Thursday, 31 August 2017

Where to next with cameras!

Here is the first Digital camera.

Using a 1.3-megapixel Kodak CCD with a color-filter array invented by Bryce Bayer, the first commercial digital SLR was a Nikon F3 body whose film chamber and winder were gutted to make room for the sensor and electronics. The photographer needed to schlep a separate storage unit, worn on a shoulder strap and connected via cable. 1994 Kodak collaborated with the Associated Press to create a digital SLR that met the needs of photojournalists. Based on a Nikon N90 body, the 1.3-megapixel camera had removable memory cards and enough sensitivity (ISO 1600!) to shoot in available light. The Vancouver Sun became the world’s first newspaper to convert to all-digital photography with theses cameras. Price: $17,950, but discounted to $16,950 for AP members. 
I have been following the release of the new Nikon D850, the specs are very impressive and the international rumor mill is working overtime, lots of talk about Canon shooters jumping ship or returning. 45.75Mp full frame, cost around $5800 here in New Zealand, We have come along way from the Nikon F3 body with 1.3mp and 1600 ISO now you can shoot with confidence at 10,000 ISO with my D810 ( image below put through DXO opticspro 11) and they say the D850 will be even better, the D810 focuses pretty fast the D850 is faster.
So do I upgrade, I might wait, you only have so many kidneys to sell and I sold one last year to upgrade my whole system from Sony to Nikon, I am glad I did as the future is looking good, maybe my body will grow me another kidney and I will be able to buy a D850, one thing for sure if you were going to go to the D810, you might find some for sale second hand and it is an awesome camera, dynamic range to die for and they say the D850 is better again. Canon has a lot of ground too catch up I think. But what do I know?

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Back button focus

Back button focus usually confuses photographers at first but once you get used to it, you will wonder why you did not learn to do it sooner. If there is anything I wish I had learned sooner in my photography, it would be this one simple thing: Back Button Focus. This has been quite possibly the biggest game changer in my photography.  I have noticed a remarkable difference in the accuracy of my focus.
 Within your camera’s menu settings, you have the ability to assign certain functions to different buttons on your camera. Most DSLR cameras, by default, set focus by pressing the shutter button halfway down. Back button focus simply changes the method of focusing by assigning the focus function to another button on the back of your camera (this button could be different depending on your camera model). This means that your index finger is now solely responsible for releasing the shutter, and your thumb is now responsible for focus.It takes practice to get used to this but like anything practice makes perfect.
While many would argue that this makes it more complicated, I would have to disagree, however it does take a bit of practice to assign the thumb to do another job without thinking about it, muscle memory not a conscious thought. While at first it may be different than you are used to, using your thumb and index finger simultaneously is certainly no more complex. Simultaneous use of fingers is something we do all the time in everyday life!
When you remove the focusing function from the shutter button, you enable yourself to focus the shot and then recompose the shot as needed, while your subject stays in focus, especially useful in weddings, portraiture, Sports and Wildlife. When the shutter button controls your focus, as soon as you recompose the shot and press the shutter, the camera will attempt to refocus again, leaving your intended subject out of focus. Sure, you could bypass this by locking focus, then switching your lens into manual focus, but what a hassle.
 Some would say that focusing and recomposing should be avoided, and that you should just toggle your focus points. That is fine unless like me you are a left eye shooter and you move the focus point with your nose so you have the focus locked at all times. I spot focus so my focus is locked at all times.When I shoot Macro, Astro or Landscapes and using a tripod I will often shoot manual focus, so no need for BBF.
Once again as I have said before it is your CHOICE, make sure you have all the information before you make the decision, I love it, but that is my CHOICE.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

What is the biggest reason we delete images?

