. As soon as your eye moves to the out-of-focus words they instantly become in-focus.

Whereas if you are looking at a print or an image on your screen you can look at the out-of-focus part which is something we cannot do with our eyes. That’s why shallow depth of field images are so interesting to us.

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see the whole article here and understand what you see is not always what you get

The Box Brownie

The BBC has an article on the first point and shoot camera, the daddy of them all.

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It doesn’t look very exciting – a cardboard box about 5in (13cm) tall, covered in leatherette, with a small round opening at the front. You might have some trouble working out what it was for if you didn’t know. But the Brownie might be the most important camera ever made, writes the BBC’s Stephen Dowling.

Before it appeared in 1900, cameras were distinctly unwieldy, if not downright cumbersome. Early cameras tended to be made of a great deal of brass and mahogany and took pictures on to large glass or metal plates, often requiring exposure times measured in minutes.

To photograph far-flung places, porters and pack animals were often needed to carry the equipment. Photography was an activity involving patience, toxic chemicals, and brute strength. It was not something the ordinary people indulged in.

The Brownie democratised photography simply through the sheer volume of sales”

Michael Pritchard

US inventor George Eastman took an important step forward in the 1880s, when he popularised a flexible film that did away with the need for weighty plates. His first “Kodak Camera” went on sale in 1888, pre-loaded with enough film to take 100 photographs. When the last picture was taken, the entire camera was sent back to Kodak to be developed.

It was an uncomplicated box but it cost $25 – a significant amount of money. It was still a device for the wealthy.

The revolution came 12 years later. The Kodak Brownie, designed by Edward Brownell, looked similar to the original Kodak, but the film could be taken out of the camera after shooting and developed via Kodak stockists, chemists or even at home…..…MORE?

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Bert Hardy captured two Tiller Girls using a Brownie in Blackpool in 1951

“The Brownie range became the best-selling camera range of all-time ‒ and the name is part of popular culture even though it has not been used on a camera from some 35 years,” says Pritchard

The man who brings Brownies back to life

Restored Kodak Brownie Hawkeyes

Randy Smith is a camera repairer based in New York who specialises in restoring toy cameras – the plastic-lenses, cheap and cheerful cameras that have become something of a craze with hipsters. He also modifies and restores Kodak Brownie Hawkeyes, a Brownie model from the late 1940s....MORE