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Tag Archives: Photo.net

State of the ART: The Purpose of Fine Art Photography

Photo.net member, Pete Myers, is a fine art photographer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is the first of four installments called State of the ART. You can visit this artist and explore his captivating portfolios here.

The debate or beliefs about what makes art can be absorbing and/or tedious depending on the person holding forth. I have had many conversations in class and with other photographers about fine art photography and the changes that came about due to digital photography. Some hold that fine art photography is a product of film and darkrooms, where the more organic approach to print making is apparent, others claim this is just evidence of an interest in the craft based aspects of an earlier photography model and is not relevant to a discussion about whether an image is fine art or not.

This article by Pete Myers on Photo.net address this question, we accept that any view on this is personal and therefore open to challenge, Pete makes many extremely valid points and this article is worth reading and thinking about

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Image caption: American Grasslands Homestead—Image 4 © 2013, Peter H. Myers

For me, the purpose of fine art photography is to ennoble the beauty of what is in front of the lens. It is the photographer’s job to fortify the photograph with a clarity of view unique to his or her passion for the subject. But the image is not about the photographer; it is not about the photographer’s camera system; it is not about the photographer’s technique. The photographer is the conduit for the formation of the image, and what tools and techniques are used should invisibly support the beauty within the photograph in celebrating what is before the lens………

That full-stride moment comes when the fine art photographer simply FEELS. The rest is irrelevant. And it comes at a personal cost of gaining maturity of self that is beyond ordinary “things.” It is beyond the point of worrying about what the photographer is getting out of the process in art or reward. It is beyond the point in what others might think of the work. The photographic tool simply has become the means for the photographer to connect with the meaning of life’s truth, through beauty. What is seen through the lens is a metaphor for truth as shown through beauty. And to get there, the artist must give up all the rest. The perfect light is that which is imperfect.

So how does this all have relevance to your own personal work? For most, photography is an advanced hobby or part-time vocation as part of a very hectic life. Driving one’s passion to the limit might not be fully achievable with the time available. But nevertheless, there is a lot that can be ventured that will have immediate benefit upon the direction of your own work……….

READ MORE HERE

Subscription only Photoshop

It has been a while now since professional users of Adobe products, which include Photoshop, have had the opportunity to pay a subscription and have all of the products available on line. This means that  applications are downloaded onto your computer but need to be authorised regularly (my words) as such and that the new versions and updates have been instantly available. Sounds good? Well yes if having the most up to date version of software is important to you but for those who like to buy software, own it, install it and decide if they want to upgrade it then perhaps no. Until this point it has been possible to use much older versions of Photoshop as long as they were compatible with your operating system (OS). I found that when I upgraded my OS so that I could install Lightroom 4 I could no longer use Photoshop CS2 which I was happy with.

This extended article on Photo.net explains more about this process and I am sure you have worked out that Adobe are doing this for their benefit not yours. Not having software you can buy means you pay, and you pay and you pay, every month or year as you prefer but pay you will. Maybe this is the way of things to come and all software will be this way in the future, somehow hosted in the cloud and ready for you when ever and where ever you want it……hmmm. I only want it on my desk computer in my office and I don’t need the latest versions all the time.

How does it work?

You need to download and install the apps on your computer and that’s where the software lives. Your current version of Photoshop, or other CS applications, do not have to be uninstalled; they’ll continue to work even with CC software on the same computer (there have been some issues with CS6 reverting to a trial version after the CC install but Adobe should have fixed that issue by now). And, you do not have to be online for CC to work…….

Pricing

The best Creative Cloud pricing is based on an annual subscription. You’ll pay more for month-to-month leasing of the software. Prices also depend on how many applications you want to access, whether you choose an individual or teammembership or are a student or teacher.

Adobe is currently offering special promotional prices for current Creative Suite users. If you have a serial number or have registered your CS3, CS4, CS5 or CS6 product (Photoshop or the entire suite, for example), your first year will cost $10 a month with an annual contract. Access to a complete subscription for CS6 users is $20/month for the first year; $30 for CS3 and later….…MORE

What do you think about this, we have been bludgeoned into thinking the cloud is everything and will free us but unlike clouds in the sky this cloud is going to be finding new ways to grab our money.

17268054-smThe shape of things to com….

Canon EOS 5D MkIII Hands-on Review

From Photo.net by Bob Atkins, comes this in depth review of the Canon 5DM3.