What would be the biggest reason we delete images, "out of focus images".
First thing we need to understand is that, the only subject that can be sharp in an image is that that the lens is focus on. That is physics, not me making stuff up. Closing your aperture down to F22 will NOT make the whole image sharp. Generally to get the best even detail in an image, you should shoot at between F8- F11. When you have this aperture it allows the light to hit the sensor, without too much distortion.
In the days of film when we shoot at F22 everything appeared to be sharp, this was due to the resolution that film could give you, and this was generally with very good paper and was around 75DPI. We now have resolution available to us in excess of 300DPI so we see the BLUR ramp. The BLUR ramp is when you see from in focus to out of focus. When we get to the nuts and bolts of an image, the image is more about out of focus than in focus. If you want the whole scene to be in focus you have to take more than one image then stack them together. There are a number of different programs for achieving this effect, more and more macro photography is being focal stacked and if you look at the landscape work of the likes of  Peter Eastway, you will see focal stacking at its best.
I believe that by using Back Button Focusing, will give you more in focus images than out of focus images. If you do not know what I am talking about look it up, practice and you will see results. it does take practice but I feel it is well worth it.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

We often worry

We often worry about making mistakes in our photography, but how are you going to learn if do not make mistakes.If you make mistakes it shows that you are human and you are trying to do something new. It also means you are outside your comfort zone. Be willing to take chances and make mistakes.
If you are willing to try to do something different and risk failure, you may be amazed at what you can accomplish and the success that may follow. I took a punt  with the image above in the PSA International salon it was a trial entry to see how it would get on, it achieved an Honorable mention. Happy with the result and the image I thought that would do well did not, that's competitions for you.

Monday, 14 August 2017

It amazes me how

It always amazes me how the creative brain works. I blame Billy Connolly, years of watching and admiring this crazy, amazing and incredibly creative Scotsman, who I have a bit in common with, we were both welders and very proud to be Scottish. Allowing the creative juices to take over and let whatever happens happen.  Why did my brain take the top picture from where it is to the Monster in the falls in the bottom image. Creativity and a crazy brain, just like my hero and inspiration The one and only "Big Yin".
I also have to mention John Paul Caponigro, another creative inspiration, who's work is outstanding and an artist of the highest creative level.  His mirroring of an image is worth a look.
As I often say allow the creativity to take control and see what happens with your art, you got nothing to lose, no one has to see it, then again why not share your art, someone might take the time to see the meaning in your work not just see how too criticize it.


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Personal Projects

 Saturday I received my favourite B&W mag and an article by Dean Brierly, I thought i would share it with everyone.
 "The history of photography with famous examples of the extended photo essay, the time-honored practice wherein photographers explore a particular theme or subject for weeks or months or years at a time, culminating in a visual narrative of novelistic breath and depth. The requisite characteristics are fairly basic, if not easily attainable as a collective skill set; a clearly defined goal, exceptional powers of observation, equal amounts of insight and empathy,  and perseverance bordering on- an d frequently exceeding- obsession."- Dean Brierly ,Black & White Magazine.

Have you a project to play with, perhaps documenting something that is going to end up as a body of work, these are a great to keep your inspiration and creativity expanding. If you want inspiration to see how others have documented or produced photo essays look at the work of Dorothea Lange, Sebastiao Salgado, Walker Evans, Edward  Weston, W Eugene Smith plus many more.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Why are we so hard on ourselves?

Why are we so hard on ourselves?
Why do we look for approval from others?
Are we not individual artists who create work that comes from within.
I am currently reading a book by Terry Barrett, "Criticizing Photographs" it discussed the responsibilities of being a critic, how to write a critique of an artists work, I feel it is a must read for all so called experts/critics, who are happy to criticize a persons work/teachings, yet never really advance their own work.

Yet are happy to be negative without giving constructive feedback.
Barrett says"I believe that discussion of meaning is more important than pronouncements of judgement and that interpretation is the most important  and rewarding aspect of criticism".
I often wonder if a sense of jealousy exists with the often harsh criticism for individuals about what or how you do something. As a teacher I get the greatest satisfaction from my students doing well and getting recognition for the art they are producing.
As I have often said,  be confident in your abilities to produce work that is new and interesting. Why beat yourself up, there is enough people out there happy to do that for you.

Monday, 7 August 2017

A helping hand.

