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Showing posts from September, 2006

Curiosity

Curiosity is one of the driving forces in my photography. I often take a picture because I want to see how it will come out in the final print. It's also a way of capturing and keeping a precious moment forever.

I have launched a new online exhibition called curiosity in which I hope to share some of the visual pleasure I felt when I discovered a special moment through the lens.

Over the next few weeks I will be adding more images to the exhibition, so please do drop by again.

Cheers,
Paul

The proof is in the print

Billions of images never make the transition from pixels to print. However, for the serious photographer the print is the ultimate test of an image, the goal, the tangible product at the end of the creative process.

There’s something unique and special about seeing an image in print, whether it is reproduced in a book, on a billboard, an inkjet or any of the other tangible media. I suppose the only other media which has an equal impact is transparency film but here again a large print from a transparency offers a more accessible end result than a slide on a lightbox.

I feel that any images of mine, no matter how good I think they may be, have not really come to life until I see them in print. It’s the ultimate test.

I wonder though about the thousands of photographers around the world snapping away, manipulating their images and then uploading them to the web. I see so many images that may look reasonable at 500 or 800 pixels across, which I just know will not work in print. Any mistakes…

A mission to see photographically

In my blog advocating a mission or project orientated approach to photography I mentioned that taking this approach would change the way you see the world.

It may sound surprising but photography happens in the mind rather than being a mechanical matter of picking up a camera and pointing the lens at the subject. Throughout the process of creating an image, from having the first concept through to visualising the image, then dealing with the technical capture and finally through to post capture processing and output in print – your emotions, intellect and even personality play a role in determining the final result.

Beyond that a photographer's true merit is not judged by a single work. We all have good images, poorer images and if we are lucky one or two great images. The photographer's legacy is a body of work. Does it consist of saccharine, disparate images or does it delve into a subject and communicate the great truths of nature or life? Does the body of work resonate with …

The long road

Life is a long journey. I discovered this shepherd with his flock between the road and the canal near Damme in Belgium.

There are very few shepherds in Belgium so this is a rare site.

Cheers,
Paul

Just another pretty picture or are you on a mission?

Why do photographers take pictures? Well there's a huge question. If you're a photographer and you hope to get your work published in some form, a book an exhibition, online or in print then I've got some pointers which may help you.

On the other hand, if you only want to make pretty pictures that people like, then your focus will be on technique, equipment and the craft of picture taking. For me, and I think most serious photographers, the craft of picture taking can be compared to learning the mechanics of driving a car.

We need to learn how to handle the controls of the car because we want to be able to get safely and smoothly from point A to B. You can hone your driving technique all you want till you're as slick as a formulae 1 driver but that's still not going to get you anywhere unless you know where you want to go. Right, I've laboured that metaphor enough for now. Back to the main story.

You're a serious photographer and you want to be published. The …

Polarising filters - top tips

As promised here are a few pointers on using polarising filters. Firstly there are two types of polarising filters. If you use autofocus as most of us do then you'll want a circular polarising filter.

The first important tip for using a polariser. It doesn't work properly with other filters on your camera; so get those skylight and UV filters off your lens before you put on your polariser. This will also help remove the chance of vignetting which is a distinct possibility when you use wide angles.


So what do you use a polariser for. The two main purposes are to darken skies and to remove reflections.

Firstly darkening skies, which neatly brings me to the second important tip. Polarising filters only really work when used at 90 degrees to the sun. So if you stand facing the sun and stick your arm out from your side, that's the ideal direction to point your lens if you want to darken the sky. If you use a polariser and point your lens in the direction of the sun or with the sun…

Light play

I waited for the light to be just right as it played across the moorland.

The moment it formed a rim around the resevoir I knew I had the shot.

It's a great feeling when patience pays off and everything falls into place. I think this image has a nice rythm of light and shade breaking up the frame. Ideally it needs to be seen really large to appreciate all the detail.

I plan to write an article about using polarising filters this week, so watch this space.

Cheers,
Paul

Neutral Density (ND) graduated filters and alternatives

One of the most popular and useful filters for the landscape photographer is the graduated neutral density filter. These come in varying strengths. Their purpose is to even out exposure values in the sky and the land.

Technically perfect use will render sky and land at the correct values mimicking what we see with our eyes. A more artistic interpretation, much favoured by landscape photographers, is to darken the sky even more, creating a sense of drama.

The same effect can be achieved by taking two exposures of the same scene, using a tripod to keep everything in the same place and then overlapping the images. Digital capture and editing have made this option easy and convenient. The technical side of how to do this is elaborated on below.

But first let's look at the pros and cons of both methods.

The pros for ND grads are:
> you get the exposure right in a single shot which saves space on your memory card
> if anything is moving across the frame then it will register correctly w…