On March 2nd 2012 Canon announced the Canon EOS 5D MkIII, (compare prices) as an upgrade of – but not a replacement for – the EOS 5D MkII. Among the major new features of the EOS 5D MkIII are:

  • A new 22.3MP CMOS sensor with a gapless microlens, 8 channel readout and low noise
  • A new 61 point AF system with 41 cross sensors (same as EOS 1D X) with AF to -2EV
  • A 63 Zone iFCL metering (same as EOS 7D)
  • Native ISO settings of 100-25600 with expansion to 50-102400
  • A new Digic 5+ processor (30% faster than Digic 5, 17x faster than Digic 4)
  • 6fps continuous shooting
  • In-camera HDR. 3 images taken at +/- 3 stop intervals with in-camera image alignment

Currently (July 2012), the EOS 5D MkIII sells for around $3450 and the EOS 5D MkII sells for around $2100

There were a host of other features that were upgraded or added, but the new sensor, new AF system and new processor are the major advances which enable many of the other upgrades such as faster shooting (6 fps vs 3.9 fps) and more extensive in-camera processing. With a processor 17x faster than that in the EOS 5D MkII, real time chromatic aberration correction is now available for JPEGs, and in video modes the extra processing power enables better moire fringing correction.

Bob Atkins - HR_5D_MARKIII_BODY_BACK_CL

Bob Atkins

Outwardly the EOS 5D MkIII resembles the EOS 5D MkII quite closely, but the user interface is closer to that found on the Canon EOS 7D, with a similar menu structure and control layout….MORE of this extensive review here

and for comparison here is the review on the DP Review site

 

Concert and Live Music Photography: Clubs, Bars, and Small Venues

From the photo.net site, very extensive advice on photographing in the places where so often the music is the best and where you can get close enough to capture the energy and excitement of a live band.

Clubs, bars, and small venues are the places where most concert and live music photographers get their start, the reason being that there are fewer restrictions since the performers are less likely to be famous. These are often the best places to catch bands on their way up and sometimes on their way down. Unfortunately, these venues are typically the ones with the worst shooting conditions. The good news is that when you start out shooting in the worst conditions it only gets easier as you work your way up.

One of the biggest problems you are going to have when shooting in bars and small clubs is dealing with the crowd. About 99% of the time there isn’t going to be a place for photographers to set up. The key is to get there early and stake out a spot at the front of the stage. The best spot isn’t dead center but usually just to the left or right of center. Standing off to the left side a bit allows you to get a better angle, especially when the lead vocalist uses a mic stand. This way the mic isn’t blocking the singer’s face, and you can get a nice three-quarter side shot instead of straight ahead. Singers who don’t use a stand are more apt to move around, so in this case placement isn’t quite as important. Even if you showed up early and staked out your spot, be courteous to the people behind you. If you’re constantly blocking someone’s vision with your camera, things can get out of hand quickly, especially in a bar scene where you’re mixing alcohol with a situation that could be potentially volatile.”...MORE

Alt-J ©Keith Barnes

Macro Flower Photography: A Tutorial in Focus Stacking

This tutorial by Harold Davis explains how you can use Photoshop to achieve crisp focus throught a macro image.

“The closer you get in macro flower photography, the fussier focus gets. Since “fussy” is not a technical term, let me explain. Because focus is inherently shallower as you get closer to your subject, slight variations of distance between camera and subject throw you out of focus very quickly, and even fully-stopped down you may not have enough depth-of-field for your entire photo to be in focus.

Certainly, stopping your lens down to its smallest aperture, observing whether you have the in-focus areas you want, and seeing if there is any way to position the camera to improve the amount that is in-focus is a good way to start. But bear in mind that stopping down a lens comes with some downsides: optically your lens may not perform best at its smallest aperture, and when the aperture is small you can’t use a shutter speed fast enough to stop motion.