 A helping hand, we all need one  from time to time.
This can be for a number of reasons,
helpful advice with buying a new camera, printer or lens.
Perhaps you need someone to look at your images, you have decided to enter a competition, find a person who is at least the same level as yourself and has some experience entering competitions and has done well.
Perhaps you have decided to go for Photography Letters, this is different again, you are producing a body of work, that all images hold the viewers attention, no one image is stronger than the rest of the images, so if you printed the set and they were placed on a wall no one image draws your eye to it more than the others, that is hard. The set should flow together and have a thread that leads you from image to image. Now to find someone who will look at the body of work and give constructive feedback with knowledge and experience.

AS your photography skill level grows, you will need to look for like minded photographers who understand what you are, one trying to say and second the skill involved in producing your level of work. The body of work below is complex compared with the simple set above. With multiple levels of skill, artistry and story, it is not always easy to find photographers/artists who will see the work for what it is, this is the problem we can have, finding the individual with the knowledge to fairly with knowledge and experience assess the body of work.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

What is the best camera?

 What is the best camera, the one you have with you. it is really that simple.
Last weekend I went to Auckland for a friends birthday. I took my cell phone and that was my camera for the weekend, a personal challenge.
Both these images were taken and processed in phone. I was thinking about the technology I had in my hands compared to the days of film. My phone shoots approx 16mp .

After a little research I found that just as different sensors produce different resolutions, different types of film will also produce different resolutions. with a standard 35mm film,  depending on the type of film used, the resolution fell between 4 and 16 million pixels. For example,  study noted that Fujifilm’s Provia 100 film produced a resolution around 7 MP while Fujifilm’s Velvia 50 produced a resolution around 16 MP. Research also noted that meduim format film could capture around 400mp of information, that's pretty impressive.
This image of the ships was taken on a 5 MP Sensor.
12MP Sensor

36MP sensor

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Amaze yourself first, a few words from the masters.

 "The fact that I myself, at the moment of painting, do not understand my own pictures, does not mean that these pictures have no meaning; on the contrary, their meaning is so profound, complex, coherent, and involuntary that it escapes the most simple analysis of logical intuition."- Salvador Dali

 “I can’t begin to tell you were my ideas come from,” Rouse says. “I can be doing anything — watching television, reading a book, happily playing with my daughter — a thousand things. Suddenly out of nowhere this idea arrives, usually fully formed. Then comes the pleasure of refining it over weeks, months, sometimes years. But this image has come crashing into my tiny mind, demanding to be made. That’s the starting point. And 99 times out of 100 I have a good idea of what it is I’m going to end up with because I can already clearly see it in my head.”- Dominic Rouse

“Ultimately, my hope is to amaze myself. The anticipation of discovering new possibilities becomes my greatest joy.” – Jerry Uelsmann

Above are a few quotes from Surreal artists I admire and have studied. In studying them I have found my own crazy creative road and boy what a road to travel. Jerry says it well, "my hope is to amaze myself!"

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Small details matter

Use this link below to see a slideshow of masters work.

 I am a strong believer that the more images you look at the more ideas that you will have. You will come to a scene and something in your head will bring a similar image forward, this is a basis to make your own interpretation of the scene, it is only a starting point. It is important to expand your knowledge and looking at other artists work is a good way to do this. During "The Renaissance period" apprentice artists would have to copy the masters works before they would be allowed to do their own, or even venture into developing their own style.
We as photographers need to be practicing/learning, trying ideas that have been tried before, so we can then develop our own thoughts and images. 

We need to not focus on the technical aspects of the image so much and take more time to look at the content aspects, the small details can often make the difference. Take an image then check what is in it, portraiture is the hands, body, face lighting how you want them, it is your choice.
In fact all of it is your choice. The camera you use, the moment you press the shutter, the lens, aperture settings, speed, ISO, image format, post processing, software. You make all these choices or do you?
Do you let the camera make the decisions for you?
We need to take control and make ALL the decisions ourselves if we do not how will we know what the final outcome will be? 

If you strive to take great photographs, study the work of the masters.