Being in Control

It’s one of the ironies of photography that we spend ever increasing amounts of money to purchase better and better cameras and lenses, acquiring more and more automatic features to aid us in getting the best images possible.

Canon 5DIII Top SideAnd then what do we do?  We turn everything off and shoot completely manually, because “that’s what pros do”.  Think about that for a minute.  Does that make sense to you?  Give your head a shake.

I recently had a moment shooting an event where I had to do just that.  Then I did a little experiment to find out just what I was missing by doing all the work myself.  Read on for the results.

Continue reading “Being in Control”

Getting Good Bokeh

Another short presentation to my local photography club.  Last time I spoke, it was about preventing blurry photographs.  This time, it’s about deliberately blurring the background to make the subject stand out.   Continue reading “Getting Good Bokeh”

Black and White or Colour?

The options for manipulating an image after capture are endless today.  Creative edits can include composites, the addition of graphic elements, and the use of finishing treatments such as texture overlays, painterly conversions, grunge and high dynamic range (HDR) effects.  These are just a few possibilities.

AmericanElm_20170627_0007-Edit

But as recently as 1935, the only manipulation available to a photographer was around how much highlight and shadow to reveal in the print and where (a.k.a. dodging and burning).  All film was black and white.  The most creative photographers played with different development processes and printing surfaces, but these were all still monochrome results.  Others tried coloured filters at image capture, or layered emulsions that could produce different colours, but this made the capture and processing much more complex and the results were often poor.

KodachromeIn 1935, Eastman Kodak Company introduced Kodachrome and changed the world forever.  Despite this, colour photography did not become widespread, at least not in the consumer market, until the 1960’s.  So colour image capture has really been in broad use for just 50 years.

Today, all digital cameras capture colour data by default.  Black and white conversion is available both in-camera and through post-processing.  The irony is that the same debates about colour vs. black and white that drove the creation of Kodachrome still exist today.  Here’s my take on the creative debate. Continue reading “Black and White or Colour?”

Photography as Art

ScotiabankApril and May are the traditional kickoff months for photography festivals in this area.  Many photographers, themes and collections are on display.  So many, in fact, that viewing all of their work is impossible, and isolating favourities can be challenging.

In a recent excursion, I participated in a discussion of photography as art.  The premise was that in order to be noticed, you can’t just be a photographer – you need to be an artist.  You need to give your photographs a distinctive look, a distinctive emotional connection to the viewer.  This means going beyond just documenting a subject – it means creating a work of art.  And this isn’t new – all successful photographers have realized and operated on this basis since the days of pinhole cameras.

Featured-ImageThis leaves me wondering.  If photography must be art to be successful, is there a point where a photograph is no longer a photograph?  And where is that line?  The answer isn’t obvious.  Here’s why…

Continue reading “Photography as Art”

Is Nature Ever Natural?

In two weeks, my local photography club, the Oshawa Camera Club, will be holding a discussion and vote.  The subject:  how natural should nature photography be?  Club competition rules for the nature category are currently strict, limiting almost all evidence of “hand of man” and requiring that the image be a documentary of the subject in their natural environment.  But today’s sophisticated software opens the door to edits that are routinely applied in other categories, so why not here?  Here’s the debate… Continue reading “Is Nature Ever Natural?”

To Print or Not to Print, That is the Question

We didn’t learn about printing photographs during my training in digital photography.  Some of you might say “What did you expect, it was a DIGITAL photography course?”

Good point.  But I always felt there was something missing in my training and I recently attended a two day course on printing photographs.  It opened my eyes to the value of a hardcopy print.  Here’s why. Continue reading “To Print or Not to Print, That is the Question”

Light Painting with Patrick Rochon

I had the pleasure yesterday of attending a presentation by Patrick Rochon, also known as Patrick the Light Painter.

patrick-the-light-painterThere are many ways to express one’s creativity in photography and Patrick has chosen light as the medium for his expression.  You might wonder what’s unique about that, since every photographer uses light.  It’s how he uses it that sets him apart. Continue reading “Light Painting with Patrick Rochon”