An approach that often can surmount these obstacles is to use focus stacking: shooting at a number of different focal points and combining the images in Photoshop to create a hyper-focal image that has an extended area that is in focus.”…MORE

Holiday Gift Guide for Photographers

Whether you are buying for a photographer or you are one trying to think of something you would like this from Photo.net might help Items from a few pounds to thousands

Although a US bias most products available there are available here so if there is something you like, working on a very rough $1.5>£1 ($15 + £10) just copy and paste the name of the item into your UK Amazon site and get going. Here is that link again

This is a shot I made for a software company in Oxford, the model is our very own Ander McIntyre an ever present (sorry) at the Photographers Workshop

Canon EOS 1D MkIV Review

An in depth review of the Canon flagship camera by Bob Atkins and Theano Nikitas

The Canon EOS 1D Mark IV is the latest in Canon’s 1D series DSLRs. The 1D series is unique in its use of an APS-H format sensor (28.1×18.7mm). The sensor is larger than APS-C and so can yield higher image quality, but is smaller than full frame, which means that the file size is smaller and the reflex mirror can be smaller and lighter and so the camera can operate at higher speeds (10 frames per sec). The high speed operation of the 1D series cameras has made them the first choice for many sports and action photographers. Like other 1D and 1Ds series cameras, the EOS 1D MkIV has an integrated grip with a second set of controls for vertical shooting, a high capacity battery pack, high strength construction and the body is weather-sealed for operation outdoors in the rain.….more

1D MkIV Major Features

 

  • New 16.1 Megapixel APS-H CMOS sensor
  • 10 frames per second continuous shooting
  • Up to 121 large JPEG images in a single burst
  • New 45-point wide area AF with 39 cross-type sensors with f/2.8 sensitivity
  • New upgraded AF system designed for high speed tracking of moving subjects
  • High-speed Dual “DIGIC 4” processors for fast operation and high image quality
  • 12,800 high ISO expandable up to 102,400
  • Full HD movie recording at 30, 25 and 24 frames per second (fps)
  • 3.0″ Clear View II LCD with Live View mode
  • Durable dust and water resistant body with 76 rubber seals
  • 1/8000s shutter with 300,000 cycle rating and 1/300s sync

 

Olympus PEN E-P3, PEN Lite E-PL3, and PEN Mini E-PM1

Olympus Pen camera

Image via Wikipedia

This preview of the new Olympus cameras is full of information and useful data if you are interested in the new Four Thirds type cameras (does anyone else find Micro 4 thirds an odd idea, if it is thirds how can there be 4 of them?) The preview is by Josh Root on photo.net

“In 2009 when Olympus revived the iconic line with the digital PEN E-P1. The new PEN camera was the first body to use the Micro Four-Thirds mount, which allowed a far more compact body design than previous Four-Thirds cameras. The E-P1’s aesthetic look was reminiscent of the older PEN cameras, particularly the PEN F. The E-P1 was followed in 2010 by the updated E-P2 and the more compact E-PL1. In turn, those cameras were followed by the E-PL2 body in 2011.”...more

Two Recent Articles on Factors to Consider when Choosing an Inkjet Printer

We covered these articles by Andrew Darlow when they were first available but buying a printer for making beautiful photographs is a complicated and difficult decision to make so here is another chance to pick up on both articles again..…here

Choosing a Photo-Quality Inkjet Printer?

In our classes and courses we regularly talk about choosing and using photo quality ink-jet printers, these are not the sort of printers you would use for your child’s homework or for printing out your tax return but the sort that makes proper photographs. This very useful article by Andrew Darlow writing for the Photo.net forum answers many questions and would be a definite read for you before purchasing. This is the opening….

“Throughout the history of photography, countless advancements have made it easier for people to create photographic images. One of the most important advancements has been the advent of affordable, photo-quality inkjet printers. They have brought the color and black and white darkroom “out of the dark” and into just about any room in an office, home or school. I’ve been using and recommending printers to amateur and professional photographers for more than 15 years, and I’ve owned or used at least 50 inkjet printers, ranging from printers that max out at 4 inches in width, to 50-inch-wide models.

For this two-part article, I’ve put together a list of topics I often cover with my students and clients when they ask me advice on which printer to buy. Part I focuses on printers that can accept paper and other media up to 13 inches in width, and Part II will cover printers that can accept media over 13 inches wide and up to 44 inches in width. Note: when the term “letter-size” is used throughout the article, it means that the maximum width of paper that can be fed is 8.5 inches in width. However, unlike most laser printers, you can print much longer lengths—in some cases 40 inches or more.”    More…..read on

I use a HP Photosmart Pro B8850 which I am very happy with, I bought it as much because of the ability to change print heads as the quality between it and the equivalent Canon and Epson printers was indistinguishable. I know some people have had problems with HP in terms of service, I have read the forums too, (I have read equally bad things about Epson and Canon),but I have to say HP have always been very helpful to me, perhaps forums only have posts from people who need to moan and let of steam. Anyway read the article, well written and informative and if you want more go to Northlight Images, another excellent site.